12 days in Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast Itinerary

12 days in Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Queensland itinerary planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Hamilton Island
— 1 day
Unknown
2
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
Bus
3
Airlie Beach
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Townsville
— 1 night
Fly
5
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Cairns
— 3 nights
Fly
7
Gold Coast
— 2 nights
Fly

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Hamilton Island

— 1 day
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Thu): take in the waterfront activity at Hamilton Island Marina and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find photos, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Hamilton Island itinerary planning website.

Melbourne to Hamilton Island is an approximately 4.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and ferry. Traveling from Melbourne in September, you will find days in Hamilton Island are somewhat warmer (29°C), and nights are much warmer (23°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Tours · Wildlife · Outdoors · Parks
Find places to stay Sep 16 — 17:

Whitsunday Island

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Fri): kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach and then explore the activities along Hill Inlet.

For maps, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Whitsunday Island travel planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Hamilton Island to Whitsunday Island. Traveling from Hamilton Island in September, expect little chillier with lows of 17°C in Whitsunday Island. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to take a bus to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Nature
Find places to stay Sep 16 — 17:

Airlie Beach

— 2 nights

Gateway to the Whitsundays

Very much a town with an emphasis on the tropical lifestyle, Airlie Beach offers exotic surroundings with palm trees and charming, sandy beaches.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Sat): take an exotic tour of Whitsunday Crocodile Safari, then go for a walk through Bicentennial Walkway, and then look for gifts at Grotty Yachty Clothing. Here are some ideas for day two: take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, then identify plant and animal life at Turtle Tours, then get outside with Outdoor Activities, and finally relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To find photos, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Airlie Beach trip itinerary builder website.

Take a bus from Whitsunday Island to Airlie Beach in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry. While traveling from Whitsunday Island, expect little chillier days and a bit warmer nights in Airlie Beach, ranging from highs of 29°C to lows of 23°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can drive to Townsville.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Sep 17 — 19:

Townsville

— 1 night
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Mon): discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, then take in the pleasant sights at Castle Hill, and then don't miss a visit to Jezzine Barracks.

Find out how to plan Townsville trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

Drive from Airlie Beach to Townsville in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. September in Townsville sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 21°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Mon) to allow time to fly to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Townsville

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Trails
Find places to stay Sep 19 — 20:

Port Douglas

— 2 nights
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 (Tue): stop by With Sugar, explore the gorgeous colors at Opal Reef, then look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, and finally get great views at Flagstaff Hill Lookout. Keep things going the next day: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Daintree National Park.

For maps, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Port Douglas online day trip planner.

Getting from Townsville to Port Douglas by flight takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. In September, daily temperatures in Port Douglas can reach 33°C, while at night they dip to 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) early enough to drive to Cairns.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife · Parks · Nature · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Sep 20 — 22:

Cairns

— 3 nights

The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef

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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Billy Tea Safaris and Shark Diving. Change things up with these side-trips from Cairns: Kuranda (Birdworld Kuranda, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, &more). There's still lots to do: step off the mainland to explore Michaelmas Cay, learn about all things military at The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum, enjoy the sand and surf at Trinity Beach, and walk around Munro Martin Parklands.

For other places to visit and more tourist information, read our Cairns trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Port Douglas to Cairns by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 33°C in September, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) to allow time to fly to Gold Coast.

Things to do in Cairns

Wildlife · Outdoors · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Sep 22 — 25:

Gold Coast

— 2 nights
A city of towering skyscrapers, sandy beaches, and tree-lined streets, Gold Coast has an unpretentious air complemented by a citywide focus on sports and the arts.
On the 26th (Sun), get up close to creatures of the deep with Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching, enjoy the sand and surf at Coolangatta Beach, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Burleigh Head National Park. Here are some ideas for day two: don't miss a visit to Best Of All Lookout, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Burleigh Heads Beach, and then take in panoramic vistas at SkyPoint Climb.

To see reviews, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Gold Coast online tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by flight from Cairns to Gold Coast takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. In September, Gold Coast is little chillier than Cairns - with highs of 27°C and lows of 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) to allow time to fly back home.

Things to do in Gold Coast

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 25 — 27: