8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Great Barrier Reef itinerary builder

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Route & dates

8 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly + shuttle:  6​h 45​min
1
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Cairns
— 2 nights
Fly:  2​h 45​min
3
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
bus:  45​min
4
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  5​h 45​min
End: Sydney

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 20th (Fri): get great views at Flagstaff Hill Lookout. Keep things going the next day: look for gifts at With Sugar, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, then take an exotic tour of a safari tour, and finally head outdoors with Horses in Port.

To see ratings, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Port Douglas trip builder website .

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 December, expect Port Douglas to be a bit warmer, temps between 36°C and 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) to allow enough time to take a bus to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

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.
On the 23rd (Mon), have fun at Tobruk Memorial Pool and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Tue): get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour and then trek along Esplanade Boardwalk.

To find other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, read our Cairns trip maker app .

You can take a bus from Port Douglas to Cairns in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In December in Cairns, expect temperatures between 36°C during the day and 26°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
Start off your visit on the 25th (Wed): contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet and then stroll through Whitehaven Beach.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Whitsunday Island online road trip planner .

You can fly from Cairns to Whitsunday Island in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Whitsunday Island are 37°C, while nighttime lows are 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) to allow enough time to take a bus to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Hill Inlet ©
Hill Inlet
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

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.
On the 26th (Thu), stop by Beach Book Boutique, stroll through Airlie Beach Lagoon, and then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour. On the 27th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see the world from above with a helicopter tour and then get interesting insight from Tours.

Plan a trip to Airlie Beach easily and quickly by telling Inspirock to suggest an itinerary.

Getting from Whitsunday Island to Airlie Beach by bus takes about an hour. Other options: ride a ferry. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from Whitsunday Island in December since evenings lows in Airlie Beach dip to 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Waterskiing & Jetskiing
Scuba & Snorkeling
Airlie Beach Lagoon ©
Airlie Beach Lagoon

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