11 days in Sydney & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

11 days in Sydney & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Australia route planner

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Route & dates

11 days in Sydney & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Newark
Fly:  28​h
1
Sydney
— 1 day
+2
Fly + taxi + bus:  5​h 45​min
2
Airlie Beach
— 1 night
ferry:  1​h
3
Hamilton Island
— 1 night
Fly + shuttle:  3​h 30​min
4
Port Douglas
— 1 night
+4
shuttle + Fly + foot + bus + ferry:  5​h 15​min
5
Magnetic Island
— 1 day
ferry:  30​min
6
Townsville
— 1 night
Fly:  3​h 30​min
7
Rockhampton
— 2 nights
Fly:  30​h
End: Newark

1
day
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.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Fairlight Beach, explore the activities along Watson's Bay, then take in the spiritual surroundings of St. Mary's Cathedral, and finally admire the masterpieces at Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Use Inspirock's suggestions to plan your Sydney trip and find the best activities and attractions for your vacation.

Newark, USA to Sydney is an approximately 28-hour flight. Traveling from Newark to Sydney, you'll lose 15 hours due to the time zone difference. In December, Sydney is much hotter than Newark - with highs of 81°F and lows of 65°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) early enough to travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Sydney

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Fairlight Beach
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Watsons Bay ©
Watsons Bay
Fairlight Beach ©
Fairlight Beach
St. Mary's Cathedral ©
St. Mary's Cathedral

1
night
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 27th (Thu): browse the exhibits of Art Whitsunday Gallery & Shop, then add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, then view the masterpieces at Above & Below Photography, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Airlie Beach Lagoon.

To see maps, reviews, photos, and tourist information, read Airlie Beach tour itinerary site .

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Sydney to Airlie Beach in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and ferry; or drive. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from Sydney in December since evenings lows in Airlie Beach dip to 75°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Thu) to allow time to ride a ferry to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Above & Below Photography Gallery ©
Above & Below Photography Gallery
Airlie Beach Lagoon ©
Airlie Beach Lagoon

1
night
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
On the 28th (Fri), enjoy the sand and surf at Catseye Beach, then view the masterpieces at Hamilton Island Art Gallery, and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To see ratings, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Hamilton Island trip planner.

You can ride a ferry from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island in an hour. In December in Hamilton Island, expect temperatures between 85°F during the day and 76°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Catseye Beach ©
Catseye Beach
Hamilton Island Art Gallery ©
Hamilton Island Art Gallery

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sat): take in the exciting artwork at Ngarru Gallery, view the masterpieces at Des Spencer Galleries, then look for all kinds of wild species at Mossman Gorge, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and finally soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers.

For traveler tips, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Port Douglas journey planning app .

Traveling by combination of flight and shuttle from Hamilton Island to Port Douglas takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, bus, and train. In December, plan for daily highs up to 88°F, and evening lows to 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Parks Wildlife Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Mossman Gorge Centre
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Mossman Gorge Centre ©
Mossman Gorge Centre
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

1
day
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Sun): deepen your appreciation for local ecosystems through Big Mama Sailing, browse the eclectic array of goods at Horseshoe Bay Markets, then step off the mainland to explore Magnetic Island Forts Walk, then kick back and relax at Geoffrey Bay, and finally stop by Magnetic Island Museum.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Magnetic Island sightseeing planner.

You can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and ferry from Port Douglas to Magnetic Island in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of shuttle, bus, and ferry. In December, daily temperatures in Magnetic Island can reach 89°F, while at night they dip to 76°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sun) so you can ride a ferry to Townsville.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

Outdoors Transportation Tours
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay
Magnetic Island Forts Walk ©
Magnetic Island Forts Walk
Magnetic Island Museum ©
Magnetic Island Museum

1
night
Townsville

Townsville ©
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Mon): take in the exciting artwork at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, head off the coast to Museum of Tropical Queensland, then enjoy the sand and surf at The Strand, then take in the exciting artwork at The Drill Hall Studio, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Castle Hill.

For reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Townsville trip planner .

Townsville is just a short distance from Magnetic Island. In December, plan for daily highs up to 89°F, and evening lows to 76°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Mon) so you can travel to Rockhampton.

Things to do in Townsville

Parks Museums Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
The Strand ©
The Strand
Museum of Tropical Queensland ©
Museum of Tropical Queensland
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery ©
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery

2
nights
Rockhampton

Rockhampton ©
With over 300 sunny days every year, Rockhampton plays host to numerous outdoor activities.
On the 1st (Tue), get curious at FLOW Visitors Centre, brush up on your military savvy at C.Q. Military & Artifacts Museum, then examine the collection at Archer Park Rail Museum, then get engrossed in the history at Rockhampton Heritage Village, and finally identify plant and animal life at Capricorn Caves. On your second day here, kick back and relax at Farnborough Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Yeppoon Main Beach, then take in the exciting artwork at Rockhampton Art Gallery, and finally meet the residents at Rockhampton Botanic Gardens.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Rockhampton fast, fun, and easy.

Fly from Townsville to Rockhampton in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Traveling from Townsville in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Rockhampton, with lows of 70°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Rockhampton

Museums Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Yeppoon
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 2:
Highlights from your plan
Capricorn Caves ©
Capricorn Caves
Rockhampton Heritage Village ©
Rockhampton Heritage Village
Archer Park Rail Museum ©
Archer Park Rail Museum

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