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Woodbridge, Virginia

Sydney, Great Barrier Reef

How many days do I need to visit Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef?

Couple in mid 20's who has never been to Australia before. Planning to visit mid-June.  Do not have a huge budget but also wouldn't mind spending more for a great experience.  We are looking to scuba dive in the GBR but other than that not too sure what to do/see in Sydney/GBR and how many days we need for visiting both?

5 Answers

top answer by
Annette from Gold Coast

How long is a piece of string? :) Seriously tho you could spend weeks in Sydney as there is so much to see, I'd allow 2 weeks at least.

The GBR stretches from just outside of Brisbane all the way up the Queensland coast 2000kms! You will travel via a big catamaran at least 1 hour off the coast to reach it, sometimes 2 hours depending on location. We dove the southern most tip of the reef just outside of Brisbane - Flinders Reef, great diving, high vis and only fairly shallow at 15m. That's the only place we've dived here in OZ as we head overseas for warmer weather and warmer waters. 

How long do you have here?


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brisbane (city)
  2. Queensland (attraction)
  3. Flinders Reef (attraction)
5 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Kiarna from Townsville, Queensland

I would say a minimum of 2 weeks. North Queensland is the best place to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Somewhere in the Whitsundays Region, just off Cairns is stunning. My favourite is Hamilton Island. It is the perfect place for a beautiful relaxing holiday, plus they have a vast range of activities to do. A week there should be the perfect amount of time. Sydney has so much to do and see. Very different to the GBR, it is the big city and beach all in one. You are coming in our winter (which I'm sure you may still find pleasant) but it is a bit cooler, so you may not want to spend time sun baking on Bondi Beach which is perfect in the summer time. Sydney is filled with great shopping, and awesome underground bars. It can be a little pricey, it is Australia's most expensive city. So keep that in mind. I would recommend 3 days, you'll get a feel for it. Then I would consider heading down to Melbournefor 3 days and eating your way through this gorgeous city!! Amazing coffee and AMAZING food. This way you get to experience 3 different aspects of Australia - all different.  All depends really what you are after!! 

Hope this helps! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Great Barrier Reef (attraction)
  2. Whitsundays Region (attraction)
  3. Cairns (city)
  4. Hamilton Island (island)
  5. Sydney (city)
  6. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  7. (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
Karen from Chesapeake

Hi Kristine,  It so varies on your interest, but suggest you spend at least four days in Sydney as a couple in the city is a must and there are some great places to visit outside like the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley.  The Great Barrier Reef is amazing and my favorite spots to see it are either Lizard Island right on the reef or Port Douglas, a wonderful little town where you can boat out for a day.  Other interesting sites to see from Port Douglas and good place to relax so again no less than 4 nights. Hope this helps.  Enjoy and check out my favorite book about Australia by Bill Bryson called In a Sunburned Country.  Enjoy.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Blue Mountains (attraction)
  3. Hunter Valley (attraction)
  4. Lizard Island (city)
  5. Port Douglas (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

I spent 16 days there - Sydney, Katoomba, Darwin, KakaduCairnsPort Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands and finally Brisbane. The hostels are generally excellent, and reasonably priced everywhere but Darwin. I could've skipped Katoomba for an extra day in Sydney, but I wouldn't give up anything else. We were on the move a lot, but we got a great sampling of Australia's diversity. If you wind up near Port Douglas, there's a place called the Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm ... go for a tasting.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Katoomba (city)
  2. Darwin (attraction)
  3. Kakadu (attraction)
  4. Cairns (city)
  5. Port Douglas (attraction)
  6. Atherton Tablelands (attraction)
  7. Brisbane (city)
  8. Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm (hotel)
3 thanks

answered by
Caterina from Florence

Dear Kristine, I was in Sydney last December and January and I spent there let's say 9 days in total. It is a fantastic city to walk around in, full of colours and attractions, the only problem is that it takes a lot (years I'd say!) to cross the streets, due to the slowest traffic lights in the world! However, I literally fell in love with the area around the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks (there is my favourite pub & restaurant that is called The Argyle - not expensive at all, excellent fish platters!), Darling Harbour and the Chinese food at Chinatown. I also liked Paddington very much, walking along the coast from Coogee to Bondi Beach and Manly + Shelly Beach. I didn't actually see all the places I wanted to, but I enjoy travelling at a slow pace... I really wanted to visit the Luna Park at Milsons Point and the Taronga Zoo(in this article you might find some reasons...) but 5 weeks in Australia turned out to be just 5 minutes! :-( (how sad!).

As far as costs are concerned, I didn't find Sydney that expensive, Florence (my home city) is probably much more expensive than Sydney! In Sydney I had the opportunity to stay at a friends place but I also spent 3 nights at Y Hotel Sydney Hyde Park (website) as soon as I arrived and the price was good, even if it was Christmas time (I booked via

The GBR is stunning of course and I recommend you Port Douglas instead of Cairns if you choose a base along the coast (the village is very nice and the vegetation impressive); however, I only spent one day on the reef 'cause I also visited Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Byron Bay and Uluru... the next time I will definitely choose an island resort or Airlie Beach and spend more time snorkeling around ;-)

PS Start "studying" ahead of time and enjoy every minute in Oz. You will never come back, I'm sorry... I miss Australia so much! ;-)

PS2 Mind the sharks! :-)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  3. The Rocks (attraction)
  4. Darling Harbour (attraction)
  5. Chinatown (attraction)
  6. Paddington (attraction)
  7. Coogee (attraction)
  8. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  9. Manly (city)
  10. Shelly Beach (attraction)
  11. Milsons Point (neighborhood)
  12. Taronga Zoo (attraction)
  13. Port Douglas (attraction)
  14. Cairns (city)
  15. Airlie Beach (city)
1 thanks

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