Hit the highlights of Australia's east and west coasts on this glorious 18-day adventure. Start in Sydney, where you'll cruise its famous harbor and scale the heights of its iconic bridge. Head north to Port Douglas to snorkel through coral reefs and trek into the rainforest, then experience Melbourne with a food tour and hot-air balloon flight. Fly to the west coast to discover Perth and its stunning beaches, then finish your journey swimming with whale sharks in Exmouth and wine tasting in Margaret River.


  • Cruise Sydney Harbour by day and by night to see the best attractions
  • Snorkel Queensland's coral reefs and venture into its rainforests 
  • Take a foodie tour of Melbourne before discovering it overhead by hot-air balloon
  • Drive along the Great Ocean Road and swim with peaceful whale sharks
  • Discover the western coast's beaches and go wine tasting in Margaret River

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Bridge Climb & Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Morning Tea Cruise, Sydney City Tour Sydney
Day 3 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains National Park Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Cairns, Transfer to Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 5 Full-Day Outer Reef Sailing & Snorkeling Trip Port Douglas
Day 6 Full-Day Mossman Gorge Adventure Port Douglas
Day 7 Fly to Melbourne, Melbourne Foodie Tour Melbourne
Day 8 Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Café Culture Walk & Melbourne Lanes Tour Melbourne
Day 9 Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip Melbourne
Day 10 Fly to Perth, River Cruise to Freemantle Perth
Day 11 Fly to Exmouth & the North West Cape Exmouth
Day 12 Swim with Whale Sharks Adventure Exmouth
Day 13 Full-Day Yardie Creek Safari Exmouth
Day 14 Fly to Perth, Free Afternoon Perth
Day 15 Day Trip to Rottnest Island Perth
Day 16 Drive to Margaret River, Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour Margaret River
Day 17 Explore Margaret River's Wine Country Margaret River
Day 18 Return to Perth, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney, Bridge Climb & Dinner Cruise 

Burrawa Indigenous Climb - Sydney Harbour Bridge
Marvel at the extraordinary views from Sydney Harbour Bridge

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.

For a panoramic overview of this sprawling city and an insight into its Indigenous roots, start your trip off in exhilarating style with a trek up the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Burrawa Indigenous Experience takes you on an unforgettable journey to the top of this landmark while introducing you to the history and culture of Sydney's traditional owners and custodians. Participate in a spiritual smoking ceremony, then follow your Indigenous Australian guide as you scale the bridge's upper arch. Panoramic views await at the top, where you'll celebrate with your group before crossing to the west side and descending. 

This evening, see more of the city from a different vantage point as you embark on a three-hour glass boat dinner cruise and enjoy a four-course meal against the backdrop of 360-degree harbor views. If you're thirsty for more (and jet lag hasn't hit you yet), you'll also have the option to attend a Sydney Opera House performance. With a history of having some of the world's best performers on stage, the classic venue also showcases an imposing roster of seasonal dance and theater productions worth seeing.

Day 2: Morning Tea Cruise, Sydney City Tour

Stop for some beach time at Bondi on today's tour

Rise early and get back out on the water today with a two-hour cruise that visits the harbor's standout attractions. Take in the sights set aglow by sunrise as you cruise the waterways of Sydney Harbour. Your informative captain and crew will entertain you while you sip tea or coffee and enjoy a light breakfast.

When you disembark, you'll switch to a bus and continue your explorations on land with a panoramic guided city tour. See The Rocks neighborhood and learn about its convict history, then continue past Hyde Park Barracks and St. Mary's Cathedral to Mrs Macquarie Point, where magnificent Opera House and Harbour Bridge views await. At Watsons Bay, you'll have the option of stopping for a short coastal walk with sweeping vistas over the Pacific and the harbor.

Stop at the famous Bondi Beach, where you'll have time to visit the beachfront promenade, feel the sand in your toes, and enjoy a coffee or cool drink. Hop back on the bus and continue to Tamarama and Bronte beaches before returning to the city via Centennial Park and Paddington, a trendy district with its elegant terrace houses and boutique shops along Oxford Street.

Day 3: Day Trip to the Blue Mountains National Park

Three Sisters rock formation
See the Three Sisters Rock formation on a day trip into the Blue Mountains

It's another early start today as you set out on a guided adventure in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales's most visited national park. Located just an hour west of Sydney, this UNESCO-listed area is named for the dense eucalypt forests that give the mountains a distinctive blueish hue. Along the drive, you'll stop at Calmsley Hill, a working farm where you'll find koalas, wombats, emus, and kangaroos. Enjoy tea here and some free time to explore before continuing the journey with stops en route at a viewpoint over the Jamison Valley.

At Eaglehawk Lookout, appreciate a view of the Three Sisters rock formation without the crowds, then relax over lunch amid the stunning scenery of Blackheath. This will set you up for an afternoon visiting a selection of fantastic lookouts. A highlight will be Govetts Leap, one of the most famous vistas in Australia with a waterfall where you can gaze down the valley to the Grose Wilderness. Your last stop is the beautiful Blue Mountains Botanic Garden for a cold drink and sweeping views of Sydney before returning to your hotel down the famed Bells Line of Road.

Day 4: Fly to Cairns, Transfer to Port Douglas

Four Mile Beach, in Port Douglas
The sweeping Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas

Switch gears today as you head north up the coast to the beaches and jungles of Queensland. A driver will pick you up from your Sydney hotel this morning and transfer you to the airport for a three-hour flight north to Cairns, where another driver will be waiting to transport you to your hotel in Port Douglas. Located just north of Cairns, this resort town on the Coral Sea is the perfect base for excursions into the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics national parks, the Daintree Rainforest, and the scenic coastal headland of Cape Tribulation

Spend the day browsing Port Douglas' charming boutiques, dining in its exquisite al fresco restaurants, and taking excursions to the postcard-perfect coral cays (islets) of the nearby Barrier Reef. A visit to the nearby Four Mile Beach is also essential for any visitor. Here, you can laze on the golden sands of this palm-fringed crescent beach without a care in the world. 

Day 5: Full-Day Outer Reef Sailing & Snorkeling Trip

Full Day Outer Reef Mackay Coral Cay
Sail to the coral cays off Port Douglas for a day of snorkeling

Grab your swimsuit and plenty of sunscreen this morning as you transfer from your hotel to the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina. Here you'll board a boat and sit back as you set sail to the Mackay or Undine Reefs, following the coastline and taking in views of the Daintree Mountains.

Once at the reefs' coral cays, don a snorkel and fins and dive into the clear waters, discovering the pristine coral reef alongside a qualified marine biologist who will help you find the best spots to maximize your underwater explorations. See swimming turtles, giant clam gardens, beautiful corals, and colorful fish. Back on board, you'll have plenty of time to soak up the sun and enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings before breaking for a tropical buffet lunch onboard. Spend the remainder of the afternoon snorkeling and swimming, then head back to the marina in time for a spectacular sunset.

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

Day 6: Full-Day Mossman Gorge Adventure

Mossman Gorge
Mossman Gorge lies amid the ancient rainforests of Daintree National Park

Trade Queensland's reefs for its rainforests today as you transfer into the lush environs of Mossman Gorge and Daintree National Park for a full-day guided adventure. Your tour kicks off as you meet the rainforest's Kuku Yalanji people, Indigenous inhabitants who live in harmony with their rainforest home. You'll be welcomed with a traditional Kuku Yalanji smoking ceremony to cleanse evil spirits and then have traditional rainforest body paint applied.

Next, you'll set out on a 1.5-hour interpretive walk, giving you a deeper understanding of this breathtaking ecosystem. Daintree is home to the oldest rainforest on earth, as well as one of the most biodiverse, and among its towering palms and prehistoric-looking ferns, you'll find remarkable species like the southern cassowary and the tree kangaroo. After lunch, it's on to the Mossman River, where you'll end your day with a relaxing River Drift snorkeling tour. Spot turtles, water dragons, and the elusive platypus as you float down the gentle waters, then return to Port Douglas in the afternoon.

Day 7: Fly to Melbourne, Melbourne Foodie Tour

Aussie Meat Pie
Dig into an Aussie meat pie on this afternoon's Melbourne food tour

It's on to Melbourne today as your driver transfers you to the airport for the 3.5-hour flight south to the thriving capital of Victoria. On arrival, another driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel. Once settled in, get ready to eat! On a three-hour guided walk, you'll enjoy Melbourne's eclectic food scene while strolling its famous laneways and historic shopping arcades.

You'll stop at various back-alley restaurants and cafés in the CBD (Central Business District). Admire the street art and browse funky boutiques as you sample local Aussie favorites like meat pies and Vegemite, drink Melbourne's famous specialty coffee and enjoy a lunch of shared dumplings. Afterward, sneak in dessert and finish with a drink in a laneway bar the locals love. At the end of the tour, you'll return to your hotel on your own.

Day 8: Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Café Culture Walk & Melbourne Lanes Tour

Ballooning over Melbourne
Watch the sunrise from a hot-air balloon over Melbourne

Take to the skies this morning to watch the sunrise over Melbourne from a hot-air balloon. After a peaceful hour spent drifting over this famously green city, land and toast the morning's adventure with a glass of champagne. Next, work up an appetite as you join a Café Culture Walk to indulge in Melbourne's renowned foodie scene and café culture. Enjoy tastings and hear insider stories from passionate baristas, learn about the multicultural influences of Melbourne's immigrants, and sample local treats alongside the city's famous coffee. The excursion ends with a light lunch, setting you up for the afternoon's next tour.

With a full stomach, set out once again to discover Melbourne's famous laneways and arcades on foot with a local guide. See Federation Square and Flinders Street Station, then stroll the pedestrian laneway of Degraves Street. Explore the elegant, light-filled Royal Arcade, the oldest surviving arcade in Australia, and see vibrant Flinders Lane and its boutique designers, trendy cafés, and bars. Admire the graffiti and street art of Hosier Lane, then board a waiting bus to see Parliament HouseQueen Victoria Markets, and many other sites before returning to Federation Square.

If you're up for more, stay at Federation Square and take a self-guided tour of the city's Indigenous culture. Visit the Koorie Heritage Center, an Indigenous-owned organization offering an immersive, urban-Aboriginal experience. You'll view the Trust's collection of artworks and artifacts on display, then meet up with a local guide for a cultural walk along the Birrarung / Yarra River to witness incredible art installations and important historical sites that date back thousands of years.

Day 9: Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip

Great Ocean Road
Enjoy spectacular views as you hug the coast along the Great Ocean Road

Today you'll join your driver and embark on an epic road trip along one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world, the Great Ocean Road. This stretch of highway runs 150 miles (240 km) down Victoria's southwest coast, passing national parks, limestone rock formations, seaside bluffs, coastal mountain ranges, and incredible beaches. This is an 11-hour trip in a private mini-bus where you'll have ample time to stop and enjoy the highlights.

Keep an eye on the coast throughout the drive, as you will likely spot whales and dolphins. On the inland side, you might even see echidnas and bandicoots. Stop for lunch at Apollo Bay, a tranquil seaside town set among the rolling coastal hills. Stretch your legs on a forest hike through the mountains of the famous Otway Ranges. You'll also visit the romantic cove at Loch Ard Gorge, then cap the adventure at the most incredible natural landmarks on the route, the Twelve Apostles, a group of ancient limestone rock formations rising out of the sea. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel in Melbourne.

Day 10: Fly to Perth, River Cruise to Freemantle

Cruise down the Swan River in Perth to reach nearby Freemantle

It's time to head west today as your driver transfers you to the airport to catch a 4.5-hour flight to Perth. The capital of Western Australia, Perth is considered one of the most isolated cities on earth as well as one of the sunniest, with its two million residents blessed with over 138 days of sunshine a year.

Upon arrival at the airport, a transfer will take you to your accommodation, where you can get settled in and then hit the ground running with a cruise down the nearby Swan River to the charming port of Fremantle. Located just 20 minutes southwest of the city center, Freemantle's streets are filled with history, and you'll hear stories of convicts, maritime heroes, mutineers, and pioneers on a tour of Fremantle Prison, the state's first jail and largest convict-built structure.

Check out the rollicking Fremantle Markets, where you can shop for Indigenous artworks and local produce, then browse the bookshops and boutiques along South Terrace, where artists and musicians play on weekends. Go on a pub crawl to check out Fremantle's craft brewers, grab fish and chips at Kailis' Fish Market Café, or eat and enjoy the view at the Bathers Beach House. Getting back to Perth is easy: simply catch a train, and you will be there in 25 minutes to enjoy the rest of your evening. 

Day 11: Fly to Exmouth & the North West Cape

Welcome to Exmouth
Discover the white-sand beaches and turquoise seas of the North West Cape

Delve deeper into the remote beauty of Western Australia this morning as you catch a flight 680 miles (1,094 km) north up the coast to Exmouth. Located on the tip of the North West Cape, this small resort town sits on the doorstep of the fringed reefs of Ningaloo Marine Park and the rugged, red landscapes of Cape Range National Park.

Upon arrival, a driver will take you to your hotel, and you'll have the rest of the afternoon to get to know this charming town at your own pace. Unwind after your flight with some relaxing beach time, or for a glimpse of the region's remarkable underwater life, head to the nearby Jurabi Coastal Reserve, where the Jurabi Turtle Centre will guide you through tidal rock pools and protected beaches to see turtle nesting sites and hatchlings.

Day 12: Swim with Whale Sharks Adventure

Swim with Whalesharks
Experience the thrill of swimming with whale sharks in the Ningaloo Reef

Today will be a highlight of the trip as you join a full-day, small-group excursion to swim with some of the ocean's most majestic giants. Set off for the Ningaloo Reef, a biodiversity hotspot rich in aquatic life, on an intimate, once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to get up close to gentle whale sharks and maybe even swim alongside humpback whales.

The day will be tailored depending on the season, weather, and conditions, allowing you to maximize your chances of witnessing the most diverse array of marine life possible. After the tour, toast your unforgettable day at one of Exmouth's great local restaurants or craft breweries.

Day 13: Full-Day Yardie Creek Safari

Full Day Yardie Creek Safari
Admire all the stunning shades of red at Yardie Creek Gorge

Today's 6.5-hour tour takes you inland to see the best of the Cape Range National Park with a broad range of outdoor experiences. Spot local wildlife like giant osprey and black-footed rock wallabies among the rugged landscape, then take an exclusive boat tour of Yardie Creek Gorge. Navigate tranquil waters through sheer red limestone cliffs, and continue to the beautiful Turquoise Bay, where you can snorkel and swim near the Ningaloo Reef.

As you return to Exmouth, learn about the history of the North West Cape and enjoy a great photo opportunity from the panoramic vantage point of Lighthouse Hill. In the afternoon, you'll travel back to Exmouth, where you can spend your final evening in this laid-back coastal town at your leisure.

Day 14: Fly to Perth, Free Afternoon

See city landmarks like the Swan Bells Tower in Perth

Say goodbye to Exmouth this morning and transfer to the airport to catch a flight back to Perth, where a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. The rest of the day in Perth is at your leisure.

After a busy two weeks, you might want to take it easy at your hotel, but if you're up for some more action, check off some city landmarks like the Swan Bells, a set of 18 bells hanging in a 270-foot-high (82 m) copper and glass campanile, or head over to Caversham Wildlife Park to see over 200 species of animals. Discover the Perth Mint for a tour of the moneymaking facility, or get your adrenaline rush at Adventure World on a giant roller coaster or waterslide. 

Day 15: Day Trip to Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island - Pinky Beach
Be on the lookout for diverse flora and fauna on Rottnest Island 

Discover the beauty and tranquility of Rottnest Island on today's day trip. Located just off the coast of Perth, this idyllic island is home to around 300 year-round residents, but its countless white-sand beaches and prime diving spots make it a popular holiday destination. You'll travel to Rottnest by ferry this morning, where a tour around the island will provide you with insight into its cultural and historical heritage—and a chance to spot its diverse flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for the resident quokkas—known as Australia's cutest animal, these fuzzy marsupials are actually a tiny species of wallaby.

After visiting some of the island's most spectacular locations, including the Wadjemup Lighthouse and the boardwalk to the lookout point at the rugged West End, return to Perth via ferry, where a transfer will take you back to your hotel.

Day 16: Drive to Margaret River, Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour

Perth to Margaret River via Busselton
Stop for a walk along the Busselton Jetty on the way to Margaret River

Pick up your rental car today and set out on the three-hour drive south to Margaret River, a relaxed town nestled between the southwestern coast and some of Australia's best wine country. Break up the drive with a stop in Busselton, and stretch your legs with a walk over the Indian Ocean on its 1.1-mile (1.8 km) long jetty—the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Visit the Busselton Museum, the Old Courthouse, or the beautiful St. Mary's Church for a taste of what the area was like in the 1800s, then treat yourself to lunch before getting back on the road.

After settling in at your hotel in Margaret River, set out to explore some of the region's underground wonders and Indigenous history with a Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour. Start with a short bush walk, identifying medicinal plants, and learning local Noongar knowledge about the region. Next, venture into Ngilgi Cave, where the good spirit Ngilgi dwells, to hear your guide relate fascinating stories of The Dreaming (the creation story of Aboriginal Australians). When the cave closes to the public for the day, you'll witness a mesmerizing didgeridoo performance in the stillness of the cave.

Day 17: Explore Margaret River's Wine Country

Margaret River - Smiths Beach
Find out what all the fuss is about over Aussie wines

You're free to discover the Margaret River region at your leisure today. A great way to start is with a drive up the road to Eagle Bay, stopping at some of Western Australia's most sensational beaches, like Meelup and Castle Rock. In season, you might spot whales swimming at these sheltered points, but for the best chance to see them head to Bunker Bay at the end of Cape Naturaliste Road and watch the horizon at either Bunkers Beach Café or the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.

Margaret River is considered one of Australia's premier wine regions, so visiting some of its standout wineries is a must for oenophiles. The Margaret River Tourist Office will provide you with all the necessary information to get started on a tasting adventure, including a complete wineries list and a detailed map. The region is known for its chardonnay and cabernet sauvignons, and local wineries include Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, and Leeuwin Estate. You can also head to the vineyards of Hay Shed Hill for dinner at the Rustico Restaurant, which offers a six-course dégustation menu in a beautiful setting. 

Day 18: Return to Perth, Depart

Busselton - Jetty
Farewell Australia!

Enjoy a relaxed morning in Margaret River before heading up the coast to Perth. If you want to break up the journey in Busselton again, stop at its Underwater Observatory, where a circular room studded with windows 26 feet (8 m) beneath the ocean's surface reveals up to 300 species of colorful coral, fish, and other marine life. In the afternoon, continue to the Perth airport, where you'll drop off your rental car and catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Australia's East & West Coasts Adventure - 18 Days
Map of Australia's East & West Coasts Adventure - 18 Days