Find places to go in Australia's cities with the help of our ‘three great day' trip ideas. Hop between Sydney's beaches and world famous harbour or Melbourne's laneways and St Kilda Beach. Day trip to Moreton Bay from Brisbane and Rottnest Island from Perth. Mix national monuments with Namadgi National Park in Canberra or pioneer history and aboriginal art with desert adventure in Alice Springs. Do Darwin's marina, markets and harbour and Adelaide's galleries, gardens and beaches. Wander Salamanca Place and climb Mt Wellington in Hobart or visit the Great Barrier Reef and Kuranda Rainforest from Cairns. See dinosaur footprints and Cable Beach in Broome or combine shopping, beaches and theme parks on the Gold Coast.
Three Great Days in Sydney
Explore the harbour, beaches and inner-city precincts of this exuberant city. See dawn break from the top of the Harbour Bridge or the sun set on the Opera House. Fine dine along the Woolloomooloo finger wharf or experience theatre and dance along the redeveloped wharves of Walsh Bay. Take the ferry to Manly, walk from Bondi to Bronte along the spectacular sea cliffs or relax in a beer garden with harbour views in Watsons Bay. Discover the unique character of Surry Hills, Kings Cross, Glebe, Newtown or Balmain. Spend your final day indulging at wineries, restaurants or day spas of the Hunter Valley.
Three Great Days in Brisbane
Make the most of your vacation in Brisbane - a sunny, sophisticated capital on the winding Brisbane River. Along with lush parks and laid-back locals, this is a city with serious cultural credentials and first-class wining, dining and dancing. Shop up a sub-tropical storm on Queen Street, then check out the city's historic buildings. Dine out along South Bank's sandy lagoon and explore its storehouse of cultural attractions. Pick out Brisbane's landmarks on a leisurely river cruise or from Mt Coot-tha Lookout. Listen to live music in Fortitude Valley or lose yourself to nature in the sandy adventure playground of Moreton Island.
Three Great Days in Melbourne
There's no time for sleep in Melbourne, a city where culture buffs, sport nuts, fashion lovers and foodies all have their niche. Discover cafes, bars and boutiques in city laneways sprawling secretly off ordered streets. Soak up the vibrant riverside atmosphere from Southbank and visit Federation Square, where creative and café culture meet. Cruise down the Yarra and wander the lawns and lakes of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Soak up the unique energy of the city's diverse precincts, from upmarket South Yarra to beachside St Kilda and edgy Fitzroy. Then day trip to the beaches, wineries, galleries and golf courses of the Mornington Peninsula.
Three Great Days in Adelaide
Skip from cultural attractions to the coast in Adelaide, where restaurants, parklands and wine regions are also within easy reach. Explore the city's past in the grand stone buildings along North Terrace. Discover the youthful energy humming beneath the city's elegant exterior along Rundle Street and Gouger Street's popular dining strip. Lose yourself in parklands, which sprawl around more than half the city. Swim with dolphins in Glenelg and enjoy summer festivities in beachside Henley. Do a day trip to the Fleurieu Peninsula, stopping to see wineries, play on white beaches, trek the rugged coastline and get up close to wildlife.
Three Great Days in Perth
Pack in the sights to your Perth vacation, known for its sunshine, natural beauty and relaxed pace. Sail down the shimmering, blue Swan River or look over the city and its waterways from Kings Park. Swim, surf or just watch the sunset from Cottesloe Beach, then hit Northbridge’s cheap eateries and trendy bars. Dine out on Indian Ocean seafood and explore Australia’s best-preserved 19th century streetscapes in colourful Fremantle. Dedicate a day to discovering Rottnest Island by bike, boat or foot. Swim and surf from perfect white beaches, snorkel with tropical fish and coral and get up close to diverse wildlife.
Three Great Days on the Gold Coast
Roll with the vibrant energy of the Gold Coast, where there are beaches, rainforests, restaurants, theme parks and shopping strips to visit. Swim, surf or dine alfresco in relaxed, glamourous Main Beach and shop up a storm beneath the towering Surfers Paradise skyline. Learn to surf here or in Burleigh Heads, where afterwards you can explore the national park. Enjoy thrills, spills and animal interactions in any of the many huge theme parks. Then get back to nature in the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the national parks, including Lamington, Border Ranges, Main Range and Nightcap.
Three Great Days in Canberra
Take a crash course in Australian history and culture in Canberra, Australia's political and administrative centre. The national monuments and galleries of this planned, spacious city are all within easy walking distance of each other, radiating out from the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Peer into Australia's political past and creative culture as you circle the lake, then get up close to its native vegetation in the gardens and bushland. Discuss your Australian discoveries over dinner in Dickson, Civic, Manuka or Kingston. Then nurture your love of nature in Namadgi National Park, where you can hike, bike, horse-ride, rock climb and follow a fascinating trail of Aboriginal and European history.
Three Great Days in Broome
See it all in Broome, the remote, romantic pearling port in the north-west corner of the Kimberley. Purchase a pearl in Chinatown, where many of the buildings were built in the exciting early pearling days. Continue the nostalgia in the pearling museum or on an old pearl lugger. Hop on a camel and watch the famous, fiery sunset over Cable Beach. Catch the natural magic trick of Staircase to the Moon, bird spot in Roebuck Bay and see prehistoric dinosaur prints at Gantheaume Point. Devote your final day to a 4WD adventure along the magical Dampier Penisula, where you can extend your stay in traditional Aboriginal communities.
Three Great Days in Alice Springs
Connect to rich Aboriginal traditions, awe-inspiring landscapes and pioneer history in Alice Springs, which sits just south of Australia's geographic centre. Learn about the area's first inhabitants - the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people - in the Araluen Cultural Precinct and in the vibrant art lining Todd Mall. Find out how plucky pioneers shaped the modern town in the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air. Experience an outback adventure on a camel trek or hot air balloon ride. On your final day, 4WD through the prehistoric terrain of Finke Gorge National Park, visit a huge comet crater and see where acclaimed Aboriginal painter Albert Namatjira grew up.
Three Great Days in Cairns
Cairns is the energetic heartbeat of Tropical North Queensland: modern, stylish and a renowned lure for sun seekers. It’s the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site cited as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Whatever your pace, you’ll have no trouble filling your days in Cairns.
Three Great Days in Darwin
Discover the best of balmy Darwin, which sits on a huge harbour on the Timor Sea. Swap your city suit for the uniform of the tropics - T-shirt and shorts - and get out and explore this vibrant, multicultural city. Walk or bike ride through the tropical parklands, see Aboriginal art in the museum and taste the city's multicultural mix at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Visit chic Cullen Bay Marina and take a heritage walk round the wharf. Beyond Darwin's compact city center, you can cruise next to acrobatic crocodiles on the Adelaide River and swim beneath waterfalls in the tangled green jungle of Litchfield National Park.
Three Great Days in Hobart
Soak up sea air, creative culture and colonial history in Hobart, which sits on the wide Derwent River, in the shadow of craggy Mount Wellington. Walking is the best way to see the city's sandstone and waterways, from bustling Salamanca Market to the fishing docks. Stop to taste Hobart's fabulous food and wine in the streets of Salamanca Place or along North Hobart's restaurant strip. Explore Mount Wellington on mountain bike or foot or kayak past the city's wharves at twilight. Just south of the city lies Kettering and small, rugged Bruny Island. Spend a day walking its windswept beaches, emerald countryside and dramatic cliff tops.