Set your compass north and discover the delights of Queensland with this 16-day honeymoon itinerary.
A honeymoon road trip? Genius. Swapping set schedules, endless airport hours and long flights for fun-filled, freewheeling adventures is a brilliant way to enjoy your first holiday as newlyweds. Plus, with indefinite border closures keeping us bound to Queensland for now, there’s never been a better time to explore our own backyard.
Discover the perfect Queensland stay today…
You’ve hit honeymoon gold if you’re looking to mix a little indulgence with the raw beauty of the open road. Queensland’s sun-soaked coastline is dotted with luxurious beachfront resort towns, idyllic islands and hidden hinterland havens perfect for two, with an astonishing array of World Heritage wonders at your fingertips.
We’ve designed just the itinerary to steer you in the right direction. And a quick note before we kick off – we’ve packed a heap of highlights into a relatively short time. But that’s because Queensland is brimming with holiday goodness! A road trip is all about indulging in choose-your-own adventures, so whether you pick and mix or fall hard for one incredible locale, we hope these ideas inspire your own great escape. Romantic road trip, here were come…
Rainforest relaxation: Tweed Valley
Start your engines, it’s go time! If you’re kicking off in Brisbane, it’s just under two hours to the lush subtropical rainforests, ancient volcanic mountains and charming townships of the Tweed Valley. Edging just over the border into New South Wales, the Tweed is pure enchantment. Drink in the pristine air and evergreen vistas, meander around historic shops and farm-fresh markets, and basically chill and centre yourselves before the just-married miles ahead. For a memorable half-day trip, a Seafood Rainforest Cruise along the Tweed River with Mount Warning Tours is a serene (and delicious!) way to experience this beautiful corner of the world. Oh, and if the beaches and boho luxury of Byron Bay are on your radar, this coastal fave is less than an hour south.
DRIVING TIME: From Brisbane Airport, you can travel to the Tweed Valley area in around two hours.
PHOTO OP: Want an Australian first? Wollumbin (also known as Mount Warning) is reported to be the first place on the mainland to catch the winter sunrise. Get up early to meet the sun at the summit.
STAY: The couples-only Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat.
Honeymoon playground: Gold Coast
Rise and shine lovers, it’s time to swap rainforest greens for the squeaky white sands of the Gold Coast. Park your towels on the iconic shores of Main Beach in Surfers Paradise and you’ll be a stone’s throw from all the beauty, adventure, and delicious dining this region has to offer. Surfers Paradise is poised at the northern end of the GC so you can beach-hop your way down the coast, looking out for hidden gems (we love the calm, lagoon like waters of Tallebudgera Creek) scattered along the way.
After a day of salty kisses and sunshine or getting your thrill on at the nearby theme parks, head to one of the excellent beachfront restaurants for a romantic dinner… as newlyweds! What to wear? You’ll have no trouble updating your honeymoon wardrobe at retail mecca Pacific Fair or waterfront designer shopping precinct Marina Mirage.
DRIVING TIME: You’ll hit the northern end of the glittering Gold Coast about one and-a-half hours from the Tweed.
PHOTO OP: The ocean view from your luxe beachfront apartment, of course.
STAY: Xanadu Main Beach Resort
Want more GC? Check out the ultimate Guide to the Gold Coast for Fun-Loving Couples
Hinterland haven: Springbrook National Park
The luscious Springbrook National Park is just an hour away from Main Beach, so you’ll have plenty of time for one last brekkie and beach stroll on the Goldie before immersing yourselves in this epic wonderland full of nature walks, abundant wildlife and majestic waterfalls. Part of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest, Springbrook is a place to stretch your legs and explore the sun-dappled landscape. Picnic beside a rushing mountain stream and walk hand-in-hand beneath ancient Antarctic beech trees before seeking out your secluded cabin, cottage or retreat for two nights of real R&R.
DRIVING TIME: You’ll be chasing waterfalls in about an hour.
PHOTO OP: Purling Brook Falls (right), a 100-metre sheer drop waterfall accessible via a scenic four-kilometre circuit walk. Stunning.
STAY: The Mouses House Rainforest Retreat.
Barefoot luxury: Noosa
No one does laidback luxe quite like Noosa. This beloved resort enclave has managed to keep its eco cred (the beaches, rivers and national park are all pristine) while still brimming with honeymoon-perfect indulgences. The soft sand of north-facing Main Beach is just steps from the boutique bustle of Hastings Street, where halcyon days can be spent toasting your happiness at chic ocean-front bars and restaurants, or floating in and out of day spas.
The vibe is exclusive yet warmly welcoming (this is Queensland, after all) and the town itself is cocooned within the UNESCO Noosa Biosphere Reserve, reflecting an enviable balance between development and nature. Big ticks all round! Our tip? Take a sunset spin through the waterways (look out for Sir Richard Branson’s heart-shaped Makepeace Island) in a classic 1940s-style mahogany jetboat with Noosa Dreamboats. Yes, Noosa is that kind of place. You’re gonna love it.
DRIVING TIME: A three-hour drive links Springbrook to the coastal cool of Noosa.
PHOTO OP: The trails winding through the Noosa National Park offer plenty of postcard moments, including sunrise over the elusive fairy pools (tidal rock pools).
STAY: Netanya Noosa
Island time: Fraser Island
We know you’ve been dreaming of island time – and it starts right here on World Heritage listed Fraser Island. The world’s largest sand island is home to wild, sprawling beaches, secluded freshwater lakes and a unique ecosystem (it’s the only place on earth you’ll find lush rainforest growing on sand dunes).
Just minutes from the Queensland coast, you’ll be flying across the shimmering expanse of 75 Mile Beach by 4WD, roaming the rainforest and taking a dip in the island’s scenic swimming spots. The rainwater-fed Lake McKenzie and the enticingly named Champagne Pools, naturally formed rock pools that fill with fizzing sea foam at high tide, are two of our favourites.
DRIVING TIME: It’s around two hours from Noosa to River Heads on the Fraser Coast, where you can board a 50-minute ferry ride to the island.
PHOTO OP: The sugar-white sands and crystalline waters of Lake McKenzie or the bubbling rock-pool rush of the Champagne Pools at 75 Mile Beach.
STAY: Kingfisher Bay Resort
Honeymoon heaven: Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays
Upsize your takeaway coffee and grab a big bag of snacks for a full day of driving. You’re on your way to Airlie Beach, a vibrant marina hub offering postcard vistas and a gateway to the glorious Great Barrier Reef and its idyllic Whitsunday Islands.
Once you’ve arrived in the Airlie action, take your pick of romantic adventures. Play pampered castaways on a dreamy Whitsunday isle (there’s 74 to choose from), dive into the seascape on a reef day trip, or tick the fabled sands of Whitehaven Beach off your bucket list. Sharing a picnic on what is regularly lauded as Australia’s best beach (after a glam helicopter arrival, of course) is the stuff of honeymoon dreams.
Nautical newlyweds? The Whitsundays is the perfect spot to try bareboating (skipper yourself, no licence needed) on a luxury yacht. Imagine dropping anchor at a secluded cove for a day of snorkelling and sunbathing before taking in the sunset and falling asleep on the ocean tide. Magic.
DRIVING TIME: About 10-11 hours. You might want to break it up with an overnight stay at Rockhampton, where you’ll be guaranteed a good steak (it’s the beef capital of Australia). Or, consider hopping over to gorgeous Great Keppel Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. It’s a 30-minute ferry ride from Yeppoon, so it falls around halfway in your journey.
PHOTO OP: Whitehaven Beach, heli-ride vistas, poolside cocktails, sunset on your private yacht. The list is endless…
STAY: Coral Sea Marina Resort or visit tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Tropical bliss: Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove
Just when you think Queensland couldn’t get any more beautiful, you’ll arrive in the tropical Far North. Two World Heritage wonders converge here – the ancient Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef – and you could easily spend your entire honeymoon exploring this natural paradise.
Your first port of call is the vibrant town Cairns, home to the scenic Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway (both worth a look) while the nearby resort towns of Port Douglas and Palm Cove seem ready-made for honeymooners. Time for another massage? Schedule your couple’s treatment before dinner at Palm Cove’s renowned Nu Nu restaurant, local fave Salsa Bar & Grill in Port Douglas or Rocco Rooftop Bar & Restaurant in Cairns, where meals are served with a side of dizzying sea views.
If you’re dreaming of the Daintree, leave yourself at least half a day to explore the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, where a guided walking ‘safari’ is highly recommended. Can’t get enough island time? We adore the dazzling palm-fringed beaches of Fitzroy Island, a tropical gem just off the Cairns coast. And for a memorable honeymoon finale, head to hot-air ballooning hot spot Mareeba in the Atherton Tablelands (a gorgeous highlands region outside Cairns). Self-drive or enjoy luxury hotel transfers to a serene sunrise balloon flight over this rich natural landscape, touching down just in time for a Champagne breakfast. So romantic.
DRIVING TIME: It’s around seven-anda- half hours from Airlie Beach to Cairns (consider beautiful Mission Beach for a stop or stopover). Palm Cove is just under half an hour from Cairns with Port Douglas another half an hour up the coast.
PHOTO OP: Bring your camera along for the ride on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and snap a unique pic of the emerald canopy beneath your feet.
STAY: Shantara Resort in Port Douglas or Fitzroy Island Resort.
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Photos supplied by Tourism & Events Queensland