Route & dates
49 days in Cairns, Gold Coast & Brisbane Itinerary
Fly: 16h 45min
Cairns— 2 nights
Fly: 4h 15min
Gold Coast— 22 nights
Brisbane— 23 nights
Fly: 17h 30min
The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
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.Kick off your visit on the 24th (Mon): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour. On the 25th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: step off the mainland to explore Michaelmas Cay, then pause for some serene contemplation at St Monica's Cathedral, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Palm Cove Beach.
To see maps, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Cairns tour itinerary builder .
Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Cairns is an approximately 17-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train, taxi, and flight. The time zone difference moving from Gulf Standard Time (GST) to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland) (AEST) is 6 hours. Traveling from Dubai in September, things will get colder in Cairns: highs are around 33°C and lows about 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can travel to Gold Coast.
Things to do in Cairns
Palm Cove Beach
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 26:
A city of towering skyscrapers, sandy beaches, and tree-lined streets, Gold Coast has an unpretentious air complemented by a citywide focus on sports and the arts.Get in touch with nature at Kirra Beach and Broken Head Beach. Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Coolangatta Beach and Burleigh Heads Beach. Change things up with these side-trips from Gold Coast: Byron Bay (Kayaking & Canoeing, Wategos Beach, & more), Lennox Head Beach (in Lennox Head) and Murwillumbah (Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre & Tweed Regional Museum - Murwillumbah). Spend the 28th (Fri) exploring nature at Natural Bridge. Spend the 7th (Sun) exploring nature at Springbrook National Park. There's still lots to do: stroll through Burleigh Head National Park, buy something for everyone on your list at Robina Town Shopping Centre, explore and take pictures at Tropical Fruit World, and kick back and relax at Tugun Beach.
For maps, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Gold Coast road trip planner.
Fly from Cairns to Gold Coast in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or drive. In September, Gold Coast is a bit cooler than Cairns - with highs of 27°C and lows of 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) so you can go by car to Brisbane.
Things to do in Gold Coast
Byron Bay, Ballina, Murwillumbah, Glow Worm Caves, Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk
Find places to stay Sep 26 — Oct 18:
Australia's New World City
Queensland’s biggest town and state capital, Brisbane has an attractive, manicured image based around its riverside aesthetic as well as the contrast between its high-rise center and extensive urban greenery.Shop till you drop at Maroochydore, Sunshine Plaza and Maleny Cheese. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Queen Street Mall and Chenrezig Institute. Explore Brisbane's surroundings by going to Mooloolaba (Scuba & Snorkeling, Point Cartwright, & more), Maleny (Maleny Dairies, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, & more) and Wolston Farmhouse (in Wacol). Pack the 2nd (Fri) with family-friendly diversions at Aussie World. On the 3rd (Sat), dedicate a day to the elevated beauty of Main Range National Park. There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Maroochydore Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Dicky Beach, let little ones run wild at South Bank Parklands, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Kondalilla National Park.
To find reviews, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, read our Brisbane driving holiday planner .
You can drive from Gold Coast to Brisbane in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. October in Brisbane sees daily highs of 29°C and lows of 19°C at night. You will have some time to spend on the 10th (Sat) before leaving for home.
Things to do in Brisbane
Caloundra, Maleny, Mooloolaba, Ipswich, Montville
Find places to stay Oct 18 — Nov 10:
53 days in Gold Coast & Cairns BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, outdoors, beaches, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 60 days in Brisbane BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, slow & easy, popular sights PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Slow & easy 60 days in Australia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 58 days in Australia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM December, relaxing, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 60 days in Australia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 60 days in Australia BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS August, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: August, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 59 days in Australia BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, popular sights PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium