7 days in Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast Itinerary

7 days in Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast Itinerary

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Route & dates

7 days in Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  4​h
1
Whitsunday Island
— Few hours
Fly:  2​h 45​min
2
Cairns
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
3
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  6​h
4
Gold Coast
— 1 night
Fly:  3​h 30​min
End: Sydney

few
hours
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Sat): explore the activities along Hill Inlet and then kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach.

To see maps, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Whitsunday Island trip itinerary builder tool .

Sydney to Whitsunday Island is an approximately 4-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or take a train. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Sydney in December: highs in Whitsunday Island hover around 37°C, while lows dip to 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Sat) early enough to travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas. On the 23rd (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: enjoy some diversion at Esplanade Lagoon Pool, hike along Esplanade Boardwalk, and then admire the natural beauty at Botanical Gardens.

For more things to do, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Cairns visit planning website .

Fly from Whitsunday Island to Cairns in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Cairns are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk
Esplanade Lagoon Pool ©
Esplanade Lagoon Pool

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Tue): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Here are some ideas for day two: see exotic creatures in open habitats at a safari tour.

To find out how to plan a trip to Port Douglas, use our trip itinerary maker.

You can drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a shuttle. In December, plan for daily highs up to 36°C, and evening lows to 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Gold Coast.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris

1
night
Gold Coast

Gold Coast ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Thu): get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Sea World Theme Park. On the 27th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: find something for the whole family at Warner Bros. Movie World, then kick back and relax at Surfers Paradise Beach, and then get in on the family fun at Infinity Attraction.

To see photos, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Gold Coast sightseeing planner.

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Gold Coast takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and train; or drive. Traveling from Port Douglas in December, expect Gold Coast to be a bit cooler, temps between 32°C and 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Gold Coast

Theme Parks Parks Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Sea World Theme Park ©
Sea World Theme Park
Warner Bros. Movie World
Warner Bros. Movie World
Surfers Paradise Beach ©
Surfers Paradise Beach

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