Gold Coast to Hervey Bay Road Trip Guide

Bundle your family into the car for an unforgettable Queensland road trip, starting on the Gold Coast and ending in Hervey Bay.

Family roadtrip holiday

Take a holiday with your kids where you set the pace and agenda with a road trip. Moreover, you can pack all the snacks and gear you need without too much restriction (depending on the size of your car)!


Queensland is a beautiful destination any time of year. There’s no better place to discover native wildlife, theme parks thrills and pristine beaches to satisfy all the family.


Beginning in the Gold Coast and ending on the Fraser Coast, you can explore an abundance of unmissable places along the way, at your preferred pace.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is accessible by road or air. If you’re travelling from a state outside of Queensland (or beyond), you can fly directly into Gold Coast Airport. The journey from the airport to Surfers Paradise is approximately 30 minutes by car.


Set up for fun and excitement, the Gold Coast is a wonderland for families, with Surfers Paradise taking top spot for pure entertainment. On arrival, everyone is likely ready to get moving and blow away those travel cobwebs.


The foreshore is a great place to take a walk with beautiful beachfront vistas, instantly propelling you into holiday mode. From here, there’s easy access to shopping (both vintage and traditional high-street labels), surf, water sports and attractions like Sky Point Observation Deck displaying 360-degree views from coast to hinterland. 


Hop aboard a tram and explore neighbouring Broadbeach or take a drive to Burleigh Heads, both destinations locally acknowledged for their top-notch cafes, bars and restaurants; a favourite being Paddock Bakery.


Experience charming heritage surrounds with delicious all-day breakfast and lunch items, including Dippy Eggs and Doughnut French Toast. Parents can also refuel on single origin coffee whilst the kids get giddy at the choice of shakes from the milk bar selection. 


Nature enthusiasts won’t be disappointed when visiting this slice of Queensland. A highlight being Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.


This leafy reserve is home to an abundance of native Australian species including Tree Kangaroos and Tasmanian Devils. Families will love the daily animal shows, exploration of the Lost Valley and budding veterinarians will have access to the wildlife hospital – where vital work continues to support and secure the future of Australian wildlife. 


Ready to unpack and wind down, families can experience luxe Gold Coast hospitality at Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise, which rises 77 levels above Surfer’s Paradise Beach and the Pacific Ocean.


There’s plenty of space, so depending on the size of your brood, there’s a choice of one, two and three bedroom apartments.  Luxury trimmings include indoor and outdoor pools, secret garden, gym and spa. 


The adults can also enjoy dreamy cocktails and Miami vibes at Hyde Paradiso, bring the kids along for the share plates and open frontage drawing in the gorgeous ocean breeze.

Gold Coast to Brisbane

The journey from the Gold Coast to Brisbane takes approximately one hour by car if you are doing it in a single stretch.


With the kids in tow, however you can’t miss stopping at Helensvale for Warner Bros. Movie World or Coomera, home to Dreamworld. Both of these key attractions will bring all the thrills and excitement of a commercial Theme Park, including a wide range of rides catering for families. 


Once in Brisbane your family can expect all the cosmopolitan trappings of a large city with the added bonus of sub-tropical temperatures.


Firstly, throw out a picnic rug at South Bank Parklands. Nestled on the banks of the Brisbane River and covering 17 hectares, this haven features swimming facilities (bonus: they’re free), gorgeous gardens and ample promenade that serves as a picturesque walking track. Kids can burn off their endless supplies of energy whilst parents relax at their leisure. 


Hungry bellies head to Cups on Melbourne (about a 10-minute walk from South Bank). Partially open and neat in design, the kids will love the flashy jaffels and parents can caffeinate with speciality coffee with a number of alternative milks to choose from. The treats on display come with a variety of dietaries in mind, including gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.


Similarly, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha offers access to 56-hectare parklands. Explore lush gardens and a wide range of native species of flora and fauna – plus the abundance of wildlife they attract. Sate Inquisitive minds at the living museum of native and exotic plants. Under its tropical dome, explore fragrant gardens and the largest collection of Australian rainforest trees in the world.


Base your family at Novotel Brisbane South Bank for comfortable and smart accommodation in a central Brisbane location. Novotel hotels also offer family perks, including discounts when booking an extra family room for your kids, free breakfast for 2 children under 16 and dedicated play areas.

Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast

An easy one-hour drive north from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast offers glorious coastline, rugged hinterland and attractions for every interest. 


The exploration of the regions natural beauty is sure to be a crowd pleaser, so why not stay in the car for a drive through the Glass House Mountains National Park.


There are plentiful Instagram worthy lookouts along the way and ample places to get an adrenalin kick with rock climbing tours and adventure trials aplenty.


Pack a picnic and head to the Glass House Mountains Lookout Track. You won’t be disappointed. Discover breathtaking vistas of rolling green hills, squally forest and surrounding mountain peaks across to Brisbane and Moreton Island.


Swap the hinterland for the coast and head to Noosa. Whilst there’s a wide selection of beautiful sandy beaches to choose from, why not keep things simple with a day trip to Noosa Main Beach.


With its sheltered waves and community vibe you can relax whilst the children swim and play. The best part is the convenience of access across a boardwalk to bustling Hastings Street.


Take cover from a hot day at Massimo’s Gelateria, select your favourite flavour from the cool cabinets displaying colourful homemade gelato, from crème caramel to chocolate truffle. Yum. 


With unparalleled access to Noosa town, Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas offers peaceful family accommodation nestled amidst the tropical wilderness of Noosa National Park.


Open and airy with heated lagoon and lap pool, this Noosa family accommodation is sure to be a hit. There’s also plenty of accommodation options, so you can get the space you need – from studio layouts through to four bedroom deluxe villas for a truly spacious and opulent holiday.

Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay

The drive north from the Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay will take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.


Expect relaxed coastal vibes in the gorgeous Fraser Coast region. Here you’ll experience a paradise of nature, aquatic adventure and unsullied coastline.


Visit Hervey Bay between June and September and no doubt your family will want to hop aboard a cruise to catch a glimpse of the majestic Humpback Whale. Choice of cruise will likely depend on the amount of time you have available and the budget you’re working to.


The Spirit of Hervey Bay offers a larger cruise, for example, whereas Blue Dolphin Marine Tours offers a more intimate vessel, so it’s best to plan and book ahead for an adventure tailored to your family needs. 


Adventure on land to Pialba, the cultural and shopping hub of Hervey Bay. Perfect for a safe family cool down, WetSide is a fun water park on the foreshore, get stuck in and play with the waterspouts, buckets, fountains and slides.


The kids will also love Play at the Pines park – located close by, or choose a family walk or ride along the links Corridor, a former rail line connecting Pialba’s CBD with historic Urangan Pier. 


All the water play is sure to work up an appetite. EAT at Dan and Steph’s is a sure to satisfy with its all-day menu and cool semi-alfresco dining setting. The menu heralds fresh, seasonal produce with a big nod to local suppliers. Family favourites include corn fritters and bangers and mash – paired with a specialty coffee for the adults and juices for the kids. 


Stay and explore Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast from your base at Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island. Nestled amongst tree-lined dunes – this eco accommodation option is perfect for adventure seeking families. 

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