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You’ve been thinking about a trip to Australia for a while… Maybe you stumbled upon the beautiful BuzzFeed lists of all the amazing sights and attractions in Australia, or perhaps you came across a cheap flight deal, or maybe it was all the recent posts about Australia on Drink Tea and Travel that pushed you to finally say “YES” and commit to making your long term dream of traveling to Australia a reality!

Congratulations on taking the first step to an incredible trip to the land down under!

Now onto the more difficult part…

Planning a trip to Australia can be rather overwhelming. It’s a massive country with a LOT of beautiful sights and attractions. Most people visiting Australia don’t have the luxury to spend months exploring the country, so it comes down to picking and choosing the best Australia Itinerary for YOU.

Australia 2 Week Itinerary: A Little Bit of Everything on the East Coast

You have to come to terms that it’s actually impossible to see even the major sights on a short 2 week trip. You will most likely be flying into Melbourne or Sydney, so it makes sense to start your trip from there, although you could just as easily take a flight up to Cairns and travel down.

Cairns: 2 days
Cairns is a great town to start your Australian adventure! To kick it off with the bang, why not spend a day on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef or check out some of the other activities in town, like hot air ballooning, sky diving, zip-lining and more.

Whitsundays: 3 days
Travel south to Airlie Beach, a getaway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. Airlie Beach used to be a backpacker town, but now caters for travelers on any budget. Choose to stay in Airlie Beach and take a day trip to check out the islands, or hop aboard the cruise boats/yachts for a 2-3 day sailing adventure.

Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia

Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia

Fraser Island: 3 days
Jump on an overnight bus, or take a quick flight down to Hervey Bay, a gateway to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. Explore Fraser’s sand dunes, rainforest, and beaches on a 2-3 day Fraser Island Tour or rent your own 4×4 and get off the beaten path.

View from the top of Indian Head, Fraser Island

View from the top of Indian Head, Fraser Island

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, kayak with dolphins, shop till you drop in Byron’s many unique funky boutiques, eat, drink and be merry!

Sydney: 2 days
Spend your time in Sydney taking in the major sights and then follow the locals’ footsteps to experience the best of Sydney’s day to day life.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Melbourne: 2 days
Finish your trip off in Melbourne, a hip, trendy, and vibrant city brimming with culture. See a footie 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 the most picturesque drives in Australia, or choose to spend a few days in the spectacular Grampians National Park.

Ferrari speeding by at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne

Ferrari speeding by at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne

Australia 3 Week Itinerary: Go a Little Bit Further

An extra week in Australia, means you can go further 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 National Park

Daintree National Park, QLD

Whitsundays: 3 days
Same as 2-week itinerary

Fraser Island: 3 days
Same as 2-week itinerary

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.

Beautiful clear waters in Byron Bay, Australia

Beautiful clear waters in Byron Bay, Australia

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 the Hunter Valley, located just an hour away from Newcastle, is my favourite wine region in Australia. It’s a great region to stop in for a day or two.

Rolling vineyards in Hunter Valley, NSW

Rolling vineyards in Hunter Valley, NSW

Sydney: 2  days
Same as 2-week itinerary

Melbourne: 2 days
Same as 2-week itinerary

Australia 4+ Week Itinerary: Stay Longer and Get Off the Beaten Track

Use the 3 Week 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 itinerary and explore Australia beyond the major sites and attractions. Here are a few destination to consider:

Alice Springs/Uluru: 3-4 days
Some say that a visit to Australia is incomplete without a trip to Uluru/Ayres Rock, the famous mountain located in Australian Outback and that seeing the sun set over the endless outback desert and light up Ayres Rock is magical and unforgettable. Others, claim that it’s just a rock that’s hot, expensive to get to, and is surrounded by annoying black flies. I don’t recommend a visit to Uluru if you have less than 3 weeks to spend in Australia, but you can squeeze in a 3-4 day visit into a 4-week itinerary without sacrificing other great destinations.

Uluru/Ayres Rock. Photo by Sjoerd van Oosten via Flickr CC

Uluru/Ayres Rock. Photo by Sjoerd van Oosten via Flickr CC

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 getaway to Kakadu National Park, the largest national park in Australia. The park contains one of the highest concentrated areas of aboriginal rock art sites in the world and comprises of more than 110,000 square kilometres of diverse landscapes and adventure activities. Spending 5-7 days in Darwin/Kakadu will help you gain a better understanding of the Australian aboriginal culture.

Kakadu National Park, NT. Photo by dimthoughts via Flickr CC

Kakadu National Park, NT. Photo by dimthoughts via Flickr CC

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, sip on craft beers at funky bars, or if you are a history buff wanting to learn more about Australian heritage and convict history, Tasmania has plenty of unforgettable experiences for every kind of traveler.

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the background, Tasmania

Western Australia: 10-20 days
There is more to that side of Australia then 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.

Whale Shark at Ningaloo Reef, WA

Whale Shark at Ningaloo Reef, WA. Photo by Jae via Flickr CC

South Australia: 5-10 days
Getting to South Australia is hard, and getting around it is even harder, but renting a car/4×4 to explore some of South Australia’s biggest attractions is definitely worth it. Spend 1-2days in Adelaide, 2-3 days in the famous Barossa Valley Wine Region and then head south to the Kangaroo Island, a unique wildlife sanctuary with great natural scenery.

Barossa Valley, South Australia

Barossa Valley, South Australia

Road Trip along the legendary Pacific Coast: 3-10 days
You can get 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 a much better insight into Australian culture and life. Here is a guide to the Ultimate Sydney to Brisbane (or the reverse) Road Trip Itinerary and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Campervans line Flynn's Beach in Port Macquarie, NSW

Campervans line Flynn’s Beach in Port Macquarie, NSW

Everyone’s ideal Australia itinerary will look different. Maybe you love spending more time in the cities, shopping, eating, drinking and soaking in Australian vibrant city culture, or perhaps you prefer to hike, to explore, to swim in the rock pools and get closer to nature, or maybe you are after nothing more than a great beach vacation in an exotic new country?

Your answer should guide YOUR Ultimate Australian Itinerary!

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Everyone’s ideal Australia itinerary will look different.

Need some help planning your trip to Australia?
Leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help you out!

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