Featuring an energetic mix of wildlife excursions and fun outdoor adventures, this 13-day itinerary is a great introduction to Australia for the whole family. Take a selfie with the cute koalas at Brisbane's Koala Sanctuary then dive into the Mossman River for a snorkeling tour. Who knows, you might even find the elusive platypus! Spend the day discovering the Great Barrier Reef, then fly to Sydney, where a tour of the Royal Opera House and a trip to the spectacular Blue Mountains conclude this memorable family trip.


  • Cuddle up to the koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Explore the stunning Springbrook Rainforest and Waterfall
  • Spend a day discovering the Great Barrier Reef
  • Search for water dragons as you snorkel the Mossman River
  • Tour the iconic Sydney Opera House

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Brisbane Brisbane
Day 2 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Kayaking Tour Brisbane
Day 3 Free Day in Brisbane Brisbane
Day 4 UNESCO Springbrook Rainforest & Waterfall Tour  Brisbane
Day 5 Transfer to Port Douglas, Wildlife Habitat Tour Port Douglas
Day 6 Full-Day Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour Port Douglas
Day 7 Full-Day Mossman Gorge Adventure with River Drift Snorkeling Port Douglas
Day 8 Free Day in Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 9 Fly to Sydney Sydney
Day 10 Sydney Guided Bike Experience & Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 11 Hike in the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 12 Cruise around Sydney Harbour & Taronga Zoo Tour Sydney
Day 13 Depart Australia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Brisbane

Brisbane by Day
Kayaking on the Brisbane River

Welcome to Australia! Upon arrival, you'll be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel in Brisbane. Located 48 miles (77 km) north of the Gold Coast in the northeastern state of Queensland, Brisbane has around 300 days of sunshine per year and is known for its friendly and laid-back atmosphere.

After settling in, head to the South Bank and discover the rainforest walk, enormous playgrounds, and Streets Beach (Australia's only inner-city man-made beach) that make this area so family-friendly. Don't forget to take a ride on the 196-foot tall (60 m) Wheel of Brisbane before heading back to your hotel in preparation for tomorrow.

Day 2: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Kayaking Tour

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Cuddle up to a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
It's time to get up close and personal with one of Australia's most famous marsupials, the koala! After breakfast visit Brisbane's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. With over 44 acres (18 ha) to explore, this world-class facility has a large "Koala Forest" where over 130 of these animals roam freely. Take plenty of photos with the adorable marsupials before heading to the 5-acre (2 ha) Kangaroo Reserve, where you'll be able to feed and pet Australia's most iconic animal. Before you leave, don't forget to visit the wombats, Tasmanian devils, echidnas (spiny anteaters), and emus.

In the afternoon, it's time to make your way to the Brisbane River for your next adventure. Kayaking is the perfect way to see some of the city's famous attractions, and once on the water, you and your family will learn all the tips and tricks to get you kayaking like pros! The kids will love spotting sights such as Kangaroo Point Cliffs, the Story Bridge, and the Wheel of Brisbane as you spend time together soaking up the sunshine.

Day 3: Free Day in Brisbane

"The Streets" Brisbane's man-made beach

Today is yours to explore Brisbane's many attractions with your family. After a leisurely breakfast, head together to "Streets Beach." This South Bank icon is an oasis in the middle of a bustling city; man-made, its sparkling blue lagoon is surrounded by white sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants. Kids will love Aquativity, an interactive water play park located right next door.

After an alfresco lunch at the nearby Picnic Island Green, head to the lookout at Mount Coot-tha, the highest point in the city with panoramic views of Brisbane and the surrounding region of Moreton Bay. After your trip to the summit, visit the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, where kids of all ages can have fun exploring the nature trails, winding paths, secret spots, and stepping stones in the 138-acre (56 ha) sub-tropical haven. Catch a bite to eat and take in the view before making your way back to your hotel to rest up for tomorrow's adventures.

Day 4: UNESCO Springbrook Rainforest & Waterfall Tour 

UNESCO Springbrook Rainforest and Waterfall Tour - Full Day
Marvel at the beautiful Springbrook National Park

Wake up early this morning to catch your transfer out of the city to the heart of the UNESCO-listed Gondwana Rainforests in Australia's "Green Cauldron." Set on a high plateau, on the remains of an ancient 23 million-year-old volcano, Springbrook National Park lies 62 miles (100 km) south of Brisbane and covers 16,617 acres (6,725 ha). In this area of important ecological significance and outstanding natural beauty, travel through lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, breathtaking panoramic views, and a wide range of beautiful and rare wildlife.

Kids will love listening out for the sounds of the different creatures that call the park home and walking behind the "curtains" of the enchanting waterfalls. After lunch, drive through the magical Numinbah Valley to the famous Natural Bridge—an amazing rock formation where water tumbles through the open roof of a basalt cave formed over millions of years. Children will enjoy hearing about the glow worms and colonies of tiny bent-wing bats that come out to play at night. Be sure to take plenty of photos before traveling back to your Brisbane hotel.

Day 5: Transfer to Port Douglas, Wildlife Habitat Tour

Four Mile Beach, in Port Douglas
Have fun with the colorful lorikeets

Today you'll head to the airport and fly northwest to Cairns, where your driver will transfer you to your Port Douglas hotel. A small resort town on the Coral Sea, Port Douglas is known for its sandy beaches and relaxed vibe. After an energetic few days, enjoy some family downtime as you explore the golden sands of the palm-fringed crescent Four Mile Beach and take a dip in the clear ocean waters. 

In the afternoon, you'll head to the award-winning Wildlife Habitat Center in Port Douglas, where you and your family will enjoy a two-hour private tour with a wildlife keeper. There'll be plenty of opportunities to engage with the animals, including some one-on-one time in the koala enclosure. Take a break to experience "Lunch with the Lorikeets" and dine on a delicious buffet surrounded by a rainbow of tropical birds. Make your way to the Tropical Animal Rehabilitation Center to meet and learn about the rescued, injured, and orphaned wildlife that the center looks after. 

Day 6: Full-Day Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour

Explore the Great Barrier Reef in style
Snorkel in the clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef

This morning, you and your family will be whisked from your Port Douglas accommodation to spend an unforgettable day cruising and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. Depart from the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and relax on deck as you set sail to the pristine white sands of Mackay Coral Cay and the epic snorkeling spots at Undine Reef. Enjoy the stunning coastline and soaring peaks of the Daintree Mountains before reaching the coral reefs for a guided snorkel led by a qualified marine biologist.

After a tropical buffet lunch, adults and kids alike will love the coral-viewing tour on a glass-bottom boat. Marvel together at the colorful reef sites that showcase the abundant marine life living among the corals, and see who will be first to spot the various tropical fish and turtles that call the reef home. After enjoying afternoon tea on the yacht, you'll be transported back to your Port Douglas accommodation to spend the evening as you wish.

Day 7: Full-Day Mossman Gorge Adventure with River Drift Snorkeling

Mossman Gorge
The Mossman Gorge River

Travel to nearby Mossman Gorge, the gateway to Daintree National Park, to embark on an unforgettable adventure combining snorkeling and rainforest boardwalks. Upon arrival, you'll be welcomed with a traditional "smoking" ceremony conducted by the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people and designed to protect you while visiting their ancestral lands. Traditional rainforest body paint will be applied before you set off for a guided walk through the world's oldest rainforest. 

After a break for lunch, travel to the Mossman River, where the whole family can enjoy a snorkeling excursion as you explore the river and search for freshwater turtles, water dragons, and the elusive platypus. As you discover one of the cleanest rivers in Australia, keep your eyes peeled for the colorful birds and electric blue butterflies often found near the water. Once your adventure draws to a close, you'll head back to Port Douglas for the evening.

Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 8: Free Day in Port Douglas

The long sandy beach at Cape Tribulation
Snorkel over white sands and crystal clear water
Today is yours to spend relaxing and exploring all that Port Douglas has to offer. Perhaps take an excursion to the stunning Cape Tribulation coastal headland. Here the whole family can enjoy the long, wide sandy beaches and crystal clear sea at this remarkable spot, where the world's oldest rainforest collides with the Great Barrier Reef.
Alternatively, spend the day browsing Port Douglas' charming boutiques and enjoy a relaxed lunch at one of the many alfresco dining spots. For active kids and teenagers, check out the various watersports available, including paddleboarding and kiteboarding. If you fancy a change of scenery in the evening, the beautiful resort of Palm Cove is a 35-minute drive south of Port Douglas. Before you head back to your hotel, take a walk among the centuries-old melaleuca tree-fronted esplanades and dine at one of the many restaurants overlooking the beach.

Day 9: Fly to Sydney

Sydney's beautiful harbor
Today your driver will pick you up from your Port Douglas accommodation and drive you to Cairns for the next leg of your family adventure. You'll be flying 1,219 miles (1,961 km) south to New South Wales' capital, Sydney,  a destination made for families with its dizzying array of beaches, famous harbor, zoo, watersports, and numerous activities for all ages. Upon arrival at the airport, you'll transfer to your hotel, where you can relax and unwind after your flight.
In the afternoon, head out for a late lunch, where you'll be spoilt for choice with the huge variety of multicultural cuisine on offer. How you spend the rest of the day is up to you. Cruise under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or wave at the Opera House as you ride a ferry across the harbor to Manly. If you're feeling adventurous, take some family surf lessons at Bondi Beach, or go swimming in the tranquil waters of Coogee. Stroll the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks before trying out the cafés and pubs of upscale Paddington. Meander back to your hotel in anticipation of a fun-filled day out tomorrow.

Day 10: Sydney Guided Bike Experience & Sydney Opera House Tour

Guided Bike Tour
Enjoy a bike tour around Sydney

After a good night's sleep, it's time to explore Sydney's classic landmarks such as Harbour Bridge, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, and over 30 more attractions. Start with a family bike tour where you will see all of the city's iconic sights and many more that are off the beaten path. Today's excursion is led by a fun, entertaining, and knowledgeable local guide who will provide expert commentary on the landmarks and areas you visit. Perfect for children, the tour showcases nearly all of the city in just a few hours and maintains a leisurely pace throughout,

In the afternoon, head to Sydney's iconic UNESCO-listed Opera House to see its inner workings. Ideal for junior adventurers, kids will love the interactive activities and games throughout the tour and together you'll uncover the mysterious secrets and fascinating facts that bring the 14-year construction of this expressionist marvel to life. Adults will savor the experience and opportunity to go behind the scenes as you learn about the rich history of this masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish.

Day 11: Hike in the Blue Mountains

The Three Sisters rock formations, in the Blue Mountains
Sweeping views across the Grose Valley

Just west of Sydney, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site of the Blue Mountains is known for staggering cliffs, secluded lookouts, cascading waterfalls, and eucalyptus forests. After an early pick-up from your hotel and a two-hour drive west, it's time to visit a working farm. Have fun petting the koalas, feeding the kangaroos, and getting acquainted with the emus and wombats. Enjoy some morning tea before lacing up your hiking boots to walk across valleys and sandstone ridges until you approach the viewpoints of the towering Three Sisters rock formations.

After a well-deserved lunch, it's time to head to Govett's Leap, one of the country's most famous lookouts with stunning views across the Grose Valley. Your final stop is 3,280 feet (1,000 m) above sea level at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. Challenge the younger family members to see how many of the various birds, reptiles, and insects they can name! Here, you'll also find hundreds of international plant species as well as the lizards and possums that call the park home. As the day draws to a close, travel back to your Sydney accommodation. 

Day 12: Cruise Around Sydney Harbour & Taronga Zoo Tour

Giraffes at Sydney's Taronga Zoo
Giraffes at Sydney's Taronga Zoo
It's your final full day in Sydney, so after a leisurely breakfast, spend the morning cruising around the harbor with a special Explorer Day Pass. Depending on energy levels, you could opt for a relaxing 1.5-hour cruise around Sydney's iconic harbor, or you can use it as an opportunity to hop off and visit some of the city's top attractions, including Shark Island, Watsons Bay, and the gorgeous beach at Manly.

After lunch, it's time to head to Taronga Zoo. A quick ferry ride from the harbor, the zoo cares for over 5,000 animals from over 350 species, many of which are threatened. During your guided tour encounter some of the country's most recognizable wildlife alongside African lion cubs, giraffes, gorillas, and Asian elephants. Inquisitive young minds will love learning more about these fascinating species and how the zoo is working to protect them. Your visit concludes with a ride on the zoo's Sky Safari—Sydney's only cable car experience, with breathtaking views over the city. 

Day 13: Depart Australia

Depart Australia
Sunset over Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Royal Opera House

Your epic family trip to Australia draws to a close today, as you transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Australia East Coast Family Adventure - 13 Days
Map of Australia East Coast Family Adventure - 13 Days