Explore southeast Australia on this combination self-drive and flying tour on this comprehensive 22-day itinerary. Start your trip in quirky Melbourne to explore hidden alleyways and eclectic coffee shops, then pick up a car and explore the the coast. Spend a few days in Tasmania, then end your trip in Sydney and the beautiful nature of the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley Vineyards.

Highlights

  • Explore Yarra Valley, Phillip Island & The Great Ocean Road
  • See the beautiful nature of Tasmania on a coastal boat tour
  • Tour quirky Melbourne and metropolitan Sydney
  • Go wine tasting in world-famous Hunter Valley 
  • Visit the Australian Zoo to see incredible wildlife 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Melbourne - Arrival Melbourne
Day 2 Melbourne City Sights Melbourne
Day 3 Self Drive to Yarra Valley & Phillip Island Philip Island
Day 4 Self Drive Phillip Island to Great Ocean Road Apollo Bay
Day 5 Self Drive Apollo Bay to Coonawarra Coonawarra
Day 6 Self Drive Coonawarra, Drive to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 7 Kangaroo Island - Seat in Coach Day Tour Adelaide
Day 8 Barossa Valley - Seat in Coach Day Tour Adelaide
Day 9 Adelaide Fly to Hobart Hobart
Day 10 Self Drive to Port Arthur and Wildlife Cruise Hobart
Day 11 Hobart Hobart
Day 12 Hobart Fly to Brisbane Brisbane
Day 13 Brisbane - Free Day Brisbane
Day 14 Brisbane Self Drive to Australia Zoo & Noosa Noosa
Day 15 Noosa - Free Day Noosa
Day 16 Noosa Fly to Sydney Sydney
Day 17 Sydney City Sights Sydney
Day 18 Sydney Drive to the Blue Mountains Blue Mountains
Day 19 Blue Mountains to Hunter Valley Pokolbin
Day 20 Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley Pokolbin
Day 21 Hunter Valley - Sydney Sydney
Day 22 Sydney - Home  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Melbourne - Arrival

Melbourne City Tram
Melbourne City Tram

Welcome to Australia! Arrive at Melbourne International Airport, then proceed through customs to catch your shuttle to the hotel. Meet with a local representative, then check in to your hotel and go over any last-minute itinerary questions. 

The rest of the day is free. Catch some sleep after a long international flight or head out for a leisurely evening stroll through the city. 

Day 2: Melbourne City Sights

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

In the morning explore the city's top sights on a guided tour. Visit Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, Queen Victoria Markets, and the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens. Melbourne is well-known as Australia's culture capital, and the city's main art deco lanes and funky corner side coffee shops give it a quirky vibe. 

The morning's tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with the city before spending the rest of the day exploring on your own. 

Day 3: Self Drive to Yarra Valley & Phillip Island

Yarra Valley Wineries
Yarra Valley Wineries

Pick up your rental car then head out of the city for a full day in the beautiful Yarra Valley, famous for its incredible vineyards and gourmet produce. There's no shortage of wineries and small-scale farms in the valley, so make sure to leave plenty of time for tastings. 

Your first stop of the day is at the Balgownie Estate Winery & Vineyard for a tasting in the stunning vineyard. From here head to the Coldstream Dairy to meet the local cheesemaker and learn about the cheese-making process, then end at Rochford Wine Vineyard for lunch with a perfect wine pairing. 

After a filling lunch visit Puffing Billy (a 100-year-old steam train), one of the world's best-reserved. As a sweet encore to the busy morning, make a quick stop at the Yarra Valley Chocolatier for an exclusive tasting of hand-crafted chocolates. 

In the afternoon drive to Phillip Island to the beautiful 65-acre Ramada Resort. The resort is surrounded by native gardens and natural bushland, creating the perfect atmosphere to kick back and unwind. Get settled in, then head to the beach for the evening show. 

Each night the world's smallest penguins return from a full day of fishing at sea and waddle across the beach to the safety of their homes on the sand dunes. Visitors to Phillips Island can enjoy the spectacle from the comfort of a tiered seating area on Summerland Beach, as well as from elevated timber boardwalks. 

Day 4: Self Drive Phillip Island to Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

Today you'll drive from Phillip Island to Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road. The beautiful coast features stunning geologic features like the Twelve Apostles (massive self-standing rocks), Loch Ard Gorge and nearby Port Campbell.

If you would like, there's an option for a helicopter flight to see the coast from a different angle. Either way, a visit to Great Ocean Road Brewery for fish and chips and a refreshing beer is a must. Afterward, go for a scenic walk and enjoy the cooling ocean breeze. 

Day 5: Self Drive Apollo Bay to Coonawarra

Seal Lions
Sea Lions

Enjoy your last day on the Great Ocean Road with stops at Cape Otway and Port Fairy. Continue to Cape Bridgewater to visit the local fur seal colony and pause for a picnic lunch overlooking the sea. From the lookout, you'll have spectacular views of the pure white sand dunes and sweeping beaches of Discovery Bay National Park. 

Another hour's drive brings you to the hamlet of Nelson, which sits on the magnificent Glenelg River. The volcanic lakes around Mount Gambier hold a wealth of geologic history (Blue Lake is particularly lovely), and Penola and the Coonawarra Wine Region are just past that. 

Check in to your accommodation late in the evening and enjoy the cool night air as you find a bite to eat. 

Day 6: Self Drive Coonawarra, Drive to Adelaide

Adelaide City
Adelaide City

Start your morning with a visit to the impressive World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves with delicate calcite formations and a 350,000-year-old fossil bed. Two hours on, cross the Murray River on a car ferry and travel to the historic town of Strathalbyn on the Fleurieu Peninsula, the region immediately south of Adelaide

Check in to your accommodation late in the afternoon, then drop off the rental car and enjoy your evening in the city. 

Day 7: Kangaroo Island - Seat in Coach Day Tour

Kangaroo Island's inhabitants
Kangaroo Island's inhabitants

Today is a trip highlight as you spend the day exploring the area's nature and incredible wildlife. Leave Adelaide behind you in the morning and take a ferry to Kangaroo Island, or KI as the locals call it. Visit Seal Bay with a local park ranger to see a colony of rare Australian sea lions, then explore Flinders Chase National Park, a sanctuary for Australian animals. You'll see kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and much more. 

Stop for a walk on the Remarkable Rocks for sweeping sea views, then stroll along the boardwalk to Admirals Arch stone formation to see a colony of New Zealand fur seals. 

Return to Adelaide in the evening. 

Day 8: Barossa Valley - Seat in Coach Day Tour

Barossa Valley
Barossa Valley

In the morning drive to the picturesque (and European in appearance) Barossa Valley, famous for its Bavarian-style villages, baroque Italianate Chateaux, and sprawling vineyards. 

The Barossa Valley is lush and green, and locals and visitors flock to breathe the fresh countryside air and get away from the city. Visit the German settlement of Hahndorf for a visit to Germany in Australia, then head to the Penfolds Winery lunch and a winery tour. 

Return to your hotel in the late evening and enjoy dinner in the city. 

Day 9: Adelaide fly to Hobart

Hobart
Hobart

Enjoy the morning on your own, then make your way to the airport to catch your flight to Hobart in Tasmania. Arrive, then pick up your rental car and head to your accommodation. Enjoy a restful free evening. 

Day 10: Self Drive to Port Arthur and Wildlife Cruise

Port Arthur Historic Site
Port Arthur Historic Site

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing to Port Arthur Historic Site for a full day. The site is a 90-minute drive from Hobart, and the journey offers some of the best sightseeing in Tasmania. Drive along the Arthur Highway, which winds through lush farmland and forest, secluded beaches, and parallel to the Tasman Peninsula's stunning coastline. 

Give yourself enough time to stop along the way and explore places like the Tesselated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck and dramatic coastal sites like the Blowhole, Tasma Arch, Devil's Kitchen and Pirate's Bay Lookout

In the afternoon, take in the sights from the water on a coastal cruise. Travel beneath the highest vertical sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere at Cape Pillar and explore the waterfalls, rock formations, archways, and deep sea caves that characterize the coast. This section of the shore is part of the Tasman National Park and is home to a wide variety of wildlife including hundreds of seals, migrating whales, and thousands of seabirds. 

At any time of year, you're likely to see a feeding frenzy of diving gannets, albatross and sea eagles gliding on the wine, as well as cormorants and peregrine falcons nesting on the cliffs. Pods of playful dolphins often surf the bow wave of the boat as you travel. 

After the tour visit Port Arthur, a 19th-century penal colony that is now an open-air museum. Ruins include the massive penitentiary and the remains of the Convict Church, built by the former inmates. The nearby Separate Prison building was used to inflict solitary confinement in place of floggings. 

Day 11: Hobart

Hobart
Hobart

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then spend some time wandering around the waterfront and sampling the fish and chips, or taking a drive into the countryside. Head to nearby Richmond—one of Tasmania's favorite destinations—for family-friendly activities and lots of small cafes and wineries. Historic Richmond is nestled in the heart of the Coal River Valley and its elegant Georgian architecture and early 1800's buildings are a hub for galleries, tea shops, craft boutiques, and museums. 

Day 12: Hobart fly to Brisbane

Brisbane
Brisbane

In the morning drop off your rental car at the airport and fly to Brisbane. You'll arrive late in the afternoon, then spend the rest of the day exploring the city on your own. 

Day 13: Brisbane - Free Day

King George Square City Hall, Brisbane
King George Square City Hall, Brisbane

Spend the day enjoying the city at your own pace. The city's museums are a great option to explore the area's history and culture. 

Visit the Army Museum South Queensland (formerly the Victoria Barracks Museum) to learn about the many reminders of early life in the Colony of Queensland and the early days of the Commonwealth. 

Another great option is the Queensland Maritime Museum, one of Australia's largest maritime museums. Head here to see historic vessels of all shapes and sizes, as well as extensive collections of maritime artifacts, books, documents, and photographs. 

Day 14: Brisbane Self Drive to Australia Zoo & Noosa

Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo

Get an early start this morning for your trip to the Australia Zoo. 

This zoo is famous worldwide for its awesome exhibits and gasp-inducing wildlife shows. See the serious wildlife action at the Crocoseum and watch the world-famous Wildlife Warriors show to see saltwater crocodiles, birds, and snakes.

Visit the wildlife hospital to learn about rehabilitating animals or get up close with an Australian animal—an unforgettable experience. After the zoo, continue your trip to Noosa, located an hour away. Check into your hotel and enjoy the free afternoon. If the weather is nice, a stroll down Hastings Street to stretch your legs and grab a snack is the perfect way to end the day. 

Day 15: Noosa - Free Day

Noosa Beach
Noosa Beach

Spend the day enjoying Noosa on your own. You'll find great boutique shops that stock locally made garments and homewares, as well as plenty of cafes to enjoy a snack afterward. 

The coastal trail to Lion Rock is a beautiful place for an afternoon hike, and the Noosa Everglades are easily accessible by kayak.

Day 16: Noosa fly to Sydney

The Rocks, Sydney
The Rocks, Sydney

Drive to Brisbane Airport to drop off your rental car and catch your flight to Sydney. Arrive in the afternoon, then transfer to your hotel. Spend the evening exploring the city on a relaxing stroll, then grab dinner at one of the city's many restaurants. 

Day 17: Sydney City Sights

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Spend the morning exploring the city on a guided tour to see many notable sights, such as the historic Rocks neighborhood and Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for sweeping views of the harbor. Continue past Kings Cross and Double Bay to Watson’s Bay and famous Bondi Beach for free time in the sun.  

Day 18: Sydney Drive to the Blue Mountains

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains
Three Sisters, Blue Mountains

Pick up your rental car then hit the road for the famous Blue Mountains, a World Heritage Wilderness. Use your included Unlimited Discovery Pass to explore the region. You'll also have access to the cableway, the world's steepest scenic railway.

Take in the breathtaking views of Katoomba Falls, the Jamison Valley, and the Three Sisters Rock formation. Experience the beauty of the forest and unparalleled aerial views of green rainforests and steep ravines from the scenic glass walkways. 

In the afternoon head to your accommodation. 

Day 19: Blue Mountains to Hunter Valley

Wine barrels in a local winery
Wine barrels in a local winery

Leave the Blue Mountains behind you in the morning and make your way to the Hunter Valley Region. Check in to your accommodation on a local vineyard and spend the evening enjoying the peaceful nature and fresh air of the valley.

Day 20: Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley at dawn
Hunter Valley at dawn

Start the morning with a hotel pickup, then enjoy a half-day tasting tour to learn about the region's vineyards and sample some of the area's best wine. Return to the hotel after lunch for a low-key afternoon. 

Day 21: Hunter Valley - Sydney

Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

Relax at the hotel in the morning, then head back to Sydney for the afternoon. Drop off the car, then transfer to the hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing. 

Day 22: Sydney - Home

Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge

Spend the morning unwinding after your trip and picking up last-minute souvenirs before transferring to the airport for your connecting flight home. 

Map

Map of Southeast Australia Self-Drive - 22 Days
Map of Southeast Australia Self-Drive - 22 Days