Many who fly into Brisbane are on their the way to the Sunshine Coast for Noosa’s long stretches of golden-sand beaches, winding canals and verdant national parks. But there’s a lot worth seeing on the way from the airport to the coast. Whether it’s the trip to or from the airport that leaves you with more time, make the most of it and explore the quaint Queensland towns.

Drivers have two main options: the coastal route on the Sunshine Motorway – which, yes, sounds like a Mario Kart map – and the hinterland route on the Bruce Highway. Heading inland will take you past some of Queensland’s best bites and sights.

Interstate arrivals should hire a Tesla Model Y from Avis at the Brisbane Domestic Airport – it’s a smooth and serene ride that’ll help you get into the holiday frame of mind. And Avis Express Exit Fastlane, which lets you self-exit the car park and hit the road quicker, helps out with that, too. You’ll also be able to make it to Noosa (taking the scenic route) with more than enough charge to spare (and the dashboard displays both charge level and charging stops). Your route begins about an hour north of the airport in Landsborough, a historic town that’s a gateway to Blackall Range and a string of quaint towns worth pulling over for (it’s very close to Australia Zoo, too).

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From Landsborough, mosey towards Maleny, a postcard-perfect town with sprawling views that make it a popular weekend destination for Brisbane locals. It’s prime dairy country, so pack a cooler bag and collect some produce from Maleny Dairies and Maleny Cheese. Have lunch at Maple 3 Cafe. Its former owner, Mark Hutchinson, was a chef for over 40 years – more than half of them at Maple 3 – and you can taste this wealth of experience in his pies (he sold the business and its prized recipes to its current owner in 2021). Lunch is best packed and eaten near Gardners Falls.

A trip to Maleny often extends to Montville, where there are many specialty shops and markets to explore, including the quirky Clock Shop. It’s also home to some elevated food and drink options such as Flame Hill Vineyard or French fine diner The Long Apron. For a coffee pit stop, Little May pours a top-notch espresso.

From Montville, follow Flaxton Drive towards sleepy Mapleton. The drive has vistas stretching across the coastal plains and down to the ocean on one side, through to Eumundi, which is famous for its market. There are more than 600 stalls selling everything from local artwork to fashion and food. It opens Saturdays and Wednesdays and is worth a return visit if you’re not in town on market day. From here, take Eumundi Noosa Road towards Hastings Street and finally get the sand under your feet at one of Noosa’s many stretches of beach (expect a lot of roundabouts on the way in). Noosa is crammed with both private and public EV charging stations (here’s a handy guide to them), including some of its best hotels such as the Sofitel, so there’s no need to worry about having enough juice to make it back to Brisbane.

On the way back to Brisbane Airport, be sure to take the Sunshine Motorway to soak up the final glimpses of the ocean that flicker along the drive.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Avis. For a speedy start to your Queensland holiday, use Avis Express Exit at Brisbane Domestic Airport: a QR code sent to your phone unlocks the gate and gets you on the road in no time.