Australia's two greatest cities—Sydney and Melbourne—are like competitive siblings. Both are charming, vibrant, and interesting places to live and explore, and each has an entirely different personality to discover. With this seven-day itinerary, you'll spend a week experiencing the two with a series of immersive cultural and culinary experiences. Beyond the city limits, this itinerary includes special day trips to the Blue Mountains, Phillip Island, and the Great Ocean Road.


  • Feast on three courses while cruising around Sydney Harbour at twilight
  • Explore bushland and waterfalls with a deluxe full-day trip to the Blue Mountains
  • Discover Melbourne's hip nightlife scene with a dinner and cocktails tour
  • Watch little penguins waddle past you on Phillip Island
  • See the Twelve Apostles along the picturesque Great Ocean Road

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney, Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Morning Guided City Tour, Afternoon Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 3 Day Trip to the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Melbourne, Evening Dinner, Tales & Cocktails Tour Melbourne
Day 5 Full-Day Phillip Island Tour & Penguin Plus Melbourne
Day 6 Full-Day Great Ocean Road Excursion Melbourne
Day 7 Depart Melbourne  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney, Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

Welcome to Sydney
Discover the charms of Sydney from the water with a sunset dinner cruise 

G'day and welcome to Sydney! This Australian city is a must-visit destination for good reason. With a dazzling natural harbor, epic beachside walks (not to mention beaches), a world-class restaurant and bar scene, excellent live music and theater, and an unquenchable thirst for fun, you'll never get bored in this city that's often mistaken as Australia's capital (that would be Canberra). Take a private transfer from the airport to your accommodation and settle in.

This city is known around the world for its scenic harbor, so what better way to explore than via the water? This evening you'll take in the city's most famous sights and neighborhoods on a leisurely cruise around Sydney Harbour. Jump aboard and soak up views of shimmering skyscrapers, national parks, golden beaches, secluded bars, and—of course—the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Enjoy a three-course meal with live music as you soak up twilight on the water. After the two-hour cruise, enjoy a nightcap at one of the many nightclubs and bars in Darling Harbour or Barangaroo.

Day 2: Morning Guided City Tour, Afternoon Sydney Opera House Tour

Bondi Beach
An aerial view of famous Bondi Beach with Sydney CBD in the background

Wake ready to explore Sydney with a guide. Hear fascinating stories of early convict history in The Rocks area, and see breathtaking views of the famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Those who want to shop can at the Queen Victoria Building and the trendy Oxford Street district. Head east for a scenic coastal walk around Tamarama and Bronte, and enjoy a refreshing drink at the famous Bondi Beach while admiring the views. Snap a panoramic photo at Dover Heights before returning to the city via Double Bay, Kings Cross, and Mrs Macquarie's Point

This afternoon, prepare to peek beneath the sails of a 20th-century architectural masterpiece, the famous Sydney Opera House. With its sleek vaulted shells, this expressionist marvel is a testament to human imagination and was the brainchild of Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Today you'll step inside this global icon, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and performing arts venue to see its inner workings. Learn about the history of the Opera House and its design elements as your guide shares entertaining stories and takes you to off-limit areas. After, grab a drink at the waterfront Opera Bar.

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 west of Sydney
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Set off on a full-day adventure to the Blue Mountains. Your day begins with a visit to Calmsley Hill, a working farm home to kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas. Enjoy a cup of tea here and wander the tranquil surroundings. The journey continues to the remote Eaglehawk Lookout to experience the Three Sisters rock formation in all its glory. Watch as the sunlight brings out magnificent colors that change throughout the day. You'll then stop at Blackheath for a relaxing two-course lunch.

After lunch, the nature exploration continues. Take in the views from a handful of lookouts and venture to Govetts Leap to admire the beautiful waterfall and views across Australia's Grand Canyon, the Grose Valley. Stop briefly to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice at the delightful Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens, where you'll enjoy sweeping views across to Sydney. Then it's time to return to the city via the Bells Line of Road.

Day 4: Fly to Melbourne, Evening Dinner, Tales & Cocktails Tour

Melbourne City Laneways
Dive into Melbourne's hip laneways and discover hidden gems and city secrets

After breakfast, take a private transfer to Sydney Airport for your 90-minute flight to Australia's other big city, Melbourne. On arrival in the cultural capital of Australia, another driver will transfer you to your accommodation. Drop your bags and set out to get lost in Melbourne's back streets and arcades, where local designers, specialty retailers, quirky cafés, and cool street art define the city's famous "laneways" culture.

Return to your accommodation and refresh ahead of this evening's tour, which takes you into the heart of Melbourne's elegant and lively nightlife. It's a stark contrast with the city's dark past, which was shaped by curious characters on both sides of the law. Begin with a dinner that reflects Melbourne's fantastic culinary scene, and learn about the city's history from a local guide. Next are some of the best spots in town, many of which are deliberately hard to find, and you can enjoy this firsthand insight into all that Melbourne has to offer. 

Day 5: Full-Day Phillip Island Tour & Penguin Plus

Phillip Island
Stroll down the boardwalk to glimpse the Nobbies and their resident fur seals

Today you'll join a big day trip to Phillip Island to witness the evening ritual of the "Penguin Parade." Stop first at the Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park, where you can see endangered species, greet adorable kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas, and admire an array of colorful birds and reptiles. After two hours, you'll reach Phillip Island, famous for the cute wild penguins that waddle up the beach every night—but there's much more to explore on the small island.

This afternoon you might visit Woolamai Beach to watch the surfers. From here, head to the western corner of the island to enjoy magnificent views of Bass Strait and the Nobbies, home to Australia's largest colony of fur seals. Before evening falls, you'll stroll along the boardwalk to the Penguin Plus viewing platform at Summerland Beach to witness the phenomena of the Penguin Parade. Watch the adorable little penguins come ashore as they hurry off to find their burrows. After, sit back and nap on the return drive to Melbourne.

Day 6: Full-Day Great Ocean Road Excursion

See the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road
See the Twelve Apostles on the famous Great Ocean Road

Wake up early and embark on another epic day trip—this time, you're traveling along one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world: the Great Ocean Road. This stretch of highway runs 150 miles (240 km) down Victoria's southwest coast, passing national parks, limestone rock formations, seaside bluffs, coastal mountain ranges, and incredible beaches. This is a full-day, 11-hour trip in which you'll have ample time to stop and enjoy the highlights. 

Keep an eye toward the coast throughout the drive, as you're likely to spot whales and dolphins; on the inland side, you might even see echidnas and bandicoots. Stop for lunch at Apollo Bay, a tranquil seaside town set among the rolling coastal hills, and stretch your legs on a forest hike through the mountains of the famous Otway Ranges. You'll also visit the romantic cove at Loch Ard Gorge, then cap the adventure at the most incredible natural landmarks on the route: the Twelve Apostles, a group of ancient limestone rock formations rising up out of the sea. 

Day 7: Depart Melbourne

Jump on the free City Circle tram and cut a lap around the center of Melbourne

It's your final day in Australia, so if you have time before your departing flight, explore Melbourne one last time. You could jump on the free City Circle tram to pass by must-see attractions such as St Paul's Cathedral, Parliament House, and the Royal Exhibition Building. Hop off at Flagstaff Station for Queen Victoria Market, a Melbourne landmark for over a century. Grab a coffee from Market Lane and a spinach and cheese borek (a Turkish savory pie) from the Borek Shop

Or venture to the suburbs and visit the lively Prahran Market, renowned for its gourmet delis and specialty produce, and then walk down the funky Greville Street. Take a taxi to St Kilda Beach, where you can stroll along the esplanade and historic St Kilda Pier and enjoy a cake at one of Acland Street's famous pâtisseries. Later, at an agreed time, a private driver will collect you and your bags for your transfer to the airport. Safe travels home or onward!

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Map of Tale of Two Aussie Cities: Sydney & Melbourne - 7 Days
Map of Tale of Two Aussie Cities: Sydney & Melbourne - 7 Days