road trip australia 6 places to go in queensland

Road Trip Australia: 6 Best Places Between Gold Coast and Townsville

A road trip in Australia is a dream coming true. Our very first road trip here was in 2017 when we went from Sunshine Coast to Tasmania. A couple of months ago we decided to explore Central and North Queensland on a road trip that took us 1 month. When we came back a lot of people started to ask me about the best places to go, where to stop, and my favourite spots, so I decided to create this list of, in my opinion, the must-stop places on this road trip.


As we left our home on the Gold Coast, our very first stop was Noosa Heads. This is my favourite spot on the Sunshine Coast and it’s worth spending a couple of days here. The sunset is absolutely beautiful and there’s a coastal walk on Noosa National Park that you have to include in your bucket list.

Rainbow Beach

Is Rainbow Beach worth visiting? In my opinion, yes it is! This cute little town is so charming and there are a lot of rainbows everywhere! Although there are not heaps to do here, it’s a great place to relax and it’s also the best access to Fraser Island. Make sure you go to Inskip Peninsula for sunset, you won’t regret it! Another great highlight of this spot is the coloured sands: they are huge cliffs by the ocean with different shades of sand.

australia - rainbow beach

1770 and Agnes Water

A road trip in Central Queensland MUST include at least a sunset in 1770/Agnes Water. Even if you don’t have much time to stay here, I highly recommend watching the sunset in one of the lookouts. If you’re planning to spend the night, make sure you book a campsite in advance (especially if you need a dog-friendly place).

road trip australia - 1770 and agnes water

Yeppoon and Keppel Island

Ok, serious talk now. You HAVE TO GO to Yeppoon! This was by far one of my favourite places of the entire road trip in Australia. Part of the Capricorn Coast, this is the very beginning of the Great Barrier Reef. Yeppoon is super small and super charming. My favourite thing about it is the public swimming pool, which looks more like a 5 stars resort. It’s an infinity pool right in front of the beach in an area that was recently renovated after the cyclone in 2017. There you have free hot showers and a cafe downstairs with fine dining upstairs. Absolutely amazing!

Keppel Island is a dog-friendly island just about 30min from Yeppoon. It’s a paradisiac spot to relax surrounded by palm trees and turquoise water. They have a restaurant and also places to sleep if you’re planning to spend the night.

Ps. When you go to Yeppoon you will drive through Rockhampton, where you can find the Tropic of Capricorn Line! It’s worth quickly stop, even if it’s just for a photo. The Line is right in the Rockhampton Information Centre.

australia - yeppoon

Lake Proserpine

At just 45min driving inland from Airlie Beach, you will find Lake Proserpine, where there’s the Peter Faust Dam. The lake is surrounded by mountains and it’s a place to disconnect from the external world to connect with nature. There is no phone reception and nothing to do but look at the mountains. We spent 3 days here doing absolutely NOTHING and it was one of the best moments of our road trip.

This place used to be for free with a maximum stay of 3 nights, but they recently increased to 7 days maximum and $6 per night. The small amount to pay is totally worth it as they have hot showers and super clean bathrooms.

australia - lake proserpine


Townsville exceeded my expectations. Honestly, at first, I didn’t think Townsville would be worth a stop, but when we got there I changed my mind immediately! Townsville is GORGEOUS!  The city was built around Castle Hill, a beautiful mountain right in the centre where you will find the best views of the city. There are heaps of places to visit, nice lookouts and beaches. Our friend who lives there also recommended going to Magnetic Island, but we didn’t have time enough in the city to go there. We’ll definitely be coming back to experience more of Townsville in future road trips!

australia - townsville

Why I didn’t include Airlie Beach in this road trip list?

Airlie Beach is one of the most famous destinations in Australia if you want to visit Whitsundays and see the great barrier reef. But the reason I didn’t include this famous spot in my list is that we couldn’t enjoy Airlie Beach as much. It’s for sure a must-stop on a road trip in Australia, but because we were travelling with our dog Bowie we couldn’t go to any of the islands, as they’re all national parks. So the city itself doesn’t have much to offer in my opinion, as the main point of going there is to take the boats to the islands. But this is just my opinion, and if you have the chance to visit the islands then you should include this place in your itinerary!

road trip australia - 6 places to go in queensland

Watch my Road Trip in Australia mini vlogs for more inspiration!

On my Instagram, you can find many reels I made during this road trip and have a better idea of each place.

Australia is a huge country and I’m sure there are many other amazing places to include in this road trip that we didn’t have the chance to visit YET. If you have any other recommendations of places to visit in Central/North Queensland, place leave a comment below!