25 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

25 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

25 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Adelaide
Fly + shuttle:  6​h 15​min
1
Port Douglas
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Cairns
— 5 nights
Fly:  1​h 45​min
3
Whitsunday Island
— 6 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
4
Airlie Beach
— 7 nights
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  8​h 15​min
End: Adelaide


5
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 out of town with these interesting Port Douglas side-trips: Alexandra Bay Waterfall (in Diwan) and Daintree Rainforest - Cooper Creek Wilderness (in Cape Tribulation). Spend the 2nd (Wed) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 3rd (Thu) spotting exotic species with a safari tour. There's still lots to do: experience rural life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, look for all kinds of wild species at Mossman Gorge, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and make a trip to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Port Douglas travel itinerary planner .

Adelaide to Port Douglas is an approximately 6.5-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Adelaide in January, plan for a bit warmer nights in Port Douglas, with lows around 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) so you can drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge, Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

5
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 7th (Mon) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 10th (Thu) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. Next up on the itinerary: trek along Esplanade Boardwalk, don't miss a visit to Green Island, take in nature's colorful creations at Botanical Gardens, and enjoy some diversion at Esplanade Lagoon Pool.

To see other places to visit, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Cairns travel route builder site .

Traveling by car from Port Douglas to Cairns takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In January, plan for daily highs up to 37°C, and evening lows to 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Trinity Beach
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk
Nature & Wildlife Tours

6
nights
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Whitsunday Island is known for beaches and nature. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through Whitehaven Beach, explore the activities along Hill Inlet, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Whitsunday Islands National Park.

For ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, read Whitsunday Island attractions tool .

Getting from Cairns to Whitsunday Island by flight takes about 2 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or take a train. January in Whitsunday Island sees daily highs of 36°C and lows of 26°C at night. You'll set off for Airlie Beach on the 17th (Thu).

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

7
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.
Change things up with a short trip to Horseshoe Bay in Bowen (about 1h 20 min away). Spend the 18th (Fri) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. On the 19th (Sat), spend a thrilling day on the water with a speed boat tour. Next up on the itinerary: zoom along the surf with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, tour the pleasant surroundings at Whitehaven Beach, and head off the coast to Whitsunday Islands.

To find photos, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Airlie Beach planner .

Getting from Whitsunday Island to Airlie Beach by ferry takes about 1.5 hours. In January, plan for daily highs up to 34°C, and evening lows to 28°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Horseshoe Bay, Whitsunday Islands
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Speed Boats Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling
Waterskiing & Jetskiing

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