16 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Sydney Itinerary

16 days in Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne & Sydney Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Australia travel 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
— 3 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.
Get in touch with nature at Scuba & Snorkeling and Palm Cove Beach. Take a break from Cairns with a short trip to Village Gallery in Palm Cove, about 32 minutes away. Spend the 30th (Mon) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. There's more to do: trek along Esplanade Boardwalk.

For photos, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Cairns trip planner.

San Francisco, USA to Cairns is an approximately 20-hour flight. You'll lose 18 hours traveling from San Francisco to Cairns due to the time zone difference. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from San Francisco in September; daily highs in Cairns reach 83°F and lows reach 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Tue) so you can drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trip

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.
Take a break from the city and head to Scuba & Snorkeling and Safaris. The adventure continues: look for all kinds of wild species at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures and see the vivid underwater world at Opal Reef.

To see where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Port Douglas online trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Cairns to Port Douglas by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. October in Port Douglas sees daily highs of 85°F and lows of 68°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) early enough to travel to Whitsunday Island.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours · Parks

Side Trip

Whitsunday Island

— 1 night
On the 5th (Sat), contemplate the waterfront views at Hill Inlet and then kick back and relax at Whitehaven Beach.

For maps, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Whitsunday Island trip itinerary builder app.

Traveling by flight from Port Douglas to Whitsunday Island takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or take a bus. Expect slightly colder evenings in Whitsunday Island when traveling from Port Douglas in October, with lows around 62°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) early enough to travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Whitsunday Island

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

Melbourne

— 3 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.
Do your shopping at Melbourne Central and Collins St/Swanston St. Melbourne Museum and National Gallery of Victoria are good opportunities to explore the local culture. There's much more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Royal Botanic Gardens, meet the residents at Melbourne Zoo, take in panoramic vistas at Eureka Skydeck, and appreciate the history behind Shrine of Remembrance.

To find reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Melbourne day trip tool.

Traveling by flight from Whitsunday Island to Melbourne takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from Whitsunday Island in October, expect Melbourne to be slightly colder, temps between 69°F and 47°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Tue) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Melbourne

Neighborhoods · Parks · Museums · Shopping

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.
Sydney Opera House and Brett Whiteley Studio are good opportunities to explore the local culture. We've included these beaches for you: Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. There's much more to do: take a stroll through The Rocks, admire the striking features of Queen Victoria Building, view the masterpieces at ATTY Gallery, and hunt for treasures at Sydney Fish Market.

To find other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Sydney trip itinerary app.

You can fly from Melbourne to Sydney in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Traveling from Melbourne in October, expect Sydney to be a bit warmer, temps between 76°F and 59°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

Shopping · Parks · Outdoors · Beaches