This week-long Australia itinerary is perfect for families who want to experience a mix of Melbourne and Sydney's top sights with two classic Aussie day trips. Practice your surf skills in Melbourne before getting up close and personal with the penguins, kangaroos, and koalas of Phillip Island. Pan for gold and cry eureka as you go back in time at Sovereign Hill. Hang ten at Bondi Beach in Sydney before an adrenaline-filled day at Luna Park, followed by a lunch cruise around Sydney's iconic harbor.

Highlights

  • Pan for gold at Sovereign Hill Living Museum
  • Wonder at the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
  • Experience the thrill of the fair at Luna Park
  • Take a cruise around the spectacular Sydney Harbour

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne, Free Day to Explore Melbourne
Day 2 Phillip Island & Penguin Parade Melbourne
Day 3 Sovereign Hill Day Trip, Ballarat Melbourne
Day 4 Arrive in Sydney, Free Day to Explore Sydney
Day 5 Visit Luna Park Sydney
Day 6 Lunch Cruise around Sydney Harbour Sydney
Day 7 Depart Australia   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Melbourne, Free Day to Explore

Melbourne's riverfront
Melbourne's riverfront

Welcome to Australia! Upon arrival, you'll be met by your driver and taken to your hotel in Melbourne—the capital of Victoria and heralded for being one of the most liveable cities on earth. After settling in, get your bearings as you head out to immerse yourselves in the vibrant energy of Australia's cultural capital. Older kids will love exploring the European-style cobbled laneways as you discover the funky street art, bohemian shops, and numerous cafés that make this such a fun city to explore. 

The most family-friendly way to experience all Melbourne offers is to hop on the City Circle, a free tram that runs throughout the central districts and the waterfront. Bring a picnic and make your way to the city's green heart at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Stroll among 8,000 plant species across the 94 acres (38 ha) of shaded walks and lush greenery. Set your young ones on an adventure exploring wondrous plants and creatures with the garden's seek-and-find nature cards.

Alternatively, head to URBNSURF, Melbourne's manufactured wave park, for a family surf session! A controlled lagoon makes for a fun and safe learning environment for little ones, while bigger kids and adults can choose between beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Refuel at the onsite Three Blue Ducks restaurant and then head to the fun suburb of St Kilda to play on the beach or roller skate down the promenade. 

Day 2: Phillip Island & Penguin Parade

The enchanting little penguins at Phillip Island

The morning is yours, so why not explore the rest of Melbourne's gems with a City Sights and Eureka Skydeck Tour? Whether you're a family of history buffs, sporting enthusiasts, foodies, or culture lovers, this outing has you covered. Customize your trip to your preferences, as your expert guide shows you the best of the city. Depending on your choices, head to the Sports Precinct, Queen Victoria Market, Chinatown, and the Southbank. Finally, ascend to the 88th Floor of the Eureka Tower and marvel at spectacular views across the city.

Next up is Phillip Island, where kids of all ages will love the up close and personal encounters with Australia's most beloved animals at Maru Koala Animal Park. Feed and pet the wallabies and kangaroos before ticking off that must-have selfie with a koala. Then head to the island's western coast to view coastal scenery at the rocky outcrop of the Nobbies. Finally, make your way to Summerland Beach as the sun sets for the day's highlight—the Penguin Parade. Watch the little penguins as they emerge from the sea after a hard day's fishing and hurry off to find their burrows.

Day 3: Sovereign Hill Day Trip, Ballarat

Panning for Gold, Sovereign Hill Ballarat
Panning for gold at Sovereign Hill

Today you will experience one of Australia's best outdoor museums and Victoria's nationally acclaimed tourist attraction. Set in the 1850s and located on a 61-acre (25 ha) site, the Sovereign Hill complex is an authentic recreation of an 1850s gold mining town. The site comprises over 60 historically recreated buildings, with costumed staff, carriages, and livestock appropriate to the era. Young and inquisitive minds will love going back in time and recapturing the excitement of the greatest gold rush the world has ever known.

Take the opportunity to pan for gold with the kids at Red Gully Creek, then explore Red Hill Mine and discover what life was like underground. Watch a confectionary demonstration and see confectioners mold a fresh batch of sweets by hand—perfect for kids (and adults) of all ages. Challenge your family to a game of nine-pin bowling, one of the most popular ways for goldfield residents to unwind after a hard day of digging. Finally, experience the sights and sounds of Sovereign Hill from a horse-drawn coach, and guess how long it would take you to travel back to Melbourne this way.

Day 4: Arrive in Sydney, Free Day to Explore

Coogee Beach
Surfing at one of Sydney's many beaches

Today you'll head to the airport and fly 443 miles (713 km) northeast of Sydney. The capital of New South Wales, this once penal colony for British convicts is now a perfect destination for families. With its dizzying array of beaches, famous harbor, zoo, and watersports, there are numerous fun-filled activities for all ages—adults included! After a transfer to your hotel, the rest of the day is yours to soak up Sydney's outdoor lifestyle and natural beauty.

Head out for lunch, where you'll be spoilt for choice with the huge variety of multicultural cuisine, and spend the rest of the day as you choose. Ride the ferry across the harbor to Manly and wave at the Sydney Opera House as you pass, take some family surf lessons at Bondi Beach, or go swimming in the tranquil waters of Coogee. Stroll the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks before trying out the cafés and pubs of upscale Paddington, whose distinctive terrace houses date back to the Victorian era. Finally, meander back to your hotel in anticipation of a fun-filled day tomorrow.

Day 5: Visit Luna Park

Visit Luna Park
Experience the thrill of the fair at Luna Park

It's your penultimate day in Sydney, so get ready for an action-packed adventure the kids will love. Just below Sydney's Harbour Bridge on the northern shore lies the heritage-listed and world-famous Luna Park. Head to Coney Island, 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.

Day 6: Lunch Cruise around Sydney Harbour

Have fun with a cruise around the harbor
Enjoy a cruise around Sydney Harbour

It's your final full day in Sydney, and after breakfast, it's time to head to Taronga Zoo. A quick ferry ride from the harbor, the zoo cares for over 5,000 animals from over 350 species. During your guided tour, encounter some of the country's most recognizable wildlife alongside African lion cubs, giraffes, gorillas, and Asian elephants. Curious young minds will love learning more about these fascinating species and how the zoo is working to protect them. Your visit concludes with a ride on the zoo's Sky Safari—Sydney's only cable car experience, with breathtaking views over the city.

Next up on your family itinerary is a four-hour cruise aboard a spacious 33-foot (10 m) private catamaran. Prepare to set sail around Sydney's most famous sights, such as Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, while your skipper and host regale you with tales of the city's fascinating history. Sit back, relax and savor a freshly prepared three-course BBQ lunch before a dive straight off the deck and a family swim. Either spend time soaking up the sun or enjoy one of the family-friendly activities, such as fishing or kayaking. The evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 7: Depart Australia

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

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Map

Map of Melbourne & Sydney for Families - 7 Days
Map of Melbourne & Sydney for Families - 7 Days