Embarking on a road trip from Bundaberg to Mackay, with or without a van in tow, can be an exciting yet challenging adventure, especially with restless kids in the backseat uttering the inevitable, “I’m bored.” On the seemingly endless and monotonous drive from Rocky to Sarina, brace yourself for about 5 hours of desolate landscapes with little to capture the interest of young minds – unless they really, REALLY like cows.
To break up the drive, we’ve identified three family-friendly pitstops. Let’s make this journey less about boredom and more about memorable adventures with your little travellers.
1. Agnes Water and Town of 1770
The three-hour journey along the Bruce Highway from Bundaberg to Rockhampton doesn’t deliver much in the way of excitement. However, a detour well worth taking is to Agnes Water and Town of 1770.
Agnes Water is renowned for its pristine, uncrowded beaches. It serves as the closest mainland access point to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, making it a gateway for reef exploration and water activities. Popular for swimming and surfing, it is an ideal spot for family-friendly activities. For those looking to catch some waves, the Agnes Water Surf School offers lessons for all skill levels, including beginners.
Town of 1770 (Seventeen Seventy) offers history buffs their chance to view the monument commemorating Captain James Cook’s landing and is aptly named after the year in which Cook first set foot on Australian soil. The bustling marina is always an enjoyable hub for boating and fishing enthusiasts, with charter boats available for reef trips, fishing excursions, and sunset cruises.
If you just need to stretch your legs, there are plenty of boardwalks offering the opportunity to stroll through a mangrove forest, do a spot of bird watching, or take the journey to the top of the 1770 Lighthouse where you will be rewarded with stunning views.
2. Capricorn Caves
The Capricorn Caves, located just north of Rockhampton, offer an underground adventure for visitors of all ages. The highlight is undoubtedly the limestone caves featuring stalactite and stalagmite formations. Guided tours can take you through numerous chambers including the Cathedral Cave best known for its amazing acoustics. You can join a fossil tour, partake in some adventure caving (not for the faint-hearted), or stay above ground to wander through the tropical gardens and butterfly sanctuary.
Let’s not forget the all-important amenities on site where you can stop into a café, grab refreshments, and then be on your way again.
3. Sarina Sugar Shed
Whilst Sarina isn’t on the map for its typical tourism prowess, it does allow you to get up close and personal with sugar cane. If you have never seen a sugar cane close-up, Sarina Sugar Shed is the best place to get right amongst a sugar cane patch.
A guided tour will take you through the various stages of sugar production, from cultivation to the final product. Witnessing live sugarcane-crushing demonstrations is a definite highlight, and of course, the tasting sessions are a must! You can sample a variety of sugarcane-based products and then pop into the gift shop to complete your indulgence in sweets. It certainly does celebrate the sugarcane heritage of the region, and with its family-friendly atmosphere, is an engaging stopover before you arrive in Mackay.
Planning a trip? Here are all the things to do between Brisbane and Bundaberg.