32 days in Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

32 days in Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

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Route & dates

32 days in Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

Start: Amsterdam
Fly:  21​h 45​min
Cairns
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
Port Douglas
— 5 nights
shuttle + Fly:  4​h 30​min
Townsville
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h 45​min
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
ferry:  1​h 15​min
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
+3
Fly + Drive + ferry + Drive:  9​h
Fraser Island
— 4 nights
+3
Drive + ferry + Drive + Fly:  7​h 45​min
Sydney
— 7 nights
Fly:  24​h
End: Amsterdam

5
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Cairns: Palm Cove (Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, Palm Cove Beach, & more). Spend the 3rd (Wed) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's lots more to do: tour the water at your own pace with Shaolin Junk Cruises, enjoy some diversion at Esplanade Lagoon Pool, admire the natural beauty at Munro Martin Parklands, and let the kids burn off some steam at Muddy's Playground.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Cairns route app .

Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Cairns is an approximately 22-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. Traveling from Amsterdam to Cairns, you'll lose 9 hours due to the time zone difference. In October, Cairns is much warmer than Amsterdam - with highs of 34°C and lows of 24°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Adventure

Side Trip

Palm Cove
Accommodations
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Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Shaolin Junk Cruises ©
Shaolin Junk Cruises

5
nights
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.
Spend the 8th (Mon) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 11th (Thu) exploring nature at Mowbray National Park. There's still lots to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, enjoy the sand and surf at Four Mile Beach, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and head outdoors with Port Douglas Microlights.

For other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Port Douglas trip itinerary builder .

You can drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. October in Port Douglas sees daily highs of 34°C and lows of 23°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Fri) so you can travel to Townsville.

Things to do in Port Douglas

#Outdoors, #Wildlife, #Tours
Accommodations
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Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

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.
On the 13th (Sat), step off the mainland to explore Museum of Tropical Queensland, enjoy the sand and surf at The Strand, and then hike along Castle Hill. On your second day here, look for all kinds of wild species at Billabong Sanctuary, then step off the mainland to explore Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, and then pause for some serene contemplation at St James Cathedral.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Townsville trip itinerary builder .

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Townsville takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in October, and nighttime lows around 23°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sun) early enough to take a bus to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Townsville

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Outdoors
Accommodations
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The Strand ©
The Strand
Castle Hill
Castle Hill
Museum of Tropical Queensland ©
Museum of Tropical Queensland

3
nights
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.
Airlie Beach is known for adventure, beaches, spas, outdoors, and nature. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour, look for gifts at Beach Book Boutique, enjoy the sand and surf at Airlie Beach Lagoon, and contemplate the waterfront views at Heart Reef.

To see maps, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Airlie Beach tour planner.

Traveling by bus from Townsville to Airlie Beach takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Traveling from Townsville in October, you will find days in Airlie Beach are little chillier (30°C), and nights are about the same (24°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Wed) to allow enough time to ride a ferry to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Tours

Side Trip

Whitsunday Islands
Accommodations
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Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Speed Boats Tours
Airlie Beach Lagoon ©
Airlie Beach Lagoon

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
On the 18th (Thu), contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet and then kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach.

To find photos, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Whitsunday Island trip builder .

Ride a ferry from Airlie Beach to Whitsunday Island in 1.5 hours. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Airlie Beach in October since evenings lows in Whitsunday Island dip to 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Fraser Island.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

#Parks, #Beaches, #Outdoors
Accommodations
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Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

4
nights
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Fraser Island is known for nature, beaches, outdoors, historic sites, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the waterfront views at Lake McKenzie, enjoy the sand and surf at Seventy-Five Mile Beach, delve into the lush surroundings at Central Station Rainforest, and visit a coastal fixture at Sandy Cape Lighthouse.

For ratings, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Fraser Island journey planner.

You can do a combination of flight, ferry, and car from Whitsunday Island to Fraser Island in 9 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train, car, and ferry; or do a combination of bus, ferry, and car. In October, plan for daily highs up to 31°C, and evening lows to 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Fraser Island

#Parks, #Nature, #Beaches
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Lake McKenzie ©
Lake McKenzie
K'gari ©
K'gari
Wanggoolba Creek ©
Wanggoolba Creek

7
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.
Spend the 29th (Mon) exploring nature at Sydney Harbour National Park. There's still lots to do: see a show at Sydney Opera House, admire the natural beauty at The Royal Botanic Garden, enjoy the sand and surf at Manly Beach, and stroll through Bondi Beach.

To find other places to visit, maps, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Sydney route planner .

You can do a combination of car, ferry, and flight from Fraser Island to Sydney in 8 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of car, ferry, and train. In October, plan for daily highs up to 28°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Wed) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Beaches
Accommodations
Get expert advice on where to stay in Sydney.
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Highlights from your plan
Sydney Opera House ©
Sydney Opera House
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk ©
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk
Sydney Harbour Bridge ©
Sydney Harbour Bridge

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