15 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

15 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Salt Lake City
+2
Fly + taxi + bus:  23​h
1
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
2
Hamilton Island
— 1 night
Fly + shuttle:  3​h 30​min
3
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
4
Cooktown
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 45​min
5
Mission Beach
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h
6
Cairns
— 5 nights
Fly:  22​h 45​min
End: Salt Lake City

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.
Step out of the city life by going to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Heart Reef. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Above & Below Photography Gallery and Art Whitsunday Gallery & Shop. Step out of Airlie Beach with an excursion to Horseshoe Bay in Bowen--about 1h 20 min away. And it doesn't end there: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and go for a walk through Bicentennial Walkway.

To see traveler tips, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Airlie Beach trip maker website .

Salt Lake City, USA to Airlie Beach is an approximately 23-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of train, flight, and bus. Traveling from Salt Lake City to Airlie Beach, you'll lose 17 hours due to the time zone difference. Plan for much hotter temperatures traveling from Salt Lake City in February, with highs in Airlie Beach at 85°F and lows at 76°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Tue) to allow time to ride a ferry to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Horseshoe Bay
Find places to stay Feb 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
night
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Wed): play a few rounds at Hamilton Island Golf Club and then enjoy the sand and surf at Catseye Beach.

To find reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read our Hamilton Island online tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by ferry from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island takes an hour. In February in Hamilton Island, expect temperatures between 85°F during the day and 76°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Wed) early enough to travel to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Feb 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club
Catseye Beach ©
Catseye Beach

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Thu): get great views at Flagstaff Hill Lookout, hunt for treasures at Sunday Market Port Douglas, then don't miss a visit to St Mary’s by The Sea chapel, then browse the exhibits of Studio 49 Artisan Gallery, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Opal Reef. On the 7th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for gifts at With Sugar, explore the galleries of Ngarru Gallery, do a tasting at Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery, then look for all kinds of wild species at Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime, and finally take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

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

You can do a combination of flight and shuttle from Hamilton Island to Port Douglas in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, bus, and train. February in Port Douglas sees daily highs of 88°F and lows of 75°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) so you can travel to Cooktown.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Parks Wildlife Shopping

Side Trip

Mossman
Find places to stay Feb 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Sunday Market Port Douglas ©
Sunday Market Port Douglas
St Mary’s by The Sea chapel ©
St Mary’s by The Sea chapel
Horseback Riding Tours

1
night
Cooktown

Cooktown ©
Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. Kick off your visit on the 8th (Sat): visit a coastal fixture at Grassy Hill, get engrossed in the history at James Cook Museum, then kick back and relax at Finch Bay, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Great Northern Tours.

For other places to visit, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Cooktown online trip itinerary builder .

You can drive from Port Douglas to Cooktown in 3.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) early enough to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Cooktown

Parks Wildlife Beaches
Find places to stay Feb 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Finch Bay ©
Finch Bay
James Cook Museum ©
James Cook Museum
Grassy Hill ©
Grassy Hill

1
day
Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
You've now added Fishin Mission to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 9th (Sun): cast your line with Fishin Mission, explore the galleries of Helen Wiltshire Gallery, then stroll through Mission Beach, and finally see what you can catch with a fishing tour.

To see photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Mission Beach trip maker tool .

Traveling by car from Cooktown to Mission Beach takes 5.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sun) early enough to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Mission Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Feb 8 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Fishing Charters & Tours
Fishin Mission ©
Fishin Mission

5
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.
Relax by the water at Etty Bay and Yorkeys Knob Beach. Take a break from the city and head to Shark Diving and Michaelmas Cay. There's lots more to do: identify plant and animal life at Atherton Tablelands, view the masterpieces at Underart Gallery, take in the dramatic scenery at Crystal Cascades, and learn about all things military at The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum.

To see reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Cairns trip planner .

Drive from Mission Beach to Cairns in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In February in Cairns, expect temperatures between 88°F during the day and 75°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Cairns

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Etty Bay, Yorkeys Knob Beach, Crystal Cascades
Find places to stay Feb 9 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Atherton Tablelands ©
Atherton Tablelands
Shark Diving
Yorkeys Knob Beach ©
Yorkeys Knob Beach

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