14 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

14 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

14 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  4​h
1
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
bus:  45​min
2
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
bus:  3​h 45​min
3
Townsville
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h 15​min
4
Cairns
— 4 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
5
Port Douglas
— 3 nights
shuttle + Fly:  6​h 45​min
End: Sydney

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Tue): kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach. Keep things going the next day: identify plant and animal life at Whitsunday Islands National Park and then contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet.

For ratings, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, use the Whitsunday Island online trip itinerary planner .

Sydney to Whitsunday Island is an approximately 4-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or take a train. When traveling from Sydney in October, plan for a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Whitsunday Island: temperatures range from 34°C by day to 19°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Wed) early enough to catcht the bus to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Oct 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach
Whitsunday Islands National Park ©
Whitsunday Islands National Park

3
nights
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.
When in Airlie Beach, make a side trip to see Hamilton Island Marina in Hamilton Island, approximately 1h 15 min away. Next up on the itinerary: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, stop by Beach Book Boutique, kick back and relax at Airlie Beach Lagoon, and get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure.

To find photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Airlie Beach trip itinerary site .

Getting from Whitsunday Island to Airlie Beach by bus takes about an hour. Other options: ride a ferry. Traveling from Whitsunday Island in October, you will find days in Airlie Beach are a bit cooler (30°C), and nights are somewhat warmer (24°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sat) to allow enough time to take a bus to Townsville.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trip

Hamilton Island Marina
Find places to stay Oct 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Scuba & Snorkeling
Speed Boats Tours

2
nights
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 20th (Sun), tour the pleasant surroundings at The Strand and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: step off the mainland to explore Museum of Tropical Queensland, then take in the exciting artwork at The Drill Hall Studio, then go for a walk through Castle Hill, and finally don't miss a visit to Jezzine Barracks.

To find photos, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Townsville travel route planner .

You can take a bus from Airlie Beach to Townsville in 4 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of bus and train. In October, plan for daily highs up to 34°C, and evening lows to 23°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Mon) so you can travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Townsville

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Oct 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
The Strand ©
The Strand
Castle Hill
Castle Hill

4
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.
Step out of Cairns to go to Palm Cove and see Palm Cove Beach, which is approximately 32 minutes away. There's still lots to do: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, hike along Esplanade Boardwalk, take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, and admire the landmark architecture of Freshwater Station.

For where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Cairns planner .

Traveling by flight from Townsville to Cairns takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In October, daily temperatures in Cairns can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can take a bus to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Palm Cove Beach
Find places to stay Oct 21 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk
Esplanade Lagoon Pool ©
Esplanade Lagoon Pool

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.
Port Douglas is known for wildlife, adventure, beaches, zoos & aquariums, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, get to know the resident critters at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, do a tasting at Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, and don't miss a visit to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel.

To find ratings, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Port Douglas day trip planning site .

You can take a bus from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in October, and nighttime lows around 23°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Wildlife Parks

Side Trips

Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Oct 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Safaris

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