Begin your journey in artsy Melbourne, exploring the hidden alleyways, vintage shopping, and quirky coffee shops. Spend a few days in bustling Sydney, then make your way up north to the Gold Coast, one of Australia's iconic surfing destinations. Your trip ends in Cairns with a visit to the famous Great Barrier Reef.

Highlights

  • Explore the quirky and cosmopolitan cities of Sydney & Melbourne
  • Learn to surf in Burleigh Heads, one of Australia's most iconic surfing destinations
  • Visit the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest 
  • Spend lots of free time exploring at your own pace 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Melbourne - Arrival Melbourne
Day 2 Melbourne City Sights Melbourne
Day 3 Melbourne - Free Day Melbourne
Day 4 Melbourne - Sydney Sydney
Day 5 Sydney City Sights Sydney
Day 6 Sydney - Free Day Sydney
Day 7 Sydney - Gold Coast Gold Coast
Day 8 Gold Coast - Excursion to Mount Tambourine National Park Gold Coast
Day 9 Gold Coast - Free Day Gold Coast
Day 10 Gold Coast - Cairns Cairns
Day 11 Cairns - The Great Barrier Reef Cairns
Day 12 Cairns - Free Day Cairns
Day 13 Cairns - Home  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Melbourne - Arrival

Melbourne City Tram
Melbourne City Tram

Welcome to Australia! Arrive in the Melbourne Airport, then proceed to the designated shuttle area for pickup to your accommodation. You'll be met by a tour representative who will go through the upcoming itinerary and answer any questions you may have.

The rest of the day is free. Head out to explore the city or rest after the international flight. 

Day 2: Melbourne City Sights

One of Melbourne's many hidden lanes
One of Melbourne's many hidden lanes

In the morning enjoy a city sights tour to many of the top spots: Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, Queen Victoria Markets and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Melbourne is Australia's cultural capital, with tons of art deco lanes and funky coffee shops on every street corner. The tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with the city before heading out to explore on your own. 

Day 3: Melbourne - Free Day

Centre Place, an iconic pedestrian street
Centre Place, an iconic pedestrian street

Today is a free day to explore all that Melbourne has to offer. Head into the Yarra Valley, spend the day traveling along the Great Ocean Road or head out to Phillip Island to see the fairy penguins come back from the sea at twilight. 

Day 4: Melbourne - Sydney

Sydney
Sydney

This morning transfer to the Melbourne airport for your flight to Sydney.  Once you arrive in Sydney, transfer to your hotel. 

In the afternoon explore Sydney on your own. In the evening join a pub tour to discover the alleys and cobbled streets of The Rocks, Australia's first European settlement. Hear the gossip, stories, and legends of the infamous neighborhood as you sample its finest brews. 

Day 5: Sydney City Sights

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

In the morning head out for a tour of the city sights, including a repeat visit to the historic Rocks area and Mrs. Macquarie's Chair for panoramic views of the harbor. Continue past Kings Cross and Double Bay to Watson's Bay and the famous Bondi Beach, where you'll have ample free time to explore.

Day 6: Sydney - Free Day

Sydney Bridge Climb
Sydney Bridge Climb

Today is another full day to explore Sydney. Get an adrenaline rush with a climb to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge (it's safe, we promise!), or spend a relaxing day in the Hunter Valley sampling wines. You can also take a ferry to Manly Beach for a day in the Australian sunshine. 

Day 7: Sydney - Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Enjoy a free morning before transferring to the airport for your flight to the Gold Coast, an area that's known for its laid-back lifestyle and incredible white sand beaches. Enjoy a free afternoon in the city or down by the water. 

Day 8: Gold Coast - Excursion to Mount Tambourine National Park

Mount Tamborine
Mount Tamborine

In the morning take a peaceful drive through the Gold Coast's hinterland. Your guided sightseeing tour will continue on rainforest roads through Mount Tambourine National Park, home of the Bundjalung indigenous people. Visit a tropical waterfall, go for a guided rainforest walk, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, as the park is home to many rare and unique animals

After, enjoy a tasting of the local wine before visiting the famous Gallery Walk to see local artists showcase their art and crafts. In the afternoon, return to the Gold Coast. 

Day 9: Gold Coast - Free Day

Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Heads

Enjoy a free day on the coast. Take a surfing lesson to and learn to ride the waves at one of Australia's iconic surf destinations, or spend the day in popular Burleigh Heads and enjoy watching the pros work their magic on the boards. 

Other options include a walk around the famous Burleigh Heads National Park Headlands, a visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, or a day at Themeparks. You can also climb Q1, the highest point on the Gold Coast, for stunning views.

Day 10: Gold Coast - Cairns

Green Island in Cairns
Green Island in Cairns

In the morning fly to Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The rest of the day is free to discover this tropical haven. 

Day 11: Cairns - The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef

Board a high-speed boat for a full-day cruise of the Great Barrier Reef. The world's largest coral reef is one of Australia's most famous natural landmarks and contains a rich abundance of wildlife and marine species. Over 3,000 individual reef systems, coral coves, and hundreds of small islands dot the coast. Thanks to its size and beauty, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations for snorkeling and wildlife viewing. Unfortunately, due to pollution, climate change, and overuse the sensitive coral is dying and the reef is shrinking in size, so responsible eco-tourism habits are an absolute must to ensure the continuation of this unique ecosystem. 

Enjoy breakfast and lunch aboard the catamaran, then head back to land in the afternoon. 

Day 12: Cairns - Free Day

Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park

Today is a free day to discover the area. For a truly unique experience head to Kuranda on the Skyrail Gondola, or even an exciting 4WD adventure tour to the incredible Daintree National Park

Day 13: Cairns - Home

A Final Farewell from Cairns
A Final Farewell from Cairns

Enjoy the morning to unwind before transferring to the airport for your flight home. 

Map

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