26 days in Great Barrier Reef & Alligator Creek Itinerary

26 days in Great Barrier Reef & Alligator Creek Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in Great Barrier Reef & Alligator Creek Itinerary

Start: Adelaide
+2
Drive + ferry + Drive:  29​h
1
Fraser Island
— 2 nights
+2
Drive + ferry + Drive:  16​h 30​min
2
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
3
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
bus + ferry:  5​h
4
Magnetic Island
— 2 nights
ferry:  30​min
5
Townsville
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h 15​min
6
Cooktown
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
7
Port Douglas
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
8
Cairns
— 4 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
9
Alligator Creek
— 2 nights
Fly:  8​h
End: Adelaide


2
nights
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Seventy-Five Mile Beach and Wanggoolba Creek.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, read Fraser Island trip builder app .

Adelaide to Fraser Island is an approximately 29-hour combination of car and ferry. You can also do a combination of train, car, and ferry; or do a combination of bus, ferry, and car. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Fraser Island when traveling from Adelaide in January, with lows around 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Fri) so you can travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Fraser Island

Parks Nature Beaches
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Birrabeen ©
Lake Birrabeen
Seventy-Five Mile Beach ©
Seventy-Five Mile Beach
Lake Wabby ©
Lake Wabby

3
nights
Airlie Beach

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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Grays Bay and Charter Yachts Australia. Step out of Airlie Beach to go to Bowen and see Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout, which is approximately 1h 20 min away. There's still lots to do: step off the mainland to explore Whitsunday Islands, go for a walk through Coral Beach and the Beak, Conway National Park, look for gifts at Colour Me Crazy, and trek along Whitsunday Great Walk.

For where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Airlie Beach trip planner .

You can do a combination of car and ferry from Fraser Island to Airlie Beach in 16.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car, ferry, and bus. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Airlie Beach when traveling from Fraser Island in January, with lows around 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Tue) so you can catch the ferry to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Bowen, Whitsunday Islands, Colour Me Crazy, Coral Beach and the Beak, Conway National Park
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Charter Yachts Australia ©
Charter Yachts Australia
Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout ©
Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout
Whitsunday Islands ©
Whitsunday Islands

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Start off your visit on the 9th (Wed): explore the activities along Hill Inlet and then head off the coast to Whitsunday Islands National Park.

To see maps, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Whitsunday Island trip planner .

Ride a ferry from Airlie Beach to Whitsunday Island in 1.5 hours. In January, daytime highs in Whitsunday Island are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Wed) early enough to travel to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet

2
nights
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
On the 10th (Thu), step off the mainland to explore Magnetic Island Forts Walk, look for all kinds of wild species at Nelly Bay to Arcadia Trail, and then stroll through Geoffrey Bay. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take an in-depth tour of Magnetic Island Museum, then play a few rounds at Magnetic Island Country Club, and then head off the coast to Magnetic Island National Park.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Magnetic Island trip simple and quick.

Getting from Whitsunday Island to Magnetic Island by combination of bus and ferry takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of train and ferry; or do a combination of flight and ferry. In January, daytime highs in Magnetic Island are 37°C, while nighttime lows are 29°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Fri) to allow enough time to ride a ferry to Townsville.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

Parks Wildlife Nature
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay
Magnetic Island National Park ©
Magnetic Island National Park
Magnetic Island Country Club ©
Magnetic Island Country Club

3
nights
Townsville

Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Step off the beaten path and head to Bowling Green Bay National Park and The Drill Hall Studio. Spend the 13th (Sun) on the water with a fishing tour. The adventure continues: view the masterpieces at Pinnacles Gallery and discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find photos, where to stay, maps, and tourist information, go to the Townsville trip planning app .

Townsville is very close to Magnetic Island. January in Townsville sees daily highs of 37°C and lows of 29°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Mon) so you can travel to Cooktown.

Things to do in Townsville

Tours Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Bowling Green Bay National Park
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Fishing Charters & Tours
The Drill Hall Studio ©
The Drill Hall Studio

2
nights
Cooktown

Cooktown ©
Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. Step off the beaten path and head to Grassy Hill and Great Northern Tours. Go for a jaunt from Cooktown to Bloomfield to see Bloomfield Waterfall about 1h 15 min away. There's still lots to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Trevethan Falls, tour the pleasant surroundings at Finch Bay, steep yourself in history at Cooktown History Centre, and stroll the grounds of Cooktown War Memorial.

To see other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Cooktown online visit planner .

Explore your travel options from Townsville to Cooktown with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cooktown

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Black Mountain National Park, Bloomfield Waterfall
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Finch Bay ©
Finch Bay
Grassy Hill ©
Grassy Hill
Great Northern Tours ©
Great Northern Tours

3
nights
Port Douglas

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Daintree Rainforest - Cooper Creek Wilderness and Photography Tours. Go for a jaunt from Port Douglas to Cow Bay to see Walu Wugirriga Lookout about 44 minutes away. There's much more to do: make a trip to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel, take some stellar pictures from Trinity Bay Lookout, look for all kinds of wild species at Opal Reef, and hunt for treasures at Sunday Market Port Douglas.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Port Douglas travel site .

Drive from Cooktown to Port Douglas in 3.5 hours. 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 20th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Parks Nature

Side Trips

Photography Tours, Daintree Rainforest - Cooper Creek Wilderness, Walu Wugirriga Lookout
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Opal Reef ©
Opal Reef
Photography Tours
Sunday Market Port Douglas ©
Sunday Market Port Douglas

4
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Curtain Fig National Park and Millaa Millaa Falls. Explore Cairns' surroundings by going to Mamu Tropical Skywalk (in Innisfail), Babinda Boulders (in Babinda) and Kayaking & Canoeing (in Palm Cove). The adventure continues: admire the sheer force of Josephine Falls, take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Monica's Cathedral, learn about all things military at The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum, and cross one thing off your bucket list with a skydiving experience.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Cairns itinerary planner .

You can drive from Port Douglas to Cairns in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a shuttle. January in Cairns sees daily highs of 37°C and lows of 28°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Cairns

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trips

Babinda Boulders, Millaa Millaa Falls, Curtain Fig National Park, Crystal Cascades, Kayaking & Canoeing
Find places to stay Jan 20 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Curtain Fig National Park ©
Curtain Fig National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing
Babinda Boulders ©
Babinda Boulders

2
nights
Alligator Creek

Alligator Creek
You've now added Gondwana Rainforest to your itinerary. On the 25th (Fri), look for all kinds of wild species at Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and then delve into the lush surroundings at Gondwana Rainforest.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, read Alligator Creek trip itinerary planner.

Explore your travel options from Cairns to Alligator Creek with the Route module. In January, plan for daily highs up to 37°C, and evening lows to 29°C. On the 26th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Alligator Creek

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Queensland
Find places to stay Jan 24 — 26:

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