Five men have been charged with counter-terrorism offences over a plan to sail to Indonesia to join jihadist groups in Syria, Australian police said.

The men are aged in their 20s and early 30s and have had their passports cancelled.

Among them is Australian Islamic preacher Musa Cerantonio, who was detained in the Philippines in 2014 and deported for reportedly urging people to join jihad in Iraq and Syria, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The men, who were arrested earlier this week, bought a seven metre boat and drove it 2,840km from Melbourne north to Queensland state where they planned to set sail to Indonesia, the Australian Federal Police said.

"The men... were each charged with one count of making preparations for incursions into foreign countries for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities," police said in a statement last night.

"The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment."

ABC named two of the other men as Shayden Thorne and Kadir Kaya.

The Federal Police said there was no current or impending terrorism threat from the case and that the men were due at a Queensland state court hearing tomorrow.

Canberra has been increasingly concerned about its citizens fighting with jihadist organisations such as the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, saying around 110 Australians had left the country to join such groups.

The government has also been worried about homegrown extremism and the terror threat level was raised to high in September 2014.

It has passed numerous national security laws including legislation allowing for passports to be cancelled to prevent Australians from leaving the country.

At least six attacks have been foiled on Australian soil over the past 18 months, but several have taken place, including the terror-linked murder of a Sydney police employee in October