13 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

13 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Australia trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

13 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: London
Fly:  23​h 15​min
1
Cairns
— 2 nights
Fly:  2​h 30​min
2
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
3
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
bus:  3​h 45​min
4
Townsville
— 1 night
Fly + shuttle:  4​h 15​min
5
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  26​h
End: London

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.
Here are some ideas for day two: take a memorable tour with Tours.

To see reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Cairns online attractions planner .

London, UK to Cairns is an approximately 23.5-hour flight. You'll lose 10 hours traveling from London to Cairns due to the time zone difference. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from London in May: highs in Cairns hover around 32°C, while lows dip to 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Tue) so you can travel to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Palm Cove Beach, Trinity Beach, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Find places to stay May 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary ©
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Trinity Beach ©
Trinity Beach
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach

2
nights
Hamilton Island

A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Wed): take in the waterfront activity at Hamilton Island Marina and then take a memorable tour with Tours. On the next day, play a few rounds at Hamilton Island Golf Club and then kick back and relax at Catseye Beach.

For reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Hamilton Island holiday planning tool .

Fly from Cairns to Hamilton Island in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train, bus, and ferry. Traveling from Cairns in May, expect nights in Hamilton Island to be about the same, around 24°C, while days are slightly colder, around 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) to allow enough time to ride a ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay May 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hamilton Island Marina ©
Hamilton Island Marina
Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club

3
nights
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Horseshoe Bay and Scuba & Snorkeling. Explore hidden gems such as Kayaking & Canoeing and Mother Beddock Rock. Change things up with a short trip to Grays Bay in Bowen (about 1h 20 min away). There's more to do: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers and enjoy the sand and surf at Airlie Beach Lagoon.

For traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Airlie Beach planner .

Traveling by ferry from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach takes an hour. Expect a daytime high around 28°C in May, and nighttime lows around 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) so you can catcht the bus to Townsville.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Adventure Tours

Side Trip

Bowen
Find places to stay May 30 — Jun 2:
Highlights from your plan
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Scuba & Snorkeling
Kayaking & Canoeing

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.
On the 3rd (Mon), step off the mainland to explore Museum of Tropical Queensland, kick back and relax at The Strand, and then stroll through Castle Hill.

Discover how to plan a Townsville trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

You can take a bus from Airlie Beach to Townsville in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and train. While traveling from Airlie Beach, expect a bit warmer days and a bit cooler nights in Townsville, ranging from highs of 30°C to lows of 18°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Townsville

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Jun 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
The Strand ©
The Strand
Museum of Tropical Queensland ©
Museum of Tropical Queensland
Castle Hill
Castle Hill

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 4th (Tue): do a tasting at Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, identify plant and animal life at Mossman Gorge, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and finally soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers. On the 5th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For more things to do, maps, ratings, and tourist information, use the Port Douglas tour itinerary planning website .

Getting from Townsville to Port Douglas by combination of flight and shuttle takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 30°C in June, and nighttime lows around 21°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Adventure

Side Trips

Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, Mossman Gorge
Find places to stay Jun 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Spas & Wellness
Mossman Gorge ©
Mossman Gorge

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