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Cairns to Townsville Tour Itinerary

© Trebla

Cairns to Townsville Drive

348 km | 2 days

We've listed some beautiful places to camp along the way, some of them free, so this is a great journey to do in a campervan.

Babinda Boulders

At Babinda Boulders (1 hour south of Cairns) the water is refreshing year round. It’s a perfect spot to park the campervan and cool off in crystal clear water amid granite boulders. The swimming hole is waist-deep and sandy. Shady rainforest hikes take you to some magical places such as Devil’s Pool. Learn the Aboriginal legend of the Babinda lovers. There are two free campervan-friendly campsites nearby, too, which are mapped below.

Babinda Boulders is located in the Wooroonooran National Park. You can continue dipping into this park to explore Walsh's Pyramid, Behana Gorge, Josephine Falls, the Mount Bartle Frere trail which scales Queensland's tallest mountain and the campervan friendly campsites of Wooroonooran National Park.

Back on the road, drive your campervan through the wetlands of Eubenangee Swamp National Park, a bird lover’s paradise. An easy loop trail through forest, mangroves and wetlands brings you to a grassy knoll with panoramic views of the paperbark swamp and water birds below.

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Babinda Boulders. Photo: Elsa's Wholesome Life of Instagram

Paronella Park

Self-made Spanish immigrant José Paronella built Paronella Park as a gift to his wife Margarita. This magical moss covered pleasure garden has enough nooks, crannies and sources of fascination to keep you delighted for hours.

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Bamboo grove at Paronella Park. Photo: Nodotel_ of Instagram.

Mission Beach: Campervan Paradise

Call in at the relaxed beachfront hamlets that make up Mission Beach. Nestled between World Heritage rainforest and palm-fringed beaches, Mission Beach is a beautiful half way point for campervan explorers to spend the night. You have dozens of rainforest and coastal walking trails, secluded inlets, and wide empty beaches to explore, and if you’re lucky you’ll see an endangered Cassowary, but keep a safe distance.

Mission Beach offers a full range of dining options, cafes, art galleries, supermarkets, some good fishing, sky diving, white-water rafting and reef and mangrove tours. Water taxis shuttle day-trippers to idyllic Dunk Island and Bedarra Island.


Edmund Kennedy National Park

Edmund Kennedy National Park makes a rewarding detour to mangrove forest boardwalks, empty beaches, and enormous lace monitor lizards.

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Edmund Kennedy National Park. Photo: MyDetoxTravel of Instagram

Hinchinbrook Island

Discover the unspoilt beauty and wilderness of Hinchinbrook Island. With its pristine beaches, rainforests, mangroves and inlets, Australia’s largest island National Park is worth planning for. After parking the campervan at Port Hinchinbrook or Cardwell, you can ferry across to Hinchinbrook Island.

The world renown Thorsborne Trail takes in the full diversity of the island in four days, but as only 40 people are permitted on the trail at a time, you need to book ahead. There are spectacular day trips, too. By limiting the number of hikers, you have a chance to connect with and appreciate the raw beauty of Hinchinbrook.

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Hinchinbrook Island. Photo: ChapterTravel of Instagram

Campervan along the Great Green Way

Between Cardwell and Townsville, the Bruce Highway meanders through verdant sugar cane fields. 7 km south of Cardwell, and just off the highway, is Five Mile Creek Swimming Hole where you can take a quick dip and enjoy a picnic. Heading west from Cardwell, the Cardwell Forest Scenic Drive is a 26 km loop that explores swimming holes, a natural ‘spa’ pool and waterfalls with picnic spots. Grab a map from the Cardwell Visitor Centre for this because it is not on Google maps. Give yourelf half a day to enjoy everything this scenic drive has to offer. 35 kms south of Port Hinchinbrook on the Bruce Highway, the Hinchinbrook Lookout gives you unforgettable views of the Hinchinbrook Channel. Take your camera!

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Spa Pool near Cardwell. Photo: Cardwell Tourism

Paluma Range National Park

If you have time, detour through the small village of Paluma, Paluma Range National Park, and Crystal Creek for picturesque waterfalls and mist shrouded rainforests before heading back to the Bruce Highway. There is creekside camping at Jourama Falls suitable for campervans. Facilities include shower cubicle (bring your own shower bag), toilets, picnic tables and gas BBQs. It is a popular swimming and picnic spot. 

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Paluma Range National Park. Photo: Simona_198735 of Instagram


Read more about Townsville here.

Road trips from Cairns

Next Step

  Hire a campervan in Cairns

  Hire a campervan in Townsville

Townsville and Beyond

  Townsville to Airlie Beach Tour Itinerary

  Airlie Beach to Brisbane Tour Itinerary

  Gold Coast to Sydney Tour Itinerary

  Adelaide to Melbourne Tour Itinerary

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South Australia 5033 Phone: 1800 216 223

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Int: +61 7 4081 3100
Main Office in Cairns
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