Discover Australia's top highlights on this massive 21-day tour that takes you on a loop around the continent. Get your fill of city life in Sydney before heading toward the ocean to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Discover rainforests, national parks, and their wildlife near Byron Bay. Learn about Aboriginal culture at Uluru and Cave Hill, then mingle with kangaroos and koalas on Kangaroo Island. Go winetasting near Melbourne before getting to know Tasmania's remote beauty and relaxed vibe.


  • Explore the exciting cities of Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne
  • Snorkel among stunning marine life along the Great Barrier Reef
  • Learn about First Nations culture at Cooya Beach, Uluru, and Cave Hill
  • Discover the extraordinary beauty of rainforests and the outback
  • Visit Kangaroo Island and mingle with koalas and kangaroos

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Morning City Tour, Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise Sydney
Day 3 Sydney Opera House Tour, Free Afternoon in Sydney Sydney
Day 4 Sydney to Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 5 Full-Day Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour Port Douglas
Day 6 First Nations Fishing & Daintree Rainforest Tour Port Douglas
Day 7 Port Douglas to Byron Bay Byron Bay
Day 8 Full-Day Byron & Beyond Tour Byron Bay
Day 9 Optional Activities in Byron Bay Byron Bay
Day 10 Byron Bay to Uluru, Afternoon Kata Tjuta Tour & Evening Field of Light Uluru
Day 11 Full-Day Cave Hill Tour Uluru
Day 12 Uluru to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 13 Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, Ultimate Kangaroo Island Tour (Day 1) Kangaroo Island
Day 14 Kangaroo Island to Adelaide, Ultimate Kangaroo Island Tour (Day 2) Adelaide
Day 15 Adelaide to Melbourne, Melbourne Self-Guided Cultural Tour Melbourne
Day 16 Tour of Melbourne's Laneways & Arcades Melbourne
Day 17 Full-Day Yarra Valley Food, Wine & Wildlife Tour Melbourne
Day 18 Melbourne to Hobart, Tasmania Hobart
Day 19 Optional Activities, Afternoon Grand Hobart Walk Hobart
Day 20 Full-Day Bruny Island Tour Hobart
Day 21 Hobart to Melbourne, Depart Melbourne  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney

Welcome to Sydney
Twilight over Sydney Harbour

Welcome to Sydney! Often mistaken as Australia's capital (that would be Canberra), this city feels like the country's central metropolis. This is due to its iconic sights, historic neighborhoods, world-class culinary and nightlife scenes, prime waterfront location, and an array of pristine beaches. Upon arrival at the airport, transfer to your hotel, where you can take some time to relax and unwind.

If you have the energy, head out and explore. Soak up the lively atmosphere of Darling Harbour, or walk across Harbour Bridge for great views of the Sydney Opera House. Nearby are the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks, Sydney's oldest neighborhood. You can also head to the famous Bondi Beach and take a surf lesson or enjoy the calmer waters at Coogee. Afterward, dine on fresh seafood or eclectic international fare before taking on Sydney's legendary nightlife.

Day 2: Morning City Tour, Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise

Sydney Bridge
Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge

This morning's four-hour guided walking tour delivers the highlights of Australia's largest city and takes you to some lesser-known gems. Enjoy magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as you visit historic neighborhoods, including strolling through trendy Oxford Street. Arrive at the coast to enjoy a superb cliff walk around the beachside suburbs of Tamarama and Bronte, then return to the city via scenic waterfront areas such as Double Bay and the sandstone rock outcroppings of Lady Macquarie's Chair.

In the afternoon, take in the sights from the water with a three-hour afternoon cruise. You'll visit Shark Island National Park, where you can swim in its calm waters at your leisure. Don't miss the island's foreshore, where you'll find mysterious grottoes dating back to the early 1900s. Enjoy its many secluded beaches and spectacular sandstone cliffs. Learn about the history of Sydney Harbour and the marine life that inhabits its sandy beaches, grassy seabeds, and rocky shores.

Day 3: Sydney Opera House Tour, Free Afternoon in Sydney

Sydney Opera House
View across the harbor to the Sydney Opera House
In the morning, you'll see inside the world's most recognizable sails with a backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House. Learn how this architectural feat came into existence against impossible odds to become one of the world's most famous performing arts centers. Your guide will take you on an unforgettable journey, engrossing you in a story to rival any opera plot with its dramatic twists and turns. Afterward, you'll have the remainder of the afternoon free to continue exploring Sydney. Or simply relax in your hotel and prepare for your next travel day.

Day 4: Sydney to Port Douglas

Four Mile Beach, in Port Douglas
Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas

You'll fly to Cairns this morning before reaching Port Douglas in northeastern Queensland. Once you've checked into your hotel, the day is yours to explore. This resort town on the Coral Sea is the base for excursions to Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef. It's also a perfect destination for those who want a tropical escape. 

You can spend the day browsing Port Douglas' charming boutiques, dining in its exquisite alfresco restaurants, and taking excursions to the postcard coral cays (islets) of the nearby Barrier Reef. Visit Four Mile Beach, where you can relax on the golden sands of this palm-fringed crescent beach without a care. Port Douglas is also a great starting point to explore the Wet Tropics National Park, Daintree Rainforest, and the scenic coastal headland Cape Tribulation.

Day 5: Full-Day Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour

Explore the Great Barrier Reef in style
Discover aquatic life along the Great Barrier Reef 

Your Great Barrier Reef adventure starts with an early departure from the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas. Kick back and relax on deck as you sail along a stunning coastline to reach the outer reef, Mackay Coral Cay, with its pristine white sand and epic snorkeling spots at Undine Reef. You'll enjoy views of the Daintree Mountains' soaring peaks on the way.

Once at the protected site, take a guided snorkeling tour led by a marine biologist and discover an underwater world brimming with exotic life. Swim next to sea turtles as they glide gracefully through the water and marvel at the 1,500 fish species that inhabit this marine park. These include everything from sergeant majors and parrotfish to moray eels and reef sharks. You can also enjoy a coral-viewing tour on a glass-bottom boat as you sit in the cabin below deck, 3 feet (1 m) underwater. Watch fish feeding in colorful coral gardens through large windows on all sides.

Day 6: First Nations Fishing & Daintree Rainforest Tour

Go fishing with locals
The lush jungles surrounding Mossman Gorge

After breakfast, head north of Port Douglas to Cooya Beach (Kuyu Kuyu), a traditional fishing ground of the Kuku Yalanji people. Here, you'll join one of the Kubirri Warra brothers on their beach for a walk among the mudflats and mangroves. Following this is an introduction to the traditional fishing techniques of the local First Nations Australians, after which you'll join them to try and catch your own "tucker" (food).

Next, travel inland to nearby Mossman Gorge, the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park. Here, you'll be welcomed with a traditional First Nations "smoking" ceremony to protect you while visiting Kuku Yalanji country. Then, you'll enter the rainforests of Daintree, the oldest in the world. Enjoy a leisurely hike across boardwalks, tracks, and bridges that offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and waterfalls. As you go, your guide will point out the various flora and fauna throughout the hike.

Day 7: Port Douglas to Byron Bay

Surfing at Byron Bay
Today you'll fly to Australia's Gold Coast, where your driver will be waiting to take you to Byron Bay. This famous coastal town is located in the neighboring state of New South Wales and will serve as your base for the next three nights. With its stunning natural attractions and welcoming community, you'll be captivated by its gorgeous beaches, hinterland rainforests, spectacular coastal trails, premier scuba sites, and buzzing food scene.

Day 8: Full-Day Byron & Beyond Tour

Bird's eye view of Byron Bay Lighthouse
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Start the morning by climbing Byron Bay Lighthouse. Be blown away by the 360-degree panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean and mountain landscape. Between May and October, this site has the best vantage point to view whales on their annual migration. Next, travel to the mystical Crystal Castle. Marvel at the massive natural crystals on display, get lost in a garden labyrinth, or walk in the peaceful tranquillity of this remarkable place. Head to the Byron hinterland to Bangalow's historic and delightful town. Enjoy the old-world charm of the architecture, shopping, restaurants, and galleries.

Day 9: Optional Activities in Byron Bay

Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park
You'll have the day to explore on your own. You could hike Cape Byron (an easy 2-mi/4-km loop), browse local boutiques, and watch the surfers at Wategos Beach. There are many natural wonders in nearby parks, such as Springbrook, home to the Natural Bridge. This enchanting waterfall plunges into a basalt cave down to a romantic lagoon below. Try one of Byron Bay's eclectic eateries, ranging from plant-based delights at vegetarian restaurants to fresh seafood restaurants to authentic Italian and even organic fare at a working nursery/garden. 

Day 10: Byron Bay to Uluru, Afternoon Kata Tjuta Tour & Evening Field of Light

Sunset over Uluru
Sunset over Uluru

Meet your driver at your hotel for private transport to Gold Coast Airport, where you'll fly to Uluru (Ayers Rock). The spiritual heart of Australia's Red Centre, Uluru, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory. The country's most recognized natural wonder, this special place is home to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara tribes, the traditional landowners of the area. 

In the afternoon, visit Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park to see Kata Tjuta. Also known as the Olgas, you'll marvel at this collection of 36 sandstone rock domes, a sacred site to the First Nations people. Driving through the scenic desert landscapes, you'll reach Walpa Gorge, a refuge for desert plants and animals. As you stroll along a natural creek and through deep gullies between the tallest domes, your guide will explain how the area's geology has evolved over millions of years. 

This evening, witness Uluru from an elevated viewing area to see the Field of Lights. As darkness falls, notice the ground come alive with over 50,000 glass spheres mounted on flower-like stems, which light up in various colors. These LEDs are connected by optical-fiber cables and create the effect of tendrils of light spreading root-like across an area of 527,431 square feet (49,000 sq m). As you gaze at the stars, you'll enjoy wine and learn about these constellations' significance for the Aboriginal people. Finally, take a stroll along its glimmering pathways.

Day 11: Full-Day Cave Hill Tour

Olgas Or Kata Tjuta held sacred on Pitjantjatjara Lands
Olgas Or Kata Tjuta held sacred on Pitjantjatjara Lands

You'll take a 4WD into the desert of the Pitjantjatjara lands of Central Australia to visit Cave Hill. An Anangu host, representing the traditional owners of Cave Hill, will be waiting to greet you. View magnificent ancient cave paintings depicting the songline of the Seven Sisters Tjukurpa. A songline is a storyline that puts all geographical and sacred sites into place in First Nations culture. You'll discuss Tjukurpa and other songlines and learn their relevance to Anangu life in the desert.

Next, climb to the top of Cave Hill to admire a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, including Uluru, Mount Conner, and the imposing Musgrave Ranges. You'll also learn the ways of traditional food gathering and the preparation of desert "bush tucker" delights.

Day 12: Uluru to Adelaide

Adelaide River Sunrise
Adelaide River sunrise

Your driver will take you to the airport in the morning, where you'll fly west to Adelaide. Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your hotel. Then, you'll have the day free to discover South Australia's capital at your own pace. This former British colonial hub is laid out in a grid pattern on the lovely River Torrens and surrounded by green parklands. It's a progressive city famous for its many festivals, fine food, and wine. Start by stopping by some of the city's historic buildings. Architectural landmarks include the Adelaide Arcade, Town Hall, and the French Gothic St Peter's Cathedral.

Adelaide is probably the most famous for its gastronomy. This is a city that loves to eat and drink. It's located at the doorstep of the region's wine country and overflows with multi-cultural restaurants and cool bars. So head out to the vineyards and take a wine tour, or book a table at the hottest new fusion eatery before enjoying a handcrafted cocktail to finish the night.

Day 13: Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, Ultimate Kangaroo Island Tour (Day 1)

Kangaroo Island - Ferry
Sunset on Kangaroo Island

This morning is day one of your two-day wildlife and nature tour to Kangaroo Island. A driver will pick you up early from your hotel and transfer you to the airport to catch a quick 40-minute flight to Kangaroo Island. Check in to your hotel, then board a bus and travel through South Australia's beautiful landscapes. A third of the island's total area comprises protected wildlife reserves, so you'll see some incredible sights as you visit Seal Bay Conservation Park and enjoy a guided beach walk at a breeding colony of wild sea lions.  

Following a two-course Aussie pub lunch, the tour continues to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, where you'll feed kangaroos and get up close with some of the island's koala population. Spend the remainder of the afternoon in the Flinders Chase National Park on the island's rugged west coast. Take a stroll along majestic sea cliffs and marvel at distinctive rock formations like Admirals Arch and the otherworldly granite boulders of Remarkable Rocks. After the tour, you'll transfer back to your hotel. 

Day 14: Kangaroo Island to Adelaide, Ultimate Kangaroo Island Tour (Day 2)

Sealink Ferry To Kangaroo Island
Boardwalk to Kangaroo Island

Your day begins with a morning pick-up from your hotel. Your first stop is the fascinating Raptor Domain, a conservation and rehabilitation center for birds of prey. Here, you'll participate in an informative and interactive experience with friendly barn owls, plus see presentations featuring wedge-tailed eagles and cockatoos. Next, travel to Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery, which manufactures a wide array of all-natural eucalyptus oil items, from soap to sweets to skin cream. After a delicious two-course lunch in their café, take a tour to see how they manufacture the products.

The next stop is Clifford's Honey Farm, home of the island's famous artisanal honey ice cream. Here you can see a working beehive and taste varieties of pure Ligurian honey. Later, visit Kangaroo Island Spirits, a local company specializing in handcrafted, premium liquors. Your last stop is at False Cape Wines vineyards. Here you'll enjoy a wine tasting amid gorgeous views of the surrounding grapevines and gum trees. The day ends at the Penneshaw Hotel, where there will be time for dinner before transferring to the Penneshaw Ferry Terminal and returning to Adelaide.

Day 15: Adelaide to Melbourne, Melbourne Self-Guided Cultural Tour

Melbourne's riverfront
Melbourne's riverfront

Fly to Melbourne today, and a private driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. After you've checked in, spend the day exploring this eclectic metropolis at your own pace. Melbourne is Victoria's largest city and capital, and it's declared the cultural capital of Australia. This city of over five million people is a melting pot of diversity and a paradise for lovers of fine food and wine. It's a gateway to unspoiled national parks and home to stunning coastlines and beaches.

The most efficient way to explore Melbourne's many cultural offerings is to hop on the City Circle, a free tram running throughout the central districts and the waterfront. On these routes, you can visit highlight attractions like the neo-Gothic St Paul's Cathedral, the neoclassical Parliament House, and the 19th-century Royal Exhibition Building. For great city views, head to the Shrine of Remembrance, a stately war memorial adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. This 89-acre (36 ha) botanical garden contains more than 8,500 plants worldwide. 

Day 16: Tour of Melbourne's Laneways & Arcades

Melbourne City
One of Melbourne's pedestrian laneways
Today begins with a small-group tour of Melbourne's historic laneways, back streets, and arcades. Visit quintessential shopping arcades and laneways like the Block Arcade, Centre Place, and AC/DC Lane, where the spirit of rock and roll is alive and well. Discover the history of these locations while marveling at cutting-edge street art, browsing boutiques of local fashion designers, and stopping at some cafés to try Melbourne's famed coffee and artisanal chocolates at a local tasting.

Day 17: Full Day Yarra Valley Food, Wine & Wildlife Tour

Yarra Valley
Yarra Valley vineyards

This morning you'll spend the day in Yarra Valley, covering the bustling regional centers of Yarra Glen, Healesville, and Warburton. With vines first planted here in 1838, the beautiful Yarra Valley is recognized internationally as a premium, cool-climate region known for elegant and restrained wines, especially chardonnay, pinot noir, and sparkling varieties. Its lush, rolling hills paint a stunning picture, particularly with the orange-filtered light of the early morning and late afternoon.  

For animal lovers, the collection of more than 200 species of native animals at the Healesville Sanctuary set amid beautiful bush is a terrific way to start the day. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your Melbourne accommodation.

Day 18: Melbourne to Hobart, Tasmania

Discover Hobart on Your Own
View from Mount Wellington

A driver will transfer you to Melbourne Airport today, where you will take a quick flight to Hobart in Tasmania. Once an island of First Nations peoples, later a penal colony for the British Empire, and finally an Australian state, Tasmania is a place steeped in history.

After settling into your hotel, step out in Hobart, the island's harbor capital and Australia's second-oldest capital city. Experience the city's colonial architecture or enjoy the relaxed island lifestyle at a restaurant along the water. Explore the surrounding wild and stunning landscapes of kunanyi / Mount Wellington, which offers exceptional sunset views.

Day 19: Optional Activities, Afternoon Grand Hobart Walk

Afternoon Grand Hobart Walk
Reflections along Hobart Wharf

Spend this morning exploring Hobart on your own and see more of this fascinating city. Consider checking out MONA (The Museum of Old and New Art), which houses art from the David Walsh collection. Try to spot Tasmanian devils at Bonorong Park, wander the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, or stroll along Hobart's picturesque harbor.

In the afternoon, this three-hour walking tour allows you to discover Hobart, Salamanca, and Battery Point on foot and hear the fascinating stories of how Tasmania's capital was established and how it became the vibrant waterfront city it is now. Your local guide will identify the heritage-listed buildings and tell the stories of the early characters and issues that were significant influences in the early days of Hobart. After the tour, make your way to your Hobart accommodation.

Day 20: Full-Day Bruny Island Tour

The Neck on Bruny Island
The Neck on Bruny Island
Today is an all-day tour centered around Bruny Island's beautiful scenery and delicious gourmet produce, located just south of Hobart. Savor the flavors of an exclusive private cheese and beer experience at the Bruny Island Cheese Company. Enjoy a lunch of fresh and local dishes while overlooking Adventure Bay and wander through nearby gardens with stunning landscape views. Walk through the ancient Mavista Rainforest and breathe in its clean air. Visit the Bligh Museum and learn about the South Pacific exploration history.

Day 21: Hobart to Melbourne, Depart Melbourne

Bye-bye Tasmania!
Bye-bye Tasmania!

Enjoy your last morning in Hobart before a driver picks you up to transfer you to the airport. Fly back to the mainland and continue to your next destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Australia Grand Tour: Sydney to Tasmania - 21 Days
Map of Australia Grand Tour: Sydney to Tasmania - 21 Days
Written by Liz Neal, updated Jun 8, 2023