25 days in Melbourne, Sydney & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

25 days in Melbourne, Sydney & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

25 days in Melbourne, Sydney & Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: London
Fly:  24​h
1
Melbourne
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
2
Sydney
— 4 nights
+3
Fly + Drive + ferry + Drive:  8​h 15​min
3
Fraser Island
— 2 nights
+3
Drive + ferry + Drive + Fly:  9​h
4
Whitsunday Island
— 1 day
bus:  45​min
5
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
Drive + ferry:  4​h 30​min
6
Magnetic Island
— 1 night
ferry:  30​min
7
Townsville
— 1 night
Fly + shuttle:  4​h 15​min
8
Port Douglas
— 4 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
9
Cairns
— 3 nights
Fly:  23​h 15​min
End: London

3
nights
Melbourne

The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
Get some historical perspective at Old Melbourne Gaol and Shrine of Remembrance. Get outdoors at Melbourne Zoo and Balloon Rides. And it doesn't end there: take in nature's colorful creations at Royal Botanic Gardens, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Trinity College Chapel, admire the landmark architecture of German Lutheran Trinity Church, and get a sense of history and politics at Parliament House of Victoria.

To see reviews, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Melbourne trip planner .

London, UK to Melbourne is an approximately 24-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or do a combination of flight and train. The time zone difference moving from Greenwich Mean Time to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Victoria) is 10 hours. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from London in July; daily highs in Melbourne reach 15°C and lows reach 6°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Wed) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Melbourne

Historic Sites Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Jul 28 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Balloon Rides
Old Melbourne Gaol ©
Old Melbourne Gaol
Shrine of Remembrance ©
Shrine of Remembrance

4
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.
Get in touch with nature at Bondi Beach and Lincoln's Rock. Popular historic sites such as The Rocks and St Thomas Becket Church are in your itinerary. Step out of Sydney with an excursion to The National Pass in Blue Mountains National Park--about 1h 35 min away. Spend the 2nd (Fri) exploring nature at Sydney Harbour National Park. There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Manly Beach, see a show at Sydney Opera House, contemplate the long history of Justice & Police Museum, and stroll the grounds of Camperdown Cemetery.

For other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Sydney trip builder app .

Getting from Melbourne to Sydney by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. While traveling from Melbourne, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Sydney, ranging from highs of 21°C to lows of 9°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Sun) early enough to travel to Fraser Island.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Blue Mountains National Park, Sydney Harbour National Park
Find places to stay Jul 31 — Aug 4:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Manly Beach
Manly Beach
The National Pass ©
The National Pass

2
nights
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Relax by the water at Seventy-Five Mile Beach and Indian Head. Take a break from the city and head to Lake McKenzie and The Pinnacles.

For other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Fraser Island day trip tool .

You can do a combination of flight, car, and ferry from Sydney to Fraser Island in 8.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train, car, and ferry. While traveling from Sydney, expect somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Fraser Island, ranging from highs of 27°C to lows of 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Wed) so you can travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Fraser Island

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Aug 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Seventy-Five Mile Beach ©
Seventy-Five Mile Beach
Lake McKenzie ©
Lake McKenzie
Indian Head ©
Indian Head

1
day
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Thu): contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet and then enjoy the sand and surf at Whitehaven Beach.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Whitsunday Island trip itinerary planner .

Getting from Fraser Island to Whitsunday Island by combination of car, ferry, and flight takes about 9 hours. Other options: do a combination of car, ferry, and train; or do a combination of car, ferry, and bus. In August in Whitsunday Island, expect temperatures between 29°C during the day and 13°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Thu) early enough to catcht the bus to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Aug 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Fri): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports. Keep things going the next day: race across the water with a speed boat tour.

For other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Airlie Beach sightseeing planner .

Traveling by bus from Whitsunday Island to Airlie Beach takes an hour. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry. When traveling from Whitsunday Island in August, plan for a bit cooler days in Airlie Beach, with highs around 26°C, while nights are a bit warmer with lows around 21°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Sat) early enough to travel to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Aug 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Speed Boats Tours

1
night
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sun): kick back and relax at Geoffrey Bay, then step off the mainland to explore Magnetic Island Forts Walk, and then choose your vessel at Big Mama Sailing.

To find photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Magnetic Island travel planning site .

You can do a combination of car and ferry from Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of bus, train, and ferry. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Airlie Beach in August: highs in Magnetic Island hover around 30°C, while lows dip to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sun) to allow time to ride a ferry to Townsville.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

Outdoors Wildlife Transportation
Find places to stay Aug 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay
Magnetic Island Forts Walk ©
Magnetic Island Forts Walk

1
night
Townsville

Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Start off your visit on the 12th (Mon): explore and take pictures at Castle Hill and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

Discover how to plan a Townsville trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

Townsville is very close to Magnetic Island. August in Townsville sees daily highs of 30°C and lows of 17°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Townsville

Outdoors Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Aug 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Castle Hill
Castle Hill

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.
Take a break from the city and head to Scuba & Snorkeling and Four Mile Beach. Spend the 15th (Thu) spotting exotic species with a safari tour. Next up on the itinerary: experience rural life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, make a trip to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel, get outside with Horses in Port, and meet the residents at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas.

To see where to stay and tourist information, read Port Douglas road trip planning website .

Traveling by combination of flight and shuttle from Townsville to Port Douglas takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. August in Port Douglas sees daily highs of 31°C and lows of 19°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Aug 12 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

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.
Get in touch with nature at Scuba & Snorkeling and Esplanade Boardwalk. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Cairns: Palm Cove (Annie's Ladies Boutique & Palm Cove Beach). Spend the 19th (Mon) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. The adventure continues: take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Monica's Cathedral.

To find ratings, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Cairns trip planner .

Getting from Port Douglas to Cairns by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a shuttle. In August, daily temperatures in Cairns can reach 31°C, while at night they dip to 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Palm Cove
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk

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