Brisbane To Townsville Road Trip – A Guide to the Great Coastal Road

Brisbane To Townsville Road Trip
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One of the best ways to explore Queensland is by car, and a trip from Brisbane to Townsville includes all the state’s top attractions. Many people every year decide to hit the road or hitch up a trailer and travel the length of Queensland’s coast in search of the state’s renowned sunshine and picturesque scenery. This is why this particular stretch of highway is considered to be one of the most iconic tourist attractions.

The most difficult part of organizing a road trip from Brisbane to Townsville will be deciding where in Queensland to stop for breaks along the way. For this reason, I questioned other travellers about the finest locations to halt along the way between Brisbane and Townsville, as well as the activities that might be enjoyed there.

What Is Townsville Popular for?

Townsville is well known as a fantastic vacation spot due to its picture-perfect beaches, close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, and enough sunshine. It may not seem like it at first, but the unnamed capital of northern Queensland has a few surprises to offer.

Ideal Route From Brisbane To Townsville

On this road trip, we are going to take the popular coastal road from Brisbane To Townsville. We will be starting this road trip from stunning Brisbane. Then our first stop will be the stunning Noosa. Then we will go all the way to Hervey Bay. After exploring Hervey Bay, we will head to Rockhampton, and then along with Mackay and Bowen, we will head to our final destination Townsville.

Travelling this distance by car will take around 17 hours and 10 minutes, as it is a 1413-kilometre journey. I suggest planning for at least 15 days for the Brisbane To Townsville road trip.

Brisbane To Townsville Road Trip: Itinerary, Places, Distance & Attractions

Here, we will provide you with a detailed 5 stops road trip plan from Brisbane To Townsville, including information on accommodations, activities, and transportation.

Total distance is approx 1413 km and driving approx 17 hrs 10 mins

Bus Distance24 Hours 10 Minutes
Drive / Car Distance17 Hours 10 Minutes
Stops5 Stops
Nearest AirportTownsville Airport

Brisbane to Noosa

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Total distance is approx 144 km Driving Approx 2 hrs 10 mins

Noosa, two hours north of Brisbane, requires at least two days. Hastings Street, its most famous street, has upscale stores and cafés. This should not deter budget-conscious households.

The beaches and off-main-street hotels are excellent. The village has a nice beach with sand and a rocky outcrop. The beach faces north instead of east, and its orientation and protection generate flowing waves that are calmer and ideal for smaller children than many of the other coastal beaches. The surf rescue club on the main beach offers an affordable family lunch with magnificent coastal views.

The nearby Noosa National Park is another attraction. A paved pathway and simple paths along the rocky shore and throughout the park lead to semi-secluded (albeit unpatrolled) sandy beaches with varying vistas. The park office at the entrance posts the newest koala sightings, making it easier to spot them.

Top attractions in Noosa

  • Noosa National Park
  • Noosa Heads Main Beach
  • Laguna Lookout
  • Boiling Pot Lookout
  • Eumundi Markets

Accommodation in Noosa

  • Noosa Sun Motel & Holiday Apartments
  • RACV Noosa Resort
  • Netanya Noosa
  • The Islander Noosa Resort

Restaurants in Noosa

  • Little Humid Restaurant
  • Noosa Cruiser Restaurant and Bar
  • Gusto
  • Periwinkle restaurant
  • Noosa Waterfront Restaurant & Bar

Noosa to Hervey Bay

Hervey bay beach queensland australia

Total distance is approx 159 km Driving Approx 2 hrs 20 mins

It takes around three and a half hours to drive north from Brisbane to the Hervey Bay area on the Fraser Coast of Queensland. Calm seas here provide a safe haven for migrating humpback whales, and the area is referred to as the entrance to Fraser Island. If you’re also going to Fraser Island, stay for two days.

Whale-watching cruises in Hervey Bay are famous. Urangan Pier, one of Hervey Bay’s best fishing places and Australia’s longest, extends approximately a kilometre into the water. Ride or stroll the 17km oceanfront Esplanade from Point Vernon to Urangan. Explore Reefworld Aquarium or the Wetside Water Park. Kids may swim, kayak, fish, and sail in this calm ocean.

Hervey Bay has cheap beachside caravan sites, hotels, and self-contained housing. Restaurants, bars, and pubs are aplenty. It’s a nostalgic coastal getaway.

Top attractions in Hervey Bay

  • Urangan Pier
  • Wetside Water Park
  • Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens
  • Reef World Aquarium
  • Hervey Bay Regional Gallery

Accommodation in Hervey Bay

  • Sunseeker Motel
  • Emeraldene Inn & Eco-Lodge
  • Hervey Bay Colonial Lodge
  • Shelly Bay Resort

Restaurants in Hervey Bay

  • Odyssey Bistro
  • Vinvero’s Cafe
  • Aegean Waters
  • Bayaroma Cafe
  • The Dock Bar & Restaurant

Hervey Bay to Rockhampton

Total distance is approx 382 km Driving Approx 4 hrs 20 mins

Rockhampton has a lot to offer visitors, especially those travelling with kids, whether they are in town for a week or just a few days.

Start out with a visit to the chimpanzee family and other local and exotic species at the Rockhampton Zoo. Visit the lovely Botanic Gardens, one of the finest green spaces in Queensland. The Gardens Tearooms provide a variety of meals and drinks and are located beneath Banyan Fig trees that are estimated to be at least 150 years old. Mount Archer, at 604 meters above sea level, is well worth the journey for its breathtaking sceneries of the city and the mountains beyond.

When in Rockhampton with kids, you must stop by Kershaw Gardens. If you’re planning on taking your kids to this expansive parkland with walking paths and play spaces, you might want to pack a picnic or prepare a barbecue since they won’t want to leave. Only 30 minutes north of Rockhampton, the great Capricorn Caves are a fantastic destination for adventure seekers.

Top attractions in Rockhampton

  • Archer Park Rail Museum
  • Rockhampton Museum of Art
  • Kershaw Gardens
  • Rockhampton Botanic Gardens
  • Rockhampton Zoo

Accommodation in Rockhampton

  • Korte’s Resort
  • Empire Apartment Hotel
  • Rockhampton Palms Motor Inn
  • Quality Hotel Regent Rockhampton

Restaurants in Rockhampton

  • TruFusion Indian Bar & Grill
  • Stonegrill Restaurant
  • Cafe Bliss
  • Giddy Goat Cafe and Bar
  • Skyring’s Restaurant & Bar

Rockhampton to Mackay

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Total distance is approx 336 km Driving Approx 3 hrs 50 mins

Mackay is a magnificent place to visit in Queensland, including its proximity to rich subtropical rainforests, stunning beaches, and scenic islands.

There is a wide variety of exciting activities to partake in throughout the year in this lively tropical town with a favourable environment. Its closeness to the Great Barrier Reef is another clear selling point, as it allows residents and tourists to enjoy hassle-free day visits to one of the most desired natural beauties in the world.

Mackay is a paradise for families because of Aqua Park Mackay, which has large slides and inflatable pontoons, and the adjoining Bluewater Lagoon slide and waterpark.

The city centre of Mackay has lately seen a positive metamorphosis thanks to a community arts initiative and now offers inhabitants and tourists a unique attraction. The City Center is a pleasant spot to stroll on a sunny day, with artworks and various monuments.

The beautiful Botanical Gardens and Sandfly Creek Environmental Walkway can be seen from the Bluewater Trail, which is a great place to go for a bike ride or a stroll. In the early morning hours, you can get up and personal with the local kangaroos if you drive the 40 minutes up the road to Cape Hillsborough Beach.

Top attractions in Mackay

  • Bluewater Lagoon
  • Caneland Central
  • Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens
  • Artspace Mackay

Accommodation in Mackay

  • Mackay Oceanside Central
  • International Lodge Motel
  • Mackay Rose Motel
  • Shamrock Gardens Motel

Restaurants in Mackay

  • Fusion128
  • Roshni Indian by Raj
  • Lets Do Greek Mackay
  • The Dispensary
  • Sorbello’s Italian Restaurant

Mackay to Bowen

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Total distance is approx 192 km Driving Approx 2 hrs 20 mins

Bowen, one of Queensland’s oldest cities, is situated between Airlie Beach and Townsville. The city is well known as the “mango capital” of Australia. Numerous farms may be found in the Bowen Mango’s native Australia because it is the country’s most widely consumed mango type.

Australia loves huge things, and Bowen is not exceptional! In the vicinity of the tourist centre, you will find the Big Mango. The most Amazing place in Bowen is this sculpture, which stands at a towering 10 meters in height.

If you’re looking for a beach, you’ll be surrounded by options. You may snorkel and sunbathe in peace at Horseshoe Bay, Queens Beach, and Rose Bay. In case you don’t have time for scuba diving and snorkelling, don’t worry; you can still enjoy the stunning corals from the shore. When comparing Bowen to the other Great Barrier Reef destinations, the Whitsundays just cannot compete with the price.

When everything is said and done, Bowen is a fantastic location from which to learn about Queensland’s past. If you want to discover the history of Bowen, from its first beginnings to its present day, the Bowen Museum is the place to go. Meanwhile, murals in the downtown area provide a picture of Bowen’s past.

Top attractions in Bowen

  • The Big Mango
  • Rotary Lookout
  • Flagstaff Hill Lookout
  • Kitesurfing Whitsundays
  • Bowen Historical Society & Museum

Accommodation in Bowen

  • Bluewater Harbour Motel
  • Rose Bay Resort
  • Port Denison Motor Inn
  • Castle Motor Lodge

Restaurants in Bowen

  • Le Sorelle Coffee House
  • Grand View Hotel
  • Jochheims Pies
  • Birds Fish Bar
  • Meraki Whitsundays

Bowen to Townsville

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Total distance is approx 201 km Driving Approx 2 hrs 30 mins

Brisbane To Townsville road trip comes to an end at Townsville, the starting point for excursions into the wet tropics and the Queensland outback. Tropical and far north Queensland may be reached through the route to Cairns. More coastal towns, beautiful landscapes, historical landmarks, spectacular wildlife, and the only spot on Earth where 2 World Heritage-listed sites are situated side by side await you on your road journey across North Queensland.

Townsville is Australia’s biggest tropical city, and its beachside walkway, which spans more than 2 kilometres, is a great spot to relax and take in the scenery. Visit the Strand Water Park or fish off the pier. If you want to get some exercise while seeing Townsville, a great option is to go up Castle Hill, the city’s most recognizable landmark. The pink granite monolith towers above the cityscape of Townsville from its viewpoint 286 meters above the ground.

Day trips may be taken to Magnetic Island, the Billabong Sanctuary can be visited to witness native Australian wildlife, any of the four lovely gardens can be explored, and the Museum of Tropical Queensland can be visited for some history and interactive displays. Families will not be bored in Townsville.

Top attractions in Townsville

  • Museum of Tropical Queensland
  • Strand Park
  • Magnetic Island Ferries
  • SeaLink Queensland
  • Billabong Sanctuary
  • The Palmetum

Accommodation in Townsville

  • Castle Crest Motel
  • Beach House Motel
  • Cascade Motel In Townsville
  • City Oasis Inn

Restaurants in Townsville

  • A Touch of Salt
  • Wild Rice Laos & Thai Cuisine
  • Jam
  • GYO Japanese Tapas Bar Restaurant
  • Balabite

The Best Time To Travel Townsville

The months of May through September are the greatest time to visit Townsville because of the weather. Days are warm and the evenings are cool during this time of the year.


What Is The Cheapest Way To Get From Brisbane To Townsville?

The Train is the most cost-effective transportation option while travelling from Brisbane To Townsville. It will take around 18 hours and 10 minutes of your time and cost you between $95 – $240.

What Is The Fastest Way To Get From Brisbane To Townsville?

The fastest way to go from Brisbane To Townsville is a flight, which will take around 3 hours and 30 mins and will cost between $95 – $290 for each ticket.

Which Airlines Fly From Brisbane To Townsville Airport?

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia fly from Brisbane To Townsville, which will take about 3 hrs 30 mins approx and costs $95 – $290 for each ticket.

How Much Is A Bus Ticket From Brisbane To Townsville?

Travelling by bus will cost about $75 – $270 to travel from Brisbane To Townsville. It will take around 24 hours and 10 minutes.

Wrapping Up

The road trip from Brisbane to Townsville is breathtaking. Queensland’s coast is lined with charming places where you may relax and take in the scenery while making new friends. As mentioned above, the stops along this Brisbane to Townsville route are customizable to suit your needs and schedule.

As much as possible, avoid being in a rush. Since you’ll want to spend two nights in numerous locations to get the most out of your visit, the trip’s duration will increase accordingly. It’s possible that this 15-day road journey will be the most memorable experience of your life. Travel safely!

Hi, I'm Md Abid Hasan. The owner & content editor of is a travel blog that covers road trips, day trips, and destinations guide.

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