16 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Sydney Itinerary

16 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Sydney Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Australia trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Cairns
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Port Douglas
— 3 nights
Fly
3
Whitsunday Island
— 1 night
Fly
4
Melbourne
— 2 nights
Fly
5
Sydney
— 4 nights
Fly

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Cairns

— 2 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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum and Cairns Art Gallery. Escape the urban bustle at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Skydiving. Change things up with these side-trips from Cairns: Babinda Boulders (in Babinda) and Palm Cove (Spas & Palm Cove Beach). It doesn't end there: admire the sheer force of Josephine Falls.

For other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Cairns trip planner.

Boston, USA to Cairns is an approximately 27-hour flight. Traveling from Boston to Cairns, you'll lose 15 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Boston in December, things will get much hotter in Cairns: highs are around 88°F and lows about 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trips

Port Douglas

— 3 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.
Get outdoors at Scuba & Snorkeling and Opal Reef. Explore hidden gems such as St Mary’s by The Sea chapel and Horses in Port. Next up on the itinerary: see exotic creatures in open habitats at a safari tour, kick back and relax at Four Mile Beach, and do a tasting at Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery.

To find where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Port Douglas itinerary builder app.

You can drive from Cairns to Port Douglas in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Port Douglas can reach 88°F, while at night they dip to 73°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Parks

Side Trip

Whitsunday Island

— 1 night
On the 28th (Sat), look for all kinds of wild species at Whitsunday Islands National Park, explore the activities along Hill Inlet, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Whitehaven Beach.

For maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Whitsunday Island day trip planner.

You can fly from Port Douglas to Whitsunday Island in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or take a bus. December in Whitsunday Island sees daily highs of 89°F and lows of 69°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks · Nature · Beaches · Outdoors

Melbourne

— 2 nights

Australia's Garden City

The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
Popular historic sites such as St Paul's Cathedral and Scots Church are in your itinerary. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Old Melbourne Gaol and Melbourne Museum. There's much more to do: enjoy unforgettable views with a balloon tour, take in panoramic vistas at Eureka Skydeck, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Melbourne Zoo, and explore the world behind art at ArtVo.

To see photos, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Melbourne trip planner.

You can fly from Whitsunday Island to Melbourne in 5 hours. Other options are to take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Whitsunday Island in December, with highs in Melbourne at 78°F and lows at 54°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Tue) so you can travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Melbourne

Parks · Museums · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Sydney

— 4 nights

The Harbour City

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 Canyoning & Rappelling Tours and Wentworth Falls Lookout. Step off the beaten path and head to Speed Boats Tours and Australian National Maritime Museum. Next up on the itinerary: see a show at Sydney Opera House, go for a walk through The Opera House to the Botanic Gardens Walk, admire the natural beauty at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, and visit The Rocks.

For more things to do, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Sydney trip builder.

Fly from Melbourne to Sydney in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Traveling from Melbourne in December, Sydney is somewhat warmer at night with lows of 65°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 4th (Sat) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Neighborhoods

Side Trips