Australia Itinerary

One of the goals of my of destinations section is to always have a two week itinerary for the country that I am reviewing. Doing it for Australia feels like Mission Impossible.

Australia is simply a huge continent.The attractions and cities you’ll want to see are spread across vast distances. Backpackers spend many months in Australia and STILL walk away feeling like they haven’t covered everything. You’ll be surprised at how many days you’ll lose to travel time between destinations.

The starting and ending point of this itinerary is up to you, all the cities listed below have international airports. To save time I’m recommending you travel by plane between these cities, this should give you 10 full tourist days for this trip.


Melbourne (3 Days)

The Twelve Apostles From The Great Ocean Road Drive

Melbourne is a hipster city that many recognize as being Australia’s cultural center. It has a vibrant and artistic side that can be seen through the edgy street art that line it’s alleyways, the art galleries and many festivals that run throughout the year. Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to chic cafes, restaurants and rooftop bars. Sports is a big part of Melbourne’s culture. This city hosts some of the biggest events related to cricket, Australian rules football, tennis and horse racing.

Popular Day Trips:

  • Yarra Valley Wine Tour: This is a great way to spend the day. The Yarra Valley has a large selection of wineries with open cellars you can visit to learn about how the wines are made and (of course) to taste them.
  • Philip Island: This is a popular day trip. People flock to Philip Island to see the nightly parade of fairy penguins as they come in from the sea.
  • Great Ocean Road: Named as one of the most scenic road trips in the world, this is an experience that’s not to be missed. It culminates with the 12 apostles (which are now 7 stone formations) jutting from the sea.
  • Grampian National Park:  This is a beautiful national park with great hiking trails.

Melbourne Travel Resources:

Sydney (3 Days)

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Sydney is the biggest city in Australia and home to one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Sydney Opera House. Perched on the Harbour Bay, visitors flock to see this iconic building (recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The great thing about Sydney is that most of its attractions are within walking distance of each other. Starting from the Opera House, it’s possible for you to do a walking tour of the city and see almost everything.

Just like Melbourne, Sydney offers a vibrant cultural experience with lots of museums (most with free admission), great shopping and food options and an active night life. Sydney’s is also famous for its spectacular beaches. The most famous being Bondi beach, which is constantly filled to the brim with tourists and locals alike. Sydney’s beaches offer you a great place to swim, sunbathe and to learn how to surf.

Popular Day Trips:

  • Blue Mountains: This national park is breathtakingly beautiful. While most people visit the mountains as part of a day trip, it can easily be extended to weekend excursion to properly enjoy the hiking trails on offer.
  • Hunter Valley: Just like the Yarra Valley in Melbourne, Hunter Valley has a wide selection of wineries you can visit to sample wines from.
  • Port Stephens: Tours to Port Stephens usually involve visits to the wildlife park, dolphin-watching cruises, 4WD tours and sandboarding.

Sydney Travel Resources:

Cairns (4 Days)

The Great Barrier Reef is filled with amazing coral, color fish and large marine life.
The Great Barrier Reef is filled with amazing coral, colorful fish and large marine life.

Nestled at the very top of Queensland is Cairns (pronounced ‘Caans’). A small town that serves as an access point to some of Australia’s most famous attractions. From Cairns you can book tours to go on hiking adventures in Daintree Rainforest or the Tablelands, dive into the Great Barrier Reef, day trip to some of the nearby idyllic islands or have an extreme adventure like whitewater rafting or skydiving. This is a town that lives on the tourist dollars and it shows by the number of activities and tours it has on offer.

Popular Day Trips:

  • Great Barrier Reef: This is one of the most famous sites in the world. The Barrier Reef is the largest living organism in the world and is visible from outerspace. No trip to Cairns would be complete without a scuba dive or snorkel in the Barrier Reef.
  • Atherton Tableland (Waterfall Circuit): Looking for way to escape the tropical heat? Then this is the trip for you. The Tablelands is a mix of rainforest, wetlands and savanna. More importantly it’ll run through the Waterfall Circuit, a 17KM loop that contains many waterfalls including the most famous Milaa Milaa Falls. You’ll get a chance to swim in several of these waterfalls and cool off as you enjoy the nature that surrounds you.
  • Cape Tribulation (Daintree National Forest): This is a popular tour that takes you to remote coastal areas within Daintree National Park. These tours tend to offer a combinations of short hikes through the rainforest at Marrdja and Jindalba and a visit of course to the beautiful white beach of Cape Tribulation. No swimming is allowed at Cape Tribulation as it’s infested with crocs. Most tours will also visit Mossman Gorge where you’ll be able to dip in the waters safely.

Cairns Travel Resources: