QMEB » Lets drive – The best roadtrips in Queensland
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Lets drive – The best roadtrips in Queensland


Warm up the GPS, wind down the windows and hit the road.

With tropical rainforests, stunning beaches, spectacular national parks and countless twists and bends up mountainsides, the best way to explore the magic of Queensland is on four wheels.

01-HIT-THE-ROAD-COVERWe have compiled a list of fabulous roadtrips around Queensland to get your engines revving and bust your beast out of the garage and onto the road.



01-Car-Clubs-CoverSunshine Coast Hinterlands

For a windy road, breathtaking views and secret little cafes and restaurants – the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands is the perfect location for a Sunday drive. Inland from the Sunshine Coast, cruising up the Blackall Range, you will find a number of quiet townships up in the mountains. Stop for a coffee or a bite to eat and take in the spectacular views of the valleys, and the ocean views off in the distance.

Sunshine-THE ROUTE

Start from Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, take the Sunshine Motorway to the Bruce Highway heading south and take Steve Irwin Way out to Landsborough. From here follow Landsborough-Maleny Rd until you see the signs for the Blackall Range tourist drive. The tourist road loops back around where you can retrace your steps back to the coast.


Make sure you stop at the beautiful townships of Montville, Mapleton, Cooloolabin, Maleny, as well as the lookouts along the way.


Stretch your limbs after your drive with a stroll through the remnant rainforest of Maleny’s Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. If you are a hiking fanatic and want to tackle as many trails on foot while out of the car, head to Kondalilla National Park and Mapleton Falls National Park. To really experience the divine landscape, sample fresh local produce at farmers’ markets, or take a leisurely drive around the countryside, stopping for sustenance at the Kenilworth or Maleny cheese factories.

Tropical North Queensland

Tropical-North-QueenslandThis trip is a tad longer than a Sunday drive, stretching from Cairns to Cooktown, but it is worth slicing up into more doable sections if it is too long. With gorgeous beaches, stunning countryside and spectacular rainforests, the drive takes you on a journey through the gems of North Queensland. Lose yourself in the rainforest village of Kuranda, walk along the beautiful beaches of Port Douglas, and keep an eye out for crocs at the Daintree Rainforest.


The drive will take you from Cairns to Kuranda via the National Route 1 (28km), then to Port Douglas on the Captain Cook Hwy (69km), then head north to the Daintree Rainforest (128km) and finally, hit the road for the longest stretch on the Mulligan Hwy to Cooktown – all while cruising past the Great Barrier Reef.


This trip has some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see, but if you want a little more excitement to your trip, there is plenty to do. Take in breathtaking views of Cairns from the Kuranda SkyRail, take a cruise in Daintree Rainforest, famous for being the oldest rainforest in the world, and try your luck at spotting some crocs, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, explore the museums and rich history of Cooktown, or simply relax by the beach.

Gold Coast Hinterland

Gold-Coast-HinterlandThe Gold Coast is known for its picturesque beaches, action-packed theme parks and year-round sunshine. But the region also hosts some of the most beautiful hinterlands in the state. With plenty of twists and turns around the mountains, the scenic drive to Lamington National Park is one you can take slow and really take in the views.

Start in Surfers Paradise and follow the signs to Nerang and then Hinze Dam. About five minutes out of Nerang you’ll see a turn off to Mount Tamborine and Canungra. This road stretches along to a historic river mill on the right and Mount Tamborine on the left – continue along and follow the signs to Canungra, cruising past scenic hills and dales, rivers and wineries. Once you get to town it’s worth a stop to explore and stretch your legs in the quaint town – with pubs and dainty cafes, it is the perfect spot to stop for lunch. The next stop is to a beautiful guesthouse at the top of the mountains in Lamington National Park, O’Reilly’s.


Enjoy dozens of different bushwalking trails in the Lamington National Park, including a treetop walk.

Central Queensland

Central-Queensland-CarnavronWhile there is no white sand beaches or crystal clear oceans in Central Queensland, the region sparkles in more ways than one. Start the trip in the beef capital of Australia, Rockhampton, travel through Emerald, the Sapphire Gemfields and through to the historic Longreach, on the return trip, take a detour and explore the awe-inspiring Carnarvon National Park.


Head west from Rockhampton on the Capricorn Highway towards Emerald. Just a 30 minute drive from Emerald is the Sapphire Gemfields – a hidden treasure in the region. Keep travelling along the Capricorn Highway and you will eventually hit Longreach. Turn back and take a right turn at Barcaldine, through Blackall and onto Carnarvon National Park. Take a few days taking in the white sandstone cliffs


Visit the Botanic Gardens in Emerald, and take in the beautiful roadside agricultural land on your way to the Gemfields. The Gemfields have their own unique townships, where there is plenty to do – including sifting for precious gems. Longreach is home to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, as well as the Outback Heritage Centre and the Qantas Founders Outback Museum. Carnarvon Gorge is full of hikes and history – spend a day or two exploring the Aboriginal rock art, wildlife and amazing white sandstone cliffs.

The Scenic Rim

scenicrimThe Scenic Rim of south Queensland is a spectacular regional area full of tradition, colonial history, wine, scenic views, national parks, and loads of hiking. There are plenty of things to see and do throughout the region, and you will find something unique and beautiful no matter what road you take.


Start in Brisbane and head south towards Veresdale, where you will pass postcard views of the Logan River flood plains. Head through Beaudesert on the Mt Lindesay Hwy until you come across Rathdowney, where you can explore national parks or check out the views at the lookout. The highway will climb up the McPherson Ranges, which form the border between Queensland and New South Wales and offer spectacular views. Turn down the Richmond Range to follow Summerland Way alongside Mt Lindesay National Park. Follow Summerland Way until Lions Ride, which will take you through the Border Ranges National Park. Follow this road until it connects back up to the highway and follow it back to Brisbane.


Beaudesert features a historical museum and a great arts centre, and check out the Captain Cook Lookout and Mt Barney National Park at Rathdowney. Mt Lindesay is the remnant of a massive extinct volcano, Focal Peak. Get some great photos – or take a hike to the top of the mountain for some even better views.

The Savannah Way

The-Savannah-WayThis is one of Australia’s most epic adventure drives. Stretching the width of the northern region of the country, the route links Cairns to Broome, in Western Australia. However, the trip can easily be shortened to simply cut across the top of Queensland, from Cairns to Normanton.


Start in Cairns and take the Kennedy Highway up to the tableland township of Atherton. Keep following the Kennedy Highway and take in the changing landscapes from rainforests to typical outback Australia. Stop in at the Innot Hot Springs on the way to Forty Mile Scrub National Park, before turning onto the Gulf Developmental Rd. Keep following this road, passing through Mount Surprise, Georgetown, Cobbold Gorge, Croydon Historic Village and Lake Belmore, until you reach Normanton.


Take in the rainforest walks, scenic lookouts and mountains around Cairns, before leaving the tropical haven. Stop in at the Innot Hot Springs on your way to Forty Mile Scrub National Park. Fossick at Mount Surprise, admire the sandstone cliffs of Cobbold Gorge, walk the historic streets of Croydon Historic Village and have a refreshing splash at Lake Belmore.

Overlander’s Way

Overlander--MT-ISAThis route follows the paths of the drovers, where they brought large herds of cattle from the Kimberley to the Queensland east coast. Today, the road is sealed and features some fabulously historic towns to stop in along the way.


Head towards Charters Towers from Townsville on the Flinders Highway. Continue along the highway, passing through the White Mountains National Park, to Hughenden, the location of the first complete dinosaur skeleton found in Australia. Continue on further to Julia Creek, Cloncurry and get on the Barkly Highway as you head further outback to Mt Isa. Mount Isa marks the end of the Queensland road trip, but the original Overlander’s Way went on for another 660km to Tennant Creek in Northern Territory.


Charters Towers was once the second largest city in Queensland at the height of the Gold Rush. Stop in and soak in the history at the Ghosts of Gold Heritage Trail. Follow the dinosaur trails, and take in the vast outback scenery.

Sunshine Coast Coastal Drive

Sunshine-Coast-driveWhile we have already explored the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands, take a Sunday drive along the coastline. There are some beautiful beaches on the Sunshine Coast with ocean views that stretch as far as the eye can see. With plenty of picnic, shopping and swimming locations – this drive is certainly one for the whole family.


Start in Caloundra and take Nicklin Way heading north. You will pass along the luxurious canal estates of Kawana Waters before following Beach Terrace along the beaches of Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headlands. Follow the road to Bradman Ave and cruise along the banks of the Maroochy River before hitting the Sunshine Motorway to Marcoola, then follow the road to Coolum Beach, Peregian Beach, Marcus Beach, Castaways Beach and Sunrise Beach, finishing up at Sunshine Beach.


There are plenty of walking tracks to explore, beaches to swim and parks to rest at on this stretch of coast. Visit the Noosa National Park, or take a quick hike up Mt Coolum for some views of the entire Sunshine Coast.



There’s nothing quite like cruising along the bitumen, cutting through the wind as you glide through the roadways on a motorbike. If the two-wheeled life is calling your name, it is vital to think of all the factors when purchasing a bike. Former international road racer and national motocross rider Mark Stanley, gives up some tips when it comes to purchasing a new bike.

Motorcycling can be for everyone, and these days, it is not uncommon to see people from all walks of life strapping on their helmets and hitting the road. Children are learning to ride a motorcycle before they even get their bicycle training wheels off, while pensioners getting their bike licence to cross it off their bucket list. Riding motorcycles can be a family event or a way of getting away from the stress of daily life.


Choosing a bike is all about personal preference. Motorcycling is different for everyone, to some it may be a simple mode of transport and for others it is a way of life.

The bike you choose to buy should reflect the type of riding that you will be doing, taking into account distance travelled, location, terrain and lifestyle. For example, purchasing an off-road machine purely to commute on the road, obviously isn’t going to be the best option.

This doesn’t mean the machine is not capable of it but it isn’t what it was designed for. Many factors can sway your decision. These include price, style, brand and safety options. But above all else, the best bike is usually the one that stands out in the showroom, and often, will choose you.


When in the market for an off-road motorcycle, considerations should be made to where you will be riding it. Unless it’s on private property or a government sanctioned area, registration will be required.

Off-road motorcycles can be either competition-based or trail-based. The competition bikes have a more frequent service interval, whereas the trail bikes and agricultural machines have less maintenance, and are therefore more economical to run.


Safety equipment is of the utmost importance when purchasing a bike. Even a minor fall can result in serious injury, but having the proper equipment can prevent injuries, and sometimes death. Buying a good quality helmet, jacket, pants, gloves and boots are vital. There is a huge range of equipment available for men, women and kids to suit all ages and all budgets. Usually if you purchase these items at a dealer, staff will help fit you out individually, to ensure you are snug and safe as possible.

We are all different and bike gear can come down to preference, but the most crucial thing is that it fits correctly.

Anyone can learn to ride a motorcycle – be it from a family member as a child, or booking into a school as an adult. If you have a desire to ride a bik, all you have to do is have a go.

Before digging out the leather jacket, here are some tips to help you purchase your dream bike:


Compare the odometer reading with the condition of the bike – does it look okay? Ask to see the maintenance and service records and repairs. Look for rust and scratches and check for oil leaks or mechanical issues. The bike should start easily – if not, beware!


Don’t even think about purchasing a bike without having a licence. To get a learner licence for a motorcycle, you must hold your provisional or open car licence for at least one year to make sure you have on-road driving experience before you ride solo.

To get your licence in Queensland, you need to pass the motorcycle knowledge test (available online on Queensland Government website) and be medically fit. To upgrade from a class RE learner licence to an RE provisional or open, you will need to complete a Q-Ride training program or pass a Q-SAFE practical riding test.


Always insist on a test ride – this will greatly impact your decision of purchasing a particular motorcycle. It is important to feel comfortable on a bike, and this sometimes doesn’t coincide with what bike you like the look of. Feel the weight, height and lean of a bike, get the motorcycle up to speed and shift through the gears. Taking weight into consideration is crucial – if you are mostly riding in heavy traffic or a constant stop-start city environment, a heavy motorcycle may be a bit of a hassle.


Before you purchase a motorcycle, you should research insurance rates. Like buying a bike, you have a number of options when selecting insurance coverage options. Insurance options will depend on how often you plan on riding the motorcycle, where you plan to ride it and how you will ride it (recreational or as transport).


Although a motorcycle is significantly smaller than a vehicle, you must still find a suitable place to store it – in a secure garage or locked near your home. Protect your motorcycle with a cover and a locking security system.


It is absolutely vital to wear all necessary safety equipment – do not skimp on quality when it comes to purchasing a helmet, protective jacket, eyewear and boots.


If you have decided to sell your four-wheeled mode of transport and solely use your motorcycle as transport – you must factor storage into your decision. Where will you put the milk and break when you duck to the shops?

“But above all else, the best bike is usually the one that stands out in the showroom, and often, will choose you.”


Mark-StanleyMark Stanley

Former pro motorcycle rider

Mark Stanley is a former national and international road racer, national motocross rider and a keen recreational on and off-road motorcycle rider. He is currently working in sales at TeamMoto, selling motorcycles and equipment in Brisbane.

THE BEST Car clubs In Queensland


Car Clubs CoverRevving your engine, spinning the wheels and hitting the road are twice as fun with like-minded people. Queensland is lucky enough to be home to some of the best car clubs in the country. DOWN TOOLS have a chat to some of the state’s best.

East Coast Muscle Car Club

01-EASTCOASTWith members stretching from Cairns to Millmerran, and even some crossing the border from Coffs Harbour, the East Coast Muscle Car Club is worth the trip. President Rick Dibbs tells us about the “family-oriented” club.


East Coast Muscle Car Club Inc was founded in 2011 and we have about 210 members. We cater for all Australian and American Muscle cars and are based in the Redlands, but have members as far north as Cairns, west to Millmerran, and south as far as Coffs Harbour.

The club is a not-for-profit club which raises money throughout the year and donate to charities, such as the SES volunteers. Our club holds at least one major run per month, which may consist of a drag day, car show, cruise to a lunch or dinner anywhere within a 200km distance.

Club cars all vary in makes and models from Chevrolet, Ford, Holden, Studebaker – most have modified and some are as original as the day they left the show room.

Our club is filled with awesome people who share the same passion of all makes and models of muscle cars.


I have a 1971 Holden Monaro, it runs a 383 Stroker with supercharger on top and two T04 turbo’s under it. She boasts 1140hp at the the rear tyres, whereas a normal Monaro would only have about 204hp. I have completely rebuilt this car from ground up.


My favourite cars are the HQ Monaros, ‘67, ‘68 ‘69 and 2011 Camaros and, of course, the ‘55 and ‘57 Chevs.


Drag racing, cruises and the old drive-in movies.


North or south along the coast.

Queensland Chevrolet Car Club Inc.

01-Bella-and-Black-Betty-halfFOR forty years, Chevy-enthusiasts have been sharing their motoring passion with the Brisbane-based Queensland Chevrolet Car Club Inc. The club’s Elton Walker talks about the active club, and his love for motor vehicles.


The club was formed in 1975 and currently has more than 170 members across the state and interstate (and overseas). The club will celebrate our fortieth anniversary in October this year with a special function and a weekend of nostalgia and activities.

You don’t have to own a Chevrolet but most of our members have at least one Chevy in their collection, from 1920s models to current models with the most popular being from the 1950s to late 1960s.

Our meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at the Carindale clubhouse with more information on our Facebook page. We have monthly club runs to various locations including Hervey Bay, Yamba, Darling Downs as well as car race meetings at Willowbank and Lakeside.

Our club has hosted several National Chevrolet Festivals over the years and we also hold the All American Show at Rocklea Showground in July every year.


I currently have three Chevrolets – a 1969 Camaro SS 350, a 1957 Bel-Air Sport Sedan 350 and a 1957 Sedan Delivery.

The Camaro has been fully rebuilt from the ground up with new engine, gearbox, custom black and white paint, interior, stereo system, suspension and wheels.

The ‘57 Sport Sedan was also rebuilt with the body back to bare metal, new custom candy mango and champagne colours, new interior, electronic dash, wheels, brakes, suspension etc. The ‘57 Sedan Delivery has an LS1 engine and sixspeed manual transmission, custom interior, new front and rear suspension and custom paint.


My favourite model is the ‘69 Camaro as this is the only model year of the Camaro to have that particular shape, all others had similar bodies over several years production. It’s just a great shape and one of the most popular muscle cars ever built.


I have loved motor vehicles since I was very young – grew up on a farm driving tractors from 10 years old and cars from 14.

Earliest or best car memory Watching Colin Bond and Peter Brock at a driving event in 1969 at Echo Valley circuit in a HT Holden Monaro.

Favourite Sunday drive Any of the Gold Coast Hinterland roads – Springbrook, Beechmont and Canungra.

Kustoms of Australia

01-kustomsStemming from one of the world’s largest and oldest car clubs, Kustoms of Australia really revs it up on the Gold Coast. Club member Milton Watkins tells us about his love of American classics.


Kustoms of Australia was originally adapted from Kustoms of America, which is one of the longest formed car clubs in the world – around since 1948 – started by the world renowned custom car builder George Barris, who is the custom builder of many famous movie cars like the BatMobile, The Munsters Hot Rods. From this an Australian customiser who was a member of Kustoms of America, John ‘Chopper’ Katsanis, started up Kustoms of Australia, in Melbourne. In the year 2000, member Al Handley wanted to expanded the club to the Gold Coast.

We are one of the fastest growing car clubs in south east Queensland and northern NSW, with a membership of more than 110 members. We organise and run events around the Gold Coast, we support many charities, including Braveheart’, and hold a bi-annual drive-in nostalgia night, Drive’n’Jive.

We meet every month in Mudgeeraba. To join the club you just have to be a car enthusiast with the passion of building or just owning a car and not just any car, but making it your own by customising it. This could be as simple as putting in a better sound system to full and radical body modifications to change the entire appearance of the original vehicle.


I own and drive a 1961 Cadillac deVille. I bought it in 2008 while still in the container being shipped over from LA. The original owner who was in his 90s at the time sold it as he could no longer look after it.

The body was good with a minimal amount of rust in it, and being that it was repainted in the ‘80s the paint was still very good, but mechanically it was in terrible shape. However, this was the easiest to repair and the car still looked great, so over the years I had the engine and transmission rebuilt and nearly every moving piece under the body panels replaced, including the interior. And while doing all these repairs made sure I customised it lightly to make it my own, and not anything like other ‘61 Cadillacs.


I have to say the 1961 and 1962 Cadillacs are the only Cadillacs with a lower fin called the ‘Skeg’ and are very different from all the others of this era. I am a big boy and this very big car suits me and my style, after owning this model I really could not see myself driving any other classic car.


I love cruising in my ‘61 Cadillac with my wife by my side. A favourite drive on a Sunday is cruising to our local beach at Currumbin, then driving to Burleigh Heads and then up to Surfers Paradise, it feels like I’m on a permanent holiday every weekend.


01-EmeraldcarcWhile the Emerald Car Club is located in rural Central Queensland, the small club sure packs a punch. President Leroy Aarts tells us about the club he calls his family, and his American pride and joy.


I’ve only been a member of the Emerald Car Club for six years now, but the club was established in 1986, and we still have at least five members that helped form the club back then. Today the club boasts over 100 members, and our most significant event for the year is Outback Classics. Last year this event attracted over 250 entrants from as far away as Broken Hill and Townsville, and was also covered by popular TV shows Blokesworld, and Classic Restos.

We hold a couple of poker runs during the year, fundraising for local charities, as well as attend shows around the region hosted by other clubs. We also enjoy helping out local secondary schools with the formals, as well as some of the local auto parts stores with a display when they have sales on and stuff. We have our official club meetings once a month.

My favorite thing about the club is the members. We have such a widespread group of people it is really amazing, and variety of vehicles owned by all these different people is impressive, to say the least. We normally have a couple of pretty big social gatherings during the year, and it is so good to be able to stop and talk to anyone there and have a laugh. Its really cool – even the wives, partners and kids get in on the action. We’re like a big family. I’m very honored to have been the club’s president for the last few years.


I currently just have the two cars – a 1966 Mk1 Ford Cortina and a 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback. The Galaxie is my American Woman and pride and joy. I am the first registered owner of her in Australia. She still has the original papers and build sheet, and is a matching numbers car. It was mostly restored when I purchased her in 2012, but I have since upgraded her mechanically and electrically, and made some changes to the suspension. I’m not long back from a run that saw us cover over 4000km in two weeks – it was an absolute blast.


I’m a bit partial to the Ford badge, but can appreciate any good vehicles. I helped my oldest son Matt completely rebuild the Cortina over 12 years ago. He bought it from a bloke in Barcaldine for $400, and we went from there. When he needed a different vehicle, I bought it back off him, I couldn’t bear to see it go. She still makes me smile cruising around in her.


When I get some time to myself, I just love to get in the Galaxie and head to Capella, which is about 45kms up the road, and grab beer and a steak burger – my idea of therapy.

Classic & Muscle Car Club

01-ipswhichOnce a month, the town of Ipswich roars as the Classic and Muscle Car Club meets. Peter Whyte talks about the club, believed to be the largest in the state.


The club formed in 2004 when it broke away from another club. The club was formed to fill the need for local guys and gals to be able to drive and show their pride and joy at car shows – no matter what vehicle they drive, or the condition it was in. And this filled a gap, so much so that we now have 667 members. We believe the largest of this type of club in the state.

Our motto is To Enjoy and Appreciate Our Cars – so if you believe in this motto and want to be a part of a club that does this with all members vehicles, then we are a great bunch of people to get involved with. Whether you have a vintage, classic or modern vehicle, all are welcome. Our club is a good mix of people that want to cruise, show their vehicle or take it to the drags – we cater for all.

We have a meeting on the first Monday of every month at North’s Football Club in Ipswich. It is a fun time, and often we have raffles, free drinks, celebrations for special holidays. One of the best things our club does, is at every meeting we ask if anyone knows of local charities/institutions/ individuals that need donations. We donate to these people in need around $10,000 each year. We hold an annual swap meet and car display at North’s Football Club in November.


Like many of our members, I have more than one car, so i will tell you about my first club car. It is a Holden HX Wagon, factory V8 four-speed, GTS dash, steering wheel, bucket seats and airconditioning. It was purchased from a property outside Albury and driven back to Ipswich. I have kept it as I originally purchased, which is what most people prefer to do nowadays. Although, I did put a new radio cassette player in it, so I could listen to the old tapes.


Anyone who knows me knows I am a Holden fan. I own three Holdens and am doing up a HZ Ute with my son as his first club car too. Why Holdens? I would say that between my dad owning Holdens through our childhood years, and the wonderful Peter Brock during those times, there could only be one make for me. I have always wanted an A9X Torana – to me the best muscle car this country has produced, but have never been able to afford one.


Being in the car with my grandparents. There was always that smell about the cars, and the fun in being in an old car.


Drives around the Ipswich/ Lockyer regions are a favourite, not only for me, but with club members as well. Lunch destinations at one of the many wonderful pubs in the region are a favourite.

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