Enjoy the best of the East Coast of Australia on this two-week trip. Begin with a tour of Brisbane before heading to the Whitsunday Islands. Indulge in a free day in Cairns, then cruise over to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and lush Daintree Rainforest. Next, tour Adelaide and spend a full day with native species at Kangaroo Island. The trip concludes in Sydney to discover the landmarks, as well as the stunning Blue Mountains region.


  • Explore the pristine beaches of the Whitsunday Islands
  • Go snorkeling in the world-famous Great Barrier Reef
  • Embark on a full-day trip to Kangaroo Island to learn about native species
  • Explore all the best landmarks of Sydney, from The Rocks to Sydney Opera House

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Brisbane Brisbane
Day 2 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Tour & River Cruise Brisbane
Day 3 Fly to Airlie Beach Airlie Beach
Day 4 Day Trip to Whitehaven Beach Airlie Beach
Day 5 Free Day in Airlie Beach Airlie Beach
Day 6 Fly to Cairns Cairns
Day 7 Day Trip to the Great Barrier Reef Cairns
Day 8 Day Trip to Daintree Rainforest Cairns
Day 9 Fly to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 10 Day Trip to Kangaroo Island Adelaide
Day 11 Fly to Sydney Sydney
Day 12 City Tour of Sydney Sydney
Day 13 Day Trip to Hike the Blue Mountains Sydney
Day 14 Depart Sydney  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Brisbane

Welcome to Brisbane!
Welcome to Brisbane!

Welcome to Brisbane! Upon arrival at the airport, transfer to your hotel. Check in and meet your local host, who will go over your itinerary with you. Then, the rest of the day is up to you. There's plenty to see in Brisbane's Central Business District. Explore on your own or arrange a city tour to experience some of the top sites.

For a welcome adventure at sunset, climb Mount Coot-Tha—a great spot for panoramic views of the city and Moreton Bay—before returning to your hotel.

Day 2: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Tour & River Cruise

Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Today, board a boat in Brisbane's Southbank district. Leave the city behind on a relaxing cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Once in Lone Pine, enjoy three hours exploring the world's largest koala sanctuary, with more than 130 koalas on site. Hold a koala, take photos with the adorable marsupials, and enjoy a chat with the koala keepers. Next, discover the Platypus House for a chance to see the shy mammal that is native to Australia. Then, check out the owls, kites, and sea eagles as they soar above you at the popular Birds of Prey show.

You can also feed the kangaroos and wallabies; more than 100 of them live in a 5-acre reserve at Lone Pine. Along with koalas and kangaroos, Lone Pine hosts a sheepdog show, where you can see the hardworking dogs round up a herd of sheep as they respond to their master's whistles, calls, and hand signals.

Following the active day, kick back and relax on the cruise back to Brisbane—with a glass of wine or beer in hand.

Day 3: Fly to Airlie Beach

Hamilton Island, part of the Whitsundays
Hamilton Island, part of the Whitsundays

This morning, head to Brisbane Airport for your onward flight to Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach is the vibrant hub of the Whitsundays and is the ideal mainland base for fun and adventure in this collection of beautiful islands. It's the perfect launching pad for activities on the water and in the lush, green rainforest of the Whitsunday coast.

Once you're checked in to your accommodation, you'll have time to explore Airlie Beach on your own. 

Day 4: Day Trip to Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach—with its warm, turquoise-hued water and pristine, white sand—is the preserved, beautiful host of today's adventure. Indulge in morning tea by the beach to set the mood.

Spend the whole day exploring. Indulge in the ultimate experience of Whitehaven Beach from the northern end, exploring the spectacular Hill Inlet, to the southern end, with opportunities for swimming, hiking, sunbathing, and soaking up the sun. Enjoy a gourmet burger for lunch, as well as afternoon tea by the beach.

Day 5: Free Day in Airlie Beach 

Enjoy a free day at the beach
Enjoy a free day at the beach

Enjoy a free day in Airlie Beach. Head out to the hinterland and visit Conway National Park, one of the Whitsundays' best-kept secrets. The national park's main draw is the Conway Peninsula. Covered in a large amount of lowland tropical rainforest, explore the local flora and fauna.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can embark on a skydiving excursion or take a sailing lesson. For something a bit more relaxing, hang around the lagoon all day or enjoy a sunset sailing cruise.

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

Day 6: Fly to Cairns

Explore the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Explore the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Today, fly to Cairns, which is in Tropical Queensland, where the rainforest meets the sea. From the airport, meet your local host, and check in to your hotel. Then, explore Cairns on your own.

Some activities to consider include the following:

  • Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park: Enjoy a meal at this sprawling eatery in an indigenous cultural center, which delivers homestyle meals and a buffet
  • 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 4.7-mile (7.5 km) scenic ride up to Kuranda, which passes over Barron Gorge National Park

Day 7: Day Trip to the Great Barrier Reef 

Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef

Board a high-speed catamaran for a full-day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. One of Australia's most remarkable natural gifts, the Great Barrier Reef, is the world's largest coral reef. The reef contains an abundance of marine life and is home to more than 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays. Surrounding the reef are hundreds of picturesque tropical islands that contain some of the best golden beaches. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most sought-after tourist destinations.

Enjoy morning tea and a lunch buffet aboard the catamaran. Following the reef tour and some snorkeling, return to your hotel in the late afternoon, and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 8: Day Trip to Daintree Rainforest 

Daintree Rainforest
Daintree Rainforest

Rise early today, and after breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a scenic drive up north to the oldest rainforest in the world. From the Kulki Lookout in Cape Tribulation, view scenic mountain peaks and pristine white beaches. Witness the rare sight of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites together: the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef—the only place in the world where the rainforest meets the reef.

Board the Daintree River Cruise to learn about the wildlife environment—the bird habitat, tree snakes, and unique plants, as well as the estuarine crocodile. Then, indulge in a tropical-style lunch at a private rainforest property in the Daintree Rainforest.

Next, visit the Mossman Gorge Centre, an important cultural hub of the Kuku Yalanji. Learn about the Indigenous people who have lived here for 50,000 years—using the local flora and fauna of the wild jungle to survive and thrive.

Day 9: Fly to Adelaide

Adelaide at sunset
Adelaide at sunset

Today, board your flight to Adelaide. Upon arrival, make your way to the hotel for check-in. This afternoon, discover Adelaide at your own leisure. Adelaide is South Australia's cosmopolitan coastal capital. The River Torrens is home to renowned museums, such as the Art Gallery of South Australia. On display are expansive collections, including notable Indigenous artworks. In addition, the South Australian Museum is a landmark to explore that is devoted to natural history.

Day 10: Day Trip to Kangaroo Island 

Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island

Depart Adelaide and travel by motorcoach and ferry to Kangaroo Island, or "KI," as the locals know it. Within KI, there are several worthwhile exhibits to check out, which include the following:

  • Visit Seal Bay with a local park ranger to view a colony of rare Australian sea lions
  • Explore Flinders Chase National Park, a sanctuary for Australian animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas
  • Walk on the Remarkable Rocks with stunning views of the sea
  • Stroll to Admirals Arch stone formation to visit a colony of New Zealand fur seals

Return to Adelaide late in the night, and relax after a full day (the tour can span 11-12 hours) experiencing KI.

Day 11: Fly to Sydney

An aerial view of Sydney
An aerial view of Sydney

This morning, travel from Adelaide to Sydney, the capital of New South Wales. A shuttle transfer will pick you up from the arrivals area and take you to your accommodation.

In the afternoon, embark on a local sightseeing tour. Visit many notable destinations around Sydney, such as the historic area known as The Rocks and Mrs Macquarie's Chair, for scenic views of the harbor. Continue on past Kings Cross and Double Bay, through to Watson's Bay and the famous Bondi Beach, where you'll have free time to discover the area.

Enjoy your evening at leisure. Consider visiting the Sydney Tower Restaurant and appreciating 360-degree views of the city as it lights up at night.

Day 12: City Tour of Sydney

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

This morning, discover more of the city at your own pace. Make your way over to the Sydney Opera House for check-in. The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most recognizable landmarks, and you'll get up close on the guided tour. Run your hands over the iconic shell tiles, take a seat in the elegant, custom-made chairs, and marvel at the vaulted ceilings. Visit areas off-limits to the public, and capture photographs from rare vantage points. Explore theaters and foyers where more than 1,600 concerts, operas, plays, and ballets take place each year.

Next, make your way over to Circular Quay Wharf to collect your 48-hour ferry pass. Use this pass to visit some of the nearby locations today and tomorrow. Then, pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to see Fort Denison. A ride on the Sydney Harbour Eco Hopper ferry allows you to enjoy panoramic views of Sydney's iconic landmarks from the water.

Tonight, make your way to Harts Pub in The Rocks to meet your tour guide for the evening. You will join a group walking tour and learn about the history of the area. Meet new people along the way, and enjoy four beers at four different pit stops.

Day 13: Day Trip to Hike the Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains National Park is one of seven national parks that make up the Greater Blue Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Area. This wonderland of sandstone outcrops, deep ravines, and blue eucalypt forests boasts luxury retreats and stunning views. Today, a guide will take you off the beaten track to visit remote lookout locations and discuss the history, flora, and fauna of the region.

Visit a working farm—home to kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas. Traveling around the mountain, stop at multiple lookouts. The highlight of the day is a hike across a number of valleys and ridges while looking out across Australia's Grand Canyon, the Grose Valley.

Day 14: Depart Sydney

Farewell, Sydney!
Farewell, Sydney!

Today, it's time to bid farewell to Sydney. Depending on your flight departure time, a driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport to catch your international flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other Australia itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in Australia, or discover the best time to visit Australia.


A note on diacritical markings: In order to support the best technical experience and search functions, diacritical markings have been omitted from this article.


Map of East Coast Aussie Adventure: Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Adelaide & Sydney - 14 Days
Map of East Coast Aussie Adventure: Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Adelaide & Sydney - 14 Days