Townsville is the Capital of North Queensland but is a close drive away from some of the wolds greatest holiday destinations.
Drive five hours north of Townsville to Port Douglas, and you’ll find a unique melting pot.
This tropical town mixes laid-back lifestyle with exhilarating adventure; luxury experiences with an earthy, welcoming atmosphere; and it’s a stone’s throw from where two World Heritage-listed areas collide.
Wildlife encounters, wellness treatments, lush landscapes, and opportunities for adventure are all at your fingertips – each with their own way of nourishing your soul.
Drive four hours north and experience the unparalleled natural beauty of Cairns, where spectacular reefs, ancient rainforests, rich culture, and an alfresco dining scene blend into one.
The gateway to the rest of the Tropical North Queensland region, fly directly to Cairns Airport (domestically or internationally) to discover one of Queensland’s most adventurous cities.
Drive North between Cairns and Port Douglas and you’ll stumble across Palm Cove. Under five hours drive.
Whether your idea of rejuvenation is agenda-free seaside days, or immersion in the world’s most ancient wilderness, Palm Cove offers bountiful opportunity to refresh the body, mind and spirit.
Just 25 minutes north of Cairns Airport, this peaceful tropical community is the ideal base to connect with both yourself and the spectacular surrounding nature. Soak in the pristine stretch of sand, winding paths shaded by melaleuca trees, colourful boutiques, and award-winning spas and restaurants; or venture out to explore the World Heritage-listed wonders at your fingertips. Luckily, it’s just as easy to do either.
Hamilton, Hayman & Daydream Islands
Less than four hours drive south and a short ferry from Airlie Beach you can stay at some of the best island resorts anywhere in the world.
Step into paradise with a trip to the Whitsunday Islands, a gathering of 74 sandy isles scattered across the centre of the Great Barrier Reef. You may already know a handful of the local residents, with Hamilton, Hayman and Daydream islands now globally recognised. Not to mention the award-winning Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, a seven-kilometre stretch of swirling sand the colour of snow.
Just over three hours south of Townsville is Airlie Beach. It’s the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands but an experience in itself.
In the midst of the Whitsundays region, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the tourist-tempting islands, sits Airlie Beach. Long considered the gateway to the iconic Great Barrier Reef, this coastal town is a popular stopover, but a place well worth lingering longer.
It’s eternal summer up here, where holidaymakers gather year-round. This coastal town isn’t exclusive, but in terms of accommodation there’s something to cater to every budget, from budget hostels to resorts well-versed in luxury.
Less than four hours drive north and you can experience the Atherton Tablelands.
Celebrated for some of the best food experiences in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, in the Atherton Tablelands, an hour from Cairns, you’ll find an abundance of flavours to try.
Visit the many farms to sample home-grown produce, starting with Australia’s oldest coffee plantation, then graze your way through the farmers’ markets in Yungaburra or enjoy a tipple at a distillery. Learn about sustainable and organic farming practices and breathe in the fresh Tablelands air while enjoying a cheese platter for two. Plan your day trip with this guide on where to go.
Two hours drive North of Townsville is Mission Beach.
Sprawling over 14 kilometres of golden coastline, the coastal village of Mission Beach is home to palm fringed stretches, laidback cafes and World Heritage sites the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest.
A two-hour road trip from Cairns, there’s plenty of natural beauty to experience. A nature-lover’s playground with plenty of walking trails and pristine beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice for what to do.
It’s a bit of a drive but well worth it. This is the top of Queensland and the drive from Townsville will still take over 15 hours.
Welcome to the wilderness. On the mainland’s border nudging the Torres Strait, you’ll find Cape York Peninsula, the farthest northern tip of Queensland.
The definition of remote, this is the kind of destination where a decent sense of adventure is required. The largest unspoiled wilderness in the country’s north, this place is mecca for the 4WD enthusiast. Some of Australia’s best 4WD routes can be found here, winding through the bush cattle stations, historic gold towns and wetlands which populate the district. Be warned, they aren’t for the faint of heart, with river crossings and vertical drops commonplace.
Seven hours north and you’ll hit Cooktown.
Historic Cooktown became a thriving port during the gold rush era after it was discovered by Captain James Cook when the HMS Endeavour hit a reef in 1770. Stroll through the town and you will get a sense of its prosperous past from the handmade stone guttering lining the wide streets and the graceful, well-preserved architecture.