22 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Perth Itinerary

22 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Perth Itinerary

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Route & dates

22 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Perth Itinerary

Start: Glasgow
Fly:  26​h
1
Cairns
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 30​min
2
Port Douglas
— 3 nights
shuttle + Fly:  4​h
3
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
bus:  1​h
4
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  6​h
5
Melbourne
— 4 nights
Fly:  6​h 30​min
6
Perth
— 4 nights
Fly:  24​h
End: Glasgow

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.
Spend the 3rd (Fri) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 5th (Sun) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. Next up on the itinerary: trek along Esplanade Boardwalk, have fun at Esplanade Lagoon Pool, and take in nature's colorful creations at Botanical Gardens.

For ratings, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, read our Cairns visit planner .

Glasgow, UK to Cairns is an approximately 26-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 10 hours traveling from Glasgow to Cairns. Plan for much warmer temperatures traveling from Glasgow in January, with highs in Cairns at 37°C and lows at 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sun) early enough to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
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.
Spend the 6th (Mon) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 7th (Tue) spotting exotic species with a safari tour. And it doesn't end there: experience rural life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, view the masterpieces at Des Spencer Galleries, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and stop by With Sugar.

For ratings, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, use the Port Douglas online road trip planner .

Traveling by car from Cairns to Port Douglas takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In January, daily temperatures in Port Douglas can reach 37°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Start off your visit on the 9th (Thu): explore the activities along Hill Inlet and then kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach.

To find where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Whitsunday Island online day trip planner .

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Whitsunday Island takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and bus; or do a combination of taxi and train. Expect a daytime high around 36°C in January, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can take a bus to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

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.
On the 10th (Fri), spend a thrilling day on the water with a speed boat tour. Spend the 11th (Sat) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Next up on the itinerary: zoom along the surf with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, explore the activities along Heart Reef, and enjoy the sand and surf at Airlie Beach Lagoon.

To see photos, maps, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Airlie Beach tour app .

Take a bus from Whitsunday Island to Airlie Beach in an hour. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry. In January, daytime highs in Airlie Beach are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) early enough to travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Scuba & Snorkeling
Speed Boats Tours

4
nights
Melbourne

The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
Step out of Melbourne with an excursion to The Great Ocean Road in Torquay--about 1h 40 min away. Dedicate the 17th (Fri) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. The adventure continues: take in nature's colorful creations at Royal Botanic Gardens, enjoy breathtaking views from Eureka Skydeck 88, enjoy unforgettable views with a balloon tour, and examine the collection at Melbourne Museum.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Melbourne sightseeing planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Airlie Beach to Melbourne takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and flight; or drive. Traveling from Airlie Beach in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be slightly colder in Melbourne, with lows of 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can travel to Perth.

Things to do in Melbourne

Tours Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

The Great Ocean Road
Find places to stay Jan 12 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Balloon Rides
Royal Botanic Gardens ©
Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne Zoo ©
Melbourne Zoo

4
nights
Perth

Perth ©
A modern metropolis of glassy skyscrapers, waterside boulevards, and lush residential neighborhoods, Perth sits on the edge of the Swan Coastal Plain.
Take a break from Perth with a short trip to Fremantle Prison in Fremantle, about 32 minutes away. Dedicate the 21st (Tue) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's lots more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Kings Park & Botanic Garden, appreciate the history behind Kings Park War Memorial, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Perth Zoo, and contemplate the long history of The Perth Mint.

For other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Perth trip planner .

Traveling by flight from Melbourne to Perth takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Melbourne to Perth. Traveling from Melbourne in January, you will find days in Perth are somewhat warmer (38°C), and nights are about the same (20°C). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Tue) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Perth

Parks Tours Museums

Side Trips

Fremantle Prison, Perth Zoo
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Kings Park & Botanic Garden ©
Kings Park & Botanic Garden
Fremantle Prison ©
Fremantle Prison
Swan River ©
Swan River

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