Campervan Road Trip Australia: Wildlife & Wilderness of Queensland

Queensland covers a HUGE amount of Australia… to put it into perspective, its size is seven times that of Great Britain and more than double USA’s Texas. 

Contained in this massive expanse of land, are a diversity of landscapes, ecosystems, natural wonders, and the wildlife that reside therein. This journey starts in Tropical North Queensland’s city of Cairns, the gateway to the Daintree, and ends all the way south in the State’s capital city of Brisbane. 

Due to the vast distances between locations, and with so much to see and do in between, the most convenient option is to rent a campervan or motorhome. This not only provides you accommodation and amenities on wheels, but it will also allow you to add and remove stops with ease, whenever you find it necessary along the way. 

Pro Tip: It is worth checking prices for a campervan rental in either direction before making a reservation, as sometimes you may get a better deal by simply reversing your travel route.

Cairns

Meeting wildlife in Cairns is easy, in this tropical paradise feathered and furred friends are found everywhere. You will see an abundance of birds simply walking through the city, and an entire camp of Flying Foxes reside in a public park by the local library. 

Slightly out of the city, things get even wilder. Kuranda, the mountain town nearby, is a haven for native flora and fauna, including platypus, pythons, parrots and so much more. To get a birds-eye view of the spectacular Kuranda rainforest, take a ride on the scenic Skyrail. 

Cairns is also a perfect spot to take a tour of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and its underwater wonderland. Snorkellers, first-time divers, or experienced professionals alike, can all find a suitable tour departing here.

Wildlife
Wildlife

Must do Wildlife and Wilderness attractions:

  • Great Barrier Reef Wildlife Encounter
  • Kuranda State Forest bushwalk
  • Kuranda Rainforest Scenic Railway and Skyrail
  • Rainforestation Nature Park
  • Flying Fox wild colony
  • Kuranda Butterfly House

Daintree Rainforest

North of Cairns, visit the World Heritage Rainforest of the Daintree, one of the world’s three oldest rainforests. This exceptional wilderness was formed so long ago that dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. One of the birds residing here, the large flightless Southern Cassowary, was descended from this prehistoric era, believed to have evolved from a carnivorous theropod dinosaur.

The Daintree’s dense tropical jungle contains sparkling streams, twisting vines, and cascading waterfalls. The extraordinary plant life lets you take a glimpse at what the planet looked like a million years ago.

Must do Wildlife and Wilderness attractions:

  • Mossman Gorge
  • Daintree crocodile river cruise 
  • Walkabout Cultural Tour with an Indigenous Australian guide
  • Explore nature via the Daintree’s well-maintained tracks and boardwalks
  • Daintree Discovery Centre
  • Mount Sorrow trek for experienced hikers
  • Mason’s Swimming Hole

Undara Volcanic National Park

The Undara National Park is home to one of the world’s longest lava cave tube systems. These huge caves were formed by a volcanic eruption approximately 190,000 years ago. Visit the subterranean passageways with a guide in both the daytime, and again at night, when the nocturnal inhabitants come to life; see bats, kangaroos, snakes, and lizards come out after the sunsets.

Must do Wildlife and Wilderness attractions:

  • Visit the Undara Lava Tubes
  • Guided evening wildlife tour
  • Kalkani Crater and Rim Walk
  • Bushwalking and Birdwatching

Proserpine

Back on the coastline, Proserpine is a gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, but also a tropical utopia in its own right. 

Visit Conway National Park and delight in the unique birdlife and marsupials, such as the Emerald Doves and endangered Proserpine Rock-Wallabies.

The Proserpine River is the most crocodile-filled river in Queensland and can be viewed from the landing on Glen Isla Road – with caution, of course. There are signboards here for visitors, outlining how to behave and stay safe whilst observing these enormous reptiles from a distance.

Must do Wildlife and Wilderness attractions:

  • Cedar Creek Falls
  • Conway National Park
  • Whitsundays Great Walk
  • Croc Lookout
  • Coral Beach walking track
  • Great Barrier Reef tour – snorkel the reef

Blackdown Tableland National Park

The pristine rock pools and stunning wilderness of the Blackdown Tableland National Park will take your breath away. The wildlife here includes a plethora of reptile species, insects, kangaroos, and plenty of cheeky birds that will happily steal any food you leave unattended.

The roads beyond Yaddamen Dhine aka Horseshoe Lookout are unsealed, and it is a further 8km to the Munall Campground, alternatively, there are campgrounds in Dingo, a small town half an hour away. 

Wildlife
Wildlife

Must do Wildlife and Wilderness attractions:

  • Gudda Gamoo Gorge
  • Gudda Gamoo lookout track and rock pools
  • Wildlife Viewing 
  • Blackdown Scenic Drive
  • Swim at the base of Rainbow Falls
  • View Aboriginal rock art via the dedicated walking track

Carnarvon Gorge National Park

Carnarvon Gorge National Park is recognizable from the massive gorges, formed over thousands of years, in its sandstone walls. The greenery of the Australian bush makes for a most picturesque landscape, against the starkness of its towering cliffs and vibrantly colored gorges. 

This exceptional habitat shelters over 240 species of animals, including an echidna, platypus, yellow-bellied gliders, and swamp wallabies.

Must do Wildlife and Wilderness attractions:

  • Carnarvon Gorge
  • Go on a night walk to spot nocturnal wildlife
  • Swim at the Rock Pool
  • Bushwalk to the Moss Garden
  • Amphitheatre Walk
  • Visit the outdoor Aboriginal Rock Art Gallery  
  • Boolimba Bluff
  • Wards Canyon
  • Cathedral Cave 

Noosa National Park

The coastal scenery of Noosa is a world away from the inland oasis we just visited. The turquoise ocean against white sand and rocky beaches paints a stunning panoramic. 

Walkthrough the sandy floors of the National Park to Alexandria Bay and marvel at the iconic grass trees and kauri pines on the path. Watch the glossy black cockatoos in the trees above, and be greeted by the sounds of waves crashing on the shore at the end of the forest trail.

Must do Wildlife and Wilderness attractions:

  • Hike a trail in Noosa National Park 
  • Look out for dolphins, turtles, and whales on the beaches
  • Walkthrough Hells Gates to Alexandria Bay
  • Explore the fairy rock pools via the coastal path
  • Relax under the Pandanus trees at Tea Tree Bay

The short drive into Brisbane completes this epic 3100km (2000 mile) Queensland adventure, hopefully after capturing an excessive number of photos and creating countless lifetime memories.

Author

Leila Gear – Discovery Campervans

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