8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly + shuttle:  6​h 45​min
1
Port Douglas
— Few hours
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Cairns
— 2 nights
+3
Fly + foot + bus + ferry:  4​h 15​min
3
Magnetic Island
— 1 night
ferry + Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
5
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h
End: Sydney

few
hours
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.
For ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Port Douglas road trip planning site .

Sydney to Port Douglas is an approximately 7-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also drive; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Sydney in April, things will get a bit warmer in Port Douglas: highs are around 34°C and lows about 25°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Apr 15 — 16:

2
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.
On the 16th (Tue), let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, then learn about all things military at The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the sheer force of Josephine Falls, look for gifts at Australian Leather Company, and then soar above the sights with a balloon tour.

To see where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Cairns day trip planning website .

Traveling by car from Port Douglas to Cairns takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In April, daytime highs in Cairns are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 26°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Wed) early enough to travel to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Apr 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Josephine Falls ©
Josephine Falls
River Rafting & Tubing
Balloon Rides

1
night
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
On the 18th (Thu), choose your vessel at Big Mama Sailing, then enjoy the sand and surf at Geoffrey Bay, and then step off the mainland to explore Magnetic Island Forts Walk.

To find where to stay, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, read our Magnetic Island trip planner .

Do a combination of flight and ferry from Cairns to Magnetic Island in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. In April, plan for daily highs up to 35°C, and evening lows to 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) so you can travel to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

Outdoors Transportation Tours
Find places to stay Apr 17 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 19th (Fri): kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach, take a memorable tour with Tours, and then look for gifts at Grotty Yachty Clothing. On the 20th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the activities along Heart Reef, tour the water at your own pace with Cumberland Charter Yachts, and then take in the exciting artwork at Art Whitsunday Gallery & Shop.

To see other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, use the Airlie Beach trip planner .

You can do a combination of ferry and car from Magnetic Island to Airlie Beach in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, train, and bus. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Magnetic Island in April: highs in Airlie Beach hover around 31°C, while lows dip to 26°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sat) so you can catch the ferry to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Transportation
Find places to stay Apr 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Heart Reef ©
Heart Reef
Grotty Yachty Clothing ©
Grotty Yachty Clothing

2
nights
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Sun): look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the waterfront activity at Hamilton Island Marina and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Catseye Beach.

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

Getting from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island by ferry takes about an hour. April in Hamilton Island sees daily highs of 31°C and lows of 26°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Apr 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Catseye Beach ©
Catseye Beach
Hamilton Island Marina ©
Hamilton Island Marina

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