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Best places to visit in Australia

Discover the best places to visit in Australia with our super-simple 2 week itinerary and make sure you get the most out of your Aussie adventure.

Australia is a big country.  In fact Australia is the 6th biggest country in the world!  So, how do you cover off the best places to visit in Australia in just 2 weeks?

So, I’ve put together an itinerary to visit some of our favourite destinations and added some others we think you will love.

Your 2 weeks itinerary to visit Australia

This itinerary will take you to some of the most iconic attractions around Australia.  Explore rare and ancient landscapes, swim in the most amazing beaches in the world and learn about one of the oldest cultures on earth.

Everything in this itinerary is flexible so you can extend a segment that captures your interest, or stretch your stay if you find you have extra time available.

Cherry-pick your Australia itinerary to explore it all.

Get started with your 2 week itinerary for Australia

Sydney is one of our most popular cities.   Iconic attractions like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and stunning beaches are some of the biggest attractions.  But wait, there really is so much more!

Days 1 – 3: Tick off the big-ticket items in Sydney Harbour

Recommended stay: 3 days in Sydney.

Extension option:  Take a day trip up into the Blue Mountains for some spectacular scenery.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Start your first day with a 20-minute stroll across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, before visiting the Pylon museum and lookout.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a great vantage point to take some impressive photos of the harbour below.

Have you considered doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb?  The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is one of 4 bridge climbs in the world.  Check out our BridgeClimb experience.  It’s my #mustdo recommendation!

Explore The Rocks, Darling Harbour and Sydney Botanical Gardens.  Make sure you visit Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.   Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a rocky ledge offering some of the most spectacular views across the harbour.

Take a tour behind the scenes of the Sydney Opera House. It only takes an hour but its one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ things to do when you’re in Sydney.

The Rocks is rich in history of the early settlement of Old Sydney town.  Head to The Rocks for Happy Hour before joining the free 6 pm Rocks walking tour. Stay on for one of the famous ‘pub meals’ or discover the fantastic restaurants nearby.

Day 2: Get some serious time on the Harbour

Sydney Opera House

Take an early morning walk along the shoreline before catching the ferry across Sydney Harbour for a swim at famous Manly Beach.  Learn to surf or paddle-board, take a bike ride around the headland or simply soak up the sunshine.  It’s your holiday!

Catch the ferry back via Cockatoo Island.  Cockatoo Island is Australia’s answer to San Francisco’s Alcatraz and a very unique experience. There are a range of tours available and can include a haunted history tour, the convict precinct tour or a walking history tour.  The choice is yours.

A selfie taken at sunset on Sydney Harbour will be one of your most coveted take home memories.

A sunset cruise is one of the most memorable things to do whilst in Sydney and there are a number of tours on offer from Circular Quay.

Head to one of Sydney’s favourite harbour-side restaurants, Bennelong, Quay, Sydney Cove and Oyster Bar or Aria to wrap up a perfect day.  Our favourite is Sydney Cove and Oyster Bar with spectacular views over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

If you’re in the mood for a nightcap, you might like to try one of Sydney’s popular rooftop bars for the ultimate evening experience.

Day 3: Spend time with the locals

Aboriginal Visitor Services Guides share the history of Sydney Harbour and learn about Australia’s Aboriginal heritage.  Its so important to learn the significance of these lands to the first Australian clans of the Eora Nation. Take a guided tour and learn and taste Aboriginal bush foods on the Aboriginal Heritage Tour in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

$ savings Tip:

Pick up the Official Sydney Guide at information kiosks around the city. These guides contain vouchers with 15-20% off Taronga and Wildlife Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour.

Visit Wildlife Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour to see our much loved favourite cuddly animals or visit Taronga Zoo.  One of the best value tours at Taronga Zoo is their 2-hour Wild Australia Experience.  This tour is hosted by one of the zookeepers and shows off our koalas, wombats, platypus, feather-tail gliders, and bilbies.

The Sydney Aquarium features Australian aquatic life, displaying more than 700 species and more than 13,000 individual fish and other sea creatures from Australia’s water habitats.

Read more:  Australia’s favourite animals

Day 4: Fly to Alice Springs

2.5 hour flight to Alice Springs

Recommended stay: 3 nights

Extension option:  Take the Red Centre Way to Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm & Hermannsberg.

Camel tourAlice Springs is an amazing place filled with culture and outback charm.  Hire a car and check out a few of my favourite things to do in Alice Springs.

Take an afternoon nature walk through the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens.  Miss Olive Pink had a passion for desert landscapes and was one of the first advocates for the local indigenous people.  Her gardens are planted with native trees and shrubs and are a great place to see birds, kangaroos and other wildlife in their native habitats.  Drop into the cafe for coffee and enjoy the serenity.

In 2013 a documentary called Kangaroo Dundee was made by BBC UK | National Geographic USA following the lives of these rescue kangaroos and other wildlife.

Wrap up your day with a sunset visit to the Kangaroo Sanctuary and meet the rescue kangaroo family and hold a baby kangaroo.

Book your Kangaroo Sanctuary tour here.

Day 5:  Visit the Alice Springs Desert Park

Spend the morning at the award winning Alice Springs Desert Park, a wildlife reserve just a short drive from the centre of town.  The Desert Park embraces the dreaming stories of the local Arrernte (Arh-ren-ta) people.

Explore a living culture with Aboriginal guides, watch free-flying birds of prey in the outdoor theatre and see rare and endangered animals in the nocturnal house.  The Desert Park is one of my favourite wildlife parks in Australia.

Visit the School of the Air.  In the Outback people often live great distances apart so schooling is conducted via radio throughout Outback Australia.  If you’re lucky you may be able to watch a class in progress.

The Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) hosts a museum in Alice Springs which is well worth visiting.  The RFDS provides emergency medical care to those living in remote areas of Australia.

On your last evening in Alice Springs, make sure you book a sunset Camel Ride for one of those ‘take home’ Outback Australian memories.

There are a number of great restaurants in Alice Springs to relax and chill out after a busy few days being a tourist.  Try my favourite Thai Restaurant – Hanuman Restaurant.

Read more:  Take a Camel Trek with Mr Personality

Day 6 – 8:  Fly to Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park

Flights leave for Uluru mid-morning – 1 hour flight from Alice Springs

Uluru Ayers Rock AustraliaOnce known as Ayers Rock and the Olga’s, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park has been central to Aboriginal culture for over 60,000 years.

If you are lucky enough to be at the Uluru when it’s raining, you are in for an even more spectacular treat.

Watching Uluru change colours at sunrise or sunset is one of outback Australia’s greatest experiences.  This enormous sandstone monolith glows red at dawn and dusk, producing a magical experience for visitors.

I always recommend enjoying both sunrise an sunset as they are both breathtakingly different.

There a number of walks hosted by local Aboriginal guides around the base of Uluru which offer insight into the local Aboriginal culture and bush foods.  These are a great opportunity to learn more about the connection of the people to the lands.

There is plenty to do at Uluru enjoy your adventures while you’re visiting.

Day 7 – Explore Kata Tjuta

Enjoy the walks, the cultural experiences and the magical sunrises and sunsets overlooking the domes of Kata Tjuta.

There are a number of places to stay at the resort at Yulara with a number of excellent restaurants and cafe’s to choose from to ensure your stay is memorable.

I recommend you do the Sounds of Silence dinner under the stars while at Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.  It’s a unique bush tucker experience with their resident astrologer taking your on a journey through the southern hemisphere night sky.

Read more:  Uluru – the most famous rock in Australia 

Day 8:  Visit Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon is a 3 hour drive from Uluru and one of the most beautiful walks of the Australian Outback.

The 6km circuit will take you down into the Garden of Eden surrounded by rare plants, before rising to panoramic views over the red desert sand dunes.

If you are a seasoned walker, the Rim Walk will take in the domes of ‘The Lost City’, and the Garden of Eden.  The Rim Walk will take 3-4 hours and is best tackled at sunrise before the temperature rises.

If you’re not ready to do the Kings Canyon walk, consider taking a helicopter flight over these magnificent outback ‘giants’  to see another perspective.  Be amazed at the ever-changing colours the Australian Outback and keep your camera ready to capture your memories.

Day 9 – 12 – Fly Uluru to Cairns

Flights leave for Cairns – 2.5 hour flight

Recommended stay: 3 days in the Tropical North

Daintree EcolodgeStart your tropical North Queensland experience when you fly into Cairns.  Cairns is a tourist hub loaded with great activities and a day trip to suit everyone.

Day 10: Swim on the Great Barrier Reef

There are a number of day trips out to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns depending on what you want to do while you’re in Far North Queensland.

Take a day trip to snorkel amongst beautiful corals and brightly coloured fish on the Great Barrier Reef.  Visit Low Isles or take a cruise out to Green Island or Fitzroy Island.  You want more?  Consider Scuba diving or Marlin Fishing?  There really is something for everyone.

Cairns has a number of exceptional restaurants, many featuring locally caught seafood choices.  Try something new!

Day 11: Visit the ancient Daintree Rainforest

Drive north along the scenic coast before crossing into the Daintree Rainforest on the car ferry across the Daintree River.  This ancient and pristine rainforest is where you will see rare and unique plants, wildlife and birds native to this region.

Day trips are available into the prehistoric Daintree Rainforest and if you’re lucky, you may get to see a cassowary in the wild.  Visit the Daintree Discovery Centre for an aerial walkway and canopy tower view on every level of the rainforest ecosystem.

Stop in at Mossman Gorge for another aerial tour through the rainforest and wade in the crystal clear riverways of this ancient country.  Take an Aboriginal guided tour to learn about the people of this region, and the animals and plants native to the region.

Day 12:  Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail Cableway

Spend the day up the mountains when you take the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda Village and return via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Kuranda Village is a quaint little town with great walking trails through the rainforest and lookouts over the spectacular Barron Falls.  Make sure you visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary with over 1500 tropical butterflies that are hand reared on the premises.

Enjoy a delicious lunch on the verandah at Frogs Kuranda with a healthy menu or choose from the many other restaurants.

Check out the restaurants on the Cairns Esplanade Pier as there are plenty of dining options to choose from.  Our favourite restaurant along the Pier is Tha Fish.

Day 13 – Return to Sydney

3 hour flight to Sydney

As your holiday draws to a close it’s a great time to reflect on your Aussie holiday experience.

It’s well noted that some of the best places to visit in Australia include our popular icons such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.  We hope that the Daintree Rainforest tours, the Kangaroo Sanctuary and a sunset Camel Trek enhanced your Australian experience.

I trust you have seen some of the best places of Australia and your visit has left you with fabulous memories of the best places to visit in Australia.

5 Essential Items to prepare for your trip to Australia

  1. A good Camera:  There will be plenty of great photo moments wherever you are in Australia so bring along a good camera.  I highly recommend the Sony a6000.  It’s light, compact and takes amazing photos!
  2. Beach Shoes:  The outdoor lifestyle in Australia means you will need specially designed beach shoes (commonly called thongs)!  Be comfortable, treat yourself to a pair here.  Perfect to get out on the beach.  I love mine.
  3. An Australian Guidebook:  There is nothing like Lonely Planet Guidebooks so get yourself a copy of their Australia Travel Guide to take you to the best places to visit in Australia.
  4. A Stainless Steel Water Bottle:  Stay hydrated in the harsh Australian sun.  Get yourself a Yeti Stainless Steel water bottle and refill as you go.  Tap water is drinkable in Australia – and free!
  5. Slap on a Sun Hat:  You will need a good sun hat for protection.  Here’s a packable & foldable Furtalk Womens Beach Hat.  Don’t ruin your day with sunburn!

When to visit Australia

There is never really a bad time to visit Australia but for this itinerary, our recommendation is to arrive during our shoulder seasons and winter months.

The best time to visit is between May – September.  Expect winter in Australia to be temperate compared to other parts of the world.  It’s likely to be cool in the Outback and balmy in the tropics.  Expect crisp clear skies and the amazing colours of a desert winter.

Where to stay in Australia

Throughout Australia you will find a range of accommodation styles to suit your preferences including luxury through to budget accommodation or hostels such as the YHA, or AirBNB when you’re in need of a little extra space.

We tend to book most of our accommodation through Booking.com.   They have a great choice in accommodation styles and comparative pricing.

How to see the best of Australia .. why not pin this to Pinterest for later.

Best Places to Visit in Australia

So to help you plan your Australian adventure we have put together a 2 week itinerary.

Read more:

So what are the best places to visit in Australia.  Where was your favourite place?  Where did you enjoy the most?  I’d love to know!