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Cycling from Brisbane to Cairns

2009  About 2400Km

The main concern cycling this route is the traffic on the Bruce Highway (Route A1). For much of the way, this highway is the only route and there is heavy traffic including large semi-trailers and much tourist traffic towing trailers or caravans. In addition, the highway does not often have a shoulder. It is a 2 lane highway so you must also beware of oncoming traffic which may often ignore cyclists and use your road space to overtake, a particularly dangerous event and all too common. I always try to avoid using this highway where possible.

In the southern section from Brisbane to Rockhampton there are some alternative routes and old sections of the main highway and using these you can either completely avoid the Bruce highway of use it for only short sections.

brisbane to cairns route

You can travel inland roads from Brisbane to Kingaroy, Gayndah, Biloela and then to Rockhampton. This completely avoids the Bruce Highway and is my preferred route and is shown on these route maps.

You can use coastal roads in the Sunshine coast region to reach Gympie via Caloundra and Noosa etc. From Gympie there is a coastal route to Maryborough which is also the route to Rainbow beach and Tin Can bay. This route may have logging trucks in the northern section. (This route is not shown on these route maps.)

From Gympie to Maryborough there is also the old highway and this follows the railway for much of the way. You need to use the Bruce highway for some 5 Km. only. This is the route shown on these maps. (use the detailed interactive map) (opens in a new window)

Between Maryborough and Bundaberg it is difficult to avoid using the Bruce highway. Fortunately some sections, but not all,  have a good road shoulder.

North of Bundaberg there is a less busy coastal route towards beach holiday towns at Agnes Waters. You can use this and turn off to reach Miriam Vale. From there you can cross the Bruce highway and use a parallel quiet paved route to reach Calliope. This is a nice route, but there is about 5 Km of dirt road crossing some hills just west of Miriam Vale. These routes are shown on these route maps.

From Gladstone to Rockhampton it is necessary to use the Bruce highway and there can be heavy truck traffic.

North of Rockhampton the only paved route is the Bruce Highway.

Here is a detailed interactive map of these routes. (opens in a new window)