The great Christmas road trip

Simon has family visiting at Christmas and they would like to take a driving trip to Queensland. So what is the best route to take and which sites are worth visiting along the way?

Q. Simon

I have family visiting me from overseas at Christmas and as they will be spending several weeks here, I thought they would like to take a few driving trips so they could see the country and of course, give us a bit of time apart. We’re in Melbourne and they’d really like to go to Queensland, which I think is too far, but what would be the best way to go and where should they stop on the way there and back?


Where in Queensland your visitors are planning to visit will determine what route they will take and how long they will spend on the road. As you know, Queensland is one of Australia’s larger states and the distances involved may be more than they are used to driving in their home country. When long stretches of driving are being undertaken, it is always a good idea to break up the trip, and where possible, share the driving responsibilities.

Our suggestion would be to follow the coastal road, leaving Melbourne by following the Princes Highway and travelling via Bairnsdale and Eden, with a stop off at Pambula or Merimbula. No visit to Australia would be complete without seeing the incomparable Sydney Harbour, so at least an overnight in Sydney is called for before continuing on through to Coffs Harbour and finally to the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

If Brisbane is as far as they want to travel, it’s about 1700k between Brisbane and Melbourne, and they want a more direct route home, then Dubbo is roughly halfway between the two cities. This route would offer a different scenic perspective and is easily achievable in two days. Taking the Newell and Goulburn Valley Highway route there are excellent stopover points at Coonabarabran and the historic ex-goldmining town of Forbes, which has some beautiful buildings.

If they would like to venture further up the Queensland Coast, Noosa on the Sunshine Coast is less than a two hour drive. But if they have another couple of days travel time, Cairns and the Daintree Forest is roughly the same distance as Melbourne to Brisbane.

Don’t forget that there are a number of day trips from Melbourne that your visitors can take, such as the Great Ocean Road and the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island.

Written by Andrea