16 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

16 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Great Barrier Reef holiday maker

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Route & dates

16 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  4​h
1
Hamilton Island
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
2
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Bowen
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 15​min
4
Mission Beach
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h
5
Cairns
— 4 nights
6
Port Douglas
— 4 nights
shuttle + Fly:  6​h 45​min
End: Sydney

2
nights
Hamilton Island

A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Step off the beaten path and head to Catseye Beach and Hamilton Island Marina. Spend the 30th (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's more to do: tee off at Hamilton Island Golf Club and get outside with Jetryder.

To see other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Hamilton Island tour planning site .

Sydney to Hamilton Island is an approximately 4-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of bus, car, and ferry. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Sydney in June, with highs in Hamilton Island at 26°C and lows at 22°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Mon) so you can catch the ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Jun 29 — Jul 1:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club
Hamilton Island Marina ©
Hamilton Island Marina

3
nights
Airlie Beach

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 Into The Blue Gallery. Bring the kids along to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Scuba & Snorkeling. It doesn't end there: add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour and soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers.

To find traveler tips, ratings, maps, and tourist information, read Airlie Beach holiday planner .

Ride a ferry from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach in an hour. In July in Airlie Beach, expect temperatures between 24°C during the day and 20°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Thu) so you can travel to Bowen.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Whitehaven Beach ©
Whitehaven Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
night
Bowen

Bowen ©
Bowen is a coastal town and locality in the Whitsunday Region on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. On the 5th (Fri), kick back and relax at Horseshoe Bay, tour the pleasant surroundings at Grays Bay, then make a trip to Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout, and finally don't miss a visit to Mother Beddock Rock.

For more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Bowen trip planner .

Getting from Airlie Beach to Bowen by car takes about an hour. Traveling from Airlie Beach in July, expect little chillier with lows of 13°C in Bowen. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Fri) early enough to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Bowen

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Jul 4 — 5:
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Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Grays Bay ©
Grays Bay
Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout ©
Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout

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.
On the 6th (Sat), cast your line with a fishing tour, browse the exhibits of Helen Wiltshire Gallery, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Mission Beach.

For more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Mission Beach trip itinerary website .

Traveling by car from Bowen to Mission Beach takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Cairns.

Things to do in Mission Beach

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Fishing Charters & Tours
Helen Wiltshire Gallery ©
Helen Wiltshire Gallery

4
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.
Attractions like Scuba & Snorkeling and Muddy's Playground make great kid-friendly stops. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Atherton Tablelands and Australian Leather Company. Take a break from Cairns with a short trip to Spas & Wellness in Palm Cove, about 30 minutes away. Spend the 10th (Wed) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. The adventure continues: soar above the sights with a balloon tour and take in the exciting artwork at Bones and Jones.

For other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, read Cairns online journey planner .

You can drive from Mission Beach to Cairns in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In July, daytime highs in Cairns are 30°C, while nighttime lows are 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 6 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Muddy's Playground ©
Muddy's Playground

4
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.
Bring the kids along to Opal Reef and Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. Explore hidden gems such as Spas & Wellness and Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery. Spend the 13th (Sat) spotting exotic species with a safari tour. Spend the 11th (Thu) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's more to do: identify plant and animal life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures.

Discover how to plan a Port Douglas trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

You can drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In July in Port Douglas, expect temperatures between 30°C during the day and 20°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery
Find places to stay Jul 10 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

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