Driving & Caravanning

Must-do winter caravanning destinations in Queensland

May 26, 2023
Escape the winter chills with a Queensland road trip this winter. Image source: Getty

With Queensland being Australia’s second largest State, you’ll need a couple of months (plus) to properly explore all of its 1.85 million square kilometres. So, what do the organised road trippers do when it comes to planning a Queensland road trip? They concentrate on a region at a time – effectively ‘chunking it down’. But before planning a Queensland road trip adventure, you need to ask yourself and your road tripees (fellow adventurers) if you’re after a short getaway or a longer adventure and how much you want to see.

The joy in taking an adventure on the road lies in the discovery of places, people and experiences along the way. There is a myriad of different routes you can take around Queensland, each with unique attractions. If you’re after coastal and lush green tropical escapes, stick to the highway, and if you’re in the mood to explore the Outback, head west.

With winter looming, Queensland’s warmer climate holds great appeal to southern-based grey nomads looking to escape the winter chills. Commencing from Hervey Bay and then heading further north, we’ve partnered with Discovery Parks to bring you five Queensland winter bucket list destinations to add to your caravanning holiday.

Hervey Bay marine life heaven

Southern Queensland’s coastal city, Hervey Bay, is the jumping off point to take a cruise to see humpback whales. Several boats run whale watching tours from Hervey Bay during whale migration season, (from July to October.) And the southernmost coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliott Island, is accessible via tours leaving from Hervey Bay.

Year round you can board boats visiting the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island, just south of Hervey Bay. UNESCO-listed Fraser Island has over 120km of pristine white sandy beaches. Inland there are rainforests teeming with wildlife. Nearby waters are part of the Great Sandy Marine Park, where you’ll spot dugong, Australian humpback dolphins, and grey nurse sharks and of course humpback whales during migration season.

On Fraser Street, Discovery Parks Hervey Bay is set on eight acres of subtropical gardens. With two swimming pools, a tennis court, a camp kitchen and picnic spots, there are plenty of amenities to enjoy when you return from a day’s touring.

Set on 8 acres of subtropical gardens, Discovery Parks – Fraser Street, Hervey Bay is a secluded oasis near the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island. Image source: Supplied

Not too far away is Hervey Bay waterfront’s esplanade, boasting an array of dining options and calm waters perfect for swimming.

Rockhampton on the Tropic of Capricorn

Along Rockhampton’s wide inner-city streets are buildings of a Victorian style, established when the beef and mining industry was booming. Rockhampton (or Rocky as the locals refer to it) has maintained its connection to beef. Statistics indicate over 2.5 million cattle roam on farming lands within a 250km radius of the riverside city. Large statues of bulls dotted around Rocky acknowledge the industry.

Rockhampton is the heart of the Fitzroy Basin, Australia’s second largest river system. Image source: Getty

Under the shadow of nearby Mt Archer, on 10 acres of landscaped gardens is Discovery Holiday Parks Rockhampton a great base to explore Rocky and beyond including Great Keppel Island, and the Byfield National Park to the north, which is known for its stunning coastal scenery, sand dunes, lush greenery and remote camping sites.

 Yeppoon is the hub of the Capricorn Coast

In the heart of this coastal town is Yeppoon Main Beach stretching for 1.4 kilometres. Yeppoon has a diverse choice of eateries, ranging from restaurants, cafés, and clubs.

The oldest tourist attraction in Queensland, the Capricorn Caves is a 40-minute drive from Yeppoon. It is here where you can immerse yourself in bucket list experiences and breathtaking views, including a tour of the Cathedral Cave where you’ll be in awe of this ancient Australian landscape and cave acoustics.

To explore everything in the region including a day trip to Great Keppel Island, you can base yourself at Discovery Parks Coolwaters Yeppoon in a bushland setting overlooking the water.

Emerald gateway to the Central Highlands Region

The Capricorn Highway leads from Rockhampton to the city of Emerald. Located 270 km west of Rockhampton and 878 km northwest of Brisbane.

Emerald is named after one of the area’s early settlers’ property, Emerald Downs, so-called after seeing the surrounding rich green pastures. The town was established in 1879 for the railway line that began at Emerald travelling through Outback towns Longreach and Winton.  Rubyvale, a town an hour from Emerald is part of the Sapphire Gemfields and one of the largest sapphire fields in the world. You can join a half or full-day guided tour and try your luck fossicking for sapphires.

Emerald was a major sunflower producer, and fittingly has the world’s biggest Vincent van Gogh Sunflowers painting in Morton Park (stands at 25 metres high behind the Visitor’s Centre.)

The painting celebrates the Central Highland’s past as a major sunflower producer. Image source: ATDW

Discovery Parks – Emerald offers a variety of accommodation and an impressive heritage-style dining hall. Not far from Emerald is Lake Maraboon, ideal for water skiing and swimming (just watch out for the Red Claw Crayfish.)

Airlie Beach the gateway to the Barrier Reef

Airlie Beach is the ideal base for reef tours and day trips to several Great Barrier Reef islands. This coastal town, south of Bowen and north of Mackay, is popular for all travellers including grey nomads.

Airlie Beach is also known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Image source: Getty

When planning a trip to the Great Barrier on the Whitsundays Coast, look at basing yourself at Discovery Parks – Airlie Beach. Nestled alongside Conway National Park, you’re in the perfect spot to take day trips to any of the numerous Whitsunday Islands, or over to Whitehaven Beach.

The perfect base for your next adventure

As the largest owner and operator of lifestyle holiday parks in Australia, Discovery Parks understands what you’re looking for. From friendly staff to clean and comfortable facilities, and idyllic locations, there are over 80 Discovery Parks across the country.

So no matter where you go, whether you continue to head north in Queensland or decide to head west towards the NT, find your nearest Discovery Parks here.

Discover your Road Trip

Watch cityscapes transform to sandy white beaches along the Big Pacific Coast. Discover the Larapinta Walking trail in the Red Centre. Or enjoy fish and chips and watch out for whales along the Great Ocean Road. Book your journey with Discovery Parks today!

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