• Simple Australia Itinerary

    by  • Itineraries • 34 Comments

    I recently wrote about 6 countries for new travelers, one of which was Australia. This is a great country to visit no matter how much travel experience you have, but it’s especially easy to navigate for those who haven’t done much traveling. You won’t have to worry about a foreign language, and there is so much to do no matter what you’re interested in.

    The country is almost the size of the continental US, so you can’t cover it all in a normal vacation, but these are some of the highlights for first time visitors. Pick a couple places and build your Australia itinerary based on how much vacation time you have. Be sure to include time to get to and from Australia, as well as transportation between locations within Australia.

    Sydney – 4 to 5 days

    Probably Australia’s most famous city, it’s a great place to start. It’s Australia’s oldest and largest city (but not the capital), and it has plenty to offer for both city and nature lovers.

    • Sydney Opera House – Whether you want to take a tour or just admire its beauty from the outside, this is one landmark not to be missed. My favorite time to see it was as the sun started setting.
    • The Harbour Bridge – You’ll see the bridge near the Opera House. If you’re not scared of heights, consider doing a bridge climb tour.
    • Circular Quay and the Harbour – The energetic port lies in between the Opera House and the Bridge. Take a boat tour or just hop on a commuter ferry for a different view of the Harbour and the city.
    • Beaches – Escape the city for an afternoon by spending some time at any number of beaches.
    • Royal Botanical Gardens – For a slice of nature inside the busy city, take a stroll through these gorgeous gardens.
    • Blue Mountains – Get out into the scenic mountains and forest not far from the city. Plenty of tour operators have day tours.

    simple Australia itinerary

    Melbourne – 4 to 5 days

    Melbourne is a wonderful city to wander around in. It doesn’t have anything similar to the big iconic Opera House in Sydney, but the city has its own great vibe and lots of delicious restaurants.

    • Federation Square – The perfect starting point. Here you will find a tourist office as well as the Ian Potter Centre National Gallery and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
    • Flinders Street train station – Located across the street from Federation Square, this gorgeous building is worth a look even if you’re not taking a train anywhere.
    • Yarra River – The river runs behind Federation Square, and it’s a nice place for a stroll.
    • Bourke Street Pedestrian Mall – This street and the many surrounding it are the place to go for shopping. Not into shopping? Relax on a bench and watch the world go by.
    • Chinatown – I had a hard time choosing a restaurant here because there are so many!
    • Queen Victoria Market – Stop in here for fresh produce, meats and cheeses, or a wide variety of souvenirs. There’s also a small food court.

    simple Australia itinerary

    Great Ocean Road – 2 days

    The Great Ocean Road is a stunning stretch of coastal road that starts not far from Melbourne. You can do this as a day trip, but I highly recommend taking two days to see as much as possible. Plenty of tour operators start in Melbourne, so you don’t have to drive. The company I used was called Around and About, and I really enjoyed it.

    • 12 Apostles – This is the area’s most famous section for a reason. The view is truly amazing.
    • London Bridge – See a section of rock jutting out into the ocean named for its bridge-like appearance.
    • Beaches – You are on the ocean after all. There are countless beaches along the way. Stop for the scenery or a swim.
    • Forests – Temperate rainforests in the area are great for a different look at what this region has to offer. Search for waterfalls and get a chance to see koalas.

    simple Australia itinerary

    Uluru (Ayers Rock) – 2 to 3 days

    Uluru is located in the remote center of the country. It’s not exactly a quick jaunt from anywhere, but it’s well worth the journey. It will take you longer to get out here, even if you fly, so this is best added to a longer itinerary.

    • Walk around – The rock is massive. Walking around its 5.5 mile (9km) perimeter will take you approximately two hours without stopping for pictures.
    • Please don’t climb! – Some people still do this, but it goes against the aboriginals’ law and culture, so it is very disrespectful to climb the rock. Also, it’s extremely hot and dangerous.
    • Sunset/sunrise – The rock appears to change color during these magical times of day. Don’t miss it!
    • Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) – This is another national park nearby that is also worth a visit. From the right spot, you can actually see some of these rocks from Uluru.

    simple Australia itinerary

    Great Barrier Reef – 3 to 4 days

    The Great Barrier Reef is another one of Australia’s iconic tourist attractions. If you enjoy scuba diving or snorkeling, this is the place for you. Since the reef stretches from just below the Tropic of Capricorn all the way up to the northern tip of Queensland, there are several good destinations for ocean fun. This is a tropical area, so you can also visit the nearby tropical rainforest.

    simple Australia itinerary

    Transportation

    To get in between Melbourne and Sydney, either book a short flight (hour and a half) or you can choose a bus or train option. Going by bus or train will take anywhere from 10 to 14 hours, so be sure to add in an extra day to your itinerary to account for this.

    To get to Uluru, the quickest way is to book a flight into the Connelan Airport (AYQ) in the nearby town of Yulara. Direct flights are possible from Sydney (3.5 to 4 hours), but from Melbourne (4 to 6.5 hours) you’ll have to make one stop. Alternatively, fly into Alice Springs which is about a five hour drive away from Ayers Rock.

    How you get to the Great Barrier Reef varies greatly depending on which destination you choose. Some, like Cairns, have an airport and it’s about a 2 hour flight. Some locations do not have a local airport, so you will need to rent a car or arrange a transfer from the nearest airport.

    If your itinerary involves two major cities, like Sydney and Melbourne, book an open jaw flight to Australia. This way you fly from home to Sydney and then from Melbourne back home. Then you don’t have to backtrack to catch your return flight.

    Australia is far away from almost everywhere, so depending on where you’re traveling from, expect the journey to take anywhere from 16 to 40 hours. Follow my jet lag advice in order to minimize down time once you arrive.

    simple Australia itinerary

    Australia is a huge country. There’s no way to see it all on a two week vacation. Choosing a couple of these places will give you a taste of Australia. Don’t try to cram too much into your itinerary though. Travel slowly so you’ll actually enjoy your trip and you won’t get burnt out. Even consider adding more days to what I suggested. If you haven’t traveled much, this is a great way to get your feet wet. The possibilities are endless, and I certainly couldn’t include everything here, but this Australia itinerary will get you started.

    Don’t forget to check out the rest of Australia month and an interview with an Australia itinerary expert!

    If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for the newsletter and you'll receive a free copy of my book 8 Tips for New Travelers!

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    34 Responses to Simple Australia Itinerary

    1. February 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Wow! Fantastic post! Very thorough and easy to use. We haven’t been to Australia yet and your daily itinerary ideas were just terrific. The pictures look so inviting as well.
      Mindy has planned a birthday surprise trip for me and we leave in less than a month. I won’t know where we’ll be going until I get to the airport. Maybe it will be Australia. I’ll keep you informed. :)
      Again, congrats on an excellent post! :)

      • Ali Garland
        February 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        Thank you! A birthday surprise trip sounds awesome! Although it would kill me to not know where I’m going, but it sounds like such a great idea. Definitely let me know where you end up going, and happy birthday!

    2. February 18, 2013 at 2:37 am

      We haven’t been to Australia yet, and our first trip will give us 2 weeks at the most to explore since we both work full-time. What would you recommend as your top picks if you only had 2 weeks? Also, were you concerned about box jellyfish at all while swimming?

      • Ali Garland
        February 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        It depends on how fast you’re willing to travel and what your interests are. Sydney and Melbourne are both great cities, but you probably want to just pick one. If you’re really into snorkeling or diving, you can’t miss the Great Barrier Reef. If you like hiking, Uluru and the other nearby parks are great, it’s just farther away. If you’re willing to keep a fast pace, you could probably get away with 4 days in Sydney, 4 days in Melbourne, 2 days on the Great Ocean Road, and 2-3 days somewhere along the Reef. Your flights would be reasonably short, but you probably want to schedule really early or really late flights so you don’t waste too many daylight hours in transit. As for the box jellyfish, when I went snorkeling they gave us these thin body suit things to wear. Not as thick as a wetsuit, but enough to protect from any stings. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    3. February 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      You’re right, it’s impossible to cover the whole Australia in one vacation.
      There are some very good tips here.
      I went to Melbourne years ago for a short holiday and loved it. From there we did few day trips to the Phillip Islands and to the Great Ocean Road.
      I definitely need to go back and explore the rest of the places you mentioned, so much to see!

      • Ali Garland
        February 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

        I’m so glad you made it to the Great Ocean Road! That’s one of my favorite parts of Australia. Definitely so much to see, and so much more of Australia I want to explore. Thanks Franca!

    4. February 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Don’t forget Tassie if you have time! Darwin is supposed to be great too

      • Ali Garland
        February 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

        I’d love to go to Darwin and Tasmania! There is just so much to see in Australia!

    5. February 27, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Just what I needed. I’ll be going to Melbourne for 2 weeks in March, will definitely check out the places you’ve listed and of course the Formula 1 race on the 17th :)

      • Ali Garland
        February 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        That’s great Michael! Have fun, Melbourne is a great city. I hope you have time for the Great Ocean Road, it’s amazing. And enjoy the race!

    6. February 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      after spending a year in Australia I totally agree – the only addition I’d make would be slotting Byron Bay in there, my favourite place in Oz :)

      • Ali Garland
        March 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm

        I’ve never been to Byron Bay, but I’ve definitely heard good things! It was so hard to stick to even this long list of places. Australia is a great country with loads to do. Thanks Chris!

    7. July 30, 2013 at 9:09 am

      Some really great tips! I’ll be heading off to travel NT and QLD very soon and this is just getting me even more excited! Thanks!

      • Ali Garland
        July 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

        Thanks Laura! I hope you have a great trip, I love Australia!

    8. Anchal
      September 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Ali,

      Thanks for sharing such wonderful knowledge. I want to travel the best of australia in 1 month. This is the limited time i have got and i wish to see the maximum of places. it will be very kind if you can help with an itinerary.
      Cheers,
      Anchal

      • Ali Garland
        October 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        Hi Anchal! Sorry for the delay, you got me right in the middle of moving from one city to another. I’ll send you an email in the next couple days!

        • Kaylani
          September 14, 2014 at 10:56 am

          Hi Ali,

          I love your article on this and it’s very helpful. My sister and I are going to travel around Australia in 1 month this coming December. Same like Anchal, we wish to see the maximum of places there. Your help with an itinerary would be highly appreciated. Thank you.

          • Ali Garland
            September 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

            A month in Australia sounds great! I think a month is enough time to hit the highlights and fill in the rest depending on your interests. So if you enjoy cities, spending a lot of time in the Outback might not be the ideal vacation for you, that type of thing. I think that’s your first step, deciding what kinds of activities and settings you enjoy the most. Then you can decide where to go based on that. Personally, I enjoyed a few days in Sydney, a few days in Melbourne, a few days seeing the Great Barrier Reef, and a few days on the Great Ocean Road. I did go see Uluru, but on your time schedule, I’d recommend a few days, not just one like I did. That way you can see the surrounding areas as well. Just remember, it’s a big country! Check out this interview I did with an Australia itinerary expert http://travel-made-simple.com/interview-australia-itinerary-expert/ which includes a link to her itinerary book, which might be helpful to you. Or if you’re interested in having me help you customize a trip, check out my consulting services here: http://travel-made-simple.com/travel-consulting/ Either way, you will have a great trip to Australia! It’s a wonderful country.

    9. Corinne brown
      January 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Wow this is so helpful, my partner and I are planning our trip to Aus and this is a great start to our planning,! If you could share any more info with me I’d be very grateful we’re looking to go end of this year and we want to go all over with no deadline to end the trip!

      • Ali Garland
        January 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

        Thanks Corinne! Australia is such a wonderful and varied country. If you have the time and flexibility, there is so much you can do. Unfortunately I have only ever been able to go for a week or two at a time. If you truly have no deadline (though keep in mind visa restrictions) you should look into either renting a car or campervan, or buying one that you can resell at the end of your trip. Probably best to start in Sydney or Melbourne, and then you can work your way up the east coast or south and west across the south coast, cut up the center to Uluru and eventually Darwin. And really with that much time and flexibility, you’re probably better off not planning too much. Trying to stick to a planned out itinerary for more than a couple weeks gets really exhausting and stressful. Check out http://ytravelblog.com. They are from Australia and they’re currently traveling around the country (I believe in a campervan of some kind) with their 2 daughters with no end date for the trip. They’re writing about the places they’re visiting and have really great advice for the kind of trip you’re talking about. I hope this helps, but feel free to email me with any questions!

        • Annette
          January 15, 2014 at 11:09 am

          Hi Ali,
          I loved the post. Gave me a few pointers to plan our vacation. Truly travel made simple. I am travelling with my family to Australia and will be there for around 4 weeks from April to May. We would be stationed primarily in Sydney where my brother resides. Since i am travelling with my two small kids( aged 4 and 6) I don’t want to cramp in too many things.

          Am planning an itinerary which includes Sydney, Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef

          Would appreciate your inputs as to the must see places/ must do things there.

          Cheers,
          Annette

          • Ali Garland
            January 19, 2014 at 6:35 am

            Thanks Annette! Sounds like a good idea to not try to do too many things. If you’re going to Melbourne, a side trip to the Great Ocean Road is, in my opinion, a must do. If you have your own car there, spread it out over a few days, but if not, I’d recommend finding a tour that’s at least 2 days/1 night. I think it’s too much to do on a day trip. As for the Great Barrier Reef, there are so many options. I went to Cairns, which might be one of the less expensive options, but I’ve also heard wonderful things about the Whitsunday Islands. Cairns is closer to the reef itself. The Australia Zoo http://www.australiazoo.com.au/ in Brisbane claims to be the home of the Crocodile Hunter, and I’m sure your kids would love it. With 4 weeks you should have plenty of flexibility to decide a few days ahead of time on most things. If you have any other questions, let me know!

    10. JITENDRA
      May 25, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Hi Ali,

      Thanks for the wonderful post. I am planning a 4 week vacation during X’mas 2014 with my wife and little girl….What seasonal event do you recommend I cover.

      Also is there a 4 week trip itinerary that you have published. Could you share that with me as well?

      Thanks!
      Jitendra

      • Ali Garland
        May 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        Hi Jitendra, I don’t have a specific 4 week itinerary published, but I can certainly give you some ideas. I will email you, that’ll be easier.

    11. Barry Bakner
      June 9, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Hello Ali: Question for you. We plan to fly from San Francisco to Honolulu in February and depart Honolulu in early March to fly to AU for a one month visit there. I’ve noted your recommendations, and very much appreciate your guidance. My main question pertains to airline arrangements. If we fly into Sydney or Melbourne from Honolulu and follow your recommendations on days to spend in different areas, just curious if best to go with a fixed air pass schedule, or to fly loose and book trips out of Sydney or Melbourne to get around to Cairns, possibly Ululu, possibly Perth. Is there a way to get an open ended air pass to enable flexibility flying city to city? Any recommendations or suggestions most appreciated.
      Rgds,
      Barry

      • Ali Garland
        June 10, 2014 at 11:31 am

        Hi Barry! Qantas has this air pass: http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/air-pass/us/en It should save you money if you’re going to book multiple flights within Australia, and you have to book in conjunction with a Qantas or American Airlines international flight to/from the US. It does look like you still have to pick your dates ahead of time, so it’s not really getting you any extra flexibility, just hopefully some cost savings. If you want to stay flexible, I don’t think this pass is a good option since change fees will add up quickly.

        I did a quick look at a few routes on JetStar to see what prices looked like if I pick a date just a few days out, and it wasn’t so bad depending on the route. More frequently used routes like Sydney to Cairns were less than AU$150 one way. Anything involving Uluru gets a little tricky because it looks like some routes don’t have flights every day, so you might want to nail that piece down ahead of time, plus flights in and out of Uluru can get really expensive since it’s such a popular and remote place.

        I personally love to travel with flexibility, and a month is a good timeframe for that. But it does come with the risk of paying more for last-minute flights. You can get direct flights to/from a lot of different cities in Australia, which does make things easier, so you don’t have to book everything in/out of Sydney or Melbourne. You can fly Perth to Uluru to Cairns, for example.

        This might be information overload, but here are some suggestions I emailed to someone else recently:

        I think about 5 days in Sydney and 5 days in Melbourne would be great. They’re both fun cities with lots to do and see. As for the rest of your month, you could take a little longer along the Great Ocean Road. If you’re going to Uluru, spend a few extra days out there as well. There are lots of other beautiful areas to see besides just Uluru itself: http://www.australia.com/explore/icons/red-centre.aspx

        The entire east coast of Australia is packed with things to do. Brisbane is a great city where you could spend a few more days. Here’s a guest post a friend wrote for my site about Brisbane and southeastern Queensland: http://travel-made-simple.com/introduction-brisbane-south-east-queensland/

        And another post about Perth: http://travel-made-simple.com/things-to-do-in-perth-australia/.

        I could easily see 2 weeks between Sydney, Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road. Plus 4 or 5 days at Uluru and the surrounding areas. Plus a week or so along the east coast to enjoy some beach time, see the Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. Then back to Sydney or Melbourne for your flight home. If you’re not much of a beach person, consider touring Darwin, Alice Springs and then down to Uluru for some extra time in the Outback. Remember to account for the time it takes to get from one city to the next. Flying between Sydney and Melbourne is pretty quick, but out to Uluru is several hours.

        I hope this helps Barry, and please feel free to email me if you have any other questions!

    12. Marco
      August 7, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Hi

      Great suggestions

      Wonder what you think about our idea flying into CNS or Melbourne and will be in Oz for 2 weeks. In CNS(Port Douglas) for 3-4 days, then Melbourne 2 days and add to that 2 days great Ocean road, then perhaps The Rock 1 day and the rest in Sydney. Still on the fence about the rock :)

      Also in regards to flights is it something that people book seperate and not part of their booking.

      Thanks for any input :)

      • Ali Garland
        August 8, 2014 at 10:30 am

        Hi Marco! I don’t know where you’re flying from, but you might be better off starting with Melbourne rather than Cairns just because of the flight connections. You could spend a few days in Melbourne and then the Great Ocean Road. Then from there fly to Uluru. The airport is AYQ. (The rock is pretty impressive, but it’s a long way to go. If you’re feeling like your schedule is too rushed, that would be the one to cut, simply because it takes so long to get out there and back.) Then fly to Cairns to get to Port Douglas. From there, down to Sydney for the rest of your trip. So if I were you, I’d book into Melbourne and out of Sydney (or vice versa).

        I personally booked my internal flights separate from my international flights when I went to Australia. There are a few airlines inside of Australia you probably wouldn’t be able to connect with your international flights, unless you plan on flying Qantas for every leg. Unfortunately the only way to determine what’s the cheapest way is to play around with different combinations on booking sites. Start by putting in every flight you want in a multi-city option on either Qantas.com or one of the other booking engines like Expedia, and then you can use that as a base price. Then see if you can save money by booking your international flights on one itinerary and your internal hops on Jetstar, Virgin Blue, Tiger, or Qantas.

        Keep in mind the time you will lose every time you switch cities, including time zone changes. Add at least three hours (if not more) to every flight to account for getting to the airport, being there ahead of time, and getting through once you land. Again, this is probably the biggest negative to going to Uluru. Plus, assuming you’re coming from North America, you lose a day getting to Australia just by crossing the international date line. So if you leave LAX Thursday night, you land in Melbourne Saturday morning. Make sure that’s all factored into your two weeks.

        I hope this helps, but feel free to email me if you have any other questions! And enjoy your trip to Australia!

        • Marco
          August 8, 2014 at 10:56 am

          Thanks so much, I will be coming from Europe. First staying a few days in Hong Kong then continue to Australia. Some recommended to fly first to CNS since its further up, however the direct flight from Hong Kong is not cheap so will do Melbourne first.

          The Uluru is kind of wish by partner but we might drop it. The Stops Melbourne, CNS, Sydney in 2 weeks is that enough you would recon or perhaps a place like Adelaide or Canberra can be thrown into the mix.

          The plan at the moment for Sunday+2 weeks:
          Fly into Melbourne (Sunday morning)
          Tuesday-Great Ocean Road
          Wednesday fly to CNS
          Monday fly to Sydney, plan to go to the Blue mountains to spend a day there.
          Sunday fly home.

          Also without a car, with Melbourne and some organized trip on great Ocean road be managble?

          • Ali Garland
            August 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

            Yeah, Cairns isn’t a big airport, so it doesn’t surprise me the flights aren’t great.

            Honestly, I think you may have too little time for the Melbourne/Great Ocean Rd part and a bit too much on the Sydney part. You’ve left yourself a day and a half in Melbourne and a day on the Great Ocean Rd, but 5 – 5 1/2 days in Sydney. Even if you book a nonstop flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne, that’s still 9+ hours just in the air. I’d add a day or two to the Melbourne/Great Ocean Rd part of your trip and subtract from Sydney so they’re closer to even on number of days. That’ll give you a chance to catch your breath when you land in Australia, and you’ll actually have time to see the city while still leaving plenty of time for Sydney and the Blue Mountains. If you leave your schedule as is, I’m sure you’ll be fine, I’m just not sure how much of Melbourne you’ll actually see.

            You don’t need a car, no worries about that. Sydney and Melbourne have decent public transportation. I did a 2 day Great Ocean Rd tour (stayed overnight somewhere along the way) through http://www.aroundandabout.com.au/ that I really enjoyed. Small group, the guide/owner picked us up from our hotels and drove us to various points along the way with loads of info and plenty of time for photos. There are day tours (though his company or any number of others) but they sounded rushed to me. If you really only want to do a day trip, find one that leaves early and gets back late, and just know that you’ll be exhausted by the end of it. I don’t think it’s worth renting a car and driving yourself anyway because then whoever is driving doesn’t get much chance to actually see anything. It probably works for a longer road trip when you can go slower, but for a day or two, better to take a tour and have someone else worry about the driving and logistics.

            I also did a day trip to the Blue Mountains through a tour company, though I arranged it at the hostel I was staying at and I don’t remember the name of the company. You can Google some companies if you want to book ahead, but Australia is prepared for tourists and if you try to set it up as soon as you get to Sydney and you’re flexible about the exact day, you should be fine.

            I think you have plenty to do without squeezing in Adelaide or Canberra. I haven’t been to either, but from my experience traveling in Australia, you don’t want to go too fast or try to see too many places. You really do lose a lot of time each time you change locations. And though I’ve heard good things about both places, they don’t seem to wow people the way Melbourne, Sydney and the reef do. If you do end up going to Uluru, I’d recommend putting it between Melbourne and Cairns to minimize travel time.

            Let me know if I can help with anything else!

            • Marco
              August 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm

              HI

              Thanks again for replying, really grateful and wish I had time to plan this earlier (tend to do last minute things)

              Just booked our flights, coming into Melbourne on a Sunday and flying back 2 weeks later.

              For Ayers rock still kind of on the list the flights are not very cheap, return from Melbourne is cheaper than one way to CNS.

              For Cairns, I have read that Port Douglas is the best place to stay.

              thanks again

              Marco

            • Ali Garland
              August 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm

              Sounds great Marco! Yes, the flights to Ayers Rock do tend to be pricey. And staying out there is expensive too. One company owns all the accommodations, from the luxury resort down to the campgrounds, so even the cheap options aren’t as cheap as you’d think for what it is. That said, it is an amazing sight, so it’s a tough call. I haven’t been to Port Douglas, but I have heard really wonderful things, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Have a great trip!

    13. Carol
      September 6, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      We are going to Sydney on Nov 9 (arrive Nov 11), to pick up our daughter after her semester abroad at U of Sydney. We will leave from sydney on Nov 25. We plan to stay 4 days in Sydney, and she has pretty much picked out the sites for there. The question is what are our ‘must sees’ for the other days. My husband would like to spend 6-7 days in New Zealand (not sure north or south island..but this isn’t the place for that question ;), so that leaves us 3-4 days for one more stop in australia. we are looking at flying to the great barrier reef. We were thinking of Cairns but my daughter just heard about Whitsunday. Any thoughts? we would probably fly in from Sydney. we want to see the scenery and culture of Australia, but will not go diving and at most one time scuba.

      Would you recommend Whitsunday or Cairns, and with that, which area to look for a hotel in? Or would you suggest a different area of Australia?

      • Ali Garland
        September 7, 2014 at 11:02 am

        Hi Carol! Sounds like a great trip! I went to Cairns, but I’ve heard SUCH good things about the Whitsunday Islands. I think that might be the better choice. Cairns was nice, but it’s really just a jumping off point for boat trips to the reef. I feel like the Whitsundays would be a better place to stay and really enjoy, and it’s supposed to be gorgeous. I also really loved the Great Ocean Road, outside of Melbourne.

        My thoughts on New Zealand – See where you can get a direct flight to, and go from there. If you can get a direct flight from Australia to Queenstown, maybe do a Milford Sound cruise. (I did an overnight one and LOVED it.) Then maybe you could go up to see the glaciers. Or fly to Auckland and split your time between there and Rotorua. Just a thought!

        Have a great trip, and let me know if you have any other questions!

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