Not sure where to go? Try one of these common itineraries to take on your own, or mix and match destinations to plan your own independent trip.
1. Australia Overview Tour
Approximate Time: 1 Month
Sydney - Melbourne - Hobart - Adelaide - Alice Springs - Uluru National Park (Ayers Rock) - Darwin - Kakadu National Park - Darwin - Cairns - Sydney
Australia is a vast country with many different sites and attractions. An overview trip through the country will take you to beaches, cities, national parks and the famous Outback. Most international travelers begin and end their trip in Sydney. Definitely allow yourself several days to explore all of the impressive neighborhoods in this city. From Sydney, make your way to Melbourne. Melbourne offers many local restaurants and venues where you can sip wine and try local cuisine. If you're interested in shopping, head over to the famous Chapel and Brunswick Streets. After a day or two in Melbourne, go down to Hobart, Tasmania. Spend some time exploring the Tasman Peninsula and enjoy a trip to Port Arthur, which was home to convicts during the 1830s when Australia was a penal colony. Travel on to Adelaide and spend a day wondering the tree-lined streets and beautiful gardens. Also make sure you do a day trip to Kangaroo Island. Continue on, taking the Ghan Train, to Alice Springs. Learn about the history and culture of the area and then visit Uluru (Ayers Rock). This is one of the most recognized destinations in Australia and should not be missed during your trip. From there, travel on to Darwin and Kakadu National Park. Spend some time exploring the park's wetlands and learning about the unique Aboriginal culture in the area. Go back to Darwin and on to Cairns, which is an excellent base for experiencing the famous Great Barrier Reef. There are many ways to view the reef from diving to snorkeling or glass bottom boat tours. After several days exploring and relaxing in Cairns, make your way back to Sydney to conclude your trip.
Australia is a vast country, and plane flights can dramatically reduce travel time, but also increase your travel costs. Take this into account as you're planning your itinerary.
2. Australia's Gold Coast Itinerary
Approximate Time: 2 Weeks
Cairns - Whitsundays - Fraser Island - Noosa Heads - Surfers Paradise - Byron Bay - Coffs Harbour - Sydney
Australia offers some of the most famous and impressive snorkeling and scuba diving in the world. People travel across the globe to experience the famous Great Barrier Reef, and it is not to be missed on a trip to coastal Australia. This itinerary begins in the popular coastal city of Cairns. It is a good jumping off point to experience the world's most famous reef, but there are also countless activities you can enjoy. Whether you're interested in shopping, adrenaline filled sports, or just relaxing, Cairns has something to offer. Whitewater rafting is a popular activity, as are the hot air balloon rides and countless water sports that are available.
From Cairns, head to Whitsundays, where you can enjoy a slightly slower pace. There are many resorts available so you can lounge by the pool or relax on the many stunning beaches nearby. Sailing is a popular activity, as are the rainforest walks.
After spending some time in Whitsundays, head on the Fraser Island via ferry. This is a great area to stay at an eco-lodge. Take advantage of the resorts and spas in the area or explore the beaches and see the local wildlife.
After you've had your fill of Fraser Island move on to Noosa and enjoy the lively resort town with it's trendy night life. From Noosa, move on to Surfers Paradise. This is the Gold Coast's hot spot for partying. Spend your nights along Orchid or Cavill Avenues, which are lined with clubs and bars.
Once you've downed your share of alcohol, move on to Byron Bay and take in the area's impressive wildlife with everything from dolphins to rays, sharks and eels. Next stop is Coffs Harbour where you can learn to surf or explore the banana plantations. Finally, move to your final destination, Sydney, where you can wrap up your vacation in a cosmopolitan city with countless sites to explore.
3. The Great Ocean Road
Approximate Time: 1 Week
Melbourne - Lorne - Port Fairy - Robe - Victor Harbour - Adelaide
If you're looking to get away from the crowds of the Gold Coast and see a different side of Australia, take a trip along the Great Ocean Road. You can enjoy fine dining and wine in the Barossa and Clare Valleys, see a vast range of wildlife, and enjoy some stunning beaches. This trip is best done with your own vehicle.
Start your trip in Melbourne and drive into Geelong which is on the Bellarine Peninsula. There you will find a pleasant waterfront, many local vineyards, and beaches where you can swim. You can pick up the Great Ocean Road in Torquay. This also introduces you to Victoria's Surf Coast. There is a large surfing museum and popular beaches such as Jan Juc and Iconic Bells. Surfing spots are abundant as you make your way to the holiday town of Lorne. You can walk to waterfalls or swim in the waters by Loutit Bay. If shopping is your style, check out the many galleries and boutiques around town.
After spending the night in Lorne, continue your trip the next morning on to Port Fairy. You'll pass by scenic cliffs and Great Otway National Park. There are rainforests, caves and waterfalls you can explore along the way. Make sure you stop by Cape Otway Lighthouse and have a picnic at either Paradise or Shelly Beach. You'll drive along Shipwreck Coast before you reach Port Fairy. This town has quaint whitewashed cottages and Georgian style homes and makes a wonderful place to spend the night.
The next morning, continue along the route towards Portland, which is Victoria's first European settlement. It's a quaint place where you can see fishing boats unload their day's catch at the waterfront. The route will take you past Cape Nelson State Park and the sea cliffs of Cape Bridgewater. You'll cross the South Australian border and see Mount Gambier and continue on to Robe where you can spend the night.
The next day you can visit Cape Jaffa Lighthouse and head into the Langhorne Creek wine region and the river port of Goolwa. During the right season (between June and September) you can see southern right whales in Middleton. Spend your last night in Victor Harbor and on the final day of your trip make your way to Adelaide. You can take a horse-drawn tram to Granite Island and see local wildlife or you can walk along the cliff to Port Elliot. During the drive you'll pass rolling hills and go through the McLaren Vale wine region. Allow yourself time to explore Adelaide once you arrive.