Today, we feature yet another iconic holiday road trip: The Great Green Way, which is the drive from Cairns to Townsville in the Tropical North of Queensland. The best time to take this road trip is during the winter, that way you can avoid stinger season and it is also not as humid. This region of Queensland is one of the most special places on the planet. You have the Great Barrier Reef just off the coast in the Coral Sea and the World Heritage Wet Tropics Rainforests along with beautiful beaches and lush scenery everywhere you look.

Great Green Way Scenery

The Great Green Way Scenic Road Trip Photo Credit:

Great Green Way Beach

Mission Beach Photo Credit: Flickr: mission-beach / Via Creative Commons

How to Enter to Win a $3.000 Aussie Adventure

Funny Road Sign Contest

We are celebrating Australia’s best road trips this month in honour of our #budgetturns50   celebration. Over the years we have covered many different Australian road trips and scenic drives. Our 50th Anniversary contest theme this month is funny road trip signs, so get out on the road and enter to win an $3,000 Aussie Adventure! Road tripping is one of the best ways to see Australia and enjoy a holiday. Funny road signs can be found just about anywhere and you never know when you might see one. Share your photos on our Facebook page or upload to Instagram and tag us @budget_au. We look forward to see all the entries..Remember to use the hashtag #budgetturns50. See full details on our Budget Australia Facebook Page. Read all terms and conditions  on our website too. We have already featured some iconic Australian road trips on our blog for some inspiration. Here are links to a few:

Highlights from the Magical and Remote Kimberley Region

Three of the Most Scenic Drives in New South Wales

10 Road Trips in Australia

Hiring a Car for The Great Green Way Road Trip

Great Green Way Car Hire Map

Great Green Way Car Hire Map Photo Credit:

Great Green Way Road Trip Map

The Great Green Way Road Trip Photo Credit:

You can start out the Great Green Way Road trip in Townsville or Cairns, or even in Port Douglas north of Cairns, and extend your trip in the lush tropical north even more. Even though the drive straight through would only take about 4 hours, for the road trip holiday (it’’s 347 km long), you should take about 5 or 6 days to explore the beauty and adventure of this region. You can hire a car in Townsville at the airport. There are two car rental locations in Cairns. If you come in to the Cairns Airport, you can hire a car there. Alternatively, there is also a car hire service location in Cairns City. Our car rental agents can make sure that you have the right set of wheels for the terrain in this area and also offer up travel tips from the locals. Here are some other local travel ideas from our blog:

Magnetic Island and the Port City of Townsville

Day Trip from Cairns

Things to do in Cairns, Queensland

5 Great Barrier Reef Port Cities

Great Barrier Reef Holiday Excursions

Great Barrier Reef National Park

Kutini – Payamu (Iron Range) National Park

Hinchinbrook Island National Park

Mackay Region

The Waterfalls of Girringun National Park

The Tropical Delights of Barron Gorge National Park

Wooroonooran National Park and The Waterfalls Circuit

Explore the Beauty and Nature of the Daintree
The Green Way Road Trip Itinerary

Scenes From Great Green Way

Scenes from the Great Green Way Road Trip Photo Credit: Instagram: @mariranta_pktdoris / Instagram: @floriemariem / Instagram: @floriemariem

Great Green Way Map

The Great Green Way Tourism Map Photo Credit:

There is much to see and do along the way on the Great Green Way. You can start in either Townsville to the south or Cairns further north. We will start in Townsville, but you can always reverse the trip and choose the highlights that appeal to you most.

The Great Green Way Road Trip Day 1: Townsville to Ingham

Paluma bridge

Paluma Bridge in Paluma Range National Park Photo Credit:

Ingham Trekking

Trekking in Ingram Photo Credit:

Begin in the port city of Townsville, an industrial city with a flair for tourism. Enjoy dining, entertainment, museums, and galleries in addition to excursions to the Great Barrier Reef. Other cities and stops along this first leg include Bluewater, Balgal Beach, Mutarnee, Paluma Range National Park, Tyto Wetlands and then Ingham. Ingham is a good place to spend the first night on the road or camping in Hinchinbrook Island National Park. Ingram has a Mediterranean feel and culture thanks to the large amount of Basque, Spanish, and Italian immigrants that settled here long ago. Other things to do along the way include the Reef HQ Aquarium, The Cultural Centre, SS ‘Yongala’ Dive Site, Museum of Tropical Queensland, Frosty Mango, Jourama Falls, Tyto Wetlands Information Centre, and Tyto Regional Art Gallery.

The Great Green Way Road Trip Day 2: Ingham to Cardwell


Port City View of Hinchinbrook Island National Park Photo Credit:


Wallaman Falls in Hinchinbrook Island National Park Photo Credit:

This portion of the road trip includes Hinchinbrook Island National Park. You could spend a whole day there, or even an entire holiday, so customise your road trip according to your taste. The other stops along the way here include Halifax, Lucinda, and then Cardwell. The things to do along the way (in addition to visiting Hinchinbrook Island National Park) include Herbert River Museum, Lucinda Jetty, Coral Sea Battle Memorial Park, and Cardwell Bush Telegraph Heritage Centre. There is much history and culture to be absorbed here.

The Great Green Way Road Trip Day 3: Cardwell to Tully

Tully Gumboot

Tully Golden Gumboot Photo Credit:

Tully Rafting

Rafting in Tully Photo Credit:

This stretch of the road trip includes Girramay National Park and the town of Tully. Girramay national Park is just north of Cardwell on the coast and is made up of an eclectic mix of coastal rainforest, eucalypt forest, sedge and mangrove swamps. Murray Falls is one of the most popular and picturesque stops in the park. You can also learn about the culture and history of the Girramay Aboriginal people. Tully is a small town but one of Queensland’s largest sugar cane and banana producers. Being one of the wettest places in Australia this makes for excellent adventurous white-water rafting on the Tully River.

The Great Green Way Road Trip Day 4: Tully to Innisfail

Innisfall Waterfall

Innisfail Waterfall Photo Credit:

Mission Reef

Mission Reef Photo Credit:

Day four includes some of the most amazing nature scenes in the world. You can relax on Mission Beach or choose adventure in skydiving, snorkelling, or SCUBA dividing. The Lady Bowen wreck is just off the coast and a popular spot on the Great Barrier Reef or you can head out to Dunk Island or Bedarra Island. Explore the Licuala State Forest, the town of Mourilyan and then onto Innisfail. Points of interest along the way include the Golden Gumboot, Mission Beach Visitor Information Centre, Lady Bowen Dive Site, Clump Mountain National Park, The Big Cassowary, Beaver Reef Dive Site, Australian Sugar Heritage Museum, and Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway.

The Great Green Way Road Trip Day 5: Innisfail to Babinda

Mamu Lookout

Mamu Lookout Photo Credit:

Babinda Creek

Babinda Creek Photo Credit:

As the road trip continues further north, this leg includes Josephine Falls, Wooroonooran National Park, Eubenangee Swamp National Park, and the sugar town of Babinda. Josephine Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls and picturesque views of this region. Bird watchers will be excited for all the bird life to be scouted out in Eubenangee Swamp National Park. The town of Babinda is a sugar town that is known as one of the Friendliest Towns in Australia. The Boulders and Babinda Creek are also great spots to visit for swimming, camping, barbecues and picnics and playgrounds.

The Great Green Way Road Trip Day 6: Babinda to Cairns

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Highway Photo Credit:

Paronella Park

Paronella Park Photo Credit:
The final leg of the trip includes plenty to do in Cairns. You can witness Walsh’s Pyramid, a testament to Australia’s unique geography, it is the highest freestanding peak in the world that isn’t part of the mountain range. On the way to Cairns, you can stop in historic Gordonvale before reaching the port city of Cairns. There are plenty accommodations and things to see including the Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife Dome, Cairns Regional Gallery, AJ Hacket Cairns, Kuranda Rainforest, Paronella Park, Flecker Botanic Gardens, and much more. If you still have the road trip travel bug, continue onto the Trip to the Tip  or venture out west on the Savannah Way  across Australia, through the Northern Territory and into Western Australia on the coast.