13 days in Melbourne & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

13 days in Melbourne & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in Melbourne & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  3​h 30​min
1
Melbourne
— 3 nights
Fly:  4​h 15​min
2
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
Fly:  1​h 30​min
3
Cairns
— 3 nights
4
Port Douglas
— 4 nights
shuttle + Fly:  6​h 45​min
End: Sydney

3
nights
Melbourne

Melbourne ©
The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
Melbourne is known for museums, parks, shopping, zoos & aquariums, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: admire the natural beauty at Royal Botanic Gardens, admire the striking features of Royal Exhibition Building, browse the collection at State Library of Victoria, and see the interesting displays at Melbourne Museum.

To find maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Melbourne trip maker .

Sydney to Melbourne is an approximately 3.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. Prepare for a bit cooler weather when traveling from Sydney in July: high temperatures in Melbourne hover around 15°C and lows are around 6°C. On the 16th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Melbourne

Parks Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jul 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Royal Botanic Gardens ©
Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne Museum ©
Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Zoo ©
Melbourne Zoo

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 17th (Tue): go for a stroll along the water at Hamilton Island Marina and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For reviews, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Hamilton Island trip planner .

Getting from Melbourne to Hamilton Island by flight takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus, train, and ferry. While traveling from Melbourne, expect a bit warmer days and warmer nights in Hamilton Island, ranging from highs of 24°C to lows of 20°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Wed) early enough to travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Wildlife Adventure Tours
Find places to stay Jul 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hamilton Island Marina ©
Hamilton Island Marina

3
nights
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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Cairns: Palm Cove (Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, Palm Cove Beach, & more). Spend the 18th (Wed) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's lots more to do: hike along Esplanade Boardwalk, pause for some serene contemplation at St Monica's Cathedral, admire the natural beauty at Botanical Gardens, and do some two-wheel cruising with Trail Bike Adventures.

For traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Cairns trip itinerary maker app .

You can fly from Hamilton Island to Cairns in 1.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, bus, and train. While traveling from Hamilton Island, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Cairns, ranging from highs of 30°C to lows of 20°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Sat) early enough to go by car to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Palm Cove
Find places to stay Jul 18 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk

4
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.
Spend the 22nd (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 25th (Wed) exploring nature at Mowbray National Park. There's still lots to do: see exotic creatures in open habitats at a safari tour, stop by With Sugar, enjoy the sand and surf at Four Mile Beach, and get interesting insight from Shaolin Junk Cruises.

To see traveler tips, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Port Douglas route maker app .

You can drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 30°C in July, and nighttime lows around 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Shaolin Junk Cruises
Find places to stay Jul 21 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

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