15 days in Great Barrier Reef, Darwin & Surrounds & Brisbane Region Itinerary

15 days in Great Barrier Reef, Darwin & Surrounds & Brisbane Region Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Great Barrier Reef, Darwin & Surrounds & Brisbane Region Itinerary

Start: Philadelphia
Fly:  25​h
1
Cairns
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Port Douglas
— 3 nights
shuttle + Fly:  5​h 15​min
3
Darwin
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h
4
Brisbane
— 4 nights
Fly:  22​h 45​min
End: Philadelphia

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.
Cairns is known for wildlife, adventure, trails, parks, and fun & games. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, don't miss a visit to Freshwater Station, hike along Esplanade Boardwalk, and pause for some photo ops at Cairns Cenotaph.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Cairns visit planner .

Philadelphia, USA to Cairns is an approximately 25-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of train and flight. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland), which is usually a 15 hour difference. When traveling from Philadelphia in April, plan for somewhat warmer days in Cairns, with highs around 85°F, while nights are much hotter with lows around 72°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) to allow time to take a bus to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Apr 3 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, explore the gorgeous colors at Opal Reef, and get to know the resident critters at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas.

To find where to stay, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Port Douglas travel route site .

Getting from Cairns to Port Douglas by bus takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. April in Port Douglas sees daily highs of 85°F and lows of 71°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to travel to Darwin.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Apr 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Safaris

3
nights
Darwin

The smallest of Australia’s state capitals, Darwin has nevertheless become an attractive and important urban center, being simultaneously one of the country’s most modernized cities and a gateway to both the Top End region and South East Asia.
Darwin is known for museums, wildlife, beaches, theme parks, and zoos & aquariums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, look for all kinds of wild species at Crocosaurus Cove, get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour, and get engrossed in the history at RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility.

For traveler tips, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Darwin attractions planner.

You can do a combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Darwin in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. While traveling from Port Douglas, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Darwin, ranging from highs of 91°F to lows of 75°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) so you can travel to Brisbane.

Things to do in Darwin

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Apr 9 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility ©
RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility

4
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.
Brisbane is known for parks, wildlife, museums, nightlife, and nature. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll around South Bank Parklands, admire the natural beauty at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha, look for all kinds of wild species at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and take some stellar pictures from Mount Coot-tha Lookout.

For traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Brisbane trip planner .

You can fly from Darwin to Brisbane in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In April, Brisbane is slightly colder than Darwin - with highs of 78°F and lows of 61°F. On the 16th (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Brisbane

Parks Museums Wildlife
Find places to stay Apr 12 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
South Bank Parklands ©
South Bank Parklands
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary ©
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Mount Coot-tha Lookout ©
Mount Coot-tha Lookout

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