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
Your Australia’s Nature Coast adventure starts in Hervey Bay, on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, famous as the stopover point for thousands of migrating humpback whales from July to November. During whale season, be sure to take a trip to experience one of the world’s closest encounters with the whales.
Outside of the season, explore the stunning west coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari) by boat or by jetski!
A west coast Fraser Island (K’Gari) tour will take you to some of the most isolated locations along the west coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari). These full day trips have it all, and allow you to get up close and personal with a variety of wildlife including turtles, dugongs, dolphins, a variety of fish species and even the Fraser Island (K’Gari) dingo.
A Jetski Tour to Fraser Island (K’Gari) provides you with your own jetski, your own personalised guide and a truly unique way of exploring Fraser Island (K’Gari) and the Great Sandy Strait! As a part of the tour you can explore the pristine Pelican Banks, a sand bar off the coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari) that provides a stunning swimming location, and is home to resident dolphins, turtles and manta rays.
Day 2 - Fraser Island
Before your departure, please contact the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to arrange your permits, and to also receive a safety briefing, tide information and an up to date beach condition report. Be sure to also contact Fraser Island Barges to ensure your barge transfer is confirmed.
Collect your four wheel drive hire car in Hervey Bay and drive to River Heads to catch the Fraser Island Barge to commence your day exploring the incomparable Fraser Island (K’Gari) (Check your tyre pressure before proceeding further). This World Heritage-listed icon has ancient rainforests, over 100 fresh water lakes, huge sand blows, rock pools and an amazing 75 Mile Beach highway – complete with a shipwreck and cliffs of stunning coloured sands.
Spend the night on the east coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari) in one of the many accommodation options that are available to choose from.
Day 3 - Fraser Island and Inskip Point
Before your departure, please contact the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to receive tide information and an up to date beach condition report. Be sure to also contact Manta Ray Barges to ensure your barge transfer is confirmed.
This morning head south along 75 Mile Beach at your leisure, and make your way to Hook Point on Fraser Island (K’Gari), to catch the Manta Ray Barge to Inskip Point on the mainland. Once you have arrived in Rainbow Beach, enjoy a horse riding adventure like no other, where you can ride in a stunning beach location, and take your horse for a swim in the ocean with the stunning coloured sands as your background.
Alternatively you can experience a variety of adventurous activities including surfing lessons on Australia’s longest and safest wave, you can learn how to kite surf, you can experience guided kayak tours where you will see dolphins and turtles or you can embark on a stand up paddle boarding safari in some truly stunning surroundings.
Spend the night camping at Inskip Point in Rainbow Beach, under a starry Australia’s Nature Coast sky!
Day 4 - Rainbow Beach and Noosa
Before your departure, please contact the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to receive tide information and an up to date beach condition report.
Wake up early and take the Dolphin Ferry from Rainbow Beach to Tin Can Bay, to hand feed the small population of very rare Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins. The dolphins generally arrive early so plan to arrive between 7am and 8am.
Feeding commences at 8am and fish for the feeding is available on site. There is a AUD5 per person entry fee plus AUD5 to cover the cost of the fish for feeding. 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 (be sure to check tide times before proceeding any further) to Double Island Point. Head south along the Great Beach Drive to Noosa North Shore, and then take the vehicle ferry from Noosa North Shore into Noosa, and continue onto Caloundra.
Once in Caloundra, spoil yourselves by checking into some luxury accommodation for the night, of which there are a variety of options.
Day 5 - Pumicestone Passage and Maryborough
Enjoy the morning exploring the stunning Pumicestone Passage by either jetski or kayak.
The Pumicestone Passage Marine Park is just over 35 kilometres long, has 24 islands and is bounded by 240 kilometres of shoreline. Eighty per cent of the Passage is under two metres deep and dugongs are often seen feeding on the seagrass on the bottom of the channels. Dolphins and turtles also make the Passage home as do over 350 species of birds.
After exploring the Pumicestone Passage Marine Park, drive on to Maryborough and check into your accommodation in this historic town.
Day 6 - Maryborough
Enjoy the morning experiencing some adventure with a difference, as you explore the streetscapes of Maryborough’s original wharf district. Maryborough’s Portside remains relatively unchanged from its days as a thriving river port, when it was one of Australia’s largest and busiest destinations for immigrants in the mid to late 1800’s. Start your Portside experience with a Portside Heritage Gateway Pass, which includes entry into Customs House Interpretive Centre and the variety of museums on offer.
Spend the afternoon interacting with cute and cuddly Australian animals at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, just a short 10 minute drive from Maryborough’s Portside Precinct.
After enjoying the company of your animal friends at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, continue on to Hervey Bay to complete your Naturally Adventurous Great Beach Drive experience.