59 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

59 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Great Barrier Reef trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

59 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  6​h 15​min
1
Rockhampton
— 3 nights
Fly:  5​h 45​min
2
Hamilton Island
— 3 nights
ferry:  1​h
3
Airlie Beach
— 7 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
Bowen
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
5
Townsville
— 7 nights
ferry:  30​min
6
Magnetic Island
— 4 nights
ferry + Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
Mission Beach
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
8
Cairns
— 7 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
9
Port Douglas
— 7 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
10
Cooktown
— 4 nights
Drive + Fly:  8​h
11
Mackay
— 4 nights
Fly + Drive:  6​h
12
Fraser Island
— 4 nights
+3
Drive + ferry + Drive + Fly:  8​h 15​min
End: Sydney

3
nights
Rockhampton

Rockhampton ©
With over 300 sunny days every year, Rockhampton plays host to numerous outdoor activities.
Visit Farnborough Beach and Yeppoon Main Beach for some beach relaxation. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Capricorn Caves and Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Rockhampton: Yeppoon (Bluff Point Walking Track, Yeppoon Lagoon, & more). Next up on the itinerary: get engrossed in the history at Rockhampton Heritage Village, make a splash at 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre, explore the engaging exhibits at FLOW Visitors Centre, and meet the residents at Rockhampton Zoo.

For maps, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Rockhampton trip maker .

Sydney to Rockhampton is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or drive. Traveling from Sydney in July, you will find days in Rockhampton are somewhat warmer (27°C), and nights are about the same (13°C). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Fri) so you can travel to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Rockhampton

Parks Outdoors Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Yeppoon
Find places to stay Jul 9 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Capricorn Caves ©
Capricorn Caves
Yeppoon Main Beach ©
Yeppoon Main Beach
Rockhampton Botanic Gardens ©
Rockhampton Botanic Gardens

3
nights
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Catseye Beach and Hamilton Island Golf Club. Spend the 14th (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's much more to do: take in the waterfront activity at Hamilton Island Marina, get outside with Jetryder, step off the mainland to explore Whitsunday Islands National Park, and browse the exhibits of Hamilton Island Art Gallery.

For where to stay, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Hamilton Island trip planner .

Getting from Rockhampton to Hamilton Island by flight takes about 6 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of train and flight. Traveling from Rockhampton in July, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Hamilton Island, with lows around 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Tue) so you can ride a ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Whitsunday Islands National Park
Find places to stay Jul 12 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Catseye Beach ©
Catseye Beach
Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club
Passage Peak ©
Passage Peak

7
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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Whitehaven Beach and Kayaking & Canoeing. There's much more to do: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, trek along Whitsunday Great Walk, take a tour by water with Queensland Yacht Charters, and take in the pleasant sights at Bicentennial Walkway.

To see reviews, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Airlie Beach road trip planning app .

You can ride a ferry from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach in an hour. In July, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Tue) early enough to travel to Bowen.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Transportation
Find places to stay Jul 16 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Spas & Wellness
Airlie Beach Lagoon ©
Airlie Beach Lagoon

2
nights
Bowen

Bowen ©
Bowen is a coastal town and locality in the Whitsunday Region on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. Kick off your visit on the 24th (Wed): let the kids burn off some steam at Bowen Water Park Playground, then kick back and relax at Grays Bay, and then kick back and relax at Horseshoe Bay. Here are some ideas for day two: enjoy the sand and surf at Queens Beach, pause for some photo ops at The Big Mango, then take an in-depth tour of Bowen Historical Society and Museum, then make a trip to Mother Beddock Rock, and finally don't miss a visit to Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, read Bowen travel planning site .

Traveling by car from Airlie Beach to Bowen takes an hour. Traveling from Airlie Beach in July, expect little chillier with lows of 13°C in Bowen. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Thu) so you can travel to Townsville.

Things to do in Bowen

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Find places to stay Jul 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Grays Bay ©
Grays Bay
Queens Beach ©
Queens Beach

7
nights
Townsville

Townsville ©
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Step off the beaten path and head to Billabong Sanctuary and Riverway. Spend the 26th (Fri) on the water with a fishing tour. Next up on the itinerary: enjoy the sand and surf at The Strand, take in nature's colorful creations at Townsville Palmetum, stroll through Many Peaks Walking Track, and grab your bike and head to Douglas Mountain Bike Reserve.

For where to stay, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Townsville trip planner .

Drive from Bowen to Townsville in 2.5 hours. Traveling from Bowen in July, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Townsville, with lows of 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Thu) to allow time to ride a ferry to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Townsville

Parks Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 25 — Aug 1:
Highlights from your plan
Billabong Sanctuary ©
Billabong Sanctuary
The Strand ©
The Strand
Jezzine Barracks ©
Jezzine Barracks

4
nights
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island ©
Step off the beaten path and head to Magnetic Island Forts Walk and Geoffrey Bay.

To plan Magnetic Island vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

Magnetic Island is just a stone's throw from Townsville. In August, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Mon) early enough to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

Outdoors Wildlife Parks
Find places to stay Aug 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Pilgrim Sailing ©
Pilgrim Sailing
Geoffrey Bay ©
Geoffrey Bay
Magnetic Island Country Club ©
Magnetic Island Country Club

3
nights
Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Mission Beach and Fishing Charters & Tours. Explore Mission Beach's surroundings by going to Innisfail (Etty Bay, Innisfail Temple, & more). It doesn't end there: take the plunge with a skydiving experience and take in the exciting artwork at Helen Wiltshire Gallery.

To see reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Mission Beach trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Magnetic Island to Mission Beach by combination of ferry and car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, train, and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Mission Beach

Outdoors Tours Beaches

Side Trip

Innisfail
Find places to stay Aug 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Fishing Charters & Tours
Mamu Tropical Skywalk ©
Mamu Tropical Skywalk

7
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Trinity Beach and River Rafting & Tubing. Venture out of the city with trips to Palm Cove (Spas & Wellness, Annie's Ladies Boutique, & more). The adventure continues: soar above the sights with a balloon tour, see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, relax in the rural setting at Gallo DairyLand, and learn about all things military at The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum.

For reviews, photos, maps, and tourist information, read Cairns attractions planner.

Traveling by car from Mission Beach to Cairns takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In August, plan for daily highs up to 31°C, and evening lows to 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Thu) early enough to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Annie's at the Beach, Trinity Beach, Macalister Brewing Company, Crystal Cascades, Yorkeys Knob Beach
Find places to stay Aug 8 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Trinity Beach ©
Trinity Beach
Yorkeys Knob Beach ©
Yorkeys Knob Beach
Macalister Brewing Company ©
Macalister Brewing Company

7
nights
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Agincourt Reef and Spas & Wellness. Spend the 21st (Wed) exploring nature at Mowbray National Park. There's still lots to do: see the vivid underwater world at Opal Reef, tee off at Port Douglas Golf Tours, learn about winemaking at Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, and hunt for treasures at Sunday Market Port Douglas.

To see other places to visit, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Port Douglas online trip maker .

Getting from Cairns to Port Douglas by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a shuttle. In August, daily temperatures in Port Douglas can reach 31°C, while at night they dip to 19°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Thu) early enough to travel to Cooktown.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors Wildlife Parks

Side Trip

Mossman
Find places to stay Aug 15 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Mossman Golf Club ©
Mossman Golf Club
Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery ©
Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery
Port Douglas Golf Tours ©
Port Douglas Golf Tours

4
nights
Cooktown

Cooktown ©
Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. Discover out-of-the-way places like Grassy Hill and James Cook Museum. Spend the 25th (Sun) exploring nature at Endeavour River National Park. And it doesn't end there: kick back and relax at Finch Bay, cast your line with a fishing tour, look for all kinds of wild species at Great Northern Tours, and admire the sheer force of Trevethan Falls.

To find where to stay and more tourist information, go to the Cooktown tour planner.

Drive from Port Douglas to Cooktown in 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can travel to Mackay.

Things to do in Cooktown

Parks Wildlife Nature
Find places to stay Aug 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Finch Bay ©
Finch Bay
James Cook Museum ©
James Cook Museum
Grassy Hill ©
Grassy Hill

4
nights
Mackay

Mackay ©
Mackay is a city and its centre suburb in the Mackay Region on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Bucasia Beach and Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. Visit Lamberts Lookout and Town Beach for some beach relaxation. There's lots more to do: make a splash at Bluewater Lagoon, get great views at Slade Point, buy something for everyone on your list at Caneland Central Shopping Centre, and explore the different monuments and memorials at Mackay General Cemetery.

To see ratings, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Mackay online trip itinerary planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Cooktown to Mackay. August in Mackay sees daily highs of 28°C and lows of 16°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Fraser Island.

Things to do in Mackay

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Aug 26 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Bucasia Beach ©
Bucasia Beach
Lamberts Beach ©
Lamberts Beach
Town Beach ©
Town Beach

4
nights
Fraser Island

Fraser Island ©
Visit Seventy-Five Mile Beach and Eli Creek for some beach relaxation. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Central Station Rainforest and Champagne Pools.

To find reviews, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Fraser Island online road trip planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Mackay to Fraser Island. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 5th (Thu) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Fraser Island

Parks Nature Beaches
Find places to stay Aug 31 — Sep 5:
Highlights from your plan
Seventy-Five Mile Beach ©
Seventy-Five Mile Beach
Eli Creek ©
Eli Creek
Indian Head ©
Indian Head

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