17 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

17 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Great Barrier Reef route planner

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Route & dates

17 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Manchester
Fly:  23​h
1
Cairns
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Port Douglas
— 4 nights
+3
shuttle + Fly + foot + ferry:  5​h 45​min
3
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
bus:  45​min
4
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
+3
Fly + Drive + ferry + Drive:  9​h
5
Fraser Island
— 2 nights
+3
Drive + ferry + Drive + Fly:  33​h
End: Manchester

3
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Scuba & Snorkeling and Palm Cove Beach. Step out of Cairns with an excursion to Spas & Wellness in Palm Cove--about 30 minutes away. Spend the 9th (Fri) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. There's more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Esplanade Boardwalk and take in nature's colorful creations at Munro Martin Parklands.

For traveler tips, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Cairns road trip planning site .

Manchester, UK to Cairns is an approximately 23-hour flight. The time zone changes from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland) (AEST), which is usually a 10 hour difference. Traveling from Manchester in August, expect Cairns to be a bit warmer, temps between 31°C and 20°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Palm Cove Beach
Find places to stay Aug 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk

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.
Get outdoors at Safaris and Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. Spend the 10th (Sat) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's lots more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Four Mile Beach, head outdoors with Horses in Port, make a trip to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel, and stroll through Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas.

For other places to visit, maps, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Port Douglas day trip planner.

You can drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a shuttle. In August in Port Douglas, expect temperatures between 31°C during the day and 19°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Aug 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

2
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Scuba & Snorkeling and Speed Boats Tours. The adventure continues: get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, look for gifts at Grotty Yachty Clothing, and choose your vessel at Cumberland Charter Yachts.

To find maps, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Airlie Beach online sightseeing planner .

Traveling by combination of shuttle, flight, and ferry from Port Douglas to Airlie Beach takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and bus; or drive. While traveling from Port Douglas, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Airlie Beach, ranging from highs of 26°C to lows of 21°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Fri) so you can catcht the bus to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Aug 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Scuba & Snorkeling
Speed Boats Tours

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Sat): contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet and then kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach.

To find photos, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Whitsunday Island tour planner .

Traveling by bus from Airlie Beach to Whitsunday Island takes an hour. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Airlie Beach in August since evenings lows in Whitsunday Island dip to 13°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Sat) early enough to travel to Fraser Island.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet

2
nights
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Visiting Lake McKenzie and Central Station Rainforest will get you outdoors. You'll get in some beach time at Seventy-Five Mile Beach and Indian Head.

For where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, read Fraser Island trip builder tool .

Getting from Whitsunday Island to Fraser Island by combination of flight, car, and ferry takes about 9 hours. Other options: do a combination of train, car, and ferry; or do a combination of bus, car, and ferry. In August, plan for daily highs up to 27°C, and evening lows to 13°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Fraser Island

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Aug 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Lake McKenzie ©
Lake McKenzie
Seventy-Five Mile Beach ©
Seventy-Five Mile Beach
Indian Head ©
Indian Head

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