With 17 days in Australia, you can cover three to five regions, ticking off city highlights and exploring the outback and the Great Barrier Reef on a fast-paced highlights itinerary, or opt for a more relaxed trip that includes time in the Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island, and Palm Cove. Foodies should take advantage of the option to indulge in Sydney and Melbourne's world-class culinary scene on a food and culture trip, while those looking to get their adrenaline pumping should include New Zealand.

Itinerary #1: Australia Cities & Nature: Sydney, Port Douglas, Brisbane, Uluru & Melbourne

Discover Australia's iconic cities and natural wonders on this 17-day highlights itinerary through Sydney, Port Douglas, Brisbane, Uluru, and Melbourne. Perfect for first-time visitors to the country who want to keep on the move, you'll experience bustling harbors and pristine beaches and delight in the chance to encounter koalas, kangaroos, and penguins. Highlights include a cruise along the Great Barrier Reef, a full-day adventure in the Mossman Gorge, a camel ride through the outback, and time on the laid-back Phillip Island.

Watch the sunset over Uluru with a memorable al fresco dining experience
Watch the sunset over Uluru with a memorable al fresco dining experience
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Taste of Sydney Tour Sydney
Day 2 Aboriginal Culture Tour, Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise, Twilight Bridge Climb  Sydney
Day 3 Sydney City Tour, Visit Bondi Beach & Taronga Zoo Sydney
Day 4 Full-Day Wildlife, Waterfalls & Wine Tour Sydney
Day 5 Fly to Port Douglas, Free Afternoon Port Douglas
Day 6 Full-Day Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour Port Douglas
Day 7 Full-Day Mossman Gorge Adventure Port Douglas
Day 8 Optional Activities in Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 9 Fly to Brisbane, Spirits of the Red Sand Aboriginal Dinner  Brisbane
Day 10 Australia Zoo Guided Tour Brisbane
Day 11 Brisbane City Sights, Explore the South Bank Brisbane
Day 12 Fly to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 13 Sunrise Kata Tjuta Tour, Sunset Camel Ride Uluru
Day 14 Fly to Melbourne, Explore the Laneways & Arcades Melbourne
Day 15 Full-Day Phillip Island Tour Melbourne
Day 16 Koalas & Kangaroos in the Wild  Melbourne
Day 17 Depart Melbourne  

G'day and welcome to Australia! Your adventure begins with four days in Sydney, admiring views of the Sydney Opera House, wandering through the Royal Botanic Garden, and relaxing on a Sydney Harbour lunch cruise. Then, spend a day between the famous Bondi Beach and the Taronga Zoo, and embark on a guided tour along the Grand Pacific Drive before continuing your journey to Port Douglas. Deemed the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, four days here will fly by as you sail over colorful reefs, explore Daintree National Park, and snorkel in the Mossman River.

After a two-hour flight, you'll find yourself in Brisbane, admiring Australia Zoo's 1,200 native and exotic species and visiting the art galleries and museums of Southbank Parklands. Your journey then takes you to Uluru, where you'll join a Sounds of Silence dinner under the star-studded outback sky, followed by a sunrise tour of Kata Tjuta and a sunset camel ride through the Red Centre desert plains. Finally, finish your adventure exploring Melbourne and its surrounding highlights, including the penguin parade on Phillip Island and koala-filled You Yangs Park. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Ultimate Landscapes of Australia: City, Outback, Rainforest & Reef

Perfect for those looking for a mix of city tours, harbor and ocean cruises, and time to explore on your own, this Australian adventure ticks off the must-see highlights of Sydney, Melbourne, Palm Cove, and Uluru. Throughout the adventure, experience sunrise and sunset views of the UNESCO-listed Uluru, drive the famous Great Ocean Road and witness Phillip Island's daily penguin parade. Complete your adventure with food tours in Sydney and Melbourne and an uninterrupted day cruising above the Great Barrier Reef.

Drive to the Atherton Tablelands for quirky cafés and captivating landscapes
Drive to the Atherton Tablelands for quirky cafés and captivating landscapes
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Fly to Uluru, Sunset Tour Uluru
Day 3 Uluru Sunrise, Kata Tjuta Tour & Field of Light Dinner Experience Uluru
Day 4 Field of Light Sunrise Viewing, Fly to Melbourne Melbourne
Day 5 Morning Lanes & Arcades Tour, Evening Food Walk Melbourne
Day 6 Phillip Island's Penguin Parade Melbourne
Day 7 Pick Up Rental Car & Drive the Great Ocean Road Port Campbell
Day 8 Drive Back to Melbourne, Explore Melbourne
Day 9 Fly to Cairns, Pick Up Rental Car & Drive to Palm Cove Palm Cove
Day 10 Great Barrier Reef Day Trip Palm Cove
Day 11 Kuranda Scenic Railway & Rainforest Tour Palm Cove
Day 12 Atherton Tablelands Day Trip Palm Cove
Day 13 Explore Palm Cove & Fly to Sydney Sydney
Day 14 Sydney Harbour Scenic Flight & Lunch at Cottage Point Inn Sydney
Day 15 Taste of Sydney Food Tour Sydney
Day 16 Panoramic Sydney Sights & The Rocks Walking Tour Sydney
Day 17 Depart Sydney  

Your Australian journey begins in Sydney, shaking off jet lag while relaxing in Sydney Harbour and The Rocks. Then, it's off to Uluru to see the magnificent Uluru monolith and Walpa Gorge for yourself. Spend the following morning passing through the "Field of Light" art installation before catching a flight to Melbourne, where you'll dive into the city's renowned culinary scene on an evening food walk and venture to the nearby Phillip Island to watch the fascinating penguin parade. Next, embark on a self-drive along the Great Ocean Road to admire stunning coastal scenery until it's time to return to Melbourne.

The second half of your trip begins with a flight to Cairns, where you'll pick up your rental car and continue to the idyllic beach town of Palm Cove. From here, embark on a Great Barrier Reef cruise and snorkeling trip, wind through Kuranda Rainforest by train, and take a road trip to the Atherton Tablelands. Spend your final day in Palm Cove relaxing on Clifton Beach; then, it's back to Sydney to soak up the city's laid-back atmosphere. End your adventure with a five-hour lunch experience and a scenic flight over Sydney Harbour before catching your flight home. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Australia's Nature, Wine & Wildlife: Sydney, Adelaide, Barossa Valley & Palm Cove

Discover Australia's diverse beauty on this 17-day trip, exploring Sydney, Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, and Palm Cove. Perfect for nature, food, and wine enthusiasts, you'll tour city markets, relax on pristine beaches, and sample wines in lush vineyards. Plus, with time on Kangaroo Island, a snorkel excursion on the Great Barrier Reef, and a visit to the UNESCO-listed Kuranda Rainforest on the agenda, this itinerary offers you the chance to get well off the beaten path.

Spend two nights on Kangaroo Island and check out sites like The Remarkables
Spend two nights on Kangaroo Island and check out sites like The Remarkables
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Explore Sydney
Day 2 Panoramic Sydney Sights Tour & BridgeClimb Sydney
Day 3 Sydney Harbour Scenic Flight & Lunch at Cottage Point Inn Sydney
Day 4 Free Day in Sydney Sydney
Day 5 Fly to Adelaide, Explore Adelaide
Day 6 Adelaide's Central Market & Glenelg Beach Adelaide
Day 7 Pick Up Rental Car, Drive to the Barossa Valley Barossa Valley
Day 8 Barossa Valley Wine Tasting Tour Barossa Valley
Day 9 Drive to Cape Jervis, Ferry to Kangaroo Island Kangaroo Island
Day 10 Kangaroo Island Nature Tour Kangaroo Island
Day 11 Taste of Kangaroo Island Tour, Return to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 12 Fly to Cairns, Drive to Palm Cove Palm Cove
Day 13 Great Barrier Reef Day Trip Palm Cove
Day 14 Kuranda Scenic Railway & Rainforest Tour Palm Cove
Day 15 Free Day in Palm Cove Palm Cove
Day 16 Return to Sydney Sydney
Day 17 Depart Sydney  

Kick off your 17-day Australian journey with four days in Sydney, getting to know the city's many must-see highlights. Enjoy a drink in Sydney Harbour, walk along swanky Watson's Bay, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and buzz above the city in a helicopter to Cottage Point Inn for lunch. Next, fly to Adelaide, where you'll have time to wander the bustling Central Market and relax on Glenelg Beach before picking up your rental car. Set your GPS to Barossa Valley, a region known for its fine wines, and spend the following two days vineyard hopping alongside a trained professional.

Your road trip continues to Cape Jervis, where you'll board a ferry bound for Kangaroo Island. Delight in three uninterrupted days of wildlife encounters, including sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park and koalas at the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, before returning to Adelaide and catching a flight north to Cairns. After picking up your rental car and driving to Palm Cove, the next four days are about exploring the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree National Park, and the Kuranda Rainforest by boat, train, and foot. Finally, return to Sydney for some last-minute sightseeing until it's time to catch your onward flight. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Best of Australia: Food, Nature & Culture

Discover the best of Australia on this food, nature, and culture-focused itinerary, crafted for those interested in soaking up the atmosphere of vibrant cities between exciting day trips to the wilderness. With a climb up the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, a day trip to the famous Blue Mountains, a snorkel excursion at the Great Barrier Reef, an evening dedicated to watching the sunset at Uluru, and a night on Kangaroo Island on this itinerary, you'll leave feeling well-introduced to Australia's culture, bustling cities, and famous landscapes.

Tour the small, but impressive, Adelaide
Tour the small but impressive Adelaide
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Climb the Harbor Bridge Sydney
Day 2 Panoramic Sydney Sights & Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 3 Full-Day Blue Mountains Tour Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Cairns, Dinner Cruise Cairns
Day 5 Full-Day Great Barrier Reef Experience Cairns
Day 6 Day Trip to Kuranda Village, Hartley's Crocodile Farm Cairns
Day 7 Rainforest Adventure & Nocturnal Wildlife Tour Cairns
Day 8 Fly to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 9 Uluru Sunrise & Field of Light Installation, Kata Tjuta Tour Uluru
Day 10 Fly to Melbourne, Melbourne Dinner, Tales & Cocktails Tour Melbourne
Day 11 Full-day Phillip Island Tour Melbourne
Day 12 Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip Melbourne
Day 13 Fly to Adelaide, Evening Wine, Dine & Discover by Foot Adelaide
Day 14 Fly or Cruise to Kangaroo Island Kangaroo Island
Day 15 Kangaroo Island Experience, Return to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 16 Eco Kayak & Adelaide Central Market Tours, Australian Wine Masterclass Adelaide
Day 17 Depart Adelaide  

Start your Australia trip in Sydney, climbing the iconic Harbour Bridge and exploring the city highlights such as Kings Cross, Queen Victoria Building, and the Oxford Street district. Next, spend a day hopping between stunning lookout points in the Blue Mountains before flying to Cairns. You'll get straight out on the water with a dinner cruise on the agenda, then over the following three days, you'll explore the Great Barrer Reef, ride along the Kuranda Scenic Railway, visit Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, and wander through tropical rainforests and alongside crater lakes at the Atherton Tablelands.

Next is two days in Uluru, dining under the stars and experiencing the breathtaking Field of Light installation until another flight brings you to Melbourne. After an evening experiencing the city's nightlife, you'll leave the bustle behind and embark on an excursion to Phillip Island. Then, continue your journey along the picturesque Great Ocean Road, stopping at iconic landmarks like the Twelve Apostles before flying to Adelaide. Include a visit to Kangaroo Island for unique wildlife encounters, and spend your final evening toasting an epic trip while attending a wine masterclass. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Epic Australia & New Zealand Highlights Tour

Get your adrenaline pumping and explore the stunning landscapes of Australia and New Zealand on this epic multi-country tour. Starting in Australia, you'll conquer Sydney's "skywalk" over the Harbour Bridge, admire the Uluru monolith from atop a camel, and embark on an overnight sailing trip along the Great Barrier Reef. Then, in New Zealand, raft through glowworm caves, bungee jump in Queenstown, and join a thrilling heli-hike tour of Franz Josef Glacier.

 Fiordland National Park on scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown
See New Zealand's Fiordland National Park on a scenic flight from Milford Sound / Piopiotahi to Queenstown
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Sunset Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Sydney City Tour, Twilight Bridge Climb Sydney
Day 3 Fly to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 4 Uluru Field of Light, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park & Camel Ride Uluru
Day 5 Fly to Cairns, Spirit of Cairns Dinner Cruise Cairns
Day 6 Great Barrier Reef Overnight Sail (Day 1) Cairns
Day 7 Great Barrier Reef Overnight Sail (Day 2) Cairns
Day 8 Fly to Auckland (New Zealand), Sky Tower Dinner Auckland
Day 9 Full-Day Auckland Bush & Beach Tour Auckland
Day 10 Transfer to Rotorua via Footwhistle Glowworm Tour Rotorua
Day 11 Rotorua's Geysers, Lakes & Māori Heritage Tour, Te Pā Tū Māori Feast Rotorua
Day 12 Hell's Gate Visit, Fly to Queenstown, Walter Peak Farm Dinner Queenstown 
Day 13 Shotover River Canyon, Nevis Bungee & Onsen Evening Queenstown
Day 14 Full-Day Trip to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi  Queenstown 
Day 15 Transfer to Franz Josef / Waiau, Take a Glacier Heli-Hike Franz Josef / Waiau 
Day 16 Take the TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch, Optional Tram Dinner Christchurch
Day 17 Depart Christchurch  

Begin your activity-filled adventure in Sydney, getting your first taste of adrenaline-fueled activities while embarking on the "skywalk" over the Harbour Bridge. Next, a 3.5-hour flight brings you deep in the Australian Outback to Uluru. Admire the mighty Uluru monolith by helicopter, walk between conglomerate domes at Walpa Gorge, then watch the sunset while riding a camel across the desert terrain. After another domestic flight brings you to Cairns, you'll spend your first night cruising along the Trinity Inlet, followed by memorable days sailing and scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef.

On Day 8, it's time to catch a flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Admire the "City of Sails" from the Sky Tower, then continue to the geothermal-rich town of Rotorua, stopping at the Waitomo glowworm caves along the way. After an evening at the Te Pā Tū (Tamaki Māori Village), it's back to the airport for a flight to Queenstown. Pack in a thrilling jetboat ride, test your courage at the Nevis Bungee, and spend an incredible day admiring the dramatic waterfalls of Milford Sound / Piopiotahi. Then, your trip ends in style with a heli-hike atop a glacier and a scenic train journey to Christchurch. Learn more

More Great Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other Australia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


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Map of 17 Days in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 17 Days in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas