8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Darwin
Drive:  5​h 15​min
1
Cairns
— 2 nights
+2
Fly + foot + ferry:  3​h 15​min
2
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
+3
ferry + Fly + taxi + bus:  6​h 30​min
3
Mission Beach
— Few hours
Drive:  3​h
4
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h 30​min
End: Darwin

2
nights
Cairns

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.
On the 1st (Mon), have fun at Esplanade Lagoon Pool. Keep things going the next day: hike along Esplanade Boardwalk, then take in the dramatic scenery at Crystal Cascades, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Josephine Falls.

To see ratings, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Cairns trip itinerary planning app .

Darwin to Cairns is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. In October, Cairns is slightly colder than Darwin - with highs of 34°C and lows of 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) to allow time to travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Cairns

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Nature

Side Trips

Palm Cove, Crystal Cascades
Find places to stay Oct 1 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach
Kayaking & Canoeing

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Thu): tour the water at your own pace with Cumberland Charter Yachts and then paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour. On the 5th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Airlie Beach Lagoon, get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Heart Reef.

To find photos and other tourist information, refer to the Airlie Beach holiday planner.

Do a combination of flight and ferry from Cairns to Airlie Beach in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. When traveling from Cairns in October, plan for a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Airlie Beach: temperatures range from 30°C by day to 24°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Fri) early enough to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Adventure
Find places to stay Oct 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Heart Reef ©
Heart Reef
Waterskiing & Jetskiing

few
hours
Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sat): take the plunge with a skydiving experience, then take in the exciting artwork at Helen Wiltshire Gallery, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Mission Beach.

To see more things to do, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Mission Beach sightseeing app .

You can do a combination of ferry, flight, and bus from Airlie Beach to Mission Beach in 6.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Mission Beach

#Adventure, #Tours, #Beaches
Find places to stay Oct 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Skydiving
Helen Wiltshire Gallery ©
Helen Wiltshire Gallery

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Sun): take a memorable tour with Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: head outdoors with Horses in Port, tour the pleasant surroundings at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Four Mile Beach.

For more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Port Douglas sightseeing app .

Traveling by car from Mission Beach to Port Douglas takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or do a combination of bus, train, and taxi. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in October, and nighttime lows around 23°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Port Douglas

#Outdoors, #Adventure, #Wildlife
Find places to stay Oct 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

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