In seven days, you can see the highlights of three Australian cities, with day trips from each. Pair Melbourne, Sydney, and Cairns, for example, and you can easily visit the Blue Mountains and Great Barrier Reef. Or head to Western Australia, basing yourself in Exmouth and Perth, where you'll swim with whale sharks and snorkel off Rottnest Island. Other options featured below include a Whitsundays island retreat, Outback exploration in Uluru, and a family-friendly Gold Coast adventure.

Itinerary #1: Best of Melbourne, Sydney & Cairns

This classic itinerary includes a mix of sightseeing and day trips in three of Australia's most popular cities. Enjoy time in Melbourne, visit Sydney for a pub tour and a day trip to the Blue Mountains, and head to Cairns for an Aboriginal dinner event and a catamaran excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Melbourne Melbourne
Day 2 Travel Great Ocean Road Melbourne
Day 3 Travel to Sydney and Afternoon Pub Tour Sydney
Day 4 Blue Mountains Hiking Day Trip Sydney
Day 5 Travel to Cairns Cairns
Day 6 Day Trip to the Great Barrier Reef Cairns
Day 7 Departure From Cairns  

Upon arrival in Melbourne, stroll popular areas like Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, and Queen Victoria Markets, followed by a pub visit at night for a local beer and a bite to eat. In the morning, spend the day cruising along Great Ocean Road. Drive the coast and through seaside towns, beaches, and whale lookouts, along scenic mountain ranges. Stop at Port Campbell National Park, home to limestone formations like The Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.

In the morning, catch a flight to Sydney. Get checked in to your hotel and then head to Harts Pub, located in The Rocks neighborhood. Meet your tour guide for an afternoon pub tour. Learn the history of the area and mingle with new faces. Wake up and embark on a day trip to the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Region known as the Blue Mountains. Visit remote locations and learn all about the history, flora, and fauna of the region.

Stop at a working farm to see kangaroos, wombats, koalas, and emus, and travel around to different mountain lookout points. The day’s highlight is a hike across several ridges while looking across Grose Valley, known as Australia’s own Grand Canyon.

Next, take a flight to Cairns. Enjoy the day at leisure before it is time to head to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park for a night fire dinner featuring indigenous entertains and Aboriginal customs and fare. In the morning, board a high-speed catamaran and enjoy a full day cruising the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. Take in views of the beautiful islands all around, with gold-sand beaches, and go snorkeling to discover the marine life among the reefs and cays below. Enjoy a final morning unwinding in Cairns before it is time to close out the week’s Australian adventure. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Explore Tropical North Queensland

Indulge in a taste of the island life, indigenous culture, and a few incredible landmarks on this versatile vacation. Begin in Hamilton Island for some fun in the sun, tour the pristine Whitehaven Beach, and take a river cruise in the Daintree Rainforest. You'll also meet the Kuku Yalanji indigenous people, visit the Great Barrier Reef, and more.

Daintree Rainforest
Daintree Rainforest
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arriving at Whitsundays - Hamilton Island Hamilton Island
Day 2 Hamilton Island - Whitehaven Beach Hamilton Island
Day 3 Whitsundays - Cairns and Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 4 Port Douglas - Daintree Rainforest Port Douglas
Day 5 Port Douglas - The Great Barrier Reef Port Douglas
Day 6 Cairns - Free Day Cairns
Day 7 Cairns - Departure  

The island tour begins in Hamilton Island, part of the 74 Whitsunday Islands. Depending on your energy level following the long flight, you can choose to kick back and relax by the pool or laze around Catseye Beach. If you’re up for it, take a dip and go snorkeling for an introduction to the water. In the morning, visit Whitehaven Beach, known for its turquoise-hued water and pristine, white sand. Board a day cruise, and do some exploration via bushwalks. Learn about the history, and capture postcard-style views with your camera at the gorgeous lookouts. Sunbathe and swim before enjoying a beachside lunch. Then, return to Hamilton Island for the evening.

Wake up and catch a flight to Cairns. Then, a driver will transport you to Port Douglas. Get acquainted at your hotel and embark on a self-guided tour. Visit Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, relax on Four Mile Beach, and dine at Flames of the Forest for a traditional, Aboriginal meal and a live performance. Rise early and enjoy a scenic drive to Daintree Rainforest, the oldest in the world. Board a river cruise to learn about wildlife and native plants and indulge in a tropical-style lunch. Then, visit Mossman Gorge Centre to learn about the Kuku Yalanji, the indigenous people that have lived in the area for more than 50,000 years.

In the morning, join a yoga session, if you’d like. Then, it’s time for one of the ultimate highlights of the trip: a boat tour around the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel and swim among some of the 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays, and take in the island beauty in every direction. Day six offers some free time to continue experiencing more of Cairns. Visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary—the largest butterfly and bird exhibit in the country—hold a koala at Koala Gardens, stroll through the Cairns Aquarium, and take a ride up the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway over Barron Gorge National Park. Then, enjoy a farewell dinner—or dinner and a show at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park—before your departure tomorrow. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: West Coral Coast - Exmouth & Perth

Enjoy a week of exploration through Australia’s West Coral Coast. Start off in the waters of Exmouth, along the Ningaloo Reef, to snorkel and swim with whale sharks. Then, tour the gorges and take in the views from Cape Range National Park. The trip ends in Perth, with an after-hours city tour and a trip to Rottnest Island.

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Exmouth Exmouth
Day 2 Exmouth - Swim With Whale Sharks Exmouth
Day 3 Exmouth - Cape Range National Park Tour Exmouth
Day 4 Fly to Perth and Nighttime Walking Tour Perth
Day 5 Rottnest Island - Bike and Snorkel Day Trip Perth
Day 6 Perth - Free Day Perth
Day 7 Departure From Perth  

It’s all about the island life from the very start as you land in Exmouth via Perth. Check in to your accommodations along Ningaloo Reef, and take your stunning, beachside home base—home for the next three nights. In the morning, take a boat to a lagoon to snorkel the reef, enjoy morning tea, and get situated in the waters. Then, head outside the reef to swim with whale sharks. Have lunch on the boat and swim around a bit more.

Day three includes a full-day tour of Cape Range National Park and its surroundings. Stroll Shot Hole Canyon, ascend Charles Knife Gorge, and take in beautiful views of Exmouth Gulf. Then, enjoy some off-road touring of native flora and fauna, followed by a dip in Osprey Bay. Next, cruise Yardie Creek and take in the grandeur of the gorge, followed by another boat tour of Ningaloo Marine Park and the waters of Turquoise Bay. The day concludes at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse for some commemorative photo opps.

In the morning, fly to Perth. Meet your guide at Perth Town Hall and embark on an evening walking tour. Get to know the food and beverage scene within the city center, from heritage buildings and laneways to off-the-beaten-path watering holes. Check out landmarks and street art along the way. Wake up and take a ferry to Rottnest Island to pick up your bike and snorkel gear. The day is at your leisure to explore at your own pace. While exploring underwater, take note of the many schools of fish around you. Day six is a free day in Perth to enjoy on your own. Visit Kings Park and the Botanic Garden, and take in sweeping city views from Mount Eliza. Stroll works at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and then indulge in a farewell dinner before catching your return flight home the next day. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Australian Highlights - Sydney, Cairns, & The Outback

On this Australian adventure, start in Sydney, embark on a day trip to the scenic Blue Mountains, and enjoy the sunset into sunrise in Uluru surrounding Ayers Rock. Then, travel to Cairns to soak in the lagoon, snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef and ride along the Scenic Railway.

Cairns Lagoon
Cairns Lagoon
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Sydney and City Sights Tour Sydney
Day 2 Sydney - Blue Mountains Day Tour Sydney
Day 3 Travel to Uluru (Ayers Rock) Uluru
Day 4 Travel to Cairns Cairns
Day 5 Cairns - Great Barrier Reef Day Trip Cairns
Day 6 Cairns - Explore Kuranda and the Scenic Railway Cairns
Day 7 Departure From Cairns  

When you touch down in Sydney, head to the hotel to check-in and freshen up. Then, embark on a guided city sights tour that starts in The Rocks, and heads through Sydney Harbour, Bondi Beach, and Dover Heights. In the morning, head out to the Blue Mountains to visit the native wildlife and travel through picturesque villages—making stops at beautiful lookouts along the way.

Wake up and catch a flight to Uluru to experience the Outback. Tour Ayers Rock and Uluru’s highlights, like the Kuniya Walk, followed by a gorgeous sunset. Get up early for the equally astonishing sunrise, followed by visits to Kata Tjuta and Walpa Gorge, before departing for Cairns. When your flight touches down, enjoy some free time and a dip at Cairns Lagoon, followed by dinner among marine life at Cairns Aquarium, which sets the tone for tomorrow’s adventure: a catamaran to the famed Great Barrier Reef. Go snorkeling and cruise along thousands of reef systems and coral cays.

On day six, discover Kuranda. Ride the Skyrail to the village, which takes you over the ancient forest canopy. Then, browse the local markets and cafés. Visit the exhibits at Birdworld, followed by the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary—with more than 1,500 free-flying tropical butterflies, and then hug a koala at Kuranda Koala Gardens. The day concludes with an adventure along the Scenic Railway, a fun train ride with a spectacular rate. Take in views of Barron Gorge National Park, with its granite rock tunnels and tumbling rainforest waterfalls. In the morning, it will be time to bid farewell to Australia, and head to the airport for your return flight out of Cairns. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Brisbane & Gold Coast Family Holiday

On this family-friendly getaway, enjoy two areas of Australia—Brisbane and Gold Coast. Take a river cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, visit the Australia Zoo, head to Gold Coast for an Aquaduck tour of the town, and a trip to Movie World for film-themed thrills.

Meet the kangaroos of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Meet the kangaroos of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Brisbane Brisbane
Day 2 Brisbane - River Cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Brisbane
Day 3 Brisbane - Australia Zoo Day Trip Brisbane
Day 4 Travel to Gold Coast and Aquaduck Tour Gold Coast
Day 5 Gold Coast - Free Day Gold Coast
Day 6 Gold Coast - Movie World Day Trip Gold Coast
Day 7 Departure From Brisbane  

When you touch down in Brisbane, head to your hotel in the city, and get settled in. For a great welcome activity, head to River City, which is home to Mount Coot-Tha. Take in incredible views of the city out to Moreton Bay, and then head back to the city for dinner.

In the morning, board a boat to Southbank, and cruise along to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. The world’s largest koala sanctuary is home to more than 130 of the marsupials, along with kangaroos, wallabies, and more. Next includes a day trip to the Australia Zoo for more Aussie animal adventures. Owned and operated by Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s family, learn about wildlife conservation efforts and native species at many exhibits, like The Crocoseum, Roo Heaven, and Tiger Temple.

On day four, travel to Gold Coast. Meet a tour guide at Cavill Avenue in the heart of Surfers Paradise to board the Aquaduck. The 1-hour tour will provide an enjoyable view of Gold Coast from a whimsical amphibious duck vessel. Then, enjoy a free day to continue exploring Gold Coast. Visit Burleigh Heads and take a family surf lesson, or watch the surfers catch waves. Stroll famous Burleigh Heads National Park Headlands and seek out the Tumgun lookout to spot humpback whales. For even more wildlife enjoyment, head to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Thrillseekers can hit the SkyPoint Climb stationed on top of Q1, the tallest building in the city. In the morning, make a trip to Movie World, a theme park that features Warner Bros. characters and movie-themed attractions. This is your final excursion before leaving Gold Coast to depart from Brisbane tomorrow. Learn more

More Great 7-Day Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your Australia trip? Check out these other 7-day Australia itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.

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Map of 1 Week in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

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