With eight days in Australia, travelers can focus on one region or coastline or hone in on two or three contrasting areas for a diverse experience. Take a road trip along Victoria's Great Ocean Road starting from Melbourne, or self-drive a loop itinerary of the Top End's stunning national parks. Want to experience Australia's exciting cities, dramatic outback, tropical rainforests, and Great Barrier Reef all in one trip? With eight days, it's all possible.

Itinerary #1: Experience Australia: Sydney & Cairns

This eight-day Aussie adventure checks off the east coast's greatest highlights: see the famous landmarks of Sydney, then head north to Cairns to dive into the tropical Great Barrier Reef and discover the Kuranda Rainforest. Along the way, you'll have free time for day trips and leisure time to explore at your own pace.

Aerial view of Bondi Beach, with central Sydney in the background
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Panoramic Sydney Sights Tour & Free Time Sydney
Day 3 Full-Day Blue Mountains Tour & Hike Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Cairns Cairns
Day 5 Full-Day Outer Barrier Reef Cruise Cairns
Day 6 Free Day Cairns
Day 7 Full-Day Kuranda Rail & Skyrail Cairns
Day 8 Depart Cairns  

Spend a few days exploring vibrant Sydney with a mixture of guided tours and free time. Tour the incredible architecture, including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, head to beaches like Bondi and Coogee, and enjoy panoramic views on a harbor cruise or ferry trip. Take a day tour to the nearby Blue Mountains, where you'll hike to the Three Sisters Lookout, and keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas.

Fly north to Cairns, in tropical Northern Queensland, where the ancient rainforest meets white-sand beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. Take a day cruise to the outer reef, where you can snorkel, dive, or admire the views from on board. On Day 6, enjoy free time in Cairns, followed by a day trip to the mountain town of Kuranda, getting there via the Kuranda Scenic Railway, and returning on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Learn more 

Itinerary #2: Sydney, Uluru & Cairns

Experience three different sides of Australia on this eight-day Sydney, Uluru, and Cairns tour, including time in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. With cities, mountains, deserts, rainforests, and reefs, travelers will get a taste of many quintessential Australian sights and activities.

See the sunrise over Kata Tjuta
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Afternoon Taste of Sydney Private Tour Sydney
Day 2 Sydney Opera House Tour, Taronga Zoo Sydney
Day 3 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Uluru, Afternoon Kata Tjuta Domes Tour & Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 5 Uluru Sightseeing, Fly to Cairns & Aquarium  Cairns
Day 6 Full-Day Marine World Outer Great Barrier Reef Cairns
Day 7 Full-Day Mossman Gorge Adventure with River Drift Snorkeling Cairns
Day 8 Depart Australia  

Starting in beautiful Sydney, you'll spend a few days exploring the best of Australia's biggest city. Tour the landmark Sydney Opera House, cruise on Darling Harbour, and take a day trip to the Blue Mountains. Next, fly to Australia's "Red Centre" for a few days to learn more about First Nations culture and history at the incredible Uluru and Kata Tjuta rock formations. You'll even get a chance to sample some bush tucker.

Return to the coast for a few days in Cairns, the gateway to the enormous Great Barrier Reef and rainforest-covered national parks. Learn more about local marine life at the Cairns Aquarium before seeing it all in the wild on a full-day reef tour, on which you can snorkel or dive. Head into the Daintree Rainforest on a tour along the Mossman River, including some fun drift snorkeling to look out for turtles and platypus. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Melbourne & the Great Ocean Road Self-Drive Adventure

Explore Australia's southeastern coast on this eight-day self-driving adventure starting in Melbourne. Follow the famous Great Ocean Road, which stretches for 150 miles (240 km), following golden beaches and unspoiled natural parks.

The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne, Optional Activities & First Nations Heritage Melbourne
Day 2 Best of Melbourne by Bike, Free Afternoon in Melbourne Melbourne
Day 3 Great Ocean Road Self-Drive: Melbourne to Apollo Bay Apollo Bay
Day 4 Great Ocean Road Self-Drive: Apollo Bay to Warrnambool Warrnambool
Day 5 Self-Drive: Warrnambool to Grampians National Park Halls Gap
Day 6 Half-Day Canoe Trip Halls Gap
Day 7 Self-Drive: Grampians National Park to Melbourne Melbourne
Day 8 Depart Melbourne  

Arrive in Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, and hit the ground running with optional First Nations-focused activities, starting at the Koorie Heritage Center. The next day, get a little exercise while seeing the city sights on a half-day cycle tour, followed by a free afternoon to do as you please. Collect your car the following day and embark on a journey along the Great Ocean Road.

There are many towns, beaches, and parks along the road to explore. Depending on your interests, stop at the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay, hike in the Great Otway National Park, and look for platypus at Lake Elizabeth. A highlight for everyone is checking out the Twelve Apostles rock formations near Apollo Bay. Drive inland to the dramatic sandstone ridges of Grampians National Park, where you can canoe on one of the lakes, before returning to Melbourne. Learn more

Itinerary #4: The Best of Australia's West Coast: Perth, Exmouth & Margaret River

Experience the highlights of Perth, Exmouth, and Margaret River on this action-packed eight-day trip down Australia's west coast. Swim with whale sharks, ride roller coasters, immerse yourself in local heritage, and indulge in winery tours.

North Cottesloe Beach, Perth
North Cottesloe Beach, Perth
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Perth Perth
Day 2 Fly to Exmouth Exmouth
Day 3 Swim with Whale Sharks Exmouth
Day 4 Fly to Perth Perth
Day 5 Full-Day Tour of Rottnest Perth
Day 6 Drive to Margaret River Margaret River
Day 7 Discover Margaret River's Beaches Margaret River
Day 8 Depart Australia  

Welcome to Western Australia! Begin in Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world, where you'll cruise on the Swan River and hang out in the popular Fremantle neighborhood. The next day, fly to Exmouth, the gateway to the Ningaloo Marine Park. Watch sea turtles hatch at the Jurabi Coastal Reserve and swim with whale sharks at the Ningaloo Reef.

Return to Perth for urban wildlife adventures and theme park fun before taking a ferry to Rottnest Island for a day, learning about its unique flora and fauna. Continue to Margaret River, one of Western Australia's most famous wine regions. Learn about the town's history and culture, sample some fine wines (especially whites), and spend time chilling out on the beautiful beaches, such as Meelup and Castle Rock. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Northern Australia Road Trip: Kakadu, Katherine & Litchfield

See the highlights and hidden corners of Northern Australia's "Top End" on this eight-day self-drive adventure. Start in Darwin and explore remote national parks, cruise down rivers for spectacular views (and crocodile spotting), meet the native wildlife at a local sanctuary, and search for First Nations rock art on a sunset hike.

Nitmiluk National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Darwin Darwin
Day 2 Drive to Ubirr & Kakadu National Park Ubirr
Day 3 Guluyambi River Cruise & Swim in Kakadu Cooinda
Day 4 Sunrise Cruise & Drive to Katherine Katherine
Day 5 Explore Katherine Gorge & Nitmiluk National Park Katherine
Day 6 Drive to Litchfield National Park Litchfield National Park
Day 7 Explore Litchfield National Park Litchfield National Park
Day 8 Depart Australia  

Start in tropical Darwin, a vibrant coastal town with incredible sunsets, great markets, and plenty of crocodile activities to experience. From Darwin, drive a couple of hours into the nearby Kakadu National Park, Australia's largest national park and a great place to learn more about First Nations culture and ancient rock art, as well as the Top End's diverse ecosystems. 

From Kakadu, head south to Katherine, on the banks of the Katherine River and gateway to Nitmiluk National Park. Explore the park's red-rock gorges and dazzling waterfalls on a leisurely canoe trip. Loop north and drive up to Litchfield National Park, a dreamland of tumbling waterfalls, crystal-clear natural pools, and croc-free waters that are ideal for swimming, ending your last full day here. Learn more

More Great Eight-Day Destination Itineraries

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


Map of 8 Days in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 8 Days in Australia - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas