15 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

15 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: New York City
Fly:  23​h
1
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
2
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
bus:  45​min
3
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
Fly + shuttle:  4​h
4
Port Douglas
— 3 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
5
Cairns
— 4 nights
Fly + bus:  23​h 15​min
End: New York City

2
nights
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Sun): join the crowd at Go-Kart Racing Track and then enjoy the sand and surf at Catseye Beach. On the 4th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the galleries of Hamilton Island Art Gallery, then go for a stroll along the water at Hamilton Island Marina, and then make a trip to Passage Peak.

To find other places to visit, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Hamilton Island trip itinerary planner .

New York City, USA to Hamilton Island is an approximately 23-hour flight. You can also fly; or do a combination of train and flight. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland) (AEST) is 15 hours. In November, Hamilton Island is warmer than New York City - with highs of 83°F and lows of 73°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) early enough to catch the ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Nov 2 — 4:
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Catseye Beach ©
Catseye Beach
Passage Peak ©
Passage Peak
Hamilton Island Marina ©
Hamilton Island Marina

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Horseshoe Bay and Bicentennial Walkway. Spend the 6th (Wed) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Next up on the itinerary: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, contemplate the waterfront views at Heart Reef, and enjoy the sand and surf at Airlie Beach Lagoon.

For maps, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Airlie Beach online route maker .

Ride a ferry from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach in an hour. In November in Airlie Beach, expect temperatures between 83°F during the day and 74°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Thu) to allow time to take a bus to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Horseshoe Bay
Find places to stay Nov 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Spas
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Scuba & Snorkeling

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at Whitehaven Beach and then explore the activities along Hill Inlet.

To see photos, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Whitsunday Island trip planner.

Traveling by bus from Airlie Beach to Whitsunday Island takes an hour. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry. Traveling from Airlie Beach in November, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Whitsunday Island, with lows of 67°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Nov 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Opal Reef and St Mary’s by The Sea chapel. Spend the 11th (Mon) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. The adventure continues: identify plant and animal life at Mossman Gorge, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and see the vivid underwater world at Agincourt Reef.

To see photos, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Port Douglas trip tool .

Traveling by combination of flight and shuttle from Whitsunday Island to Port Douglas takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, flight, and shuttle; or take a train. November in Port Douglas sees daily highs of 87°F and lows of 72°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Mon) so you can catcht the bus to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Mossman Gorge Centre
Find places to stay Nov 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
St Mary’s by The Sea chapel ©
St Mary’s by The Sea chapel
Mossman Gorge Centre ©
Mossman Gorge Centre

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.
Relax by the water at Palm Cove Beach and Trinity Beach. Venture out of the city with trips to Spas (in Palm Cove) and Australian Butterfly Sanctuary (in Kuranda). Spend the 14th (Thu) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. Spend the 12th (Tue) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. The adventure continues: take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Monica's Cathedral.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Cairns online trip itinerary maker .

You can take a bus from Port Douglas to Cairns in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 87°F in November, and nighttime lows around 72°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Find places to stay Nov 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach
Trinity Beach ©
Trinity Beach

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