19 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

19 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

19 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Zurich
Fly:  30​h
1
Cooktown
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 45​min
2
Mission Beach
— 1 night
Drive + ferry:  3​h 15​min
3
Magnetic Island
— 3 nights
ferry + Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
Airlie Beach
— 4 nights
ferry:  1​h
5
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
Fly:  1​h 30​min
6
Cairns
— 3 nights
Fly:  22​h 45​min
End: Zurich

1
night
Cooktown

Cooktown ©
Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. Start off your visit on the 14th (Fri): take an in-depth tour of James Cook Museum, contemplate the long history of Cooktown History Centre, then view the masterpieces at Eliabeth Guzsely Gallery, then explore and take pictures at Cooktown War Memorial, and finally visit a coastal fixture at Grassy Hill. On the 15th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Finch Bay, then identify plant and animal life at Great Northern Tours, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Black Mountain National Park.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Cooktown online holiday planner .

Zurich, Switzerland to Cooktown is an approximately 30-hour flight. Traveling from Zurich to Cooktown, you'll lose 9 hours due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Cooktown

#Parks, #Historic Sites, #Wildlife

Side Trip

Black Mountain National Park
Find places to stay Sep 14 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Grassy Hill ©
Grassy Hill
James Cook Museum ©
James Cook Museum
Finch Bay ©
Finch Bay

1
night
Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Sun): take the plunge with a skydiving experience and then kick back and relax at Mission Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the exciting artwork at Helen Wiltshire Gallery, view the masterpieces at Mission Arts, and then see what you can catch with a fishing tour.

For reviews, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, read Mission Beach sightseeing planner .

Traveling by car from Cooktown to Mission Beach takes 5.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) so you can travel to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Mission Beach

#Tours, #Outdoors, #Adventure
Find places to stay Sep 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Skydiving
Fishing Charters & Tours

3
nights
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
Relax by the water at West Point and Geoffrey Bay. Step off the beaten path and head to Big Mama Sailing and Nelly Bay to Arcadia Trail.

For other places to visit, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Magnetic Island trip planner .

You can do a combination of car and ferry from Mission Beach to Magnetic Island in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of bus, train, and ferry. In September, daily temperatures in Magnetic Island can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 21°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay
Pilgrim Sailing ©
Pilgrim Sailing

4
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.
Relax by the water at Horseshoe Bay and Whitehaven Beach. Visiting Kayaking & Canoeing and Heart Reef will get you outdoors. Venture out of the city with trips to Bowen (The Big Mango & Mother Beddock Rock). There's lots more to do: choose your vessel at Cumberland Charter Yachts, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, take in the pleasant sights at Bicentennial Walkway, and view the masterpieces at Art Whitsunday Gallery & Shop.

For other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Airlie Beach online travel route planner .

Do a combination of ferry and car from Magnetic Island to Airlie Beach in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, flight, and bus. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Magnetic Island in September: highs in Airlie Beach hover around 29°C, while lows dip to 23°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) to allow enough time to ride a ferry to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Tours

Side Trip

Bowen
Find places to stay Sep 20 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

2
nights
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
On the 25th (Tue), get outside with Jetryder, then enjoy the sand and surf at Catseye Beach, and then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 26th (Wed): play a few rounds at Hamilton Island Golf Club and then make a trip to Passage Peak.

For where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Hamilton Island visit planning tool .

Traveling by ferry from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island takes an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry. September in Hamilton Island sees daily highs of 29°C and lows of 23°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) early enough to travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

#Outdoors, #Beaches, #Parks
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club
Passage Peak ©
Passage Peak
Spas & Wellness

3
nights
Cairns

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 get to explore Cairns Art Gallery and Bones and Jones. Step off the beaten path and head to Tablelands, Waterfalls, and Spanish Castle and Spas & Wellness. The adventure continues: look for all kinds of wild species at Atherton Tablelands, take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Monica's Cathedral, step off the mainland to explore Michaelmas Cay, and look for gifts at WetRez.

To find more things to do, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Cairns visit planning app .

You can fly from Hamilton Island to Cairns in 1.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, bus, and train. Traveling from Hamilton Island in September, you will find days in Cairns are a bit warmer (33°C), and nights are about the same (22°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Cairns

#Wildlife, #Parks, #Nature

Side Trip

Spas & Wellness
Find places to stay Sep 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Michaelmas Cay ©
Michaelmas Cay
Spas & Wellness

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