Outdoor enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise while on an iconic Queensland road trip that bounces between Brisbane and Airlie Beach.
Road trips are a brilliant way to travel. Who during lockdown didn’t dream of escaping to sunny, sweeping coastlines and beautiful islands? And who doesn’t have the urge to get away right this minute? Then you start thinking about organising it all, and where to go, and how you’ll have the time to do it all yourself when you’re self-driving and self-planning. Your head already feels like it needs a holiday.
Well, here’s how you do it. Start in Brisbane and head north along the Queensland coast. Visit Noosa and K’Gari Fraser Island on the way. Check out the rum brewery at Bundaberg. Head out to Great Keppel Island. Tour a sugar plantation at Sarina. Finish at Airlie Beach, where you can explore the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef.
Sound complicated? It’s not. You can have this road-trip adventure – and throw in a whale-watching cruise, 4WD tour, snorkel and much more, too – without worrying about a thing on a 10-day Tropical Island Discovery with Cosmos. What’s not to like about a holiday made simple? Here are some highlights.
Noosa, at the exclusive end of the Sunshine Coast, is a hot getaway that combines a laid-back beach lifestyle with a dash of urban chic. The town sits on a glorious rocky headland, part of a national park. Koalas snooze in the gum trees and pelicans waddle on the waterfront. Take time to explore and you can go surfing, dine out on crab and papaya salad, kick back at a bar with wine and oysters, or browse eclectic boutiques.
2. Fraser Island
The world’s largest sand island is stunning, and a three-night stay lets you explore. You’ll find sand heaped in spectacular dunes and cliffs banded in colour. Stands of scribbly gums and towering kauri pines rustle, and freshwater lakes shimmer in emerald and turquoise.
Bushwalking is a pleasure; Indian Head rewards you with magnificent panoramas. Enjoy a cruise to spot whales, turtles and manta rays, and take a spin by 4WD to the Pinnacles, Champagne Pools and Pile Valley Rainforest.
3. Great Keppel Island
With a full day at leisure here, the only problem is deciding how to enjoy this magnificent island on the southern Great Barrier Reef, encircled in 17 pristine beaches. Walking tracks meander through its rainforest, and corals wait just a wade and snorkel offshore. You might decide to kayak, paddleboard, visit historic Leeke Homestead or do nothing much at all but bask on the sand and tinkle the ice in your cocktail as the sunset explodes.
4. Whitsunday Islands
Airlie Beach, which sprawls around several bays and has a great dining scene, is the gateway to the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef. Think impossibly blue seas, white-sand beaches, reefs filled with a kaleidoscope of tropical fish, and islands where butterflies dance. Take a scenic cruise to the outer reefs and plunge into a dazzling underwater world of giant clams, coral and angelfish. With two days to explore, you could be tempted into an astonishingly beautiful scenic flight over Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef.
Consider this optional add-on, because Reefsleep is a unique experience that sees you overnight on a moored pontoon 39 nautical miles offshore. Enjoy the Great Barrier Reef after the day-trippers depart, and dine as the sunset and a magnificent sweep of Milky Way appear overhead. Afterwards you can take to your Reefbed to be lulled to sleep by sea breezes. If you fancy an early morning snorkel on the reef with nobody else around, the big blue is only a step away.
All these experiences are moments to remember for a lifetime, but you’ll enjoy them even more knowing you don’t have to organise a thing. No multiple bookings, no working out itineraries, no driving. Experts who take care of everything, and who know what works. And most of all, no stress and no worries. And surely that’s what makes any holiday perfect.
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