Discover Australia's city life and wildlife on this 13-day itinerary. Start in Sydney to explore its famous harbor by boat before heading to the Blue Mountains to hike rugged valleys. Fly to Adelaide to sample the bustling culinary hot spot and surrounding Kangaroo Island, then to Melbourne to stroll the cultural capital's hidden enclaves and alleyways and to see the Penguin Parade of nearby Phillip Island. Finish with a deep dive into Tasmania's fascinating history and diverse flora and fauna.


  • Explore the Sydney Harbour by boat
  • Hike through the valleys of the stunning Blue Mountains
  • Immerse yourself in Adelaide's thriving culinary scene
  • Discover Melbourne's hidden alleyways and bars
  • Get up close and personal with Hobart's wildlife

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 3 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 5 Adelaide Central Market Breakfast Tour, Oval Stadium Tour Adelaide
Day 6 Fly to Kangaroo Island, Full-Day Island Tour Kangaroo Island
Day 7 Fly to Melbourne, Self-Guided Cultural Tour Melbourne
Day 8 Tour of Melbourne's Laneways & Arcades Melbourne
Day 9 Full-Day Phillip Island Tour & Penguin Plus Upgrade Melbourne
Day 10 Fly to Hobart, Night Tour of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary Hobart
Day 11 Full-Day Bruny Island Tour Hobart
Day 12 Full-Day Port Arthur Tour Hobart
Day 13 Fly to Melbourne & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney, Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise

Welcome to Sydney
Twilight over Sydney Harbour

Welcome to Australia! After being transferred from the airport to your accommodation by a private car, the morning is yours to explore this iconic coastal city. Take a surf lesson at the famous Bondi Beach, go swimming in the tranquil waters of Coogee, visit the cobbled laneways of The Rocks, or browse the markets, boutiques, cafés, and pubs of upscale Paddington, whose distinctive terrace houses date to the Victorian era.

Afterward, you'll experience the majesty of Sydney Harbour on a leisurely four-hour lunch cruise aboard a spacious, comfortable ship. Relax at your table as you pass famous sights like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Enjoy a multicourse Australian BBQ lunch (beer and wine included) with impeccable service. The small-group, exclusive tour includes a personal host who will provide commentary on the history of the harbor and its foreshore. Choose from several optional activities, including fishing, kayaking, and swimming right off the boat's deck.

Day 2: Sydney Opera House Tour

The distinctive sails of the Sydney Opera House

This morning, visit a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. The Sydney Opera House is the brainchild of Danish architect Jørn Utzon. With its sleek vaulted shells, this expressionist marvel is a testament to the human imagination. The multivenue performing arts center presents more than 2,000 shows to over 1.5 million audience members annually. Today, you'll go inside to see its inner workings.

On a one-hour guided tour, you'll learn about the history of the Opera House and its design elements, plus visit all the main public spaces. Working with state-of-the-art audiovisual components, your guide will take you on an unforgettable journey into a story with enough twists and turns to rival an opera plot. Spend the rest of the day exploring on your own or relaxing in preparation for tomorrow's adventures.

Day 3: Day Trip to the Blue Mountains

The Three Sisters rock formations, in the Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters rock formations in the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are known for rugged cliffs, eucalyptus forests, and cascading waterfalls. Today, lace-up your hiking boots for a full-day, small-group excursion to see the best of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit a working farm and meet local wildlife like kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas. Then, hike across valleys and sandstone ridges to viewpoints of the towering Three Sisters rock formations.

As you reach Govett's Leap, one of the country's most famous lookouts, marvel at the sweeping vistas across Grose Valley, Australia's answer to the Grand Canyon. Your final stop is 3,280 feet (1,000 m) above sea level at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. Here, see hundreds of international plant species as well as the exotic critters that call this sanctuary home, including various birds, reptiles, and insects. Return to your hotel in Sydney at the end of the day.

Day 4: Fly to Adelaide

Green space surrounds Adelaide

Today, you will be transferred to the Sydney Airport for your onward flight to Adelaide, where you will be taken by private car to your hotel. Then, you'll have the day free to discover South Australia's capital at your own pace. This former British colonial hub is laid out in a grid pattern on the lovely River Torrens and is surrounded by green parklands. It's a progressive city famous for its many festivals, fine food, and wine.

You can start by stopping at some of the city's historic buildings. Highlights dating to the 19th century include the Town Hall and the French Gothic St Peter's Cathedral. For more culture, visit the Art Gallery of South Australia to browse some 47,000 artworks on display from around the world. But Adelaide is probably most famous for its gastronomy. It's located at the doorstep of wine country and is overflowing with multicultural restaurants and cool bars. Head out to the vineyards on a wine tour, or book a table at the hottest new fusion eatery.

Day 5: Adelaide Central Market Breakfast Tour, Oval Stadium Tour

Adelaide - Central Market
Explore the colorful Adelaide Central Market

The Adelaide Central Market was established in 1869 and is steeped in history. Start your 2.5-hour tour with the best market espresso, brewed tea, or hot chocolate, then watch the market come alive over a full hot breakfast. Taste a delicious selection of foods from South Australian artisan food producers, and meet the suppliers, stallholders, and producers whose families have traded at the market for generations. Tours are designed by one of South Australia's noted food experts, Mark Gleeson, whose knowledge of South Australia's finest produce market is second to none. 

In the afternoon, experience a behind-the-scenes tour of the Adelaide Oval Stadium. Discover hidden secrets and relive celebrated moments in the sporting, musical, and civic history of the world-famous sporting arena. Expert guides share captivating tales of its history. Imagine running onto the iconic Adelaide Oval to the roar of a 50,000-strong crowd, climbing the stairs to the 100-year-old heritage-listed scoreboard, or gaining an insight into match-day preparations inside the player's changing rooms. Opt for a roof climbing tour during the morning, at twilight, or at night for spectacular views. 

Day 6: Fly to Kangaroo Island, Full-Day Island Tour

Spot wild marsupials on Kangaroo Island

Today, an early morning pickup from your hotel takes you to the airport to board a short flight to nearby Kangaroo Island. This famous destination is widely heralded as the best place to see Australian wildlife in its natural habitat. It is home to stunning scenery, most notably the Remarkable Rocks, where you can come face to face with beautiful Australian landscapes and friendly local fauna. During a nine-hour tour, travel through the unspoiled countryside to the north coast. Walk through the bush with your guide, learning about the oddly-shaped trees and the many animals that call the island home. 

Break for lunch at a private bush camp and enjoy a delicious meal featuring King George whiting (a local sea fish), fresh salads, and fine South Australian wines. Take a private tour at Seal Bay Conservation Park with your guide to see Australian sea lions in the wild—an experience similar to that of the Galápagos. Watch pups nursing or playing in the surf, see old bulls bearing the scars of territorial disputes, and learn about their remarkable breeding biology. 
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 7: Fly to Melbourne, Self-Guided Cultural Tour

Melbourne's riverfront
Melbourne's riverfront

After a transfer to Kangaroo Airport, board your flight back to Adelaide, where you will change flights to Melbourne. Upon arrival, spend an exciting day exploring the cultural capital at your own pace. This city of over five million people is a melting pot of diversity and a paradise for lovers of fine food and wine. It's a gateway to unspoiled national parks and home to stunning coastlines and beaches. In Melbourne, hidden enclaves and back-alley laneways hold the keys to the most exciting nightlife, trendiest boutiques, and liveliest bars in the city.    

The best way to experience Melbourne's many cultural offerings is to hop on the City Circle, a free tram running throughout the central districts and the waterfront. On these routes, you can visit highlight attractions like the neo-Gothic St Paul's Cathedral, the neoclassical Parliament House, and the 19th-century Royal Exhibition Building. For great views of the city, head over to the Shrine of Remembrance, a stately war memorial adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Day 8: Tour of Melbourne's Laneways & Arcades

A typical Melbourne laneway

This morning begins with a small-group tour of Melbourne's historic laneways, back streets, and arcades. Visit quintessential shopping arcades and laneways like the Block Arcade, Centre Place, and AC/DC Lane, where the spirit of rock 'n' roll is alive and well. Discover the history of these locations while marveling at cutting-edge street art, browsing boutiques of local fashion designers, and stopping at some cafés to try Melbourne's famed coffee and artisanal chocolates at a local tasting.

Sports lovers can find much to do in Melbourne, the sporting capital of Australia. From football and Formula 1 Grand Prix to tennis and cricket, the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) is home to it all. MCG is the largest cricket stadium in the world, so check out an event there or even book a private tour of the venue. For those looking to explore more of Melbourne instead, the day is yours to relax or wander through the city.

Day 9: Full-Day Phillip Island Tour & Penguin Plus Upgrade

The Penguin Parade at Phillip Island
The Penguin Parade at Phillip Island

Today's eleven-hour tour will take you to Phillip Island to witness the renowned evening ritual of the Penguin Parade. On the way, stop at Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park to see kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas, plus an array of colorful birds and reptiles. Continue to Phillip Island, home to the world's largest colony of little penguins. Opt for additional activities like a visit to Woolamai Beach to see surfers riding the waves. Then, head to the western corner of the island for magnificent views of Bass Strait and the Nobbies, a rocky headland with the largest colony of fur seals in Australia.

At dusk, head to the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform to see the Penguin Parade on floodlit Summerland Beach. It's an incredible sight: thousands of little penguins waddle back from the sea to their burrows, greeting their partners and neighbors as they arrive. Your viewing platform is closer to the event than the main stand, and a ranger guide will provide commentary. Afterward, transfer back to Melbourne and return to your hotel.

Day 10: Fly to Hobart, Night Tour of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

The viewpoint from kunanyi / Mount Wellington
The viewpoint from kunanyi / Mount Wellington

Today, you will be collected from your hotel and taken to Melbourne Airport for your onward flight to Tasmania. This must-visit destination has a long history and boasts some of Australia's best scenery and rarest wildlife. At your own pace, enjoy the relaxed island lifestyle at one of Hobart's many excellent dining options along the water. Or, explore the stunning landscape of kunanyi / Mount Wellington, which offers prime sunset views.

In the evening, take a 2.5-hour tour of the nearby Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Discover the world of native Tasmanian animals as you hand-feed weird and wonderful creatures like Eastern quolls, tawny frog mouths, and sugar gliders. At the end of the tour, make your way back to Hobart to rest or keep exploring the city.

Day 11: Full-Day Bruny Island Tour

The Neck on Bruny Island
The Neck on Bruny Island

Today is an all-day tour centered around the beautiful scenery and delicious gourmet produce of Bruny Island, located just south of Hobart. Savor the flavors of an exclusive private cheese and beer experience at the Bruny Island Cheese Company.

Enjoy a lunch of fresh and local dishes while overlooking Adventure Bay and wander through nearby gardens with stunning landscape views. Walk through the ancient Mavista Rainforest and breathe in its clean air. Then, visit the Bligh Museum and learn about the history of exploration in the South Pacific.

Day 12: Full-Day Port Arthur Tour

Port Arthur Historic Site
The historic ruins of Port Arthur

Today, you can discover more of Tasmania's tumultuous history and fantastic scenery with a tour of Port Arthur—a compelling and dramatic reminder of Australia's convict past and an early European settlement of Tasmania (previously referred to as Van Diemen's Land). Partake in the introductory 40-minute guided walk of the scenic ruins and restored buildings.

Enjoy a cruise on Carnarvon Bay around the Isle of the Dead, then return to the historic site for lunch and explore this remarkable landscape with its interactive and interpretive displays. The tour also visits spectacular natural spots such as Devil's Kitchen and Tasman Arch. Afterward, return to Hobart and your accommodation.

Day 13: Fly to Melbourne & Depart

Melbourne at sunrise
Alas, your great Australian adventure is over! Today, you will be collected from your accommodation in Hobart and transported to the airport for your flight back to Melbourne and your onward connection. Safe travels and see you again soon.

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Map of City Highlights, Nature & Wildlife: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island & Tasmania - 13 Days
Map of City Highlights, Nature & Wildlife: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island & Tasmania - 13 Days
Written by Liz Neal, updated Oct 13, 2022