With nine days to travel within Australia, you can cover two to three states, provided you board a quick domestic flight from one region to the next. Whether you're looking to check out tropical rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef, take in the panoramic desert views of Uluru in the Red Centre, or explore cities like Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth, these four itineraries showcase the best of Australia.

Itinerary #1: Highlights of Australia: Sydney, Uluru & Cairns

This nine-day highlights tour covers Australia's bases: Sydney's city life, Uluru in the Australian outback, and the Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforests of Cairns.

Australia, NT - Experience an evening at Uluru in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Par
Experience an evening at Uluru
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Explore Sydney Sydney
Day 3 Free Day in Sydney Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Uluru, Tour the Olgas & Uluru Uluru
Day 5 Explore the Australian Outback Uluru
Day 6 Fly to Cairns Cairns
Day 7 Full Day Great Barrier Reef Excursion Cairns
Day 8 Free Day in Cairns Cairns
Day 9 Depart Cairns  

With two full days in Sydney, you can cover a lot of ground. Visit the cobblestoned streets of The Rocks neighborhood, then lie out on world-famous Bondi's Beach before taking part in a tethered bridge climb of the Harbour Bridge for thrilling views. Tour the Opera House, sample wines in Hunter Valley, and if there's time, head into the nearby Blue Mountains for some hiking. On Day 4, you'll fly into Central Australia to Alice Springs, the gateway to Uluru. After exploring the natural springs, waterholes, ancient paintings, and Kata Tjuta, you'll sip Champagne while taking in a sunset over Uluru.

On Day 5, travel east to Mount Connor to discover an ancient salt lake and spot wild kangaroos, ending the day with an outback dinner. Next is a cross-country flight to Cairns and onward to the Cairns Aquarium. Days 7 and 8 are dedicated to the ocean and rainforest. First, enjoy a full-day catamaran cruise of the Great Barrier Reef with stops to snorkel or scuba dive among the sharks, colorful fish, and turtles. Then it's off to discover the ancient rainforests of Daintree National Park, first to visit Kuranda and then to take the Skyrail Gondola over the tops of the lush canopy or board the 19th-century Kuranda Scenic RailwayLearn more

Itinerary #2: Australian East Coast Adventure: Brisbane, Cairns & Sydney

Covering the east coast of Australia, this nine-day adventure takes you to three major destinations, Brisbane, Cairns, and Sydney. It also includes plenty of excursions out of doors, like snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

Sunrise on Australia's Gold Coast, Surfer's Paradise
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Brisbane & First Nations Dinner Experience Brisbane
Day 2 Guided Tour of the Australia Zoo Brisbane
Day 3 Fly to Cairns, Visit Cairns Aquarium  Cairns
Day 4 Full-Day Great Barrier Reef Cruise Cairns
Day 5 Mossman Gorge Adventure with River Drift Snorkeling Cairns
Day 6 Fly to Sydney & Cruise Sydney Harbour Sydney
Day 7 Guided Bike Tour, Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 8 Blue Mountains Hiking Day Trip Sydney
Day 9 Depart Sydney  

Beginning in modern Brisbane, this itinerary starts with an introduction to First Nations history and culture with a Spirits of the Red Sand interactive dinner. The next day, have your camera ready as you visit the iconic Australia Zoo, made famous by Steve and Terry Irwin, for a guided tour of the grounds. Afterward, you'll make your way to Cairns—home to the Great Barrier Reef—and transfer to the Cairns Aquarium for the opportunity to see some of the world's most fascinating, elusive, or deadly creatures up close. 

On Day 4, snorkel in a sheltered lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef and discover underwater life from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat. Then take part in a Kuku Yalanji smoking ceremony the next day at Mossman Gorge, followed by an interpretive walk and a River Drift snorkeling tour. On Day 6, you'll fly to Sydney and see iconic sites, like Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, as well as pristine beaches and national parks via the Harbour Experience Cruise. For a more intimate experience the next day, you'll see the city on two wheels and enjoy a backstage tour of the iconic Opera House.

Your last full day sees you hiking in the Blue Mountains National Park, where you'll take in sweeping views from outlooks like Jamison Valley and Three SistersLearn more

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Itinerary #3: Sydney, Uluru & Port Douglas

In nine days, you can travel across half of Australia, touching Sydney on the east coast, Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Central Australia, and tropical Port Douglas in northern Queensland.

Kata Tjuta
The Northern Territory sun sets over Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Hike the Harbour Bridge Sydney
Day 2 Opera House Tour & Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise Sydney
Day 3 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 4 Transfer to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 5 Sunrise Kata Tjuta Tour Uluru
Day 6 Uluru to Port Douglas, Optional Activities Port Douglas
Day 7 Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour Port Douglas
Day 8 First Nations Fishing & Daintree Rainforest Tour Port Douglas
Day 9 Port Douglas to Cairns & Depart  

In Sydney, stretch your legs with a guided trek to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge for a unique perspective of the city. The following day you'll tour the country's famous Sydney Opera House and then have lunch while boating in the Sydney Harbour. On Day 3, see kangaroos, wombats, and koalas on a working farm in the Blue Mountains National Park before hiking to impressive viewpoints like Govett's Leap and wandering the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens. Getting away from the city, you'll catch a 3.5-hour flight west to the outback in time for a sunset dinner experience featuring Uluru.

Waking early on Day 5, you'll explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park; its highlight is watching the rising sun over Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) before exploring Walpa Gorge on foot. On Day 6, you'll catch another quick flight to Port Douglas on the Coral Sea, where you can relax on Four Mile Beach. The next day, set sail to Mackay Coral Cay on a yacht and drop anchor to snorkel at Undine Reef, part of the famed Great Barrier Reef. The trip ends with a guided walk among the mudflats and mangroves of the Kuku Yalanji land, followed by a First Nations welcoming ceremony and a Daintree rainforest walk. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Exploring Northern Australia

Opt for this nine-day itinerary if you're interested in venturing the road less traveled, starting west from the Great Barrier Reef off of Cairns to the wild frontier of Broome and down to Perth on the southwest coast of the continent.

Wangi Falls at sunset in Litchfield National Park near Kakadu, NT, Australia
Wangi Falls at sunset in Litchfield National Park near Kakadu, NT, Australia
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairns Cairns
Day 2 The Great Barrier Reef Cairns
Day 3 Fly to Darwin Darwin
Day 4 Kakadu National Park Darwin
Day 5 Katherine Gorge Cruise & Edith Falls Darwin
Day 6 Fly to Broome, Pearl Farm Visit Broome
Day 7 Horizontal Falls Broome
Day 8 Sunrise Camel Tour, Flight to Perth Perth
Day 9 Depart Perth   

From Cairns, you'll set out on a full-day snorkeling adventure of the Great Barrier Reef, followed by a short flight to Darwin. With an afternoon free, say hi to some crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove and wander the Mindil Beach markets at sunset. Day 4 starts early with a drive along Stuart Highway to the UNESCO-protected Kakadu National Park for a river cruise of the Yellow Water Billabong wetlands. Day 6 has you venturing into the outback, first for a swim at Edith Falls in Nitmiluk National Park, then to enjoy a cruise through rugged landscapes and dramatic waterfalls of Katherine Gorge

Next on the agenda is a flight to remote Broome in northwestern Australia's Kimberley region on the Indian Ocean. Spend the afternoon learning about its pearling legacy with a visit to the country's oldest pearl farm. Then it's off to the Kooljaman wilderness camp for outdoor activities, First Nations culture, and wildlife, followed by the Aquaculture Hatchery at One Arm Point to learn about the Bardi Jawi community's sustainable aquaculture traditions. The day ends with a scenic flight over Horizontal Falls, one of the Kimberley coast's most stunning natural wonders.

On Day 8, you'll take part in a sunrise camel tour along Cable Beach before hopping a flight back to Perth. 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.


Map of 9 Days in Australia - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 9 Days in Australia - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas