If you are a diver - the best wreck dive in the world at Ayr - Yongala Dive. Next stop Townsville & across to Magnetic Island - Bungalow Bay is a great hostel. If you are travelling & camping Paluma National Park is really beautiful. Another must do is Paronella Park next to Innisfail. Heading north you will come to Mission Beach and adjacent DDunk Island. Cairns is great to get out to the Great Barrier Reef and also to visit the Atherton Tablelands & Kuranda. Palm Cove & kayaking to Double Island is fantastic. firstname.lastname@example.org over 10 years ago
Be prepared that some sections of it are not that interesting, ie, a highway with fields either side. I was expecting to be much closer to the sea and was a little disappointed when I realised that it wasnt as gorgeous a route as say the 12 Apostles Drive near Melbourne.
From Airlie, I liked Hideaway Beach, Magnetic Island, Townsville (they had a rodeo when we were there), Cairns for the GBR, Palm Cove for fishing off the pier and then onto my favourite place, Port Douglas.
I am guessing you are taking Bruce Highway? Watch out for the kangaroos springing into the middle of the road! about 10 years ago