23 days in Great Barrier Reef, Sydney & Melbourne Itinerary

23 days in Great Barrier Reef, Sydney & Melbourne Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Great Barrier Reef, Sydney & Melbourne Itinerary

Start: Mumbai
Fly + shuttle:  18​h 15​min
1
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Cairns
— 4 nights
Fly:  1​h 45​min
3
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 15​min
4
Sydney
— 5 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
5
Melbourne
— 8 nights
Fly:  16​h 45​min
End: Mumbai

2
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.
Relax by the water at Palm Cove Beach and Four Mile Beach. Shop till you drop at Coffee Works and With Sugar. Spend the 29th (Thu) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Next up on the itinerary: experience rural life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, hunt for treasures at Sunday Market Port Douglas, and stop by Funstuff by Lynda.

To find reviews, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Port Douglas trip planner .

Mumbai, India to Port Douglas is an approximately 18.5-hour combination of flight and shuttle. The time zone changes from India Standard Time to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland), which is usually a 4 hour difference. Traveling from Mumbai in November, expect nights in Port Douglas to be about the same, around 26°C, while days are slightly colder, around 36°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sat) so you can go by car to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Wildlife Parks

Side Trip

Palm Cove
Find places to stay Nov 29 — Dec 1:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach

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.
Do your shopping at Tanks Arts Centre and DFO Cairns, Direct Factory Outlets. Spend the 2nd (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 5th (Wed) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. There's much more to do: stroll through Yorkeys Knob Beach, look for gifts at Luminous Lights, take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Monica's Cathedral, and take in the exciting artwork at Underart Gallery.

For other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Cairns online road trip planner .

Traveling by car from Port Douglas to Cairns takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In December, daytime highs in Cairns are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Wed) early enough to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Yorkeys Knob Beach, Tanks Arts Centre
Find places to stay Dec 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Yorkeys Knob Beach ©
Yorkeys Knob Beach

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Thu): contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet and then enjoy the sand and surf at Whitehaven Beach.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, read our Whitsunday Island trip itinerary maker .

Traveling by flight from Cairns to Whitsunday Island takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a train. December in Whitsunday Island sees daily highs of 37°C and lows of 24°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) so you can travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet

5
nights
Sydney

Sydney ©
Lent iconic status as a result of its famous bridge and opera house, Sydney has a down-to-earth charm that enhances its spectacular setting and functional efficiency.
Do your shopping at Sydney Fish Market and Queen Victoria Building (QVB). Museum-lovers will appreciate Australian National Maritime Museum and Justice & Police Museum. Venture out of the city with trips to The National Pass (in Blue Mountains National Park), Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum (in Faulconbridge) and Rick Rutherford's Country (in Lawson). And it doesn't end there: take a stroll through The Rocks, examine the collection at Hyde Park Barracks Museum, stroll through Coogee Beach, and explore the world behind art at Art Gallery of New South Wales.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Sydney trip itinerary maker .

Traveling by flight from Whitsunday Island to Sydney takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a train. When traveling from Whitsunday Island in December, plan for a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Sydney: temperatures range from 32°C by day to 21°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Shopping

Side Trips

Rick Rutherford's Country, The National Pass, Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Manly Beach
Manly Beach
The Rocks ©
The Rocks

8
nights
Melbourne

Melbourne ©
The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Shrine of Remembrance and Trinity College Chapel. Museum-lovers will get to explore Melbourne Museum and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Next up on the itinerary: admire the masterpieces at National Gallery of Victoria, look for gifts at Minotaur Entertainment Melbourne, examine the collection at National Sports Museum, and take an in-depth tour of Immigration Museum.

To see ratings, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Melbourne trip planner.

Fly from Sydney to Melbourne in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Traveling from Sydney in December, expect a bit cooler with lows of 14°C in Melbourne. On the 20th (Thu), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Melbourne

Shopping Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Melbourne Museum ©
Melbourne Museum
Shrine of Remembrance ©
Shrine of Remembrance
National Gallery of Victoria ©
National Gallery of Victoria

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