With 18 days, you can visit at least three regions in Australia. Those keen on culture will appreciate the Indigenous-led experiences of the east and west coasts, while those interested in road-tripping can opt for an east coast adventure. Enjoy a mix of urban and outdoor activities from Melbourne to Uluru and Port Douglas and Sydney. Outdoorsy folks can hike in New South Wales and Tasmania, while those seeking both adrenaline and rejuvenation can bungee jump and soak in hot springs on a two-country itinerary.

Itinerary #1: Australia's East & West Coasts Adventure

With visits to New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia, this coast-to-coast itinerary is for travelers eager to experience the highlights of both coasts, including a bridge climb in Sydney, sailing in Port Douglas, culinary experiences in Melbourne, and a whale shark swim in Ningaloo. Those interested in culture and history will appreciate the variety of Indigenous-led experiences, such as the Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour in Margaret River. 

Journey across Australia to the remote Indian Ocean beaches of Cape Range National Park
Journey across Australia to the remote Indian Ocean beaches of Cape Range National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Bridge Climb & Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Morning Tea Cruise, Sydney City Tour Sydney
Day 3 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains National Park Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Cairns, Transfer to Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 5 Full-Day Outer Reef Sailing & Snorkeling Trip Port Douglas
Day 6 Full-Day Mossman Gorge Adventure Port Douglas
Day 7 Fly to Melbourne, Melbourne Foodie Tour Melbourne
Day 8 Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Café Culture Walk & Melbourne Lanes Tour Melbourne
Day 9 Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip Melbourne
Day 10 Fly to Perth, River Cruise to Freemantle Perth
Day 11 Fly to Exmouth & the North West Cape Exmouth
Day 12 Swim with Whale Sharks Adventure Exmouth
Day 13 Full-Day Yardie Creek Safari Exmouth
Day 14 Fly to Perth, Free Afternoon Perth
Day 15 Day Trip to Rottnest Island Perth
Day 16 Drive to Margaret River, Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour Margaret River
Day 17 Explore Margaret River's Wine Country Margaret River
Day 18 Return to Perth, Depart  

Dive into the region's history and culture on the Burrawa Indigenous Experience—a climb up Sydney Harbour Bridge with an Indigenous guide, then enjoy a four-course dinner cruise followed by a performance at the Sydney Opera House. Admire the views and keep an eye out for koalas and kangaroos on a day trip to the Blue Mountains. On Day 4, fly to Queensland, where you'll snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and hike in Daintree Rainforest with a Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal guide. Then it's on to Melbourne for a foodie tour followed by a hot-air balloon ride and a cultural walk along the Birrarung / Yarra River.

Take a scenic road trip along Victoria's Great Ocean Road before flying west to Perth. Shop Indigenous art and join a craft beer pub crawl in Fremantle, then continue to Exmouth for a whale shark excursion at Ningaloo Reef. Search for wallabies in Cape Range National Park and cruise between red-colored cliffs on a Yardie Creek Gorge safari. Spot quokkas (a small marsupial) on a tour of Rottnest Island before heading south to Margaret River for a bush walk and Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour. Cap off your trip with whale watching at Bunker Bay and wine tasting in Margaret River wine country. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Ultimate East Coast Australia & Uluru

Swapping out the west coast for the Red Centre, this highlights itinerary is for those interested in New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory who enjoy road trips and water sports, such as surfing the Gold Coast, diving the Great Barrier Reef, and kayaking Byron Bay. The inclusion of several free days makes it best suited to those that prefer flexibility and the chance to choose their own adventures along the way.  

Byron Bay's famous lighthouse watches over its coastline
Byron Bay's famous lighthouse watches over its coastline
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Fly to Uluru, A Night at Field of Light Uluru
Day 3 Desert Awakenings Tour, Uluru Sacred Sights & Sunset Uluru
Day 4 Fly to Cairns, Dinner Cruise Cairns
Day 5 Full-Day Kuranda Tour Cairns
Day 6 Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Cruise Cairns
Day 7 Daintree, Cape Tribulation & Bloomfield Day Tour Cairns
Day 8 Free Day in Cairns Cairns
Day 9 Fly to Brisbane, Spirits of the Red Sand Aboriginal Dinner  Brisbane
Day 10 Day Cruise to Moreton Island Brisbane
Day 11 Free Day in Brisbane Brisbane
Day 12 Drive to the Gold Coast, Visit Surfers Paradise Gold Coast
Day 13 Free Day on the Gold Coast Gold Coast
Day 14 Drive to Byron Bay, Broken Head Aboriginal Tour Byron Bay
Day 15 Free Day in Byron Bay Byron Bay
Day 16 Drive to Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour
Day 17 Drive to Newcastle via Port Macquarie Newcastle
Day 18 Drive to Sydney, Depart  

Take a stroll around Sydney's lively waterfront before heading to Uluru, where you'll learn about the sacred site, see ancient rock art on a walk with a local guide, taste native ingredients during the Sounds of Silence dinner, and experience the Field of Light art installation. Fly to Cairns and enjoy a sunset cruise through Trinity Inlet. Take the Kuranda Scenic Railway for views of the Barron Gorge, then embark on a diving excursion at the Great Barrier Reef, followed by a 4WD tour of the Daintree Rainforest. Catch a flight to Brisbane and journey through 60,000 years of history at the Spirits of the Red Sand show.   

Take a day trip to Moreton Island on Day 10 for sunbathing, snorkeling, and sandboarding. Then try a surf lesson in Surfers Paradise, hit the trails in Tamborine National Park, and continue to Byron Bay and learn about bush food and local history on an Aboriginal walk tour of Cape Byron. Spend a free day in Byron Bay as you wish: kayaking, hiking, or exploring the galleries and boutiques. Sample some fresh seafood at the legendary Coffs Harbor Fishermen's Co-op, then canoe at Woolgoolga Lake. Spend your final full day soaking up more sun in Port Macquarie before a wine tasting in Hunter Valley. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Australia City, Outback, Rainforest & Reef Tour

Outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the numerous opportunities to learn about Australia's flora and fauna on this well-rounded trip to South Australia, Victoria, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Queensland. Watch for whales and koalas on a guided road trip of the Great Ocean Road, meet the sea lions and learn about local plants on Kangaroo Island, and spot dolphins on a kayaking tour in Adelaide. This trip is excellent for first-time visitors looking for a mix of city, desert, sand, and sea. 

Venture into the Daintree Rainforest
See another side of Australia when you venture into the Daintree Rainforest
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne Melbourne
Day 2 Best of Melbourne by Bike, Afternoon Free Time Melbourne
Day 3 Great Ocean Road Day Trip Melbourne
Day 4 Fly to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 5 Ferry to Kangaroo Island, Island Tour Day 1 Kangaroo Island
Day 6 Kangaroo Island Tour Day 2, Ferry to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 7 Morning Dolphin Sanctuary Guided Kayak Tour Adelaide
Day 8 Fly to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 9 Mount Conner Outback 4WD Adventure Uluru
Day 10 Sunrise at Kata Tjuta, Fly to Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 11 Outer Great Barrier Reef Day Tour with Snorkeling Port Douglas
Day 12 Daintree Dreaming Tour with Indigenous Fishing Port Douglas
Day 13 Animal Encounters at Wildlife Centers Port Douglas
Day 14 Fly to Sydney Sydney
Day 15 Blue Mountains Hiking Tour Sydney
Day 16 Guided Bike Tour of Sydney Sydney
Day 17 Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 18 Depart Sydney  

Get acquainted with Melbourne on a bike tour, then grab a drink in the historic Fitzroy neighborhood. Snap photos at viewpoints, spot koalas in a eucalyptus forest, and watch for whales on a guided road trip of the Great Ocean Road. Fly to Adelaide and tour the Adelaide Botanic Garden with an Aboriginal guide before catching the ferry to Kangaroo Island. Observe sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park, then learn about local plants and animals on a bush walk. Continue to Flinders Chase National Park to see the Remarkable Rocks before returning to Adelaide for a kayaking tour at the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary

Fly to Uluru and dine on native ingredients under the stars at the Sounds of Silence Dinner. Visit a salt lake and watch for red kangaroos and other wildlife on a tour to Mount Conner. Watch the sunrise at Kata Tjuta before catching your flight to Queensland. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, then learn traditional fishing methods with a Kuku Yalanji guide at Cooya Beach. Then it's on to New South Wales for a hike from Evans Lookout to Govetts Leap. Pedal around Sydney on a bike tour, and end your trip in style with a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House and dinner on the waterfront. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Best of Australia's Cities & National Parks: Sydney, Tasmania & Southern Queensland

With walking and cycling tours in Sydney, a wander around the ruins and gardens of Port Arthur, and hiking in Freycinet National Park, outdoorsy travelers will find plenty of open-air activities and grand views on this off-the-beaten-track itinerary. It's also a good choice for families, as many activities can be adjusted to various ages and interests.  

Visit Queensland's unusually-shaped Glass House Mountains
Visit Queensland's unusually-shaped Glass House Mountains
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Sunset Dinner Cruise on Sydney Harbour Sydney
Day 2 Explore Sydney Harbour by Bike, Visit Luna Park Sydney
Day 3 Sydney's Coast: Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walkway Sydney
Day 4 Blue Mountains Day Tour Sydney
Day 5 Urban Indigenous Cultural Tour, Explore Sydney's Neighborhoods Sydney
Day 6 The Rocks Walking Tour, Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 7 Fly to Hobart, Tasmania Hobart
Day 8 Pick Up Rental Car, Drive to Port Arthur Port Arthur
Day 9 Tour Port Arthur Historic Site Port Arthur
Day 10 Drive to Freycinet National Park, Beach Time Freycinet
Day 11 Hike to Lookouts Above Freycinet's Bays Freycinet
Day 12 Drive to Launceston via the Bay of Fires Launceston
Day 13 Free Day in Launceston Launceston
Day 14 Fly to Brisbane Brisbane
Day 15 Drive to the Glass House Mountains & the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Glass House Mountains
Day 16 Visit the Australia Zoo Glass House Mountains
Day 17 Drive to Brisbane, Mount Coot-tha Lookout Brisbane
Day 18 Explore Brisbane's South Bank, Depart Brisbane  

Take in Sydney Harbour views from aboard a boat, then see the sites up close on a cycling tour (or, if you're traveling with kids, visit family-friendly Luna Park). Beach-hop along the Coastal Walkway from Bondi Beach to Coogee, then head inland to meet kangaroos and more at a farm in Calmsley Hill. Stop at several lookouts to appreciate the beauty of Blue Mountains National Park before returning to Sydney for a cultural tour led by a member of the Bundjalung Nation. Add another layer to your experience with a walking tour of The Rocks and a behind-the-scenes experience at the Sydney Opera House. 

Fly to Tasmania and hit the road, sampling cheese at Coal River Farm and fresh oysters at Murdunna en route to Port Arthur, where you'll take a walking tour of the ruins. Continue to Freycinet Marine Farm for a seafood lunch, then take a hike in Freycinet National Park, followed by snorkeling at Sleepy Bay. Stop for a swim in St. Helens on your way to the Bay of Fires. Ride the world's longest single-span chairlift for views of Cataract Gorge before catching a flight to Brisbane for a road trip to the Glass House Mountains. On your last day, hike up Mount Coot-tha, then enjoy Brisbane's café culture. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Epic Australia & New Zealand Highlights Tour

This multicountry itinerary balances adventure and relaxation. You'll hike in Uluru and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in Australia before trying some adrenaline-inducing New Zealand activities, including bungee jumping in Queenstown and heli-hiking a glacier. There's also time on this itinerary for enjoying a dinner experience under the stars, two nights on a boat, and relaxing in natural hot springs. With so many opportunities for bonding activities, this trip is especially great for intrepid couples and honeymooners.    

A rainbow over Uluru in Australia's Outback
A rainbow over Uluru in Australia's outback
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Sunset Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach & Taronga Zoo Tour Sydney
Day 3 Full-Day Blue Mountains Excursion Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 5 Uluru Field of Light, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Sunset Camel Ride Uluru
Day 6 Fly to Cairns, Dinner Cruise Cairns
Day 7 Great Barrier Reef Overnight Sail - Day 1 Cairns
Day 8 Great Barrier Reef Overnight Sail - Day 2 Cairns
Day 9 Fly to Auckland (New Zealand), Sky Tower Dinner Auckland
Day 10 Full-Day Auckland Bush & Beach Tour Auckland
Day 11 Drive to Rotorua, Glowworm Tour Rotorua
Day 12 Rotorua's Geysers, Te Pā Tū Māori Feast & Performance Rotorua
Day 13 Hell's Gate Experience, Fly to Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw Farm Tour   Queenstown 
Day 14 Jet Boat Ride, Nevis Bungy, Onsen Evening Session Queenstown 
Day 15 Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Full-Day Adventure Queenstown 
Day 16 Drive to Franz Josef / Waiau Glacier, Heli-Hike Franz Josef 
Day 17 Drive to Greymouth, Train to Christchurch Christchurch
Day 18 Depart Christchurch  

Start in Sydney with a walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens, a drink at the Opera Bar terrace, and a tour of the Sydney Opera House. Check out the views from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, then pop by Bondi Beach for a dip and people-watching. Head to the Blue Mountains for a day of adventure that includes several lookouts and sparkling wine. Then it's off to Uluru for dinner under the stars, sunrise with a Field of Light installation view, a hike in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and a camel ride. Next is Queensland, where you'll take a two-night cruise and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef—day and night.  

Fly to New Zealand on Day 9 and get to know Auckland on a bush and beach tour that includes city sites and natural attractions. Stop for a glowworm experience in Ruakuri Cave en route to Rotorua. Attend a Māori feast at Te Pā Tū (Tamaki Māori Village), then take a geothermal walk and soak in the hot springs at Hell's Gate before catching a flight to Queenstown. Bungee jump above the Nevis River, take a jet boat ride through Shotover River Canyon, cruise the Fiordland National Park, then heli-hike the Franz Josef Glacier before boarding the TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Christchurch for departure. Learn more

More Great 18-Day Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other 18-day Australia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


A note on diacritical and retroflex markings: In order to support the best technical experience and search functions, diacritical markings have been omitted from this article.


Map of 18 Days in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 18 Days in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas