15 days in Great Barrier Reef & Brisbane Itinerary

15 days in Great Barrier Reef & Brisbane Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Great Barrier Reef & Brisbane Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  4​h
1
Hamilton Island
— 1 night
Fly:  2​h 30​min
2
Cairns
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
+4
shuttle + Fly + foot + bus + ferry:  5​h 15​min
4
Magnetic Island
— 1 day
ferry:  30​min
5
Townsville
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 45​min
6
Bowen
— 1 night
Fly:  8​h 15​min
7
Fraser Island
— 1 night
+2
Drive + ferry + Drive:  7​h 45​min
8
Brisbane
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 45​min
End: Sydney


1
night
Hamilton Island

A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Fri): explore the galleries of Hamilton Island Art Gallery and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the waterfront activity at Hamilton Island Marina, kick back and relax at Catseye Beach, and then head outdoors with Jetryder.

For photos, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Hamilton Island trip app .

Sydney to Hamilton Island is an approximately 4-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of bus, car, and ferry. Traveling from Sydney in February, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Hamilton Island, with lows around 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) so you can travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Feb 8 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hamilton Island Marina ©
Hamilton Island Marina
Hamilton Island Art Gallery ©
Hamilton Island Art Gallery

2
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.
On the 10th (Sun), soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, then take in the exciting artwork at Bones and Jones, then identify plant and animal life at Atherton Tablelands, and finally appreciate the history behind Cairns Cenotaph. Keep things going the next day: let the kids burn off some steam at Muddy's Playground, enjoy unforgettable views with a balloon tour, and then stop by Australian Leather Company.

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

You can fly from Hamilton Island to Cairns in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, bus, and train. February in Cairns sees daily highs of 36°C and lows of 28°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Mon) early enough to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Parks Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Feb 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Balloon Rides
Spas & Wellness
Cairns Cenotaph ©
Cairns Cenotaph

2
nights
Port Douglas

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.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Tue): soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers and then identify plant and animal life at Agincourt Reef. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: view the masterpieces at Des Spencer Galleries, don't miss a visit to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel, and then explore the gorgeous colors at Opal Reef.

Start your trip to Port Douglas by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Getting from Cairns to Port Douglas by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a shuttle. In February, daytime highs in Port Douglas are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Parks Wildlife Nature
Find places to stay Feb 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Agincourt Reef ©
Agincourt Reef
Opal Reef ©
Opal Reef
Spas & Wellness

1
day
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
Start off your visit on the 14th (Thu): tour the pleasant surroundings at Geoffrey Bay, then head off the coast to Magnetic Island Forts Walk, and then tour the water at your own pace with Big Mama Sailing.

For maps, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read our Magnetic Island trip itinerary tool .

You can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and ferry from Port Douglas to Magnetic Island in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of shuttle, bus, and ferry. In February, daily temperatures in Magnetic Island can reach 37°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Thu) early enough to ride a ferry to Townsville.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Feb 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay

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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Billabong Sanctuary, view the masterpieces at The Drill Hall Studio, and then stroll through The Strand.

For reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Townsville vacation maker .

Townsville is just a short distance from Magnetic Island. In February, daily temperatures in Townsville can reach 37°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Fri) so you can travel to Bowen.

Things to do in Townsville

Parks Wildlife Beaches
Find places to stay Feb 14 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Billabong Sanctuary ©
Billabong Sanctuary
The Strand ©
The Strand
The Drill Hall Studio ©
The Drill Hall Studio

1
night
Bowen

Bowen ©
Bowen is a coastal town and locality in the Whitsunday Region on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. Start off your visit on the 16th (Sat): don't miss a visit to Mother Beddock Rock, don't miss a visit to Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout, then enjoy the sand and surf at Grays Bay, and finally kick back and relax at Horseshoe Bay.

To find more things to do, maps, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Bowen sightseeing planner.

Traveling by car from Townsville to Bowen takes 2.5 hours. In February, daily temperatures in Bowen can reach 36°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sat) so you can travel to Fraser Island.

Things to do in Bowen

Beaches Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Feb 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout ©
Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout
Mother Beddock Rock ©
Mother Beddock Rock

1
night
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Sun): enjoy the sand and surf at Seventy-Five Mile Beach and then delve into the lush surroundings at Central Station Rainforest. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 18th (Mon): contemplate the waterfront views at Lake McKenzie and then explore the activities along Eli Creek.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Fraser Island itinerary tool .

Explore your travel options from Bowen to Fraser Island with the Route module. February in Fraser Island sees daily highs of 35°C and lows of 24°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Mon) so you can travel to Brisbane.

Things to do in Fraser Island

Parks Nature Beaches
Find places to stay Feb 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Lake McKenzie ©
Lake McKenzie
Seventy-Five Mile Beach ©
Seventy-Five Mile Beach
Eli Creek ©
Eli Creek

3
nights
Brisbane

Brisbane ©
Queensland’s biggest town and state capital, Brisbane has an attractive, manicured image based around its riverside aesthetic as well as the contrast between its high-rise center and extensive urban greenery.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Coolangatta Beach and Kings Beach. We've included these beaches for you: Burleigh Heads Beach and Moffat Beach. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Brisbane: MaisyMoo (in Caloundra), Putt Putt Mermaid Beach (in Mermaid Beach) and Mooloolaba Beach (in Mooloolaba). There's still lots to do: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Burleigh Head National Park and take in nature's colorful creations at City Botanic Gardens.

For where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Brisbane itinerary tool .

You can do a combination of car and ferry from Fraser Island to Brisbane in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car, ferry, and train; or do a combination of car, ferry, and bus. February in Brisbane sees daily highs of 33°C and lows of 24°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Brisbane

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Gold Coast, Caloundra, Mooloolaba Beach
Find places to stay Feb 18 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Burleigh Heads Beach ©
Burleigh Heads Beach
Coolangatta Beach ©
Coolangatta Beach
Mooloolaba Beach ©
Mooloolaba Beach

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