South East Queensland may be famous for its patrolled beaches and coastal towns, but the surfside drives around it are probably even more memorable.
75 MILE BEACH, K’GARI (FRASER ISLAND)
Let’s get straight into it – the drive up K’gari can’t be beaten. It’s a literal 75-mile cruise on the world’s biggest sand island, and one that’s peppered with things to see and do. To lay it out, from Hook Point at the bottom of the island to the remote Sandy Cape at the top, you can enjoy the following: a top-tier pie from the bakery at Eurong; a dip in the glassy waters of Eli Creek (which comes from an underground aquifer that’s been filtering the water for a century or more); a happy snap at the jagged wreck of the SS Maheno; a gawk at the ochre cliffs of Red Canyon; a white-knuckle charge through Ngkala Rocks and more – and that’s all before you head inland to bulging rainforests and surreal lakes you won’t find anywhere else in Australia.
AMITY POINT TO MAIN BEACH, MINJERRIBAH (NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND)
Straddie is an obvious, cliché, overdone choice, but that doesn’t mean the drive from Flinders Beach down to the southern end of Main Beach is any less magnificent. Skipping across the top of the island along Flinders Beach from Amity Point towards Cylinder Beach, you can stop in for a hot meal and to grab some supplies at Point Lookout before wending your way past the spectacular North Gorge and South Gorge and back onto the beach.
TEEWAH BEACH, COOLOOLA RECREATION AREA
The one-two punch of Teewah Beach on the mainland and the run north is a proper knockout combo. After the short ferry ride from Noosa’s north shore across the river towards Cooloola, you can gun it to the sand and enjoy the wide-open shoreline with careless abandon – rolling surf on one side and burnt orange cliffs on the other. The 60km drive to Rainbow Beach is a saltdrenched dream which you can enjoy with windows down, the wind whipping and hand waving to the anglers, drivers and campers that pass by as you sally forth towards Double Island Point and beyond.
ISLAND LOOP, MULGUMPIN (MORETON ISLAND)
You’ll be hard-pressed to find bitumen outside of Tangalooma, which means most of Moreton is wild and free to explore by 4WD. Smaller than its northern cousins, Mulgumpin (meaning ‘place of sandhills’) has a deserted-island feel to it, which makes sense since K’gari is almost 9x larger. Despite this – or maybe because of it – the figureeight loop that guides you through the island is a nice change of pace from more kilometre-heavy treks. With lakes to visit, giant sandhills to climb and glittering beaches on every side, Mulgumpin is a gift that keeps on giving.