See the highlights of Sydney and Cairns on this short but action-packed six-day holiday. Tour the Sydney Opera House and Taronga Zoo before heading to Cairns to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. Spend your last full day taking in breathtaking views of Cairns and its rainforests by train and cable car.


  • Tour the famous Sydney Opera House
  • Hang out with kangaroos at the Taronga Zoo
  • Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef 
  • Take a cable car ride over a rainforest canopy

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Taronga Zoo & Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 3 Fly From Sydney to Cairns Cairns
Day 4 Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tour Cairns
Day 5 Cable Car Over the Rainforest Cairns
Day 6 Depart Australia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney

Welcome to Sydney!
Twilight over the Sydney Harbor

Welcome to Sydney! Meet your driver at the airport for a private transfer to your hotel. As well as a world-famous harbor and more than 70 sparkling beaches, Sydney offers fabulous food, festivals, and 24/7 fun. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach, get lost in the markets and pubs of Paddington, or cruise under Harbour Bridge as you soak up Sydney's incredible natural beauty.

Today you can relax while you take in the sights of Sydney and learn the history from the water with an afternoon cruise. You will visit Shark Island National Park, a beautiful inner harbor location, where you will have time to explore and also have the opportunity to swim at your leisure. Spend the rest of the day exploring on your own or just relaxing in preparation for tomorrow's activities.

Day 2: Taronga Zoo & Sydney Opera House Tour

Hop on a ferry to reach Taronga Zoo

See Australia's rare and resplendent wildlife today on a 1.5-hour tour of the Taronga Zoo led by an expert guide. There'll be plenty of photographic opportunities with kangaroos, wallabies, birds, wombats, echidnas, and reptiles.

After the zoo tour, head over to the Sydney Opera House to marvel at the miracle of architecture and engineering that became one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world. The guides will take you on an emotional journey, engrossing you in a story to rival any opera plot with its dramatic twists and turns. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, as this walking tour has 200+ steps. After your tours, you have the rest of your day free to fit everything left on your Sydney bucket list!

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Day 3: Fly From Sydney to Cairns

Daintree National Park
Jindalba Boardwalk in Daintree National Park

Say your final goodbyes to Sydney as you transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairns. Upon arrival, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

Lying at the center of a tropical paradise on the shores of Trinity Bay, Cairns is the gateway to some of Australia's most spectacular natural attractions. Sitting offshore and shaping the city's character is the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's most popular diving sites. To the north of the city lies another UNESCO-listed treasure, the ancient tropical rainforests of the Daintree National Park. Take the rest of your day to explore on your own and check out the international cafés and restaurants.

Day 4: Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tour

Full Day Marine World Outer Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef Coral Lagoon and Green Island

Today's Great Barrier Reef tour commences with a transfer from your hotel to the Reef Fleet Terminal, where you will board your vessel. This full-day tour includes the all-weather Marine World platform, which caters to all activity levels.

Snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon or join the marine biologist on a guided snorkel safari. Enjoy the world's largest coral reef from the semi-submersible reef viewer, glass bottom boat, or underwater observatory. Keep an eye out for some of the 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays! After the tour ends, a transfer takes you back to your accommodation, where you have the night free to explore.

Day 5: Cable Car Over the Rainforest

Full Day Kuranda Rail & Skyrail
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Today's tour commences with a transfer from your hotel to Freshwater Station for check-in. Travel on the historical rail journey to Kuranda, enjoying breathtaking views across the cane fields of Cairns to the tropical rainforest. Upon arrival, you will have free time to explore this fascinating village. The Heritage Markets operate seven days a week and are full of colorful and interesting arts and crafts. You might also like to visit Birdworld, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, or Kuranda Koala Gardens.

At the scheduled time, board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to return to Cairns. There are two stops en route to explore, including boardwalks and the CSIRO Interpretive Center. Upon completing your tour, you'll return to your accommodation to enjoy your final night in Cairns.

Day 6: Depart Australia

Farewell Cairns
Farewell Cairns

After a leisurely breakfast, your driver will be waiting to transport you to the airport in Cairns, where you will board the flight to Sydney and continue your onward journey. Have a safe flight home or to your next destination!

More Great Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other Australia itineraries, explore different ways to spend six days in Australia, or discover the best time to visit Australia.


Map of Australia Adventure: Sydney & Cairns - 6 Days
Map of Australia Adventure: Sydney & Cairns - 6 Days
Written by Liz Neal, updated Sep 11, 2022