14 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

14 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Great Barrier Reef trip itinerary maker

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Route & dates

14 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
+2
Fly + taxi + bus:  5​h 45​min
1
Airlie Beach
— 1 night
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  7​h 15​min
2
Cooktown
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h 30​min
3
Port Douglas
— 4 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
4
Cairns
— 4 nights
Fly:  3​h 15​min
5
Townsville
— 3 nights
Fly:  5​h 15​min
End: Sydney

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.
On the 26th (Thu), browse the exhibits of Art Whitsunday Gallery & Shop and then get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure. On the 27th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Airlie Beach trip maker .

Sydney to Airlie Beach is an approximately 6-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of flight and ferry; or drive. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from Sydney in December since evenings lows in Airlie Beach dip to 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Cooktown.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Scuba & Snorkeling

1
day
Cooktown

Cooktown ©
Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): take an in-depth tour of James Cook Museum, contemplate the long history of Cooktown History Centre, take in the exciting artwork at Eliabeth Guzsely Gallery, view the masterpieces at Kuku Bulkaway Aboriginal Art Gallery, then stroll the grounds of Cooktown War Memorial, and finally visit a coastal fixture at Grassy Hill.

To see ratings, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Cooktown trip planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Airlie Beach to Cooktown. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) early enough to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cooktown

Museums Historic Sites Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
James Cook Museum ©
James Cook Museum
Grassy Hill ©
Grassy Hill
Cooktown History Centre ©
Cooktown History Centre

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.
Appreciate the collections at Des Spencer Galleries and Studio 49 Artisan Gallery. Kids will enjoy Safaris and Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. Spend the 29th (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's still lots to do: identify plant and animal life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, look for gifts at With Sugar, view the masterpieces at Ngarru Gallery, and get engrossed in the history at Port Douglas Court House Museum.

To find photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Port Douglas travel itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Cooktown to Port Douglas takes 3.5 hours. In December, daily temperatures in Port Douglas can reach 36°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Dec 28 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

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.
Museum-lovers will appreciate The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum and Village Gallery. Family-friendly places like Scuba & Snorkeling and Nature & Wildlife Tours will thrill your kids. There's much more to do: take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Monica's Cathedral, explore the world behind art at Samurai Gallery Australia, trek along Esplanade Boardwalk, and explore the galleries of Doongal Aboriginal Art Gallery Cairns.

For other places to visit, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Cairns trip planner .

Traveling by car from Port Douglas to Cairns takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In January, plan for daily highs up to 37°C, and evening lows to 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Townsville.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Village Gallery
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours
St Monica's Cathedral ©
St Monica's Cathedral

3
nights
Townsville

Townsville ©
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Scuba & Snorkeling and The Strand. Museum of Tropical Queensland and The Drill Hall Studio will appeal to museum buffs. And it doesn't end there: learn about all things military at Army Museum North Queensland, explore the galleries of Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, view the masterpieces at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, and pause for some serene contemplation at St James Cathedral.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Townsville trip builder tool .

You can fly from Cairns to Townsville in 3.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 37°C in January, and nighttime lows around 29°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Townsville

Museums Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Museum of Tropical Queensland ©
Museum of Tropical Queensland
Scuba & Snorkeling
The Strand ©
The Strand

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