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SE Queensland Itinerary: 5 Day Self Drive Map (Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast)

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One of the best ways to see Australia is on a self-drive adventure. And this Queensland Itinerary can make up one segment of your trip. Many international visitors arrive to Melbourne or Sydney, and then buy a used car on a website like Gumtree to drive around Australia, and then sell the car again before they leave.

One of the best routes to take from Melbourne and Sydney is north along the east coast of Australia, up the Pacific highway all the way to Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef. Half way along that route you’ll hit South East Queensland – which includes Brisbane, The Gold Coast & The Sunshine Coast (or “sunny” coast as the locals call it).

A lot of travellers skip SE Queensland, which is crazy as there is so much to explore! Read the full itinerary below and find the free map at the bottom of the article.

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Queensland Itinerary DAY 1 – Gold Coast (Map Items in Green)

Day 1, AM – Prior to your Queensland itinerary, You’ll likely be driving north from a previous destination such as Byron Bay in New South Wales. Plan to leave early enough to make it to the Burleigh heads, at the southern end of the Gold Coast, in time for Lunch.

Day 1, PM – Arrive at Burleigh Heads Beach.

Queensland Itinerary Map: Burleigh Heads Beach - Gold Coast

Burleigh Heads Beach – Gold Coast

Burleigh heads beach is one of the top surf beaches in Australia, as well as being one of the prettiest too. Grab some food to BBQ from the local supermarket, then use one of the many free BBQ’s that are set all along the thin parkland just behind the beach. If you don’t want to cook for yourself, get an Aussie style pub lunch at North Burleigh Surf Club (their beer battered fries are awesome!)

After lunch, take a swim and/or head to the south end of the headland where the beach becomes a rocky outcrop. Take a walk around the headland for great views back to the beach, as well as south to palm beach, as you walk around the headland. You might even be lucky enough to spot a dolphin or two!

Find a place to stay overnight:

Burleigh beach tourist park (For camping and cabin options – you can book the full rooms on Expedia if you are not camping)

Or check out hotel and hostel options in Burleigh.

DAY 2 – Gold Coast HinterLand (Map Items in Orange)

Queensland Itinerary Map: Lamington National Park

The View From O’Reillys Lookout, Lamington National Park

DAY 2, AM – Just inland from the Gold Coast is the verdant hinterland, sub-tropical rainforest. There are a multitude of walking routes, lookouts, and waterfalls to discover. From full day hikes to quick photo ops. For this short itinerary, we suggest choosing a 2 hour itinerary around Lamington national park, or a visit to the Natural Bridge (a picturesque bridge shaped rock formation, formed by the force of the waterfall over a basalt cave). For a half-day trip, doing both would be a stretch unless you want to start very early in the morning.

DAY 2, PM: Make sure you pack yourself a light lunch for the day and be ready to supplement that with some locally made Jambreen cheeses and wine tasting (drivers can spit out the wine, sad as that is!) at Witches Falls Winery at Tamborine Mountain. They close at 4pm weekdays and 5pm weekends, so make sure to leave enough time to get there after your hike.

Stay at Tamborine Mountain overnight:

Tamborine Mountain Caravan & Camping

OR spoil yourself a little with a hot tub at Wallaby Ridge Retreat

Check out other accommodation at Tamborine Mountain

Day 3 – Gold Coast Hinterland & Brisbane (Map Items in Blue)

DAY 3, AM – Enjoy a lazy breakfast in Tambourine Mountain before heading to the Glow Worm Caves, which open at 10am. Learn about one of natures strangest curiosities while seeing thousands of them glowing like little stars in a purpose-built cave.

DAY 3, PM – Drive to The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where you’ll be able to get up close with many of Australia’s endemic animals. Hand feed Kangaroos and wombats, and get the chance to hug a koala! Lone pine is open until 5pm and you should plan at least 3 hours for your visit. You can grab lunch at Mt Ommaney Centre (A large mall with restaurants and food court) on the way.

Queensland Itinerary Map: Hug a Koala at Lonepine

Hug a Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane

Day 3, Evening – For a fun evening in Brisbane (The capital of Queensland), you could take a night river kayaking tour along the Brisbane river (7pm-10pm Fri & Sat). Or just ride the free city hopper ferry at sunset (Get more info on that and other affordable fun things to do in Brisbane.). After that, drink up Brisbane’s burgeoning craft beer seen at Archive Beer Boutique and Brisbane Brewing Co. in West End.

Accommodation in West End

West end is one of the more hipster parts of the city with quirky bars and restaurants.

See hotels and hostels in West End with parking options.

 

Day 4 – Brisbane & Sunshine Coast Hinterland (Map Items in Purple)

DAY 4, AM – If you didn’t drink too much beer the night before… you could get an early start with a walk around Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Otherwise, take a casual breakfast before heading to GoMA – Brisbane’s Gallery Of Modern Art – From 10am (Allow 2 Hours for your visit).

Queensland Itinerary: Visit GoMa, Brisbane

Megsy @ GoMA, Brisbane

Day 4, PM – Take a look around South Bank Parklands, Streets Beach (A man made beach in the heart of Brisbane) and grab a quick pub lunch at the Plough Inn. Leave by 2.30pm (a bit earlier if its a Sunday) to make it to the Maleny cheese factory before they close (9-5 Mon to Sat, 10 – 4 Sun). If you don’t make it in time, or want to spend a little longer in Brisbane, you can still get their cheese at the local IGA (A small supermarket franchise). The Maleny IGA is one of the best in Queensland because they stock a lot of local artisan cheese, meats, chutneys and more.

Before or after grabbing ingredients for your dinner platter at IGA, head to Mountain View Road, near Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre for views of the unique Glass House Mountains.

Queensland Itinerary: The Glass House Mountains

The Glass House Mountains – Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland

See options for Sunshine Coast Hinterland Accommodation near Maleny

Queensland Itinerary DAY 5 – Sunshine Coast (Map Items in Brown)

DAY 5, AM – Take a walk around the charming village of Montville and grab a coffee at the Edge restaurant for stunning panoramic views all the way to the coast.

The Edge, Montville, Queensland

Day 5, PM – Head to Mooloolaba right at the heart of the Sunny Coast for lunch at Mooloolaba Surf Club – right on the beach

Mooloolaba Surf Club – right on the beach @ Sunshine Coast, Queensland

After lunch, take a splash, or drive up the coast to the quieter Sunrise beach to find yourself your own little block of beach front. Then head to Laguna Lookout for sunset, and check out Noosa Heads beach restaurants and bars for a sophisticated evening.

Accommodation at Noosa Head:

Camping at the Noosa River Holiday Park

Or, check out hotel and hostel options.


SE Queensland Itinerary: 5 Day Self Drive Map

Here is our Queensland itinerary map with some of our top picks for things to do along the route. Further details about the itinerary are below the map. All items listed in the article are easily searchable and marked on this Google map:

KEY:

DAY 1: Green | DAY 2: Orange | DAY 3: Blue | DAY 4: Purple | DAY 5: Brown

Driving Route: Light Blue

Bookmark this article now in your browser so you can access the Queensland Itinerary map whenever you need it.

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Experience the best of the region with this easy to follow South East Queensland Itinerary. Visit the best beaches on the Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast. Find easy hiking trails in the hinterland. Enjoy local artisan cheese, and Brisbane's craft beer scene. Get the Self drive Queensland Itinerary map - Free. Experience the best of the region with this easy to follow South East Queensland Itinerary. Visit the best beaches on the Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast. Find easy hiking trails in the hinterland. Enjoy local artisan cheese, and Brisbane's craft beer scene. Get the Self drive Queensland Itinerary map - Free. Experience the best of the region with this easy to follow South East Queensland Itinerary. Visit the best beaches on the Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast. Find easy hiking trails in the hinterland. Enjoy local artisan cheese, and Brisbane's craft beer scene. Get the Self drive Queensland Itinerary map - Free.

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