Explore north Queensland on a self-drive holiday

Helpful guide for touring north Queensland by road.

The roads have been cleared for a restart of the Queensland tourism industry and self-drive holidaymakers are being encouraged to explore their home state.

With interstate visitors not yet welcome in Queensland because of COVID-19 restrictions and the return of international tourists forecast to be some time off, the state’s tourism operators are looking to fellow Queenslanders to help get the industry back on its feet.

To help travellers pack the most into their itineraries, tourism bodies across North Queensland have developed a driving holiday campaign.

The Drive North Queensland campaign promotes driving holiday itineraries to suit all tastes.

Millaa Millaa waterfall on Atherton Tableland

The easy-to-follow guides will help visitors get the most out of their holiday – from finding the best beaches in the Whitsundays, experiencing wildlife encounters with the wallabies of Cape Hillsborough or the longhorn cattle of Charters Towers, and island hopping and waterfall chasing along the coast.

They include distances and travel times, the type of vehicle required and attractions you should see along the way. 

The itineraries vary from day-long excursions, like the Waterfall Circuit, to multi-day adventures, like the week-long Savannah Way.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer Tash Wheeler said it was excited to collaborate on the campaign with tourism organisations representing Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and the outback regions.

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“While interstate travel is a vital market for us, intrastate travel accounts for 40% of visitation to the region; this is an important step in reigniting our economy, getting boats back out on the water, heads on pillows and members of our community re-employed,” Ms Wheeler said.
 
“The North Queensland coastline is incredible, the best way to experience and really take in all that it has to offer is by jumping in the car and embarking on a road trip.”
 
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said the region was ready to welcome visitors from across the state and looking forward to a busy school holidays period.

“Cairns and Great Barrier Reef is open for business to all Queenslanders for the winter school holidays which is traditionally a very busy time for our destination,” Mr Olsen said.

bruce highway

“The region’s tour operators have been implementing COVID-safe workplace plans and are ready to welcome visitors.”

Mr Olsen said the next major step for the Queensland tourism industry would be the opening of state borders.

“Once that happens our region’s recovery can start in earnest as interstate travellers inject $6 million a day into the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef economy,” he said.

“When the borders open we will expand the Drive North Queensland campaign interstate to encourage southerners to fly to Cairns for their drive holiday.”