On this 10-day adventure through Australia, discover four cities, along with several scenic day trips. Begin in Sydney to tour landmarks and areas like The Rocks, Sydney Harbour, and Bondi Beach, along with an excursion to the stunning Blue Mountains region. Then, enjoy a quick day in Carins for an indigenous experience, followed by two days in Gold Coast to tour the beaches and enjoy some thrills. The vacation ends in Melbourne to visit the funky pub scene, embark on a wildlife tour of Phillip Island, and take a guided road trip through Great Ocean Road.

Highlights

  • Embark on a sightseeing tour in Sydney, from Sydney Harbour to Bondi Beach
  • Visit the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Region of the Blue Mountains
  • Enjoy free time in Gold Coast to explore the beaches and theme parks
  • Take a guided road trip through the scenic, seaside Great Ocean Road

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Sydney - Blue Mountains Day Trip Sydney
Day 3 Sydney - Full-Day Tour Sydney
Day 4 Travel to Cairns Cairns
Day 5 Travel to Gold Coast Gold Coast
Day 6 Gold Coast - Free Day Gold Coast
Day 7 Travel to Melbourne Melbourne
Day 8 Melbourne - Phillip Island Tour Melbourne
Day 9 Melbourne - Tour Great Ocean Road Melbourne
Day 10 Depart From Melbourne  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Sydney

Welcome to Sydney!
Welcome to Sydney!

Welcome to Australia! Upon arrival at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, meet your driver who will transfer you to your hotel downtown. 

Today, either relax at your leisure following your long flight or do some sightseeing around Sydney. An afternoon Sydney Harbour cruise can be arranged on your behalf, or embark on a BridgeClimb excursion to watch the sunset over the water. Both of these activities are located within 3 miles of the hotel. 

The evening is yours to enjoy, as well.

Day 2: Sydney - Blue Mountains day trip

Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

Today, take a day trip to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Region of the Blue Mountains. Escape to the wilderness on this all-inclusive tour. First, climb into the mountains via the townships of BlaxlandLawson, and Wentworth. View the famous Three Sisters, a trio of rocky pinnacles, from a perfect vantage point. From here, experience vast views over Jamison Valley.

Next, visit popular Scenic World. Ride the Scenic Railway, Cableway, and Skyway—great ways to experience the steep valleys, cliff tops, and canyons from different perspectives. Disembark the Scenic Railway at the bottom station to access the Scenic Walkway and stroll through 1.5 miles of the rainforest.

Stop in picturesque Leura at lunchtime. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafés. Then, there is time to explore Leura village, a blend of quaint shops and galleries. Next, follow the scenic Cliff Drive and enjoy views of the Megalong Valley. Travel through Katoomba, the heart of the resort region within the Blue Mountains. Encounter koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and other native animals at a wildlife park.

Following the day of exploration in the Blue Mountains, return to Sydney on the coach or cruise down the Parramatta River into Sydney Harbour. Then, the evening is on your own to enjoy.

Day 3: Sydney - Full-day tour

Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

Today, embark on a full-day tour of Sydney. In the morning, travel to Manly Beach for a wonderful stroll along the Corso. Along the way to Manly, visit Darling Harbour, and then cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Stop at Milsons Point for spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, followed by North Head Lookout for a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.

For lunch, you can opt for a cruise around Sydney Harbour—complete with commentary and a buffet—or have lunch on your own during a 2-hour break. 

On the afternoon tour, head into The Rocks, a historic area, with views of Hyde ParkSt Marys Cathedral, Parliament House, and the Art Gallery. Stop at Mrs Macquaries Chair for more scenic lookouts. Next, pass the colorful Royal Botanic Gardens on your way to visit The Gap. Stop at world-famous Bondi Beach and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Join a coach for your return to Sydney, traveling through Paddington, the exclusive Eastern suburbs, and Rushcutters Bay.

Following the all-day tour, the evening is on your own to relax or continue discovering Sydney after sundown.

Day 4: Travel to Cairns

Cairns
Cairns

This morning, transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Cairns. Upon arrival, collect your luggage and travel to your hotel. During the day, explore Cairns at your leisure via the following: 

  • Australian Butterfly Sanctuary: Located in Kuranda,  this locale is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as Australia’s largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit
  • Koala Gardens: Hold a koala, and visit with other native species, like wombats and kangaroos
  • Cairns Aquarium: Stroll this landmark, rich with Tropical North Queensland species, followed by a meal at a restaurant with its own near-2,000-gallon Under the Pier Shark Habitat
  • Cairns Lagoon: Visit this iconic swimming pool, which is located in the business district, and then relax on the grassy knoll 
  • Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: Take the 4.66-mile scenic ride up to Kuranda, which passes over Barron Gorge National Park

This evening, enjoy the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park with a night fire dinner. The night fire is Tjapukai’s signature evening activity, where you will meet the indigenous rainforest people, who paint your face to link you to their traditional land and culture. Follow the Tjapukai warriors to a corroboree celebrating Aboriginal Dreamtime stories and join the Rainbow Serpent circle to learn traditional-language songs before the ceremonial fire is lit with a fireball shooting toward the stars.

Day 5: Travel to Gold Coast

Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Heads

Today, take the 2-hour flight from Cairns to Australia's Gold Coast. Upon arrival, a driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation. Take the day to enjoy the beautiful beaches and outdoors of the region. 

Take a surfing lesson at one of Australia's iconic surf destinations, or spend a day at a favorite local spot, Burleigh Heads, and enjoy watching the surfers, instead.

Then, stroll around the famous Burleigh Heads National Park Headlands, from the rocky shore into the rainforest. Keep an eye out for humpback whales from the Tumgun lookout in the winter and spring months, along with sea eagles flying overhead. Here, ancient volcanic columns converge with the sea, surrounded by forests, grasslands, and mangroves. 

At night, wind down on your own time and explore the Gold Coast nightlife.

Day 6: Gold Coast - Free day

Currumbin Bird Sanctuary
Currumbin Bird Sanctuary

Today, continue exploring Gold Coast.

Consider a visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for native animals—small, big, endangered, and flourishing—which is anchored by its lorikeet feed.

For a thrill, head to SkyPoint Climb, which is stationed on the top of the Q1—the highest point in the Gold Coast—and embark on an external building climbing excursion.

For even more of an adrenaline rush, Gold Coast is home to several theme parks, some of which include the following:

  • Dreamworld
  • WhiteWater World
  • Wet’n’Wild
  • Warner Bros. Movie World
  • Sea World

The night is at your leisure to enjoy, once again.

Day 7: Travel to Melbourne

Melbourne
Melbourne

Today, take the 2-hour flight from Gold Coast to Melbourne

The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the town. If you do a bit of sightseeing, bookmark Flinders Street StationFederation SquareQueen Victoria Markets, and the Royal Botanical Gardens, to start. Since Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia, expect funky street art and bohemian coffee shops tucked in many corners of the town. 

The evening is at your leisure to enjoy a nice dinner, along with exploring the local bar and pub scene—maybe even catch some live music.

Day 8: Melbourne - Phillip Island tour

Philip Island
Phillip Island

In the morning, enjoy breakfast and stroll around more of Melbourne on your own.

In the afternoon, embark on a field trip to Phillip Island to learn about the native wildlife. Get up-close to Australian animals, including koalas and kangaroos. Discover a range of wildlife, including the largest colony of fur seals in Australia. The main attraction is the viewing of the Penguin Parade, where little penguins waddle up the sand to their dune burrows after their daily fishing excursions. Following the tour, return to Melbourne at 10 pm.

Day 9: Melbourne - Tour Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

Today, a driver will guide you outside of Melbourne to Great Ocean Road. Cruise through Port Campbell National Park to marvel at the iconic limestone stacks in the morning. Enjoy relaxed and unhindered views of the Twelve ApostlesLoch Ard Gorge, and London Bridge—all before lunch, so you can beat the traditional afternoon rush.

Then, spend the afternoon with your experienced driver-guide, meandering along the winding Great Ocean Road, taking in the spectacular coastal scenery, the Otway Rainforest, and seaside townships along the way.

Return to Melbourne after your scenic road trip, and enjoy a farewell dinner and a final toast to your last night in Australia. 

Day 10: Depart From Melbourne

Farewell, Melbourne!

It's time to say goodbye to Australia. At the designated time, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your departure flight home. Safe Travels!

Map

Map of Best of Eastern Australia: Sydney, Cairns, Gold Coast, & Melbourne - 10 Days
Map of Best of Eastern Australia: Sydney, Cairns, Gold Coast, & Melbourne - 10 Days