The Southern Great Barrier Reef region serves up a unique slice of Queensland paradise. Here are the top 9 self-drive tours that have made the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland's roadster heaven.
Just five hours from the Gold Coast the region is within reach of casual self-drive holiday makers, but has attracted a growing group of dedicated road-travel enthusiasts for its perfect blend of country and coast.
Here are 9 affordable, accessible and stunning, self-drive road trips across the Southern Great Barrier Reef region.
1. Beef and Bulls
Rockhampton is famous for producing Australia's best beef and takes the honour seriously. Six mighty bull statues representing the main breeds in the region have been erected across the city in a tradition that commenced in 1978.
If you're after a quirky way to see Rockhampton, embark on the Beef and Bulls trail that winds through Rockhampton and grab a selfie with each of these life-size tributes to the city's lifeblood industry.
2. Capricorn Caves
At the end of a 23-kilometre drive through the northern rural landscapes of Rockhampton you'll find these unique caves situated in an above ground limestone ridge. A variety of cave tours are available from easy walks to wild caving adventure tours.
Enjoy the company of kangaroos while settling down for some rest at the onsite caravan park before the next leg of your adventure.
3. Coral Coasting
Take this two-day drive along the coast in Bundaberg and take in the stunning beaches from Burnett Heads, Yeppoon, Mon Repos, Coral Cove and Elliot Heads. Each stop along the coast affords majestic views of the Queensland Coastline and opportunities to explore the reef and coastal wildlife.
4. Mount Morgan
Nestled in the Dee Ranges, the historic town of Mount Morgan will transport you back to Australia's gold rush when you tour the remains of its mining operation.
Short drives outside of the town limits will take you to Frank Golding and Arthur Timms Lookout, which is the highest lookout point in town and an ideal picnic location.
5. Bluff Point Track
Located within the Capricorn Coast National Park, the Bluff Point Track is a 2.3km circuit track that features coastal volcanic headlands, intriguing rock formations, and scenic lookouts that overlook the ocean and bay. Venture further on a steep 600m climb to Turtle Lookout and admire the flooded hill tops of the Keppel Bay Islands. Keep your eyes peeled for the turtles that swim in the water below you.
6. Bundaberg to Woodgate
Journey 60km across picturesque country side, pass seasonal farm gates and through protected national park from Bundaberg via Goodwood Road to the coastal town of Woodgate, which boasts 16km of calm sandy beaches protected by the Southern Great Barrier Reef and backed by shady she-oaks.
Stay at Woodgate Beach Tourist Park, one of Bundaberg's most popular holiday destinations. The park has close proximity to the beach, which has calm ocean waters that are protected from the swells by Fraser Island. If you fancy a spot of fishing, head to Theodolite Creek with its breathtaking expanse of white silica sand, perfect for swimming and fishing.
7. Burnett Circle
Experience Queensland country and drive Biggenden, Gayndah, Mundubbera, Eidsvold, Monto and Mt Perry. Away from the coastlines you'll discover rugged gorges, breathtaking rural views and imposing mountain ranges. Of course, what is a road trip without friendly locals, get to know the people that live in quaint townships dotted throughout Bundaberg North Burnett and experience what the region has to offer. A food lover's paradise, the North Burnett will showcase some of the juiciest citrus, grapes, blueberries and stone fruit at local markets and road side stalls.
This six-day journey will take you through a variety of different protected areas, such as Mt Walsh National Park and Coalstoun National Park. Make sure to check out Cania Gorge National Park, one of the Southern Great Barrier Reef region's most imposing gorges. Here you can explore stunning scenery like sandstone monoliths and weathered caves of vivid red and yellow.
8. Gladstone to the Discovery Coast
The picturesque coastline of the twin seaside communities of Agnes Water and Town of 1770 create an exciting and appealing multitude of experiences, famously known as the birthplace of Queensland. Pass through charming towns like Bororen and Miriam Vale along your way. The 135km drive that starts from the south of Gladstone gives you plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs and take in the salty air with stops at beachside towns like Tannum Sands and Turkey beach is a must!
9. Gladstone City Sights
Allow yourself at least half a day to immerse yourself in the top city sights of Gladstone. This 30km self-drive tour will take you through the Port of Gladstone and Gladstone Marina Parklands where you can visit the newly established East Shores Precinct. The nearby Auckland Hill provides a spectacular view of the Gladstone Harbour, and further down the road the Tondoon Botanic Gardens offers a welcome escape from the busy lifestyle.