37 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

37 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

37 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  5​h 30​min
1
Townsville
— 1 night
ferry:  30​min
2
Magnetic Island
— 1 night
ferry + Drive:  3​h 15​min
3
Mission Beach
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
4
Port Douglas
— 8 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
5
Cairns
— 9 nights
Fly:  1​h 30​min
6
Hamilton Island
— 3 nights
ferry:  1​h
7
Airlie Beach
— 5 nights
ferry:  1​h 15​min
8
Whitsunday Island
— 2 nights
+3
Fly + Drive + ferry + Drive:  9​h
9
Fraser Island
— 5 nights
+3
Drive + ferry + Drive + Fly:  8​h 15​min
End: Sydney

1
night
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 14th (Tue), kick back and relax at The Strand.

For other places to visit, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, read Townsville trip planner.

Sydney to Townsville is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a train. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Sydney in August, with highs in Townsville at 30°C and lows at 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Wed) so you can catch the ferry to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Townsville

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Museums
Find places to stay Aug 14 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
The Strand ©
The Strand
Castle Hill
Castle Hill
Museum of Tropical Queensland ©
Museum of Tropical Queensland

1
night
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
On the 16th (Thu), choose your vessel at Pilgrim Sailing, stroll through Geoffrey Bay, and then choose your vessel at Big Mama Sailing.

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

Magnetic Island is just a short distance from Townsville. In August, daytime highs in Magnetic Island are 30°C, while nighttime lows are 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Pilgrim Sailing ©
Pilgrim Sailing
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay

1
night
Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Fri): hike along Kennedy Walking Track, take in the exciting artwork at Helen Wiltshire Gallery, and then stroll through Mission Beach.

To find reviews, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Mission Beach trip itinerary planner .

Do a combination of ferry and car from Magnetic Island to Mission Beach in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, train, and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Mission Beach

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Trails
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Kennedy Walking Track ©
Kennedy Walking Track
Helen Wiltshire Gallery ©
Helen Wiltshire Gallery

8
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.
Kids will enjoy Safaris and Scuba & Snorkeling. Get outdoors at Four Mile Beach and Mossman Gorge. Spend the 22nd (Wed) exploring nature at Mowbray National Park. There's much more to do: look for gifts at Coffee Works, meet the residents at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, tee off at Port Douglas Golf Tours, and look for all kinds of wild species at Agincourt Reef.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read our Port Douglas trip itinerary planning website .

Traveling by car from Mission Beach to Port Douglas takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or do a combination of bus, train, and taxi. In August, daytime highs in Port Douglas are 31°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

#Outdoors, #Wildlife, #Parks

Side Trips

Mossman Gorge, Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery
Find places to stay Aug 17 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Four Mile Beach ©
Four Mile Beach

9
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.
Shop till you drop at Tanks Arts Centre and Luminous Lights. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Palm Cove Beach and Yorkeys Knob Beach. Venture out of the city with trips to Palm Cove (Hartley's Crocodile Adventures & Kayaking & Canoeing). Spend the 26th (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 29th (Wed) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. There's much more to do: hike along Esplanade Boardwalk, browse the eclectic array of goods at Rusty's Market, enjoy some diversion at Esplanade Lagoon Pool, and relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see ratings, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, use the Cairns trip itinerary builder website .

Getting from Port Douglas to Cairns by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. In August, daytime highs in Cairns are 31°C, while nighttime lows are 20°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to travel to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Cairns

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Wildlife

Side Trips

Palm Cove, Smithfield Shopping Centre, Yorkeys Knob Beach, Tanks Arts Centre
Find places to stay Aug 25 — Sep 3:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach

3
nights
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Attractions like Scuba & Snorkeling and Wild life Hamilton Island make great kid-friendly stops. Visiting Catseye Beach and Hamilton Island Golf Club will get you outdoors. There's still lots to do: go for a stroll along the water at Hamilton Island Marina and perfect your strike at Hamilton Island Bowling Alley.

For maps, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Hamilton Island trip itinerary builder website .

Fly from Cairns to Hamilton Island in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train, bus, and ferry. Traveling from Cairns in September, expect nights in Hamilton Island to be about the same, around 23°C, while days are little chillier, around 29°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) early enough to catch the ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Beaches
Find places to stay Sep 3 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club
Wild life Hamilton Island ©
Wild life Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island Marina ©
Hamilton Island Marina

5
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.
Visiting Waterskiing & Jetskiing and Airlie Beach Lagoon will get you outdoors. Attractions like Scuba & Snorkeling and Whitehaven Beach make great kid-friendly stops. On the 8th (Sat), spend a thrilling day on the water with a speed boat tour. There's lots more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Heart Reef, get interesting insight from Cumberland Charter Yachts, trek along Whitsunday Great Walk, and look for gifts at Beach Book Boutique.

To find ratings, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Airlie Beach tour planning website .

You can ride a ferry from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach in an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus. In September in Airlie Beach, expect temperatures between 29°C during the day and 23°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Tue) so you can catch the ferry to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Parks

Side Trip

Whitsunday Islands
Find places to stay Sep 6 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Speed Boats Tours

2
nights
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Start off your visit on the 12th (Wed): contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet and then kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach. Keep things going the next day: step off the mainland to explore Whitsunday Islands National Park.

To see reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, read Whitsunday Island trip planner.

Getting from Airlie Beach to Whitsunday Island by ferry takes about 1.5 hours. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Airlie Beach in September since evenings lows in Whitsunday Island dip to 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can travel to Fraser Island.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

#Parks, #Nature, #Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet

5
nights
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Take a break from the city and head to Lake McKenzie and Seventy-Five Mile Beach. We've included these beaches for you: Indian Head and Eli Creek.

To see more things to do, photos, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Fraser Island online route builder .

You can do a combination of flight, ferry, and car from Whitsunday Island to Fraser Island in 9 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, car, and ferry; or do a combination of bus, ferry, and car. On the 19th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Fraser Island

#Parks, #Nature, #Outdoors
Find places to stay Sep 13 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Lake McKenzie ©
Lake McKenzie
Seventy-Five Mile Beach ©
Seventy-Five Mile Beach
Eli Creek ©
Eli Creek

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