29 days in Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane & Sydney Itinerary

29 days in Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane & Sydney Itinerary

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Route & dates

29 days in Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane & Sydney Itinerary

Start: Amsterdam
Fly:  30​h
1
Cooktown
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
Port Douglas
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Cairns
— 3 nights
Fly:  2​h
4
Townsville
— 2 nights
ferry:  30​min
5
Magnetic Island
— 2 nights
ferry + Drive:  4​h 30​min
6
Airlie Beach
— 4 nights
ferry:  1​h
7
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h
8
Brisbane
— 4 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
9
Sydney
— 3 nights
Fly:  24​h
End: Amsterdam

1
night
Cooktown

Cooktown ©
Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. Start off your visit on the 21st (Fri): visit a coastal fixture at Grassy Hill, then steep yourself in history at Cooktown History Centre, then identify plant and animal life at Great Northern Tours, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Finch Bay. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat): take an in-depth tour of James Cook Museum, then stroll the grounds of Cooktown War Memorial, then admire the sheer force of Trevathan Falls, and finally explore the striking landscape of Black Mountain National Park.

For photos, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Cooktown trip planner .

Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Cooktown is an approximately 30-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 9 hours traveling from Amsterdam to Cooktown. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) so you can travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cooktown

#Parks, #Historic Sites, #Wildlife

Side Trip

Black Mountain National Park
Find places to stay Sep 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Finch Bay ©
Finch Bay
James Cook Museum ©
James Cook Museum
Cooktown History Centre ©
Cooktown History Centre

4
nights
Port Douglas

Port Douglas ©
A holiday in Port Douglas balances an activity-filled getaway with plenty of opportunities to relax, thanks to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and bustling beach life.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Agincourt Reef and Mossman Gorge. Get outdoors at Scuba & Snorkeling and Four Mile Beach. There's still lots to do: admire nature's wide array of creatures at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas and take a memorable tour with Shaolin Junk Cruises.

Planning Port Douglas trip won't be overwheling when you use's Insprock itinerary maker.

Getting from Cooktown to Port Douglas by car takes about 3.5 hours. Expect a daytime high around 33°C in September, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) early enough to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

#Wildlife, #Outdoors, #Parks

Side Trips

Shaolin Junk Cruises, Mossman Gorge
Find places to stay Sep 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Agincourt Reef ©
Agincourt Reef
Scuba & Snorkeling
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

3
nights
Cairns

A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing.
Relax by the water at Trinity Beach and Palm Cove Beach. Step off the beaten path and head to Historic Village Herberton and Tablelands, Waterfalls, and Spanish Castle. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Cairns: Spas & Wellness (in Palm Cove) and Birdworld Kuranda (in Kuranda). Spend the 26th (Wed) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's more to do: identify plant and animal life at Atherton Tablelands.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read Cairns day trip planning site .

Getting from Port Douglas to Cairns by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. In September, plan for daily highs up to 33°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Townsville.

Things to do in Cairns

#Wildlife, #Parks, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Birdworld Kuranda, Historic Village Herberton
Find places to stay Sep 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach
Trinity Beach ©
Trinity Beach

2
nights
Townsville

Townsville ©
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Sun): look for all kinds of wild species at Billabong Sanctuary, then kick back and relax at The Strand, and then enjoy the sand and surf at CoffeeWorks Townsville. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 1st (Mon): steep yourself in history at National Trust Heritage Centre, then take in the exciting artwork at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, and then identify plant and animal life at Little Crystal Creek.

For other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Townsville online trip itinerary builder .

Getting from Cairns to Townsville by flight takes about 2 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in September, and nighttime lows around 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Mon) so you can ride a ferry to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Townsville

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Beaches
Find places to stay Sep 29 — Oct 1:
Highlights from your plan
The Strand ©
The Strand
Billabong Sanctuary ©
Billabong Sanctuary
Little Crystal Creek ©
Little Crystal Creek

2
nights
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Tue): tour the pleasant surroundings at Geoffrey Bay, then look for all kinds of wild species at Nelly Bay to Arcadia Trail, and then step off the mainland to explore Magnetic Island Forts Walk.

To see reviews, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Magnetic Island online driving holiday planner .

Magnetic Island is very close to Townsville. In October, daily temperatures in Magnetic Island can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 23°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) early enough to travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Nature
Find places to stay Oct 1 — 3:

4
nights
Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach ©
Very much a town with an emphasis on the tropical lifestyle, Airlie Beach offers exotic surroundings with palm trees and charming, sandy beaches.
You'll get in some beach time at Airlie Beach Lagoon and Horseshoe Bay. Step out of the city life by going to Greys Bay and Scuba & Snorkeling. Go for a jaunt from Airlie Beach to Bowen to see The Big Mango about 46 minutes away. There's lots more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Heart Reef, look for gifts at Whitsunday Opals, zoom along the surf with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, and get to know the fascinating history of Shute Harbour.

To see where to stay, maps, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Airlie Beach journey website .

Traveling by combination of ferry and car from Magnetic Island to Airlie Beach takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, flight, and bus. Expect little chillier weather when traveling from Magnetic Island in October: highs in Airlie Beach hover around 30°C, while lows dip to 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can ride a ferry to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Beaches

Side Trip

Bowen
Find places to stay Oct 3 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Airlie Beach Lagoon ©
Airlie Beach Lagoon
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

2
nights
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Keep things going the next day: get your game on at Sports Club, enjoy the sand and surf at Catseye Beach, and then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers.

To find other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, read Hamilton Island day trip website .

Getting from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island by ferry takes about an hour. Other options: do a combination of bus and ferry. In October, daily temperatures in Hamilton Island can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 24°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Tue) early enough to travel to Brisbane.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

#Outdoors, #Beaches, #Parks
Find places to stay Oct 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Sports Club ©
Sports Club
Spas & Wellness

4
nights
Brisbane

Brisbane ©
Queensland’s biggest town and state capital, Brisbane has an attractive, manicured image based around its riverside aesthetic as well as the contrast between its high-rise center and extensive urban greenery.
Get in touch with nature at Mooloolaba Beach and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Burleigh Heads Beach and Burleigh Head National Park. Change things up with these side-trips from Brisbane: Caloundra Lighthouses (in Kings Beach), Pelican Feeding (in Labrador) and Kings Beach (in Caloundra). There's still lots to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Roma Street Parkland and kick back and relax at Moffat Beach.

For ratings, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Brisbane road trip planning app .

Fly from Hamilton Island to Brisbane in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry, bus, and train; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Traveling from Hamilton Island in October, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Brisbane, with lows of 19°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 13th (Sat) to allow time for travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Brisbane

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Beaches

Side Trips

Caloundra, Burleigh Heads, Caloundra Lighthouses, Mooloolaba Beach, Pelican Feeding
Find places to stay Oct 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Burleigh Heads Beach ©
Burleigh Heads Beach
Mooloolaba Beach ©
Mooloolaba Beach
Kings Beach ©
Kings Beach

3
nights
Sydney

Sydney ©
Lent iconic status as a result of its famous bridge and opera house, Sydney has a down-to-earth charm that enhances its spectacular setting and functional efficiency.
Visit Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach for some beach relaxation. Get some historical perspective at The Rocks and Elizabeth Bay House. When in Sydney, make a side trip to see Shelly Beach in Manly, approximately 36 minutes away. There's still lots to do: trek along Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk, catch a live performance at Sydney Opera House, enjoy the sand and surf at Clovelly, and don't miss a visit to Sydney Harbour Bridge.

For more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Sydney day trip planning tool .

Getting from Brisbane to Sydney by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. In October, plan for daily highs up to 28°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Beaches

Side Trip

Shelly Beach
Find places to stay Oct 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Sydney Opera House ©
Sydney Opera House
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Manly Beach
Manly Beach

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