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Driving the great barrier reef

Ireland
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Driving the great barrier reef

We are planning to hire a car in Cairns and drive to the Whitsundays and back up to cairns. We have a total of 7 days to do this. So I'm hoping someone can advise me of the distance between cairns and the whitsundays and how long it would take to drive? I also would like to know the name of a good base mainland town to stay in order to be able to explore the whitsundays. ( or can you drive it) I only want to spend 3 days in total around the whitsundays. Also can you tell me some good areas to stop along the way down and spend the night. We are a mid twenties couple and would perfer to stay in places relatively cheap but not backpacker accomadation. Somewhere in between backpapers and luxury. Thanks for the help :)

gk
Brisbane, Australia
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2,280 posts
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1. Re: Driving the great barrier reef

Cairns to Airlie Beach (the mainland town you'd best use as a base) is around an 8 hour trip. You can do it in a day, but it will be a long day! Therefore, it might be a good idea to drive straight to Airlie Beach from Cairns, spend your 3 days relaxing and then take a leisurely drive back up to Cairns stopping along the way.

Some places to look out for along the way:

The Boulders at Babinda - a great swimming hole and home to an aboriginal legend. Also very beautiful rainforest.

Paronella Park - an old ruin, very weird, but strangely romantic. You can swim in the river here as well.

Wallaman falls - the highest in the southern hemisphere

If you need somewhere to stay around here, try Hotel Noorla:

http://www.hotelnoorla.com.au

Further on down you have Townsville and Magnetic Island which you can catch a ferry over to.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane, Noosa
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2. Re: Driving the great barrier reef

ditto to GK... I would also suggest visiting Cardwell ( Hinchinbrook Island) Mission Beach ( Dunk Island) also Josephine Falls.

Whitsundays
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1,251 posts
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3. Re: Driving the great barrier reef

G'day nievee if I were you and I was considering The Whitsundays for a few days I'd have a think about a cruise that takes in all the best the islands have to offer and if you happen to take a cruise that includes the Great Barrier Reef all the better.

8 hours is about right for the drive from Cairns and Airlie Beach will be your base. If you need some more help including picking the cruise or whatever suits you get in touch with these local agents and they will be able to give you a hand.

www.whitsundayaccommodation.net

www.airliebeach.com

www.whitsundays.net.au

4. Re: Driving the great barrier reef

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