9 days in Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

9 days in Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

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Route & dates

9 days in Great Barrier Reef & Sydney Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly:  18​h 45​min
1
Cairns
— 1 day
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  4​h
3
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 15​min
4
Sydney
— 2 nights
Fly:  17​h
End: San Francisco

1
day
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.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Fri): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For maps, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Cairns day trip planning website .

San Francisco, USA to Cairns is an approximately 19-hour flight. You can also do a combination of subway and flight; or do a combination of train and flight. The time zone difference when traveling from San Francisco to Cairns is 18 hours. In December, Cairns is much warmer than San Francisco - with highs of 88°F and lows of 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Fri) early enough to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Wildlife Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling

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 21st (Fri): get engrossed in the history at Port Douglas Court House Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stop by With Sugar, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and then see exotic creatures in open habitats at a safari tour.

For ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Port Douglas visit planning site .

You can drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In December in Port Douglas, expect temperatures between 88°F during the day and 73°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun) to allow time to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

1
night
Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island ©
On the 24th (Mon), head off the coast to Whitsunday Islands National Park and then kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach.

To see photos, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Whitsunday Island road trip site .

Do a combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Whitsunday Island in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and bus; or do a combination of taxi and train. In December, daily temperatures in Whitsunday Island can reach 89°F, while at night they dip to 69°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks Wildlife Nature
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Whitsunday Islands National Park ©
Whitsunday Islands National Park
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach

2
nights
Sydney

Sydney ©
Lent iconic status as a result of its famous bridge and opera house, Sydney has a down-to-earth charm that enhances its spectacular setting and functional efficiency.
Escape the urban bustle at Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach. Kids will enjoy Manly Beach and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Spend the 27th (Thu) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. There's much more to do: trek along Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk, take a stroll through The Rocks, see a show at Sydney Opera House, and stroll through The Opera House to the Botanic Gardens Walk.

Make your Sydney itinerary with Inspirock to find out what to see and where to go.

Traveling by flight from Whitsunday Island to Sydney takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a train. Traveling from Whitsunday Island in December, expect nights in Sydney to be about the same, around 65°F, while days are a bit cooler, around 81°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Thu) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk ©
Manly Beach
Manly Beach

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