This 14-day highlights tour takes you on an adventure through Australia's most spectacular natural sights. Perfect for families with older kids, enjoy the buzz of Sydney before experiencing the best of Australia's desert outback, mountainous rainforest, and sub-tropical coastal shores. Along the way, you'll encounter First Nations culture at Uluru, swim in a rainforest creek, and explore the Great Barrier Reef before ending up in paradise on the shores of the Whitsunday Islands.


  • Experience thrilling rides at Sydney's famous Luna Park
  • Dine on bush tucker fare under the starry night sky in Uluru
  • Experience sunset and sunrise over Kata Tjuta
  • Explore the rivers and ridges of the Daintree Rainforest
  • Relax on the pristine white shores of Whitehaven Beach

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Sydney Guided Bike Experience & SEA LIFE Aquarium Visit Sydney
Day 3 Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise & Taronga Zoo Tour Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru
Day 5 Uluru Cave Hill Tour Uluru
Day 6 Sunrise over Uluru & Kata Tjuta, Fly to Cairns Cairns
Day 7 Full-Day Daintree Rainforest Tour & 4WD Adventure Cairns
Day 8 Full-Day Outer Barrier Reef Experience Cairns
Day 9 Fly to Hamilton Island, Sunset Sail Around the Whitsundays Hamilton Island
Day 10 Explore Hamilton Island  Hamilton Island
Day 11 Full-Day Whitehaven Beach Experience Hamilton Island
Day 12 Inner Reef Guided Snorkel Tour, Free Afternoon Hamilton Island
Day 13 Fly to Sydney, Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise  Sydney
Day 14 Depart Sydney  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney

Welcome to Sydney
Make time for a surf lesson on Bondi Beach

Welcome to Australia! Upon arrival in Sydney, your driver will be waiting to take you to your city accommodations. The capital of New South Wales, this former penal colony for British convicts is now a glittering metropolis and a perfect destination for families. With its dizzying array of beaches, famous harbor, zoo, and watersports, there are numerous fun-filled activities for all ages—adults included.

After a recharge at your hotel, head out for a bite to eat, where you'll be spoiled for choice with the wide variety of multicultural cuisine. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you choose. Ride the ferry across the harbor to the beach at Manly and wave at the Sydney Opera House, stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, or go swimming in the tranquil waters of Coogee. Explore the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks before trying out the cafés and pubs of upscale Paddington.

This afternoon, get ready for an action-packed adventure perfect for families. Just below Sydney's Harbour Bridge on the northern shore lies the heritage-listed and world-famous Luna Park. Make your way to the Big Dipper, where older kids and thrill seekers will encounter Australia's tallest and fastest rollercoaster! Or, for an extra hit of adrenaline, experience the g-force of the park's one and only Sledgehammer as Sydney Harbour, sky, and sea all merge into one on this thrill-seeking ride. 

Day 2: Sydney Guided Bike Experience & SEA LIFE Aquarium Visit

Get ready for a ride
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, the Opera House, and over 30 more attractions, many off the beaten path. This morning's cycling tour is led by a fun, entertaining, and knowledgeable local guide, who will provide expert commentary on the landmarks and areas you visit. Perfect for older children, the tour showcases nearly all of the city in just a few hours and maintains a leisurely pace.
Sydney is a haven for foodies, and you deserve a long lunch after this morning's cycling! Head to the harbor, where there are a number of delicious eateries with gorgeous views. Afterward, it's time to discover the city's SEA LIFE Aquarium, home to the world's most extensive collection of Australian aquatic life. Explore the 14 themed zones, including Shark Walk, Jurassic Seas, and Discovery Rockpool. For particularly adventurous teens and adults, the Shark Reef Snorkel Tour offers a thrilling underwater experience close to these infamous predators!

Day 3: Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise & Taronga Zoo Tour

See the adorable koalas at Taronga Zoo
See the adorable koalas at Taronga Zoo

Make the most of your final full day in Sydney and head to the city's famous Taronga Zoo. A quick ferry ride from the harbor, the zoo cares for over 5,000 animals across 350 species. During your guided tour, encounter some of the country's most recognizable wildlife alongside African lion cubs, giraffes, and Asian elephants. Curious 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.

Next up on your family itinerary is a four-hour cruise aboard a spacious 33-foot (10-m) private catamaran. Prepare to set sail around Sydney's most famous sights, such as Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, while your skipper and host regale you with tales of the city's fascinating history. Sit back, relax and savor a freshly prepared three-course BBQ lunch before a dive straight off the deck and a family swim. Either spend time soaking up the sun or enjoy one of the family-friendly activities, such as fishing or kayaking. The evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 4: Fly to Uluru, Sounds of Silence Dinner

Stargazing over Uluru
Stargaze over Uluru during the spectacular Sounds of Silence Dinner
Today, your driver will transfer you to the airport, where you'll catch a three-hour flight north to Uluru. This sacred part of Australia's Red Centre desert plains is famous for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara First Nations tribes—the area's traditional landowners. The whole family will enjoy exploring this remarkable World Heritage Site's many natural springs, waterholes, and rock caves. Upon arrival, you'll be transported to your hotel. Take some time to relax before your next excursion.
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
The setting for this evening's experience is a remote dune overlooking the fabled Uluru monolith. As the sun sets and the stars start to glitter, you'll enjoy a four-hour alfresco dinner with sparkling wine, canapés, and a feast of gourmet bush food. Afterward, gather around the fire as your host decodes the planets and galaxies visible in the exceptional clarity of the southern night sky. Hear the significance these constellations have to First Nations people and enjoy a nightcap before returning to your accommodation. 

Day 5: Uluru Cave Hill Tour

Venture into the Australian outback
Venture deep into the outback desert for today's tour

Today's full-day tour is a journey deep into the desert of the Pitjantjatjara Lands of Central Australia. Travel by 4WD, driving past the formidable Mount Conner to Cave Hill. The kids will enjoy looking out for kangaroos and birds of prey along the way. Lying within the imposing Musgrave Ranges and around 67 miles (100 km) south of Uluru, Cave Hill is the most significant rock art site in Central Australia—and sacred to the Anangu people, the site's traditional owners.

Arrive at your destination, where your Anangu host will be waiting to greet you. Explore the magnificent 22,000-year-old cave paintings, where the drama of the Seven Sisters Tjukurpa (creation time) is illustrated on the ceiling. Children and adults alike will be captivated by stories about Tjukurpa and the relevance to Anangu life in the desert. Climb to the top of Cave Hill and admire the breathtaking views before learning the ways of traditional food gathering. Afterward, you'll be transferred back to your hotel to spend the evening as you choose.

Day 6: Sunrise over Uluru & Kata Tjuta, Fly to Cairns

Watch the sunrise over Uluru
Watch the sunrise over Uluru

It's a pre-dawn start today to see the sun rise over Uluru and make some unforgettable family memories. Supported by a guide, ride your camels over the dunes in the peaceful first light, and marvel at the incredible sight of the morning sun as it ignites Uluru into a bright fiery red. Stop at a remote lookout en route to capture the stunning views or simply appreciate the stillness. After your ride, enjoy a light breakfast of freshly baked damper (beer bread), quandong jam, and a warming cup of tea. 

This afternoon it's time to swap the outback for the tropics, as your driver takes you to the airport for your flight to Cairns. Lying at the center of a tropical paradise on the shores of Trinity Bay, Cairns is the gateway to Australia's most remarkable natural attractions. After an energetic few days, enjoy some family downtime before heading out to get your bearings. Take a stroll along the central esplanade, where you'll find a swimming lagoon, bustling weekend markets, and great food options.

Day 7: Full-Day Daintree Rainforest Tour & 4WD Adventure

Discover the wonders of Daintree
Discover the wonders of Daintree

Get back on the adventure trail today with an all-day excursion that explores the wonders of the UNESCO-listed Daintree National Park—the world's oldest rainforest. Marvel at the spectacular views and keep a beady eye out for estuarine crocodiles as you explore the Daintree River on a guided cruise. Continue your journey by land to witness the stunning panorama of the rainforest and ocean from Mount Alexandra Lookout. Experience the canopy of lush vegetation from a unique perspective as you stroll over the treetops on an elevated boardwalk. 

After a well-deserved lunch in the heart of the rainforest, you'll drive down the 4-mile (7-km) scenic Bloomfield Track in a 4WD vehicle and make your way to Emmagen Creek. Enjoy a blissful freshwater swim (no crocodiles, we promise!) and head to Cape Tribulation for a stroll along the beach. Take in the scenic mountain views from the lookout before crossing the Daintree River by cable ferry to return to your hotel. Spend the evening dining at one of the many eateries along the esplanade.

Day 8: Full-Day Outer Barrier Reef Experience

Explore the Great Barrier Reef
Explore the Great Barrier Reef

Today it's time to explore one of Australia's most remarkable natural gifts—the Outer Barrier Reef. This morning, you and your family will be whisked to Port Douglas to board your catamaran. Enjoy breakfast on the deck as you sail to the Agincourt ribbon reefs at the very edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Widely regarded as some of the highest quality dive sites, this small chain of ribbon reefs runs parallel to Australia's continental shelf. Here the clear outer reef water provides the best possible visibility as you enjoy a guided snorkel led by a qualified marine biologist.  

After a tropical buffet lunch, even world-weary teenagers 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. Relax on the spacious sundeck as you sail back to Port Douglas Marina, where you will be transferred to your Cairns accommodation. The evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 9: Fly to Hamilton Island, Sunset Sail Around the Whitsundays

Catseye Beach Hamilton Island
Relax on the gorgeous Catseye Beach at Hamilton Island

After a relaxed breakfast in Cairns, you'll fly to Hamilton Island—one of the 74 islands in the Whitsunday archipelago off the Queensland coast. Surrounded by pristine white beaches and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life, this idyllic island is one of Australia's most sought-after holiday destinations. It's the perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and world-famous Whitehaven Beach or as a stunning spot in its own right.

Spend the afternoon getting to know your surroundings, or head straight to Catseye Beach and relax under the shade of the palm trees. Later, make your way to the marina and set sail for a cruise around the Whitsundays as you board one of the island's most comfortable catamarans. Relax on deck with a sundowner (or two) and nibbles as your skipper steers you across the calm waters. Sit back and watch the sunset before returning to Hamilton Island to spend the evening as you choose. 

Day 10: Explore Hamilton Island 

Explore Hamilton Island
Explore Hamilton Island 

Today is yours to discover the beauty of the island on your own. There's no shortage of activities, with bustling bars and restaurants, year-round cultural exhibitions, and plenty of watersports and adventure excursions older kids will love. 

Head to Hamilton Island Wildlife and get up close and personal with Australia's koalas and kangaroos with an Aussie animal encounter—or spend the day at the beach practicing your kayaking and paddleboarding skills. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, take an offroad adventure tour of the island with an all-terrain vehicle. Explore some of the lesser visited areas, or make your way to the top of the island and enjoy magnificent views over the Whitsundays.

Day 11: Full-Day Whitehaven Beach Experience

Relax on the pristine shores of world-renowned Whitehaven Beach

This morning, enjoy a scenic cruise to the breathtaking Whitehaven Beach area on the largest of the 74 islands in the archipelago. Sink your toes into the 4-mile (7-km) stretch of white sand that's among the purest in the world. When bathing in the astonishingly turquoise waters has taken its toll, set up cricket on the beach with the kids, or take a paddleboard out and admire the views across the Great Barrier Reef. 

For a more active afternoon, consider walking the short uphill track to Hill Inlet on the island's northern tip. Along the way, learn the history of the area's traditional owners, the Ngaro people, from the signs along the path. Reach the top and marvel at the ever-changing shapes of the swirling white sands and blue waters created by the moving tides.

Day 12: Inner Reef Guided Snorkel Tour, Free Afternoon

Swim with Sea Turtles
Keep your eyes peeled for the magnificent sea turtles on this morning's excursion

Hamilton Island's captivating fringing reefs are situated just a short paddle from the beach, making today's inner reef guided snorkel tour perfect for children and families. Explore coral systems rich with tropical fish, turtles, clams, and other marine life. Watch out for the magnificent sea turtles that call this area home as you discover the species that live above the pristine sea bed. 

After a leisurely lunch, the rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Splash out and take a scenic helicopter flight over the islands, or for indoor family-friendly activities, head to the go-karting track, where older children will love the Quad Bikes for Kids attraction. Rent a golf buggy and drive up to One Tree Hill to watch the spectacular sunset, then enjoy your last night at one of the numerous family-friendly eateries on the island.

Day 13: Fly to Sydney, Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise

Sunset Dinner Cruise Sydney Harbour
Take a sunset dinner cruise across Sydney Harbour

It's time to depart your tropical paradise this morning and bid farewell to the white sands of the Whitsundays. Take one last dip in the ocean before setting off for your flight to Sydney.

Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel, and if there are any sights you missed when you arrived, now is the time to see them. As the afternoon light starts to fade, get ready to enjoy your final excursion—an evening of laid-back luxury with a cruise around the harbor. Make your way to your window seat and gaze at the iconic views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as the sun sets. Over the next two hours, you'll enjoy a delicious three-course dinner with music while you kick back and relax with your family.

Day 14: Depart Sydney

Goodbye Australia
Until the next time Australia!
It's time to say goodbye as your memorable holiday in Australia concludes today. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Australia for Families: Sydney, Uluru, Cairns & the Whitsundays - 14 Days
Map of Australia for Families: Sydney, Uluru, Cairns & the Whitsundays - 14 Days