12 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Sydney Itinerary

12 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Sydney Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Sydney Itinerary

Start: Miami
Fly:  27​h
1
Cairns
— 1 night
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Port Douglas
— 3 nights
shuttle + Fly:  6​h 30​min
3
Melbourne
— 1 night
Fly:  3​h 30​min
4
Sydney
— 3 nights
Fly:  24​h
End: Miami

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Wed): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour.

For where to stay, photos, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Cairns trip builder app .

Miami, USA to Cairns is an approximately 27-hour flight. Traveling from Miami to Cairns, you'll lose 15 hours due to the time zone difference. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Miami in May, with highs in Cairns at 82°F and lows at 69°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay May 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours

3
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Safaris and Opal Reef. Spend the 17th (Fri) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's more to do: relax in the rural setting at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures and look for gifts at With Sugar.

To see photos, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Port Douglas day trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Cairns to Port Douglas takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. May in Port Douglas sees daily highs of 82°F and lows of 69°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay May 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

1
night
Melbourne

Melbourne ©
The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
On the 20th (Mon), see the interesting displays at National Sports Museum, brush up on your military savvy at Shrine of Remembrance, then take in nature's colorful creations at Royal Botanic Gardens, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at St Paul's Cathedral. Here are some ideas for day two: see the interesting displays at Melbourne Museum, then get to know the resident critters at Melbourne Zoo, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Hillsong Church.

To find where to stay, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Melbourne route website .

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Melbourne takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Port Douglas in May: highs in Melbourne hover around 63°F, while lows dip to 46°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Tue) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Melbourne

Parks Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay May 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Royal Botanic Gardens ©
Royal Botanic Gardens
Shrine of Remembrance ©
Shrine of Remembrance
Melbourne Museum ©
Melbourne Museum

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.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Wed): wander the streets of Darling Harbour, then make a trip to Sydney Harbour Bridge, and then appreciate the extensive heritage of The Rocks. On your second day here, admire the masterpieces at Art Gallery of New South Wales, catch a live performance at Sydney Opera House, then trek along The Opera House to the Botanic Gardens Walk, then kick back and relax at Bondi Beach, and finally admire the natural beauty at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

For where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Sydney trip itinerary app .

Traveling by flight from Melbourne to Sydney takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Melbourne in May; daily highs in Sydney reach 70°F and lows reach 54°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 24th (Fri) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

Neighborhoods Parks Museums
Find places to stay May 21 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
The Rocks ©
The Rocks
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Darling Harbour ©
Darling Harbour

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