31 days in Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Region & Sydney Itinerary

31 days in Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Region & Sydney Itinerary

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Route & dates

31 days in Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Region & Sydney Itinerary

Start: Zurich
Fly:  22​h 45​min
1
Cairns
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
2
Cape Tribulation
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
3
Port Douglas
— 4 nights
shuttle + Fly:  4​h 15​min
4
Townsville
— 2 nights
ferry:  30​min
5
Magnetic Island
— 3 nights
ferry + Drive:  4​h 30​min
6
Airlie Beach
— 4 nights
ferry:  1​h
7
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
+3
Fly + Drive + ferry + Drive:  9​h
8
Fraser Island
— 1 night
+3
Drive + ferry + Drive + Fly:  8​h 15​min
9
Sydney
— 4 nights
Fly:  23​h 45​min
End: Zurich

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.
Attractions like Trinity Beach and Nature & Wildlife Tours make great kid-friendly stops. Explore hidden gems such as Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Terra Nova Gallery. Spend the 7th (Mon) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Next up on the itinerary: take in nature's colorful creations at Botanical Gardens, enjoy unforgettable views with a balloon tour, take a leisurely stroll along The Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk, and hike along Esplanade Boardwalk.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Cairns using our trip planner.

Zurich, Switzerland to Cairns is an approximately 23-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train, bus, and flight; or do a combination of train and flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Zurich to Cairns is 9 hours. In October, Cairns is much hotter than Zurich - with highs of 34°C and lows of 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a bus to Cape Tribulation.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Kuranda, The Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk, Trinity Beach
Find places to stay Oct 6 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Trinity Beach ©
Trinity Beach
Nature & Wildlife Tours

3
nights
Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation ©
A lush headland that's part of the forested Daintree Region, Cape Tribulation was so named by Lieutenant--later Captain--Cook in 1770, when his ship ran aground in the area.
Take a break from the city and head to Daintree National Park and Cow Bay Beach. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Thornton Beach and Myall Beach. There's lots more to do: delve into the lush surroundings at Daintree Rainforest - Cooper Creek Wilderness, admire the sheer force of Alexandra Bay Waterfall, and get great views at Walu Wugirriga Lookout.

For other places to visit, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Cape Tribulation driving holiday planning website .

Traveling by bus from Cairns to Cape Tribulation takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in October, and nighttime lows around 23°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sun) to allow time to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cape Tribulation

Parks Nature Beaches

Side Trip

Cow Bay
Find places to stay Oct 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Daintree National Park ©
Daintree National Park
Thornton Beach ©
Thornton Beach
Cow Bay Beach ©
Cow Bay Beach

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Palm Cove Beach and St Mary’s by The Sea chapel. Escape the urban bustle at Mossman Gorge and Four Mile Beach. Spend the 14th (Mon) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. And it doesn't end there: tour the pleasant surroundings at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, take in the exciting artwork at Ngarru Gallery, relax in the rural setting at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, and head outdoors with Horses in Port.

For reviews, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Port Douglas trip planner .

Traveling by combination of car and ferry from Cape Tribulation to Port Douglas takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In October, daytime highs in Port Douglas are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 23°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Thu) early enough to travel to Townsville.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Palm Cove, Mossman Gorge
Find places to stay Oct 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

2
nights
Townsville

Townsville
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
On the 18th (Fri), head off the coast to Museum of Tropical Queensland, then kick back and relax at The Strand, and then take in the pleasant sights at Castle Hill. Keep things going the next day: stroll through Douglas Mountain Bike Reserve, look for all kinds of wild species at Billabong Sanctuary, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at St James Cathedral.

To find ratings, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, read Townsville trip builder site .

Do a combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Townsville in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in October, and nighttime lows around 23°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) early enough to ride a ferry to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Townsville

Parks Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Oct 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Castle Hill
Castle Hill
Billabong Sanctuary ©
Billabong Sanctuary
Museum of Tropical Queensland ©
Museum of Tropical Queensland

3
nights
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
Attractions like Big Mama Sailing and Magnetic Island National Park make great kid-friendly stops. Take a break from the city and head to Magnetic Island Forts Walk and Fishing Charters & Tours.

You can plan Magnetic Island trip in no time by asking Inspirock to help create your itinerary.

Magnetic Island is very close to Townsville. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in October, and nighttime lows around 23°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

Wildlife Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Oct 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Magnetic Island National Park ©
Magnetic Island National Park
Fishing Charters & Tours
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay

4
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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Airlie Beach Lagoon and Grays Bay. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Kayaking & Canoeing and Horseshoe Bay. Change things up with a short trip to Mother Beddock Rock in Bowen (about 1h 20 min away). Spend the 24th (Thu) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's still lots to do: do sightseeing your way with Cumberland Charter Yachts, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and choose your vessel at Queensland Yacht Charters.

For reviews, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Airlie Beach road trip tool .

You can do a combination of ferry and car from Magnetic Island to Airlie Beach in 4.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, train, and bus. Traveling from Magnetic Island in October, expect nights in Airlie Beach to be about the same, around 24°C, while days are little chillier, around 30°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Sat) early enough to ride a ferry to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Bowen
Find places to stay Oct 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Airlie Beach Lagoon ©
Airlie Beach Lagoon

2
nights
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
On the 27th (Sun), enjoy the sand and surf at Catseye Beach and then step off the mainland to explore Whitsunday Islands National Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: tee off at Hamilton Island Golf Club and then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For reviews, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Hamilton Island trip itinerary site .

Getting from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island by ferry takes about an hour. In October, plan for daily highs up to 31°C, and evening lows to 25°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Outdoors Wildlife Parks

Side Trip

Whitsunday Islands National Park
Find places to stay Oct 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Catseye Beach ©
Catseye Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club

1
night
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Tue): contemplate the waterfront views at Wanggoolba Creek, explore the activities along Boomanjin lake, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake McKenzie. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate the waterfront views at Eli Creek.

To find ratings, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Fraser Island journey tool .

You can do a combination of flight, ferry, and car from Hamilton Island to Fraser Island in 9 hours. Another option is to do a combination of ferry, bus, and car. Expect a bit cooler evenings in Fraser Island when traveling from Hamilton Island in October, with lows around 19°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Fraser Island

Nature Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Oct 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Lake McKenzie ©
Lake McKenzie
Eli Creek ©
Eli Creek
Wanggoolba Creek ©
Wanggoolba Creek

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.
You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Bondi Beach and Shelly Beach. Discover out-of-the-way places like Dolphin & Whale Watching and Speed Boats Tours. Next up on the itinerary: hike along Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk, stroll through Camp Cove, catch a live performance at Sydney Opera House, and admire the natural beauty at The Royal Botanic Garden.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Sydney road trip planning tool .

You can do a combination of car, ferry, and flight from Fraser Island to Sydney in 8.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of car, ferry, and train. October in Sydney sees daily highs of 28°C and lows of 17°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Taronga Zoo, Shelly Beach
Find places to stay Oct 30 — Nov 3:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk ©
Manly Beach
Manly Beach

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