Australia’s allure lies in its multifaceted appeal, drawing travellers with its cosmopolitan cities, stunning coastlines, and untamed wilderness.
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Planning an Australia trip can be rather overwhelming. The difficulty lies in the abundance of choices, with each region offering a distinct experience. From the iconic landmarks of Sydney to the rugged landscapes of the Outback, visitors are spoiled for choice.
It’s a massive country with a LOT of beautiful sights and attractions. Most people wanting to do an Australia tour don’t have the luxury of spending months exploring the country.
It comes down to picking and choosing the best places to visit in Australia and making an itinerary that works for YOU.
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Australia Vacation 2-Week Australia Itinerary
A Little Bit Of Everything On The East Coast
If you have just 1 or 2 weeks in Australia, we recommend sticking to one region – either the East Coast or the West Coast.
Cairns: 2 days
Cairns is a great town to start your Australia vacation in! To kick off your trip with a bang, why not spend a day on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef or check out some other activities, like hot-air ballooning, skydiving, zip-lining, and more?
The Great Barrier Reef: Explore the world’s largest coral system and a marine life of Gold Coast that stretches over 3,000 km (1864 miles).
Visit Daintree National Park: Visit the wet tropics Daintree Rainforest of Queensland, home to the world’s most densely populated mangrove estuaries.
Explore Atherton Tablelands: If you’re looking for a unique experience of the flora and fauna of Tropical North Queensland, rainforests, waterfalls, and try the region’s famous cheese.
Visit Kuranda & Barron Gorge National Park: Take a unique gondola ride over the rainforest, enjoy an easy hike to waterfalls, explore hiking trails, and wander through lush jungles. Don’t forget to experience the Kuranda Scenic Railway train ride.
See Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park: Immerse yourself in Gold Coast’s authentic Aboriginal culture. Learn traditional songs, make music with Aboriginal clap sticks, and witness the lighting of the ceremonial fire.
Check out the Cairns Night Markets: Conveniently located in the city centre and covered for rainy nights, they offer a diverse range of stalls catering to everyone’s preferences!
Whitsundays: 3 days
Travel south to Airlie Beach, a getaway on the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. Airlie Beach was a backpacker town but now caters to travellers on any budget.
This part of our Australia itinerary requires a bit more driving. You can choose to stay at Airlie Beach and take a day trip to the islands or hop aboard the cruise boats or yachts for a two- to three-day sailing adventure.
Hook Island Snorkeling: Travel beyond Whitsunday Island to Hook Island for fantastic snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.
Hill Inlet & Whitehaven Beach: Spend hours exploring Hill Inlet and the beach. Hike to the Hill Inlet Lookout for a nice view of Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef.
Fraser Island: 3 days
Jump on an overnight bus or take a quick flight down to Hervey Bay, a gateway to Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. Fraser Island, just off the East Coast of Queensland, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Australia’s top attractions! The Butchulla people, native to Fraser Island, called the island K’gari island, which means ‘paradise’ in their local language.
Explore Fraser’s sand dunes, rainforest, and stunning beaches on a 2-3 day Fraser Island Tour, or rent your own 4×4 and get off the beaten path.
Seventy-Five Mile Beach: Hop on a 4WD bus to explore 75 Mile Beach, the island’s National Highway! Spot the coloured Sands of Red Canyon & The Pinnacles.
Fraser Island Lakes: Have a picnic at Lake McKenzie’s white sandy beach or take a short walk at Lake Wabby for rainforest views and the Hammerstone Sandblow!
Eli Creek: Float or swim down the creek with the current at this freshwater creek, fun activities for all ages!
Fraser Island Indian Head: Climb up the island’s highest spot, Fraser Island’s Indian Head for views of the 75-mile beach and a chance to spot wildlife!
Champagne Pools: Chill in the natural jacuzzi by volcanic rocks, the island’s only saltwater swimming spot!
Whale Watching Cruises: See the humpback whales sheltering in the calm waters from July to October, or take a guided tour and swim with them!
Byron Bay: 2 days
A haven for hippies, beach lovers, backpackers, families… heck, Byron Bay caters to just about anyone! You can laze around on the beach, take a surf lesson, go on a whale-watching cruise, go kayaking with dolphins, shop ‘til you drop in Byron’s many funky boutiques, eat, drink and be merry! It’s one of our favourite places to visit in Australia.
Beaches At Byron Bay: Get into swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking or set sail for watersports fun.
Cape Byron Marine Park and Julian Rocks: Catch glimpses of bottlenose dolphins and majestic humpback whales in their natural habitat.
Gondawa Rainforest National Parks: Explore the Hinterland and take a leisurely stroll through lush rainforests to discover palms, ferns, orchids, and shimmering streams.
Sydney: 2 days
Spend your time in Sydney taking in the major sights and going the beaten path for some of these fun activities and adventures
Blue Mountains National Park: Enjoy a couple of easy nature walks, hop on a scenic railway and cable car around Blue Mountains, and take a leisurely stroll around the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. Explore Blue Mountains’ key attractions like Echo Point, Jamison Valley, Featherdale Wildlife Park, and the Three Sisters Lookout.
Hunter Valley Wineries: Experience the local flavours with tastings of wine, beer, cheese, chocolate, and spirits, and get a fun lesson on how these delicious treats are made.
Northern Beaches And Ku-Ring-Gai National Park: Catering to every nature lover, from coastal views and lush rainforests to rugged bushland.
Whale Watching: If you’re not up for getting in the water, hop on a whale-watching cruise. It’s one of the best day trips from Sydney, especially from May to November in Jervis Bay.
City Highlights Guided Bus Tour: Be sure to visit city highlights during your time in Australia’s largest city. Take in stunning views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, the National Museum of Australia, and Sydney Opera House from the bus, and end the day at the famous Bondi Beach.
Sydney South Coast: Take a road trip south on the scenic Grand Pacific Drive. Reach the Minnamurra Rainforest for a treetop walk, and don’t miss the Kiama Blowhole and the Sea Cliff Bridge!
Manly And Shelly Beach: Relax, snorkel, or surf, and discover the lively Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve with a snorkelling adventure. Try kayaking and outdoor rock climbing at Manly Cave for an adventurous experience!
Royal National Park: Learn about a diverse range of native plants and animals, get up close with kangaroos and see koalas and other native species at Symbio Wildlife Park.
Melbourne: 2 days
Finish off your Australia itinerary in Melbourne, a hip, trendy, and vibrant city brimming with culture. See a footy game, go to the races, explore the laneways, shop, eat, and drink.
If you have the time, rent a car or hop on a tour to explore the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most picturesque drives itinerary, or spend a few more days in the spectacular Grampians National Park.
Local Markets: On Wednesday nights, go to Queen Victoria Market for awesome street food. Check out the Rose St Artists’ Market in Fitzroy on the weekend.
Melbourne Art Scene: From the street art on Hosier Lane to the National Gallery of Victoria, there is truly something for every taste. Visit the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, and several other art galleries and creative spaces.
Melbourne Green Spaces: Explore Royal Botanic Gardens to discover fern gully, herbs, and more. Don’t miss historic Fitzroy Gardens and Flagstaff Gardens in the city.
Great Ocean Road: See the natural beauty of the Great Otway National Park, the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and stop by at Australian National Surfing Museum. Also go to visitor favourites, Yarra Valley for wine tasting or to Phillip Island to see the penguins.
Great Ocean Walk: It is not the fastest option, but a good one if you have the time available and are travelling on a budget, you can hike from Apollo Bay to Twelve Apostles.
Port Campbell National Park: Explore the world-famous collection of wave-sculpted rock formations and the Twelve Apostles.
Australia Vacation 3-Week Australia Itinerary
Three weeks Down Under? As the Aussies say: bloody brilliant, mate! Planning can be a bit overwhelming with all the amazing natural wonders, golden beaches, and vibrant Australian cities. The truth is, you can only fit some things in just three weeks Australia itinerary.
Take Your Australia Tour A Little Bit Further
An extra week for your Australia vacation means you can go farther and explore more!
Cairns: 4 days
Give yourself a few extra days in Cairns and travel up north to one of the most beautiful rainforests in Australia, Daintree National Park. Stay in Cape Tribulation in the heart of Daintree and enjoy a few days exploring the rainforest and being disconnected from the outside world.
Daintree and Mossman Gorge: Daintree National Park is the only place in Australia where the dense rainforest meets the beaches of the Great Barrier Reef. Take this tour to explore the most of Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation.
Dreamtime Gorge Walk: A must-do in the area is the Dreamtime Gorge Walk with a local Indigenous guide. Explore ancient trails in the rainforest, visit cultural sites, and learn about traditional ceremonies on this unique tour.
Whitsundays: 3 days
Follow our suggestions from the 2 week itinerary, and if you have extra time, consider adding these fun tours and activities to your itinerary as well.
Ocean Rafting Tour: Explore Whitsundays with this advanced Eco-Certified adventure that includes a speedboat ride to Whitehaven Beach, snorkelling, and exclusive access to Hill Inlet beaches.
Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour: Join the Segway Rainforest Discovery Tour, the only one of its kind in Australia! Cruise on your own Segway through Conway National Park rainforest along the Great Whitsunday Trail. Discover local plants and animals along the way.
Fraser Island (K’Gari): 3 days
If you have 3 days to spend on Fraser Island, that’s enough time to join this fantastic 3 day tour!
3-Day K’gari tour: Join a 4WD tour to Fraser Island for a social adventure! Spend three days navigating roads and camping with fellow participants. The lively atmosphere at the resort each evening makes it a fun and enjoyable way to explore Fraser Island.
Byron Bay: 3-4 days
Spend a few extra days in Byron. If you sink your teeth into Byron, it’s a place you can really fall in love with. Here are a few more recommendations to add to your list
Byron Bay Hinterland – National Park and Waterfalls Tour: Experience the Byron Bay Hinterland on the National Park and Waterfalls Tour. Take a 2-hour guided rainforest walk to Minyon Falls, swim, and savour a locally sourced BBQ lunch. Finish the day exploring the charming town of Bangalow.
Hinterland Magic and Glow-Worm Experience: Reconnect with nature on the Glow-Worm Experience! Explore the Hinterland and Gondwana rainforest, swim in a waterfall, discover the secret hideout of glowworms, and savour a vegan dinner in the woods.
Newcastle/Hunter Valley: 2-3 days
Newcastle may not strike you as being full of sites and attractions that are worth a visit, but I personally think it’s Australia’s Most Underrated City.
And Hunter Valley, located just an hour away from Newcastle, is our favourite wine region in Australia. Hunter Valley wine region is a great region to stop in for a day or two.
Hunter Valley offers a variety of activities, from private tours and horse-riding adventures to wine tasting and even a wine barrel rolling competition. You can also try a cooking class at Majors Lane Cooking School or experience grape stomping at the wineries.
Spring is perfect for hot-air ballooning and exploring Hunter Valley Gardens amid blooming wildflowers and lush pastures. In summer (December to February), you can indulge in wine tasting and fruit picking during the harvest season. Late summer/early fall (March to May) is also an excellent time to visit Hunter Valley!
Historical Escape Story Tour: Explore the arts at Marthaville Arts and Cultural Centre, Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, and Hunter Valley Zoo in Cessnock. For a chilling historical experience, visit the infamous Maitland Gaol.
Hunter Valley Day Tour: Explore Hunter Valley on a Sydney tasting trip with lunch included. Cross Sydney Harbor Bridge, pass through the scenic north shore and enjoy wine, cheese, and chocolate tastings on this carbon-neutral tour.
Sydney: 2 days
Same as 2-week itinerary
Melbourne: 2 days
Same as 2-week itinerary
Australia Vacation 4+ Week Australia Itinerary
Stay Longer And Get Off The Beaten Track
Use the 3-week Australia vacation itinerary above as a base and choose to either stay in each place for longer, allowing yourself to really soak in the towns/cities, or add a few more stops to your Australia tour and explore Australia beyond the major sites and attractions. Here are a few destinations to consider:
The Red Centre (Uluru, Alice Springs & Kings Canyon): 3-4 days
Some say that Australia holidays are incomplete without a road trip to the iconic road trip to the ancient landscapes of Central Australia. The famous mountain is located in the Australian Outback, and seeing the sunset over the endless outback desert and light up Ayres Rock is magical and unforgettable.
The park features Uluru (Ayres Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), another rock formation about 30 kms, known as Australia’s Red Centre. Others claim that it’s just a rock that’s hot, expensive to get to, and surrounded by annoying black flies.
The ideal time to visit Uluru is from May to September. During this period, the days are comfortably warm at 20-30°C with minimal rain. This weather is perfect for hiking and exploring, with vibrant colours and wildflowers adding to the beauty of the park.
The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru takes about 5 hours, covering 470 km on sealed roads. You can also travel a few hours down the road from Alice Springs towards Kings Canyon. Unfortunately, there’s no shuttle to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. You’ll need to rent a vehicle, and you can do this in Alice Springs.
We don’t recommend Uluru or even Alice Springs as places to visit in Australia if you have less than 3 weeks to spend in Australia, but you can squeeze a 3-4 day visit into a 4-week Australia itinerary without sacrificing other great destinations.
Uluru / Ayers Rock In Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: Get a close-up experience with the rock by taking the 10 km Base Walk and admire Aboriginal rock art. You can do it on foot, by bike, or even join a fun Segway Tour.
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas): Take a walk through the Valley of the Winds or explore the big rock domes known as Kata Tjuta, or The Olgas. Don’t miss the sunset over The Olgas.
Sunset Camel Ride: Wrap up your day in the desert with a unique sunset camel ride at Uluru. If you want to experience something different with camel racing, check out the camel farm, or if you’re around in May, don’t miss the Uluru Camel Cup.
Bush Food Experience: Learn how local Indigenous groups have hunted, gathered, and prepared bush tucker for years, and immerse yourself in the culinary world of Indigenous Australians with the complete Bush Food Experience.
Kings Canyon Rim Walk: The Rim Walk is a 6km circuit leading to the top of Kings Canyon. It’s best enjoyed during sunrise, so take your time and start in the early morning.
Watarrka National Park: Take on a hike through the scenic landscape of rugged ranges, rockholes, and gorges in Watarrka National Park.
Darwin/Kakadu National Park: 5-7 days
Darwin, the tropical capital city of the Northern Territories, offers a relaxed lifestyle and unique multiculturalism. It is home to a number of historical and cultural landmarks and serves as the gateway to Kakadu National Park, the largest national park in Australia and one of the ‘must see’ places to visit in Australia if you have the time.
The park contains one of the highest concentrations of Aboriginal rock art sites in the world and comprises more than 110,000 sq km (42 471 sq miles) of stunning landscapes and adventure activities. Spending 5-7 days in Darwin/Kakadu will help you gain a better understanding of the Australian Aboriginal culture.
The best time to visit Darwin is from May to October. While the rest of Australia is in the midst of winter, Darwin is alive and well. Expect daily sunshine and a low chance of rain during these months.
Nitmiluk National Park: Explore local gorges, waterholes, waterfalls, and thermal springs where the red sand of the Outback meets the lush tropics, providing the best of both worlds.
Litchfield National Park: For nature lovers, join the top end Safari Camp and explore numerous incredible waterfalls and natural swimming pools.
Sunday Sesh On Mitchell Street: For a lively Sunday afternoon party in Darwin, head to Mitchell Street. The main street in Darwin City is bustling with locals enjoying beer and live music.
Darwin Botanic Gardens: Follow the boardwalk trail in Darwin Botanic Gardens. Pass through a rainforest gully with waterfalls and ponds, flower gardens with desert roses, a plant house featuring tropical orchids, and reach a historic church.
Museum And Art Gallery Of The Northern Territory: Get the artsy out of you; this award-winning public gallery features acclaimed collections of Aboriginal art and exhibits on indigenous culture, natural sciences, and Northern Territory history.
Tasmania: 5-10 days
After recently visiting Tasmania, I can’t stop raving about this beautiful yet often forgotten island state! It doesn’t matter if you are a hiker excited about a chance to trek through the rugged and remote wilderness of Tassie or if you are a city person who loves to explore markets, dine in great restaurants, and sip on craft beers at funky bars, or if you are a history buff wanting to learn more about Australian heritage and convict history.
Cataract Gorge, Launceston: The Gorge is a city oasis for Launie residents, ideal for a swim or a weekend picnic with family and friends.
Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair National Park: Explore the Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake in the North, and head to Lake St Clair in the South for a great hiking experience.
Corinna /Pieman River: Unwind and savour the pristine beauty of the remote rainforest wilderness. Rent kayaks and spend your day exploring the Pieman River and Whyte River.
Salamanca Market: With over 300 stalls offering homewares, clothing, produce, souvenirs, and locally made goodies, you can go on a shopping frenzy.
Museum of Old and New Art (MONA): Australia’s largest private museum showcasing some of the world’s most intriguing collections of modern art and antiquities.
Port Arthur: Port Arthur’s open-air museum is a significant heritage area in Australia, rich with history from the times of Australian convicts.
Freycinet National Park: Discover the park with its renowned attractions: Wineglass Bay, granite peaks, secluded bays, and white sandy beaches.
South Bruny National Park: Home to some of Tasmania’s most stunning wild beauty, featuring towing sea cliffs, rainforests, sandy beaches and native Australian wildlife.
Western Australia: 10-20 days
There is more to that side of Australia than just Perth. Western Australia is home to some of the best beaches in Australia, unique natural sights, and incredible national parks.
Some argue that Ningaloo Reef, located in Exmouth, WA, is a better and less touristy version of the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s the only place in Australia where you can swim with whale sharks.
Cape Range National Park: Dive into Ningaloo Reef and meet over 200 types of hard coral, 50 soft coral, and 500 fish species. Swim up close with a whale shark for an unforgettable experience.
Margaret River: Think about a day trip to Margaret River, one of Western Australia’s premier wine and surfing destinations.
Karijini National Park: Explore 8 stunning gorges and witness the natural beauty of Hamersley Waterfall in Karijini National Park.
Broome And Cable Beach: Enjoy the uncrowded pure white sand and turquoise waters, ideal for paddleboarding, surfing, and various water activities.
Kalbarri National Park: Take a stroll along dramatic coastal cliffs, secluded beaches, and surf breaks.
Hutt Lagoon (Pink Lake): It may seem fake and smell artificial, but it’s 100% natural. The lagoon also hosts the world’s largest microalgae production plant and supplies commercial Artemia brine shrimp. Truly phenomenal!
Lancelin, Cervantes, and Nambung National Park: Get on a fishing holiday or a relaxing family escape, then take a day trip to the mythical Pinnacles.
South Australia: 5-10 days
Getting to South Australia is hard, and getting around once you’re there is even harder, but renting a car/4×4 to explore some of South Australia’s biggest attractions is definitely worth it.
Spend 1-2 days of your Australia tour in Adelaide, 2-3 days in the famous Barossa Valley Wine Region, and then head south to Kangaroo Island, Kangaroo island is a unique wildlife sanctuary with great natural scenery.
City Highlights: Explore Adelaide Oval with a Stadium Tour or take it to new heights with a RoofClimb. Discover wines at the National Wine Centre, with a tasting and lunch at Wined Bar. Visit the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and the beautiful Palm House next door.
Sun, Sand, and Seafood: Start at Glenelg or Henley Beach, the closest to the CBD. Explore must-visit beaches like Brighton, Semaphore, Port Noarlunga, Port Willunga, and Sellicks Beach. Spot playful dolphins in the water! Don’t miss the sunset on the beach before heading out for dinner.
Wine, Wine, Wine: Spend a full day in the vines at McLaren Vale, then return to Adelaide for your final evening. Opt for a day tour to Hahndorf and Barossa Valley for a mix of both wine and beer experiences.
Architectural: Consider visiting the charming town of Hahndorf near Adelaide for German-style architecture, great food, and excellent beer.
Natural Wonders of Kangaroo Island: Discover wild rock formations, sweeping coastlines, paradise beaches, thrilling caves, and numerous Kangaroo Island hiking routes.
Flinders Chase National Park: For a challenge, hike the 61-kilometer Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. Explore Remarkable Rocks, Cape du Couedic & Admirals Arch, and maybe spot New Zealand Fur Seals. Take the Weirs Cove hiking trail and consider visiting the Cape Borda Lightstation.
Road Trip along the legendary Pacific Coast: 3-10 days
You can easily hop from Brisbane to Sydney for as little as $50-$100, but taking the time to explore the smaller beach towns and off-the-beaten-path attractions along the Pacific Coast can give you much better insight into Australian culture and life.
Everyone’s ideal vacation when you visit Australia will look different. Maybe you love spending more time in the cities, shopping, eating, drinking and soaking in Australia’s vibrant city culture, or perhaps you prefer to hike, explore, swim in the rock pools, and get closer to nature, or maybe you are after nothing more than a wonderful trip with a great beach vacation in an exotic new country.