Ruby and Nick took a week long road trip from Stradbroke Island to the Sunshine Coast in their JUCY Condo campervan, gobbling up all the goodness on offer in South East Queensland, from the coast to the mountaintops.
We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Yuggera, Quandamooka, Waka Waka, and Gubi Gubi Nations, the traditional lands of the Yuggera, Quandamooka, Waka Waka, and Gubi Gubi people who have occupied and cared for these lands for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
With winter on its way, we were keen to head north and soak up some of Queensland’s famous surf spots, summits, and sunshine.
Our JUCY Condo campervan rental was the perfect travel companion for this adventure; decked out with a fridge, stove, indoor and outdoor tables, and two double beds, it had everything we needed for our week-long road trip, even the kitchen sink!
From Straddie to the Sunshine Coast, we discovered point breaks, bush walks, and trendy little towns where it felt like summer all year-round.
Day 1 – Brisbane to Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island
Time driving: 1 hour 20 mins
Highlights: Old Cleveland Lighthouse, Stradbroke Island Ferry, Adder Rock Camping Ground
Picking up the JUCY rental was a breeze thanks to Emily at the JUCY Campervan Hire in Brisbane. The JUCY Condo was bigger than some of the rooms I’ve lived in and had enough space to fit my three surfboards, skateboard, wetsuits, and wardrobe with ease.
I had a 360° view from the driver’s seat and the turning radius was a huge upgrade from my poor old station wagon. It drove like a dream!
Once I’d picked up my boyfriend/co-pilot, Nick, we headed to Cleveland where our ferry to Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island awaited.
We’d booked the 5pm departure and for once in our lives we were early so we went and checked out the Old Cleveland Lighthouse while we waited. If you’re feeling peckish the Lighthouse Restaurant is right across the street and serves up some tasty looking fish and chips!
The Stradbroke Island Vehicle Ferry took 45 minutes and the sun had already set when we arrived on the island. Fortunately, there’s only one main road so we managed not to get lost on our way to Adder Rock Camping Ground — home for the next two nights.
Day 2 – Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island
Time driving: 2 mins
Highlights: Flinders Beach, Adder Rock, Cylinder Beach, koalas!
The Quandamooka Peoples have called Minjerribah (meaning place of many mosquitos) home for over 25,000 years and waking up there was like waking up back in time. Native tea trees towered over us while birds landed beside us and we even saw a koala wandering across the campground! Thankfully the mosquitoes were not as prevalent as its name suggested.
After making a leisurely breakfast and coffee in our fully-stocked JUCY campervan kitchen we drove 500m down to the beach to check the surf. Flinders Beach was protected from the big winter swell that was bashing the East Coast so the waves were clean and peeling off the point.
We spent most of the day surfing, getting out of the water only to eat some of Nick’s famous pancakes (you know the ones that you ‘just-add water’ to).
We thought about going to the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel for dinner but decided to have a couple sunset beers on Adder Rock instead. Now that we were on ‘island time’ we weren’t in a rush to go very far. Besides, we had everything we needed in our beachside JUCY Condo!
Day 3 – Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island to Beerwah
Time driving: 2 hours
Highlights: Mulumba / Point Lookout, North Gorge Walk, Straddie
It was another perfect day in paradise and we were relieved we’d pushed our ferry reservation back to 5pm. We still had some things to do on Straddie and after our morning surf session we headed to the skatepark so Nick could stretch his legs.
It was dark by the time we arrived at the Beerwah Showgrounds but thanks to our JUCY Condo, cooking was no dramas. We turned up the music, flipped down the table, whipped out the stove and had our own private dinner party.
North Gorge Walk: 1 hour / 1.2km (approx)
Day 4 – Beerwah to Eumundi
Time driving: 1.5 hours
Highlights: Mount Coochin, Glass House Mountains Lookouts, Blackall Range Tourist Drive, Kondalilla National Park, The Imperial Hotel Eumundi
Our day started off on a high – 235m to be exact. We summited the twin peaks of Mount Coochin and got an incredible view of Mother Beerwah, Father Tibrogargan and their crooked son, Coonowrin, otherwise known as the Glass House Mountains.
The Jinibara People have asked that no one climb the three sacred peaks because of their cultural significance. We couldn’t find any information that said not to go up Mt Coochin, however we made sure we were respectful and left no trace.
After the hike we cruised along the Blackall Range Tourist Drive where there were plenty more amazing spots to stop and admire the Glass House Mountains. Our top picks were Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and McCarthy’s lookout. We also explored a handful of hip hinterland towns: Landsborough, Maleny, and Montville.
Eventually we arrived at Kondalilla National Park situated on the traditional lands of the Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi) People. We completed the 4.7km Kondalilla Falls Circuit and were in awe of the many rivers, waterfalls, and rock pools. It’s no wonder that the Aboriginal meaning of Kondalilla is ‘place of rushing waters’.
After our rainforest wander, we hopped back in our faithful JUCY Condo and drove straight to The Imperial Hotel, home of the Eumundi Brewery. It turned out to be Taco Tuesday so we filled up on $5 tacos and a house-brewed beer before heading to Belli Creek Park Campground.
Mount Coochin: 1.5 hours / 2.1km (approx)
Kondalilla Falls Circuit: 3 hours / 4.7km (approx)
Day 5 – Eumundi to Noosa via Mount Cooroora
Time driving: 1.5 hours
Highlights: Eumundi Market, Noosa Heads, Tea Tree Bay, Mount Cooroora, Tuchekoi National Park
Every Wednesday and Saturday morning the famous Eumundi Market goes off, selling everything from candles to Jorkels (the ice cream snorkel).
We couldn’t resist checking it out and ended up buying a couple of huge, local pineapples for $2.50 a piece before visiting the Bubble Bunch where we indulged in some decadent sweet and savoury waffles.
Noosa Heads was only 20 minutes away so once we were fully buzzing on coffee and sugar we made our way to the beach. There were some small waves breaking at Tea Tree Bay so we grabbed our surfboards and went for a paddle.
It would’ve been nice to spend all day at the beachy but we had other peaks in mind so we packed up the campervan and headed west towards Tuchekoi National Park.
Before long we’d made it to a quaint town known as Pomona, where people race up and down the 439m Mount Cooroora for fun. Today this is known as the King of the Mountain Race and the current fastest time is 22 minutes and 43 seconds.
Nick and I didn’t break any records on our hike, but we did make it to the top of the challenging summit track, sweaty but unscathed. It would’ve been nice to stay for sunset but we didn’t want to descend the sketchy scramble in the dark. It took us about an hour and 20 minutes total, but who’s counting?!
Mount Cooroora: 2 hours / 2.4km (approx)
Day 6 – Noosa
Time driving: 1 hour
Highlights: Tinbeerwah Lookout, Tewantin National Park, Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve, Noosa National Park Coastal Walk
We were keen to catch a sunrise from Tinbeerwah Lookout in Tewantin National Park so we set our alarms and made it to the car park by 6am. Tinbeerwah is understood to mean ‘place of grass trees’ or ‘high hill climbing up’, both very fitting descriptions of the area.
After a short, hiker-friendly walk we were at the top and met with an incredible view of Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi) Country.
Then we took the Coastal Track to Hell’s Gates where we got a great look at Alexandria Beach. We hadn’t planned to go so far and soon found ourselves 5km away from the van without food, water or sunscreen. Not our proudest moment but we eventually made it back to the JUCY condo…tired, thirsty, and sunburnt!
We spent the remainder of the afternoon checking out the industrial area of Noosa where you can find fresh roast coffee, locally brewed beers, and handmade surfboards around every corner. Or, in the case of Thomas Surfboards, you can find all three at once and get a haircut.
Tinbeerwah Lookout: 45 minutes / 1km (approx)
Noosa National Park Coastal Walk to Hell’s Gates: 3 hours / 5.4km (approx)
Day 7 – Noosa to Brisbane
Time driving: 2.5 hours
Highlights: Mount Ninderry, Mount Coolum Boardwalk, Mudjimba, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Point Cartwright, Sunshine Coast Beaches
Our road trip was coming to an end but we still had a few destinations to visit. First up was Mount Ninderry and after a reasonably steep uphill climb we enjoyed both the eastern and western lookouts before racing back down.
Next stop was Mount Coolum, another important landmark for the Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi) People. We didn’t climb it but instead went to The Boardwalk Mount Coolum where we got an incredible view of the volcanic dome. Then we had a look at Mudjimba Island, which, according to some Aboriginal legends, was the head of Coolum before Ninderry knocked it off.
From there we checked out a few more of the picturesque beaches that make up the Sunshine Coast including Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. Our final stop was Point Cartwright where we did a short walk to the lighthouse and then wandered around the rock pools.
We had a cruisy drive back into Brisbane and then handed over the keys to our JUCY Condo. Our extended summer vacation was over, but we couldn’t get too upset.
We’d had a full-on week of catching waves, climbing peaks, exploring South East Queensland, and enjoying some epic JUCY moments. It was the ideal winter weather escape, and exactly what we needed to warm up and get our hearts pumping!
Mount Ninderry: 2 hours / 2.6km (approx)