Within three weeks, you can visit at least six regions of Australia and New Zealand. Hit the highlights of Australia's eastern and southern coasts and experience New Zealand culture and adventure in Auckland, Rotorua, and Queenstown. Road trippers will enjoy various activities, including a tasting tour in Wellington, while those keen on culture will appreciate the Indigenous-led experiences—such as a bush walk and Dreamtime stories in Perth—on a cultural journey.

Itinerary #1: Epic Australia & New Zealand: Cities, Beaches & Mountains

This itinerary that combines the highlights of Australia's eastern and southern coasts with outdoor adventures and Māori culture in New Zealand is an excellent option for first-time visitors. There's urban exploration in Sydney, hiking in the Blue Mountains, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, a hot-air balloon ride and champagne breakfast in Yarra Valley, a Glowworm Grotto tour in Matamata, a jet boat ride in Queenstown, and more. With several free days and a comfortable pace, it's also well-suited to those that prefer a flexible schedule. 

Sail in a hot-air balloon over Australia's Yarra Valley at sunrise
Float above Australia's Yarra Valley in a hot-air balloon
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Optional Activities Sydney
Day 2 City Tour of Sydney, Visit the Opera House Sydney
Day 3 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 4 Free Day in Sydney Sydney
Day 5 Sydney to Port Douglas, Optional Activities Port Douglas
Day 6 Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour Port Douglas
Day 7 Free Day in Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 8 Day Trip to Kuranda Port Douglas
Day 9 Port Douglas to Melbourne, Optional Activities Melbourne
Day 10 Laneways & Arcades Tour, Optional Activities Melbourne
Day 11 Yarra Valley Balloon Flight & Wine Tour Melbourne
Day 12 Phillip Island Tour & Penguin Parade Melbourne
Day 13 Melbourne to Auckland, Optional Activities Auckland
Day 14 Day Trip to Waitakere Ranges Auckland
Day 15 Auckland to Rotorua, Waitomo & Hobbiton Tour Rotorua
Day 16 Day Trip to Waimangu Valley & Māori Cultural Experience Rotorua
Day 17 Rotorua to Queenstown, Optional Activities Queenstown 
Day 18 Macetown 4WD Tour, Skyline Gondola Ride Queenstown 
Day 19 Jet Boat Adventure & River Safari Queenstown 
Day 20 Milford Sound Bus & Boat Tour Queenstown 
Day 21 Depart New Zealand  

Start with a walking tour of Sydney's sites and a guided visit to the Sydney Opera House. Then, keep your camera close on a hike in the Blue Mountains, where you can see the iconic Three Sisters rock formations, koalas, kangaroos, and more. Catch a flight to Queensland and spend a day snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. Take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda for souvenir shopping at the Heritage Market before flying to Melbourne. Hit the highlights with the help of the City Circle tram, then check out street art, local boutiques, and café culture on a tour of Melbourne's laneways and arcades. 

See Yarra Valley from a hot-air balloon, then enjoy a champagne breakfast at Balgownie Estate, followed by wine tastings. Witness the "Penguin Parade" on Phillip Island before flying to Auckland, New Zealand. Hike the rainforests of the Waitakere Ranges, then take a luxury bus to Rotorua with stops that include a boat ride at Glowworm Grotto and a Hobbiton tour in Matamata. Observe geothermal activity in Waimangu Valley, then experience Māori culture and cuisine at Mitai Māori Village. Fly to Queenstown for a jet boat ride on Dart River and a tour of the Milford Sound / Piopiotahi fjord before departure. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Australia & New Zealand Natural Wonders Road Trip

Covering more ground, outdoorsy travelers and photographers will enjoy the opportunities to experience the natural beauty of Australia and New Zealand on this road trip. Adventures include a Dreamtime walk at Cape Tribulation, a tour of the rainforests and waterfalls in Litchfield National Park, a guided tour of Uluru and the local flora and fauna, a glacier walk in Franz Josef / Waiau, and geothermal activity in Rotorua.  

The setting sun turns the cliffs at Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park a brilliant red
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairns Cairns
Day 2 Free Day in Cairns Cairns
Day 3 Drive to Cape Tribulation, Dreamtime Walk Cape Tribulation
Day 4 Drive Back to Cairns via Palm Cove Cairns
Day 5 Free day in Cairns Cairns
Day 6 Fly to Darwin Darwin
Day 7 Explore Darwin Darwin
Day 8 Tour Litchfield National Park's Waterfalls Darwin
Day 9 Fly to Uluru Uluru
Day 10 Explore Uluru & Field of Light Dinner Uluru
Day 11 Fly to Sydney, Sunset Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 12 Free Day in Sydney Sydney
Day 13 Fly to Christchurch Christchurch
Day 14 Drive to Franz Josef / Waiau Franz Josef Waiau
Day 15 Explore Franz Josef Glacier / Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere Franz Josef Waiau
Day 16 Drive to Queenstown Queenstown
Day 17 Fly to Wellington, Explore Wellington
Day 18 Drive to Napier Napier
Day 19 Drive to Rotorua, Te Pā Tū Māori Feast & Performance Rotorua
Day 20 Drive to Auckland via Matamata Auckland
Day 21 Depart Auckland  

Ease into your trip with a free day to explore Cairns before heading to Cape Tribulation for a Dreamtime walk with local Kuku Yalanji. Take a dip at Palm Cove Beach before joining a snorkeling excursion at the Great Barrier Reef. Catch a flight to Darwin, where you can take a tasting tour, browse the stalls at Mindil Beach Sunset Market, and enjoy a sunset cruise. Tour the rainforest and waterfalls at Litchfield National Park before flying to Uluru. Learn about the rock art, cultural significance, and local flora and fauna on a guided tour of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, then experience the pretty Field of Lights dinner.

Fly to Sydney and set sail on a dinner cruise. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, take a surf lesson, or join a walking tour on a free day in the city. Fly to Christchurch, New Zealand, and make your way to Franz Josef / Waiau for a glacier walk or helicopter tour. Continue to Queenstown with a stop at the Blue Pools. Fly to Wellington and see the sites along the City to Sea Walkway. Drive to Napier, stopping for dinner and a wine tour en route. Ride the Huka Jet on the Waikato River, then observe geothermal activity at Craters of the Moon before joining a Māori celebration and feast at Te Pā TūLearn more

Plan your trip to Australia
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Itinerary #3: Active Adventures in Australia & New Zealand: Sydney, Cairns, Queenstown, Christchurch & Auckland

Ideal for energetic travelers, this advenutre who prefer a fast pace and a variety of outdoor activities that include adrenaline-inducing experiences such as bungee jumping in Queenstown and sky diving in Wānaka. With multiple opportunities to experience boats, catamarans, kayaks, and steamships—at Sydney Harbour, the Great Barrier Reef, Bleinhem, Auckland, and elsewhere, this trip is also suited to travelers who enjoy being on the water. 

Hike the Hooker Valley Track in New Zealand
Hike the Hooker Valley Track in New Zealand
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Sunset Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains & Hiking Tour Sydney
Day 3 Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise, City Highlights Bike Tour, Bridge Climb Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Cairns, Explore Cairns
Day 5 Full-Day Outer Great Barrier Reef Tour Cairns
Day 6 Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail Cairns
Day 7 Fly to Queenstown (New Zealand), Walter Peak Farm & Barbecue Dinner Queenstown
Day 8 Day Trip to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, Nature Cruise & Scenic Flight Queenstown
Day 9 Hike the Routeburn Trail Queenstown
Day 10 Bungee Jump, Shotover River Jet Boat Ride, Evening Onsen Bath Queenstown
Day 11 Drive to Wānaka, Lake Wānaka Cruise & Nature Walk, Optional Skydive Wānaka
Day 12 Drive to Aoraki / Mount Cook, Tasman Glacier Lake & Hooker Valley Hike Aoraki / Mount Cook
Day 13 Drive to Christchurch, Historic Tram Dinner Christchurch
Day 14 Day Trip to Arthur's Pass via the TranzAlpine Train Christchurch
Day 15 Drive to Kaikōura via Waipara Valley & Hanmer Springs, Sunset Kayaking Kaikōura
Day 16 Whale Watching Tour, Drive to Blenheim, Optional Wine Tasting Blenheim
Day 17 Wineries & Marlborough Sounds Day Tour Blenheim
Day 18 Fly to Auckland, America's Cup Sailing Experience Auckland
Day 19 Full-Day Hobbiton Movie Set & Waitomo Glowworm Caves Tour Auckland
Day 20 Waiheke Island Winery Tour & Zipline Adventure Auckland
Day 21 Depart Auckland  

See Sydney from the water on a sunset dinner cruise. Then, enjoy a hike in the Blue Mountains that ends at the iconic Govetts Leap lookout. Before climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, take a bike tour of Sydney's sites. Fly to Queensland next, where you can snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or view it from a semi-submersible craft. Ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway over Barron Gorge with a stop at CSIRO Interpretive Centre. Fly to Queenstown, New Zealand, and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to a local farm for a barbecue. Cruise Milford Sound / Piopiotahi and trek Routeburn Track before a bungee jump and a jet boat ride.

Head to Wānaka for sky diving, then marvel at the Tasman Glacier Lake icebergs and take a hike in Hooker Valley. Continue to Christchurch for a tram dinner before riding the TranzAlpine train to Arthur's Pass National Park. Soak in hot pools at Hanmer Springs en route to Kaikōura, where you'll kayak alongside seals at sunset. Enjoy a whale watching cruise, then drive to Marlborough for wine tasting and the Seafood Cruise. Fly to Auckland for a sailing lesson, then end with a tour of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, followed by a wineries tour and zipline experience on Waiheke Island. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Epic Australia & New Zealand: Auckland, Queenstown, Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay & More

Consider this roadtrip for a mix of historical, cultural, culinary, outdoor, and wildlife experiences. There's a bush-to-beach walk in Auckland, a tasting tour in Wellington, an Indigenous Australia theater experience in Brisbane, beach hopping along the coast of New South Wales, a tour of the Sydney Oprea House, and a kayaking safari in Queenstown. 

Explore the beautiful beaches of northern New South Wales, like Byron Bay
Experience the beautiful beaches of northern New South Wales, such as Byron Bay
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Auckland (New Zealand), America's Cup Sailing Experience Auckland
Day 2 Auckland City, Beaches & Bush Auckland
Day 3 Waiheke Island Adventures: Ziplining, Winery Tour with Lunch Auckland
Day 4 Transfer to Rotorua via Waitomo Glowworm Caves & Hobbiton Rotorua
Day 5 National Kiwi Hatchery Tour, Te Puia & Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley Rotorua
Day 6 Fly to Wellington, Zealandia by Night Tour Wellington
Day 7 Wellington Foodie Walking Tour  Wellington
Day 8 Fly to Brisbane (Australia), Indigenous Live Theater Dinner Experience Brisbane
Day 9 Australia Zoo Full-Day Guided Tour Brisbane
Day 10 Pick Up Rental Car, Drive to Byron Bay, Optional Hippie-Themed Tour Byron Bay
Day 11 Drive to Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour
Day 12 Drive to Port Macquarie Port Macquarie
Day 13 Drive to Sydney Sydney
Day 14 Guided Bike Tour of Sydney & Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 15 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 16 Climb the Harbour Bridge, Afternoon Sydney Harbour Cruise Sydney
Day 17 Fly to Queenstown (New Zealand), Skyline Gondola Ride Queenstown
Day 18 Jet-Boat Adventure & Inflatable Kayak River Safari Queenstown
Day 19 Day Trip to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi with Cruise Queenstown
Day 20 Cruise to Walter Peak Farm & Gourmet Barbecue Lunch Queenstown
Day 21 Depart Queenstown  

Begin in Auckland with an America's Cup sailing excursion followed by a guided hike in the Waitakere Ranges. Visit Waiheke Island for ziplining and wine tasting. Then head to Matamata for the Hobbiton tour. Learn about New Zealand's national bird at the National Kiwi Hatchery and continue to Te Puia for a cultural performance and a walk in Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Fly to Wellington, where you'll embark on a tasting tour, then see Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary by torchlight. Catch a flight to Brisbane, Australia, and immerse in an Indigenous Australian dinner theater experience.

Tour Australia Zoo before choosing either the scenic or Gold Coast route (depending on your preference) to Byron Bay. Drive to Coffs Harbour, stopping for a seafood lunch in Ballina. Continue to Port Macquarie with stops that include a Nambucca River cruise and a swim at South West Rocks. Beach hop to Sydney, where you'll take a bike tour and climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Fly to Queenstown, New Zealand, for a jet boat ride and a kayak safari on the Dart River. Tour Fiordland National Park by bus and boat, then cap off the trip with a cruise and barbecue at Lake Wakatipu. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Australia & New Zealand Cultural Journey

Travelers keen on cultural experiences will appreciate this trip's abundance of Indigenous-led activities as you see more of Australia. Climb the bridge in Sydney with an Indigenous guide, learn about the sacred sites of the Northern Territory while in Uluru, take an Indigenous-led bush walk and hear Dreamtime stories while stargazing in the Pinnacles Desert, walk in the Waitakere Ranges with an Indigenous guide, and enjoy a Māori performance and feast in Rotorua. This itinerary is also best for those that want to spend the majority of the trip in Australia, visiting several states and territories.

Explore Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef on a snorkeling tour from Cairns
Visit Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef on a snorkeling tour from Cairns
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Explore Sydney
Day 2 Panoramic Sydney Walking Tour Sydney
Day 3 Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge & Lunch Cruise Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Uluru, Field of Light Dinner Experience Uluru
Day 5 Mount Conner Outback 4WD Adventure Uluru 
Day 6 Fly to Perth, Explore Perth
Day 7 Rottnest Island Tour Perth
Day 8 Pinnacles Sunset Dinner & Stargazing Tour Perth
Day 9 Fly to Darwin Darwin
Day 10 Nature & Wildlife Wetland Experience Darwin
Day 11 Litchfield National Park Indigenous Tour Darwin
Day 12 Fly to Cairns, Pick Up Rental Car, Visit Cairns Aquarium Cairns
Day 13 Meet Koalas & Go River Drift Snorkeling Cairns
Day 14 Kuranda Scenic Railway, Rainforest Tour & Skyrail Experience Cairns
Day 15 Marine World Pontoon Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tour Cairns
Day 16 Fly to Auckland (New Zealand), Explore  Auckland
Day 17 Auckland Bush & Beach Tour Auckland
Day 18 Transfer to Rotorua, Zorbing & Mitai Cultural Experience with Hāngī Rotorua
Day 19 Visit the Hobbiton Set Rotorua
Day 20 Waimangu Valley Nature Walk & Lake Cruise Rotorua
Day 21 Depart Rotorua  

See Sydney's best viewpoints on a panorama walking tour, including Dover Heights, then refuel with a lunch cruise in the harbor. Fly to Uluru and enjoy a dining experience that combines the open-air Sounds of Silence dinner with the Field of Light art installation. Spot kangaroos and other wildlife on a 4WD adventure to Mount Conner. Catch a flight to Perth, then take the ferry to Rottnest Island for a chance to see endearing quokkas. Join a bush medicine walk, then learn about Aboriginal astronomy and Dreamtime stories while stargazing in the Pinnacles Desert. Fly to Darwin and do some bird-watching on a wetlands tour.

Immerse in Aboriginal history and the natural beauty of Litchfield National Park before flying to Cairns, where you'll learn about koalas at the Cairns Wildlife Dome, go river snorkeling in Daintree Rainforest, and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with a marine biologist. Catch a flight to Auckland for a city tour, and a bush and beach walk in the Waitakere Ranges. Continue to Rotorua, where you'll try zorbing (bouncing downhill in an inflatable ball) and enjoy a Māori feast at Mitai Māori Village. On your final day, experience Waimangu Valley's geothermal wonders on a nature walk and cruise. Learn more

More Great 3-Week Australia Itineraries

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


Map of 3 Weeks in Australia & New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 3 Weeks in Australia & New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas