Looking to experience the golden sunshine of Queensland, Australia? Take on the open road from Brisbane to Bundaberg!
Story Bridge, Brisbane. Photo By Cyron, Creative Commons
The three day, approximately 650km drive from Brisbane to Bundaberg via back roads is a rewarding one. As the sealed roads open up through Wide Bay and South Burnett you will feel like you’re getting a rare glimpse into the past on this ideal motorhome rental road trip. The road trip will take you from Brisbane to Maleny (approximately 1.75 hours and 94 kilometres), a four hour drive in your campervan rental will then bring you on to Gayndah, and then Bundaberg, which is about 3 hours (260 kilometres) from your second stop. This road trip can include seeing volcanic lava mounds or visiting parks, museums and a cheese factory along the way. To make planning your trip easier, we break down the sightseeing options below.
Wide Bay Highway:
Brisbane to Maleny: Day 1
Maleny Mist, photo by Bjorn Bednarek Creative Commons
Glass House Mountains Montage:
On the first day of your road trip the drive from one city to the next will run you about an hour and forty-five minutes along Bruce Highway. If you exit the highway at Beerwah you can tour The Glass House Park, just northeast of Brisbane. Glimpse Mount Coonowrin or Beerwah and Tibrogargan--the latter two are referred to as the mother and father mountains according to Aboriginal legend--and get a look at cores of extinct volcanoes and both trachyte and rhyolite volcanic plugs in this national park, which opened in 1994. The term Glass House was coined by Captain James Cook in 1770 when he sailed in the Queensland area during his legendary voyage on the HM Bark Endeavour. It is said the shape of the mountains reminded Cook of the large glass furnaces back home in England.
For a look into the pioneer past of the area stop in Landsborough, which boasts everything from a heritage trail and quaint railway station to a Historical Museum. Fifteen minutes on you will find Maleny, where you can experience one of the best panoramic views in Queensland in Mary Cairncross Park. If you appreciate natural beauty and gorgeous views then Maleny isn’t a place you should miss.
Maleny to Gayndah: Day 2
The Big Orange, photo by Baycha Byrne, wikimedia commons
Take Maleny-Kenilworth road north-west through Sunshine Coast towns like Conondale and Witta. If you appreciate a good slice of cheese and sampling local products then make sure to take a bit of time to tour the Kenilworth Cheese Factory and then move on to Queenland’s “Golden City.” Gympie is a wonderful place to stop if you’d like to learn more about the history and culture of the area (try the Timber Museum, Andrew Fischer House and Lighthorse Museum to start).
If you head west on Wide Bay Highway you have your choice of next stops. Kilkivan, once a town that lured settlers with the promise of gold, it now offers a variety of delicacies from lavender to redclaw crayfish, not to mention the town’s renowned olives. A bit further on you’ll find the agricultural area of Murgon where a large amount of produce is grown and the State’s biggest vineyard can be found. If you like to fish you'll want to head to nearby Bjelke-Petersen Dam, and if views are your thing then the top of Boat Mountain (about ten kilometers from the centre of town) should be your destination.
Driving off from Murgon you’ll likely want to stop about four kilometers on in the Aboriginal town of Cherbourg, where you can pick up some great locally made souvenirs and keepsakes including beautifully carved eggs. Your final destination for the day, Gayndah, is nestled in the middle of this area’s Citrus Country and along Burnett River (it can be reached by the Highway also named after the town’s settlers Archer and James Charles Burnett). First settled in the mid-1800s, Gayndah is the oldest town in the state and was once considered as a likely candidate for the capital. Eventually Gayndah lost out to Brisbane because the Burnett River was too shallow to accommodate cargo ships.
When you come in off the highway stop by the Big Orange for some refreshments including a great selection of local coffee, tea and, of course, orange juice. There is also a great selection of unique crafts and gifts that you can purchase. For great views drive your motorhome rental to the top of Duke and Duchess Mountain, where the Thomas and Charles Archer Lookout provides a dazzling panorama of Gayndah below. The Gayndah Windmill provides a bit of history, while a drive down Old Mundubbera Road (open from April to July), or a tour of Ellendale Orchard, will allow you to sample some of the delicious produce the town is famous for.
Gayndah to Bundaberg: Day 3
Bundaberg photo by Jiaran Lau, Creative Commons
Leave Gayndah as you came, via the Burnett Highway, driving towards Mundubberga where you will find the Big Mandarin Caravan Park. This is a great option if you’d like to stay for awhile. From Mundubberga you can sample even more local produce and arrange to visit the nearby Golden Mile Orchard. You can also keep driving for about a half hour after leaving Gayndah, pulling off into Eidsvold, a great place to park your campervan rental and get some fresh air with a stroll through the town’s Historical Complex.
Driving your motorhome rental further down the Burnett Highway you’ll want to turn off at Ceratodus and then head east on Kerwee, which will take you past Mount Perry. A great drive in these parts is Tourist Drive 6, just follow the posted signs to reach the Boolboonda Tunnel. Constructed in the 1880s Boolboonda is the largest unsupported tunnel that exists in the Southern Hemisphere. A little while on the Gin Gin Highway—just about 28 kilometres before reaching Bundaberg--you will come across a unique rock-and-crater formation known as the Mystery Craters.
Bundaberg itself is great for nature lovers, as it offers something for both botanical and animal aficionados. Tour the Botanical Gardens, view the 7-storey Whaling Wall mural that depicts the annual whale migration that occurs in these parts, or get a bit of history at the Bert Hinkler House and Museum.
Nature, fun and history will mix and mingle on your motorhome rental road trip if you decide to make the trek from Brisbane to Bundaberg, two beautiful cities in the Queensland area that offer so much to experience.