This jam-packed two-week itinerary is perfect for active families wanting to explore the best of Australia's wildlife and outdoor lifestyle. Get up close and personal with the country's cutest and scaliest animals, see the city sights of Brisbane and Sydney by boat, bike, and kayak, and discover the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Along the way, you'll ride a cable car over the rainforest, dive into the Mossman River for a snorkeling tour, and wind up hiking the breathtaking Blue Mountains.


  • Cuddle up to the koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Travel back in time with a First Nations Theater Experience
  • Snorkel the Mossman River and spot the elusive platypus
  • Go behind the scenes at the Sydney Opera House
  • Experience the thrill of the fair at iconic Luna Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Brisbane Brisbane
Day 2 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Kayaking Tour Brisbane
Day 3 Australia Zoo Guided Tour Brisbane
Day 4 Guided Family Bike Tour, First Nations Dinner Show Brisbane
Day 5 Fly to Cairns, Transfer to Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 6 Full-Day Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour Port Douglas
Day 7 Full-Day Daintree Adventure & River Snorkeling Port Douglas
Day 8 Kuranda Scenic Railway & Cable Car Over the Rainforest Port Douglas
Day 9 Fly to Sydney Sydney
Day 10 Sydney Guided Bike Experience & Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 11 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 12 Taronga Zoo & Cruise Around Sydney Harbour  Sydney
Day 13 Luna Park & SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Sydney
Day 14 Depart Australia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Brisbane

Streets Beach
The kids will love Brisbane's Streets Beach

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 artificial beach) that make this area so great for kids. Don't forget to take a ride on the 196-foot-tall (60 m) Wheel of Brisbane before checking out the city's numerous family-friendly eateries.

Day 2: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Kayaking Tour

Kayak on Brisbane's River
Enjoy a family kayak along the Brisbane River

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 can 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: Australia Zoo Guided Tour 

Cuddly Koala
Snap pics of Australia's cuddliest marsupial at the Australia Zoo
After a leisurely morning, travel to Beerwah's renowned Australia Zoo, an hour's drive north of Brisbane. The much-loved zoo, made famous by Steve and Terri Irwin, is now a living legacy to Steve and his conservation efforts. Home to over 1,200 native and exotic wildlife species, kids will adore the wide variety of animal activities and encounters on offer, ranging from komodo dragons to the 660-pound (300 kg) Aldabra tortoise and, of course, the cutest koalas. 
The rest of the day is yours to do as much or as little as you'd like. Head together to the sparkling blue lagoon and white sands of Streets Beach, where children of all ages will love Aquativity, an interactive water play park right next door. Or visit the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Here kids of all ages can have fun discovering the nature trails, secret spots, and stepping stones in the 138-acre (56 ha) sub-tropical haven. Then, make your way to the lookout at Mount Coot-tha, the highest point in the city with panoramic views of Brisbane and Moreton Bay.

Day 4: Guided Family Bike Tour, First Nations Dinner Show

Explore Brisbane's city sights by bike
Spend the morning cycling Brisbane's top city sights on a guided tour
After a good night's sleep, it's time to get ready for some pedal action with a family bike tour, where you'll see many of the city's main attractions. Begin at South Bank Parklands and pedal to the historic Kangaroo Point before continuing over Story Bridge to the charming suburb of New Farm. Explore the area's park with its riverside picnic spots, paths, and playgrounds, before making your way to the City Botanic Garden, with its impressive collection of exotic plants. Perfect for children, the tour showcases the best of the city in a few hours and maintains a leisurely pace.
Once the sun goes down, you'll enjoy Spirits of the Red Sand, an interactive dinner theater experience celebrating Australia's First Nations history. Sit down with the kids and be transported to a 19th-century Australian village. Watch as the country's leading First Nations theater troupe tells the story of over 60,000 years of proud history through song and dance. The event includes a three-course traditional Australian meal and a meet and greet with the cast. 

Day 5: Fly to Cairns, Transfer to Port Douglas

Snorkel in Port Douglas
Take some time to relax in Port Douglas' clear ocean waters
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Today you'll head to the airport and fly northwest to Cairns, where your driver will transfer you to your Port Douglas accommodation. This small resort town on the Coral Sea 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. 

Alternatively, spend the day browsing Port Douglas' charming boutiques and enjoy a relaxed lunch at one of the many alfresco dining spots. Check out the watersports available for active kids and teenagers, 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. Before returning 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 6: Full-Day Barrier Reef & Coral Cays Boat Tour

Discover the Great Barrier Reef
Discover 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 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 showcasing the abundant marine life among the corals, and see who will be the first to spot the various tropical fish and turtles that call the reef home. Enjoy afternoon tea on the yacht before a transfer to your Port Douglas accommodation to spend the evening as you wish.

Day 7: Full-Day Daintree Adventure & River Snorkeling

Daintree Rainforest
Watch the kids marvel at the majestic Daintree Rainforest
It's back on the adventure trail with a day in the world's oldest rainforest. Travel to nearby Mossman Gorge, the gateway to Daintree National Park, and 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 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 this stunning 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.

Day 8: Kuranda Scenic Railway & Cable Car Over the Rainforest

Enjoy bird's-eye views over the rainforest on the Skyrail Cableway

This morning you'll make your way to Cairns Railway Station, situated right in the heart of the city. Board the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway and travel 15 miles (25 km) inland to the picturesque mountain village of Kuranda. Admire the breathtaking views as the train snakes along hillside tracks built by the early settlers and offers stunning views of waterfalls, the cane fields of Cairns, and the Barron Gorge as you rise from sea level to 1,072 feet (327 m). 

Once you reach Kuranda, explore this rainforest village and its heritage markets, known for their colorful and unusual arts and crafts. If the kids are already missing their furry friends, head to Kuranda Koala Gardens for another encounter with these delightful marsupials. Make time to visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, where you'll be surrounded by over 1,500 of these beautiful creatures as they flutter around you. Return to Cairns via a 90-minute trip on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and snap plenty of photos as you glide over this stunning natural park.

Day 9: Fly to Sydney

Welcome to Sydney
Welcome to Sydney
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 bite to eat, where you'll be spoiled for choice with the myriad of food options available. 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. Wear the kids out with a family surf lesson at Bondi Beach, or go swimming in the tranquil waters of Coogee. Stroll the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks and head to the cafés and pubs of 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

Get ready for a ride
Get ready for another fun city cycle tour
It's time for another city bike tour! Children will love the freedom to explore on their own set of wheels Sydney's classic landmarks, such as Harbour Bridge, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, and over 30 more key sights. 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.
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. Together you'll uncover the mysterious secrets and fascinating facts that bring the 14-year construction of this expressionist marvel to life. 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: Day Trip to the Blue Mountains

Govett's leap
Marvel at the breathtaking view from Govett's Leap

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 two-hour drive west, it's time to visit a working farm. Have fun 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 and the lizards and possums that call the park home. As the day draws to a close, travel back to your Sydney accommodation. 

Day 12: Taronga Zoo Tour & Cruise Around Sydney Harbour

Meet the giraffes at Taronga Zoo
Meet the giraffes at Taronga Zoo

No family trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to the city's Taronga Zoo. Part of the fun is the unique ferry ride from the harbor and the return journey by cable car! This morning you'll enjoy a guided tour. Curious young minds will learn how the zoo cares for over 5,000 animals from over 350 species, many of which are threatened. Encounter some of the country's most recognizable wildlife alongside African lion cubs, giraffes, gorillas, and Asian elephants. Your visit concludes with a ride on the zoo's Sky Safari, with breathtaking views over the city. 

You deserve some relaxation time, so spend the afternoon 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 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.

Day 13: Luna Park & SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Visit Luna Park
Experience the thrill of the fair at Sydney's Luna Park
It's your last day in Sydney, so get ready for an action-packed family adventure that will earn you lots of brownie points. Just below Sydney's Harbour Bridge on the northern shore lies the heritage-listed and world-famous Luna Park. Head to the Coney Island section, where little ones will enjoy the family-friendly attractions, and kids of all ages can try out classic slide rides with speed levels set from sedate to hair-raising. Embrace your inner child and disappear into the Mirror Maze or steady yourself for the Wonky Walk or Barrels of Fun.
Make your way to the Big Dipper, where bigger 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. The whole family will enjoy the park's iconic Ferris Wheel as you travel 131 feet (40 m) in the air and marvel at all of Sydney's attractions from east to west.
Sydney is a haven for foodies, and you deserve a long lunch after this morning's excitement. Head to the harbor, where you will find numerous delicious options. 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 14: Depart Australia

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

More Great Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other Australia itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in Australia, or learn about the best time of year to visit Australia.


Map of Brisbane, Port Douglas & Sydney Family Adventure - 14 Days
Map of Brisbane, Port Douglas & Sydney Family Adventure - 14 Days