9 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

9 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

9 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Burnie
Fly:  10​h 45​min
Mission Beach
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
Cairns
— 2 nights
Fly:  1​h 30​min
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
Fly:  10​h
End: Burnie

1
day
Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
On the 2nd (Sun), take the plunge with a skydiving experience, view the masterpieces at Helen Wiltshire Gallery, and then kick back and relax at Mission Beach.

For reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Mission Beach online itinerary planner .

Burnie to Mission Beach is an approximately 11-hour flight. You can also drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Mission Beach

#Tours, #Adventure, #Outdoors
Accommodations
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Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Skydiving
Helen Wiltshire Gallery ©
Helen Wiltshire Gallery

3
days
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Palm Cove Beach and Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. Change things up with these side-trips from Cairns: Port Douglas (Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas & Four Mile Beach). Spend the 3rd (Mon) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Cairns trip itinerary planning site .

Traveling by car from Mission Beach to Cairns takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. December in Cairns sees daily highs of 36°C and lows of 26°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Wed) early enough to travel to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Cairns

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Wildlife

Side Trips

Port Douglas, Palm Cove
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Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach

1
day
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Thu): tee off at Hamilton Island Golf Club and then enjoy the sand and surf at Catseye Beach.

To find traveler tips, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Hamilton Island day trip planner.

Getting from Cairns to Hamilton Island by flight takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train, bus, and ferry. In December, daytime highs in Hamilton Island are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to catch the ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

#Outdoors, #Beaches, #Parks
Accommodations
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Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club

2
days
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.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Fri): explore the activities along Heart Reef, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then take in the exciting artwork at Art Whitsunday Gallery & Shop. On your second day here, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports and then tour the water at your own pace with Cumberland Charter Yachts.

To see more things to do, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read Airlie Beach online trip itinerary builder .

You can ride a ferry from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach in an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 34°C, and evening lows to 28°C. On the 9th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Adventure
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Heart Reef ©
Heart Reef
Kayaking & Canoeing
Waterskiing & Jetskiing

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