Create your own Australian vacation with these easy itinerary ideas. Starting from each of our international gateways, these versatile three-week segments give you an idea of how much you can see and do on even a short Australian vacation. Break them down or combine them to match your time-frame, arrival point and list of ‘must-see’ destinations. Weave between city, coast and wilderness or combine the Red Centre with the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. Australia is a vast country, but with planning you can cover a diversity of landscapes in just a few weeks.
Three Weeks from Sydney
Start your Australian adventure in Sydney, where you can climb the Harbour Bridge and visit the Opera House. Close to Sydney's fringes, explore the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains or the vine-lined Hunter Valley. Swim with dolphins in Port Stephens or in sparkling Jervis Bay. Fly or drive to Melbourne, the place to soak up culture in the galleries and drink, dine and shop in secret laneways. Drive to Phillip Island, the Mornington Peninsula or along the spectacular Great Ocean Road to Bells Beach and The Twelve Apostles. You could also fly to Australia's Red Centre to discover Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon and the outback town of Alice Springs.
Three Weeks from Brisbane
Brisbane is a great gateway to eastern Australia's splendid coastline. Drive the Pacific Coast north, stopping for resort glamour in Noosa or to four wheel drive the sandy tracks of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Sail past islands topped with jungle green in the idyllic Whitsundays. Stop in Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Cairns, just some of the access points for the technicolour treasures of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Walk through primeval treetops in the Daintree Rainforest or through pristine national park on Hinchinbrook Island. From Brisbane, it's a short flight to the glittering harbour, cultural attractions and golden city beaches of Sydney.
Three Weeks from Adelaide
Start with South Australia's spectacular natural attractions, then take the Ghan through Australia's Red Centre to Darwin. From Adelaide, you can indulge in fine food and wine in the Barossa and Clare Valleys, hike the rugged Flinders Ranges and meet wildlife galore on Kangaroo Island. Swim, surf, snorkel and bushwalk along the Fleurieu Peninsula before getting up close to penguins in Penneshaw and a colony of sea lions at Seal Rocks on Kangaroo Island. Cut across the continent by rail on the great Ghan, stopping for whistle stop tours of Alice Springs and Katherine. In Darwin, you can embrace festivals, markets and a melting pot of food and cultures.
Three Weeks from Cairns
From Cairns, the islands, rainforest and reef of tropical North Queensland are on your doorstep. Dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and spot the luminescent Ulysses butterfly in the rainforest village of Kuranda. Trek the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, four wheel drive to Cape Tribulation or raft the raging rapids of Tully River. Drive the Savannah Way into the Northern Territory and the outback town of Katherine, then glide through the dramatic sandstone walls of Katherine Gorge.
Three Weeks from Melbourne
Combine Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide with beaches, wineries and World Heritage-listed wilderness on a journey through Australia's south-east. From Melbourne, you can meet wildlife in the wild on Phillip Island, visit vineyards in the Yarra Valley and explore golf courses and food and wine on the Mornington Peninsula. From Hobart, Tasmania's pristine national parks are all within reach. Loop around the island, stopping for Freycinet National Park, the Bay of Fires Walk or Cradle Mountain - Lake St. Clair National Park. From Melbourne, drive to Adelaide along the cliff-hugging Great Ocean Road. See the Twelve Apostles, or canoe the Coorong on your way before exploring this elegant city.
Three Weeks from Perth
Discover Margaret River, Ningaloo Reef, Broome and even Darwin and Sydney on an action-packed adventure from Australia’s westernmost capital. From Perth you can head south to Margaret River’s wineries, waves, forests and caves. Dive shipwrecks and spot whales along the way. North from Perth you’ll find Ningaloo Reef, the world’s largest fringing reef, and Broome, where you can ride a camel at sunset along Cable Beach. Fly into Darwin for easy access to World heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, a tapestry of wildlife, wetlands and Aboriginal rock art galleries. Alternatively, cross the country from Perth to Sydney on the epic Indian-Pacific rail journey.
Three Weeks from Darwin
From Darwin, cut a straight line across Australia to Alice Springs and Adelaide. Or arc through Australia's north-west corner driving the Savannah Way to Broome. Canoe down Katherine Gorge and fly over the beehive-shaped Bungle Bungles in Western Australia's wild Kimberley region along the way. From Darwin, drive the Nature's Way to Kakadu National Park, World Heritage-listed for both its cultural and natural significance. See Uluru, Kings Canyon and other Red Centre attractions from the outback hub of Alice Springs. Elegant Adelaide is your base for exploring the Barossa Valley, Flinders Ranges, the Fleurieu Peninsula and the wildlife wonderland of Kangaroo Island.