The Great Beach Drive, located in Queensland’s stunning Australia’s Nature Coast, provides a road trip like no other. Offering the experience of driving on some of the world’s most stunning beaches, through some of the most idyllic National Parks and World Heritage listed areas, this is truly a once in a lifetime drive holiday experience.
The Great Beach Drive connects the Sunshine Coast with the World Heritage listed Fraser Island (K’Gari) and the Fraser Coast – forming a large part of the Australia’s Nature Coast. This region is home to an abundance of wildlife including kangaroos, whales, turtles, dingoes, dugongs, platypus and the world’s largest variety of bird species.
The drive route, approximately 380 kilometres long, also travels through landscape steeped in culture and etched in Australian history, covering two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, a World Heritage Marine Park and the largest sand island in the world.
Day 1 - Hervey Bay
Start your Great Beach Drive adventure from Hervey Bay, on Queensland’s Fraser Coast.
In Hervey Bay, make sure you visit the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere and become immersed in the incredible world of the humpback whale with an ‘underwater whale’ encounter. The Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere provides an immersive and educational experience on all things natural within the Fraser Coast.
In Hervey Bay you can also enjoy the many waterfront parks, playgrounds and cafes that make up 16 kilometres of beachfront parkland pathways that are perfect for cycling. Alternatively, you can hire a kayak or jetski and explore an aquatic playground.
Those travelling with children will love Hervey Bay’s free water education park, ‘Wetside’, where they can get soaked buy the giant water bucket or learn to surf on the Board Rider.
To finish the day, take a relaxing sunset cruise exploring the Great Sandy Strait. Not only will you witness a magical sunset, you are also likely to see dolphins, birdlife and possible dugongs.
Check in to your accommodation for the night in Hervey Bay, where there are a variety of accommodation styles to suit your needs.
Day 2 - Lady Elliot Island
Departing the Fraser Coast Airport located in Hervey Bay, take the 40 minute scenic flight from Hervey Bay to the Great Barrier Reef Eco certified Lady Elliot Island, gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, for an unrivalled reef experience.
If your trip falls between November and March, you could find yourself captivated by the Green Sea Turtles during their egg laying season and some of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see.
The snorkelling and diving experience on Lady Elliot Island is regarded as one of the best throughout the entire Great Barrier Reef. The diversity of fish species and the clarity of water is unrivalled, and Lady Elliot Island is also well known as being the best location for Manta Ray sightings in Queensland, if not Australia!
Check into your accommodation on Lady Elliot Island for the night which is just steps away from the waters edge and an abundance of marine and bird life.
Day 3 - Fraser Island
Depart Lady Elliot Island and enjoy the stunning scenic flight on return to Hervey Bay. Once in Hervey Bay, collect your 4WD vehicle and be sure to pay attention during your safety briefing prior to departure.
Drive to River Heads, just outside of Hervey Bay and catch the barge to Fraser Island, where you will arrive at Kingfisher Bay.
Once you have arrived on the island (be sure to check your tyre pressure before proceeding) you can enjoy a day of off road driving along the Great Beach Drive taking in key sites such as Central Station, Pile Valley, Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby and Happy Valley.
Whilst on 75 Mile Beach, take the opportunity to see some of Fraser Island’s more remote inland lakes and sand blows from the air with a scenic flight.
Avid fish persons can throw in a line off the beach in one of Australia’s most renowned fishing destinations. However, keep in mind not to swim in the ocean off Fraser Island’s eastern beach.
Check into your accommodation for the night along 75 Mile Beach, of which there are numerous styles of accommodation to choose from.
Day 4 - Rainbow Beach
Before your departure, please contact the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to receive tide information and an up to date beach condition report, and be sure to reconfirm your barge transfer times with Manta Ray Barges.
Continue on the Great Beach Drive heading south along 75 Mile Beach to the southern most tip of Fraser Island. Along the way look out for Fraser Island dingoes, Jabirus, whales and sharks.
Take the vehicle barge from Hook Point to Inskip Point and continue your beach drive into Rainbow Beach.
Take the walk up to the Carlo Sand Blow and watch the paragliders soar, or take some wine and a picnic rug and enjoy the magnificent sunset or an amazing starry night, untainted by manufactured light.
Check into your accommodation for the night in Rainbow Beach, overlooking coloured sands and Fraser Island.
Day 5 - Tin Can Bay to Noosa
Before your departure, please contact the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to receive tide information and an up to date condition report.
Wake up early and take the dolphin ferry from Rainbow Beach to Tin Can Bay, to hand feed the very rare Indo Pacific Humpback dolphins. The dolphins generally arrive early so plan to arrive between 7am and 8am.
Feeding commences at 8am with a small group of people in the water at one time. Dolphin feeding does mean getting wet, at least up to your knees, so come prepared!
After dolphin feeding, take the return 45-minute ferry back into Rainbow Beach.
Depart Rainbow Beach and take the Leisha Track to Double Island Point. In winter look for the annual humpback whales migration, as they travel along the east coast of Australia stopping at nearby Hervey Bay.
Head south along the Great Beach Drive to Noosa North Shore – stopping to enjoy the coloured sands at Teewah.
Take a vehicle ferry from Noosa North Shore into Noosa.
Check into your accommodation for the night at one of the Sunshine Coast’s variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes.