Over the past several months, we have covered 20 of the top national parks in the state of Queensland. Queensland is known for the Great Barrier Reef and so much diversity. With so much variety of landscapes and holiday adventures and so much to do, we wanted to recap the Queensland National Parks we featured. We already featured a recap of 4 of Queensland’s National Parks in Part One: Boodjamula National Park, Bunya Mountain National Park, Carnarvon National Park, and Girringun National Park. Here is a summary of four more amazing National Parks of Queensland:
Great Sandy National Park
Things to Do in Photo Credit: atn.com.au
Cooloola Beach Photo Credit: AustralianTraveller.com
Rainbow Beach Photo Credit: OurRainbowBeach.com.au
Great Sandy National Park is located along the coast in Queensland north of Brisbane and Sunshine Coast and south of Hervey Bay. It is divided into two sections, one on the coast and Fraser Island, just off the coast. The Cooloola section is on the coastal side covering 18,400 hectares between Noosa Head and Rainbow Beach. Mother Nature has been creating this area, which has now become a popular vacation spot with many different features including the world’s largest sand dune island (Fraser Island), inlets, fresh waterways, rare birds as well as other flora and fauna. While in the park, you can spend time on the beaches, explore the lighthouse, or hike the walking trails on land. Off land, you can enjoy the refreshing Coral Sea, dive with nurse sharks near Wolf Rock, surf, or dive the Cherry Venture Shipwreck.
Getting to Great Sandy National Park
Great Sandy National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Great Sandy National Park Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
As you can see, there are plenty of car hire locations in Queensland and along the coast, making it very easy to get to Great Sandy National Park. You can hire a car in Brisbane, which is about 160 kilometres to the southwest of the park, making it about a 2 hour drive. If you are coming from the north, there are car rental locations in Hervey Bay or the Maryborough Airport. Great Sandy National Park is located north of the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, so there are other destinations that you can always add onto your road trip or hire a car from the airports there. Having access to your rental car allows you to see the sights at your own leisure and get to the accommodation in or near Great Sandy National Park. Remember to check with your car rental agent about safety regulations and restrictions for this area. We ask that you do not take your car rental on the ferry to Fraser Island or any other offshore locations. Use caution driving near the coast or on the beach, even some 4WD vehicles should not be near the beach at high tide.
Nearby holiday adventures we’ve already written about include:
Lamington National Park
Scenes from the Rainforest Way Photo Credit: VisitScenicRim.com.au
Lamington National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Antarctic Beech Trees in Lamington National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
We previously highlighted Lamington National Park in our blog post on the Rainforest Way, which features some of Australia’s most beautiful scenes along this scenic drive. It covers an oval shaped plot of land from Lismore in northern New South Wales up the coast to Brisbane in Queensland and then south again on an inland track down to Casino. The area includes 14 amazing World Heritage National Parks. The Rainforest Way can be done as part of a larger road trip we previously told you about: The Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip. Reserve at least a long weekend to explore the Gondwana Rainforest and sights on this road trip. Lamington National Park is known for its natural beauty, which you can explore through the walking tracks and mountain views. It is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area because of the threatened bird species that live in the park. It is considered a living museum that shows the evolutionary steps in the development of the plants and flowers. The forests that cover over the 20,200 hectares of land in Lamington National Park range from the sub-tropical rainforests, Arctic Beech forest, and dry eucalypt forest.
Springbrook National Park
The Natural Bridge Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Numinbah Valley with Springbrook Plateau to the left and Lamington National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Scenes from the Rainforest Way Photo Credit: VisitScenicRim.com.au
Also on the Rainforest Way is Springbrook National Park. This lush green park features peaks from the Shield Volcano Group and the remains of the eroded Wollumbin caldera and Mount Cougal. The protected park is in the Gold Coast hinterland. You can see the urban coastal town of Gold Coast off in the distance from the peaks. The Natural Bridge is an arch that formed naturally over Cave Creek. It is one of the highlights of the park. There are 4 sections of the park including the Springbrook section, Natural Bridge section, the Mount Cougal Section, and Numinbah section.
Getting to Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park
Rainforest Way Map Photo Credit: Australia.com
Map of Springbrook National Park and Lamington National Park Photo Credit: Google Maps
Rainforest Way Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Hiring a car for the Rainforest Way scenic drive is very convenient because of all the nearby car rental locations that Budget has in the areas along the way. If you are starting out your drive from Lismore, there is a car rental location there. You can also hire a car in Tweed Heads. If you choose to hire a car in Queensland instead of in New South Wales, there are car rental locations in Coolangatta, Gold Coast, or Brisbane. When you hire a vehicle, be sure to tell your car rental agent your travel plans so that they can recommend the best type of vehicle for your trip. They can also help you with insider travel tips and safety guidelines.
If you take the time to explore some more of the sites along the Rainforest Way, checkout the posts from this area that we have already written about:
Whitsunday Islands National Park
Photo Credit: tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Hamilton Island Photo Credit: tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Whitehaven Beach Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Heart Reef Photo Credit: tourismwhitsundays.com.au
The Whitsunday Islands are a chain of 74 islands located along the central Queensland coast. It is alongside the Great Barrier Reef with Mackay to the south and Townsville to the north. Whitsunday Islands National Park meets the Great Barrier Reef National Park. The islands are known for their white sand beaches, beautiful snorkeling, and luxury resorts. You can charter out boats for diving, fishing, or sightseeing and there are plenty of ocean and beach sports or activities to do.
Hiring a Car near the Whitsunday Islands
Whitsunday Islands Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Proserpine Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Whitsundays are located in between Bowen to the north and Mackay to the south; Brisbane is about 900 kilometres further south. You can rent a vehicle at the Whitsunday Coast Airport location. Depending on where you are, you can also hire a car in Mackay, or choose to rent a car at one of the many Brisbane car rental locations. Let our car rental agents know your travel plans and we will be sure to recommend the right vehicle for your land travels. Since there are different terrains, you might need different types of vehicles depending on where you plan to go.
Here are some nearby holiday hotspots that we have featured on our travel blog:
Read about all the other Queensland National Parks we have featured: