Tim thanks very much for this much appreciated. Looks like i've got a fair bit of thinking and research to do..
Only thing is i will be spending over a week in Bondi and Sydney so it's less than 3 weeks really that i'll have to cover the coast so my options are a little bit limited..
Thanks for your advice though
Have you got the Lonely Planet East Coast Oz book? Mine has been invaluable over the past few weeks!! Lots of maps and links to websites on all the places we are hoping to visit and its small enough to take with us!!
I will have around $2,500 for my 4 weeks but bearing in mind I am only officially "travelling" from 16-29th Dec from Cairns to Byron Bay (30th Dec till 8th Jan im staying with a friend in Sydney).
I have had to plan 2 internal flights (Sydney to Cairns and Gold Coast to Sydney) as I just wouldn't have enough time to fit everything in.
If you need any help or want me to sen you my rough itinerary then give me a shout.
Forgot to say if you want some pics of the outer reef from Cairns and the reef around the Whitsundays send me a PM and I'll email them through so you can compare
cheers mate just messaged you