The Drive from Rockhampton to Mackay

If you have read either of my last two posts, you will know I’m currently on a road trip. Today, I thought I would clear up the ‘I’ bit, as in just me. So, what’s happened to Mrs Bob and Elizabeth?

Well, they haven’t come along, and here’s why.

Whilst I absolutely love going on road trips and driving down endlessly long roads…

Rockhampton to MackayMrs Bob and Elizabeth are not so keen. But that’s okay, I don’t share their passion of going shopping for shoes and handbags either.

Here’s what is happening though.

Mrs Bob and Elizabeth will be flying into Cairns Airport, arriving next Tuesday. So their journey to Cairns will take about an hour and a half, significantly shorter than my journey.

I will be there to meet them at the airport. We then have four days booked in Cairns and another three days when we will be staying in Port Douglas. I will then drop them back to the airport and continue driving to complete the journey back to Brisbane in three days.

The real beauty of this idea is that the cost of the petrol for my entire journey approximately = how much it would have cost me for a return flight to Cairns. The costs of my accommodation along the way approximately = how much it would have cost to rent a car for a week with full insurance when we got there.

Therefore, as we say when we wrap up equations, I’ve got me a free road trip.

My road trip continued

The bulk of my journey today took me from Rockhampton to Mackay. Having now completed that drive, I can tell you what’s in between.


That’s probably a little unfair to the people who live in any one of the dozen or so very small towns along that 350 km journey, but from a drivers point of view it’s a road with nothing on it.

It is, of course, the endless road in the picture that I’ve posted above. All along the way it looks like this…

Rockhampton to Mackay 2 Rockhampton to Mackay 3

Rockhampton to MackayI could put more pictures up, but they would all look the same.

The one thing that did keep me entertained during this drive were the many signposts on the side of the road trying to get drivers to take a rest if they were too tired. Here is just one of them…

surviveI wish I could remember all the signposts and all the ways they have thought up to tell you you might be tired, but here are just some I can remember:

  • Tired drivers die
  • Survive this drive
  • Take a break
  • Break the drive, stay alive
  • Driver fatigue kills, rest if sleepy
  • Rest or R.I.P.

Then there were other signs like “Still a long way to go kids.” That was followed a little later with “How long to go dad?” Just to make sure there were no complaints, later there was a sign that said “How long to go Mum?

I was even invited to play trivia to keep me alert. First question was “Which flower is the emblem of Queensland?” I passed that sign and I think I had a couple of minutes to try and conjure up an answer; I failed. Then the next signed informed me it was the Cooktown Orchid.

I should have known.

The next sign said “Keep playing trivia, it may save your life.

But then there were no more questions. I was driving alone, how could I think up questions for myself? Or did they expect me to maybe download a trivia quiz app to my smart phone and start playing trivia on that?

Well, of course I didn’t, that would have been really dangerous.

Anyway, I didn’t need to, there was no danger of me falling asleep. The many creeks I had passed along the way had me puzzled. Creeks with names like ‘Twelve Mile Creek‘, “Ten Mile Creek‘, ‘Six Mile Creek‘, ‘Deep Creek‘ and ‘Sandy Creek‘.

I kept thinking, “I wonder how they think of the names for all these creeks?


About halfway along this drive is what appeared to be, well according to the map I was looking at, the ideal town to stop off at for a rest and some refreshments. It was called Clairview, and I thought it would be a great place for me to get out and stretch my legs.

It was a beach town, so maybe I could go for a walk along the beach. I’d probably get a bite to eat in one of the restaurants or perhaps have a stroll around the town centre.

This, as it turns out, is Clairview…

clairview 1

clairviewIt did have a rather interesting sign to go along with all the other interesting signs I’d read along the way….

shark warning

shark warningWell, the tide was out anyway.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Geoff December 28, 2020, 7:12 am |

    Thanks Bob, I have driven that road hundreds of times even when it went the inland route, before the really good coastal road that’s there now. The old route was known as the crystal highway because of the piles of broken glass beside the road from smashed windscreens. The most memorable drive was when I came up behind an army truck with number 63 on the tailgate. I passed it and then came up behind another with 62 on the tailgate. Yes I passed 63 army trucks that day on a road that was only wide enough to carry one vehicle. That was back in 1968.

    • BobinOz December 30, 2020, 12:22 pm |

      Crikey, yes, I would imagine it was a very different road 50 odd years ago. One thing that struck me when I made my journey in 2016 was just how many roadwork there were going on in so many different places. The road must change on a year by year basis.

      Must have been fun overtaking 63 army trucks along the way. Great story, thanks for sharing.

  • Glenda August 25, 2020, 3:51 pm |

    Is there any toilets along the highway from Rockhampton to Mackay?

    • BobinOz August 26, 2020, 8:36 pm |

      I can’t specifically remember where, but yes, there would be. As mentioned in the article, there are constant reminders for drivers to stop and take a rest, but why didn’t mention was that a lot of the rest areas have toilets.

      If not, there are always the petrol stations.

    • Mack-Motel February 24, 2021, 1:33 pm |

      Definitely toilet/ rest stops. Don’t drive dawn or dusk as I believe the locals call it something in regards to be dangerous because of the Kangaroos. We are up in Mackay at the moment working in a Motel so are not regulars but our boss has hit a few Kangaroos on that stretch unfortunately.

      • BobinOz February 26, 2021, 5:59 pm |

        I did a fair bit of driving at dusk when I was on my road trip up there, fortunately didn’t hit any kangaroos, which was nice 🙂

  • Deirdre April 4, 2017, 11:39 am |

    Hi Bob! Just stopped at Clairview for a lovely lunch and visit to break our journey from Mackay to Rockhampton. You are right nothing here not even a shark!!!

    • BobinOz April 4, 2017, 9:43 pm |

      Ha ha, told you so 🙂

  • Laurent June 23, 2016, 11:09 pm |

    How to be!

  • Jennie Frost June 23, 2016, 5:18 am |

    Sounds amazing Bob. Have a great drive. I’m sure you have it all planned for Cairns but thoroughly recommend Billy Tea safaris for Daintree experience if you get a chance. Absolutely fab.

    • BobinOz June 24, 2016, 12:39 am |

      Yes, I am loving the drive. We are trying to sort out our ‘things to do’ in Cairns, and a visit to Daintree National Park is a must, so I will look into Billy Tea safaris. Thanks for the tip Jennie.

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