- Tour Sydney and Adelaide's markets, beaches, and landmarks
- Sip fine wines in the lush Barossa Valley
- Spot classic Australian wildlife on Kangaroo Island
- Explore the UNESCO-listed Kuranda Rainforest
- Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and enjoy beach time in Palm Cove
|Day 1||Arrive in Sydney, Explore||Sydney|
|Day 2||Panoramic Sydney Sights Tour & BridgeClimb||Sydney|
|Day 3||Sydney Harbour Scenic Flight & Lunch at Cottage Point Inn||Sydney|
|Day 4||Free Day in Sydney||Sydney|
|Day 5||Fly to Adelaide, Explore||Adelaide|
|Day 6||Adelaide's Central Market & Glenelg Beach||Adelaide|
|Day 7||Pick Up Rental Car, Drive to the Barossa Valley||Barossa Valley|
|Day 8||Barossa Valley Wine Tasting Tour||Barossa Valley|
|Day 9||Drive to Cape Jervis, Ferry to Kangaroo Island||Kangaroo Island|
|Day 10||Kangaroo Island Nature Tour||Kangaroo Island|
|Day 11||Taste of Kangaroo Island Tour, Return to Adelaide||Adelaide|
|Day 12||Fly to Cairns, Drive to Palm Cove||Palm Cove|
|Day 13||Great Barrier Reef Day Trip||Palm Cove|
|Day 14||Kuranda Scenic Railway & Rainforest Tour||Palm Cove|
|Day 15||Free Day in Palm Cove||Palm Cove|
|Day 16||Return to Sydney||Sydney|
|Day 17||Depart Sydney|
Day 1: Arrive in Sydney, Explore
Welcome to Australia! Touch down in Sydney, a city famed for its prime waterfront location, harbor, and iconic Opera House. The city also has a top-notch culinary and nightlife scene and is surrounded by dozens of unspoiled beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach. Check into your hotel and then head out to explore Sydney independently.
Enjoy a drink at a waterfront bar in Sydney Harbour to soak up skyline views, or wander cobblestone laneways in the historic neighborhood of The Rocks. You can also browse the markets, boutiques, and pubs of upscale Paddington, whose terraced houses date back to the Victorian era. When the sun goes down, book a table at one of Sydney's delectable five-star restaurants before taking on the city's legendary nightlife.
Day 2: Panoramic Sydney Sights Tour & BridgeClimb
Discover Sydney on a guided morning tour, starting with a stop in The Rocks to learn about Australia's convict history. Meet your guide and follow them as you traipse over shaded laneways and cobblestone courtyards, passing some of Sydney's earliest buildings, including 19th-century Cadman's Cottage, taking in the vistas of Sydney Harbour and Campbells Cove's wharves. You'll drive through Sydney's Central Business District and past Hyde Park Barracks and St Mary's Cathedral to Mrs Macquarie's Point for magnificent views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Next, travel through Sydney's swanky eastern suburbs, home to the rich and famous, to Watson's Bay, where you can take a coastal walk with sweeping ocean views before heading to Bondi Beach. Here, you can stroll along the vibrant beachfront promenade, stop for a coffee, then relax on the golden sands watching surfers ride the waves. Continue your tour to Tamarama and Bronte Beaches before returning to the city via Centennial Park and Paddington, a trendy district with elegant terraced houses and boutique shops along Oxford Street.
Finish the day with an adrenaline-pumping adventure: climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Led by an experienced guide, you'll embark upon a journey that'll take you 439 feet (134 m) above sea level to the top of this engineering marvel. Along the way, you'll be treated to 360-degree city views, looking east to the Sydney Opera House and west to the Blue Mountains.
Day 3: Sydney Harbour Scenic Flight & Lunch at Cottage Point Inn
Enjoy a free morning in Sydney, perhaps heading to the iconic harbor to tour the Sydney Opera House. Other city highlights include the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Pylon Museum, which tells the story of the Harbour Bridge.
Take to the skies this afternoon for a scenic flight to the award-winning Cottage Point Inn on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Taxing to the restaurant's exclusive seaplane dock upon landing, staff from Cottage Point Inn will welcome you. Thanks to the newly installed head chef, Kevin Solomon, have a leisurely, three-course à la carte lunch accompanied by fine Australian wines. To top off your afternoon, gaze once more at Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from a birds-eye perspective before touching down in the city.
Day 4: Free Day in Sydney
Today is yours to spend as you please. Enjoy some more city sightseeing or head to the beach. Visit the famous Bondi, home to one of the oldest surf lifesaving clubs in the world and one of Australia's oldest swimming clubs, the Bondi Icebergs. If you're feeling active, embark upon the 4-mile (6 km) coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee.
Along the way, spot 2,000-year-old traditional Aboriginal rock carvings at Mark's Park, grab lunch at Tamarama Beach and walk past the heritage-listed Waverly Cemetery. Highlights include Gordon's Bay, with its colorful fishing boats, and your final destination: Coogee Beach. Here, you can trawl rock pools and bathe in two of Sydney's most spectacular ocean pools: McIvers Baths and Wylie's Baths.
Day 5: Fly to Adelaide, Explore
Bid farewell to Sydney this morning and fly west to Adelaide, where your driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Settle in and then discover the capital of South Australia independently. Once considered a sleepy city, Adelaide has undergone a rapid transformation with a burgeoning bar scene, world-class art and music, and a festival calendar to rival any other Australian city. The city's monthlong Fringe Festival is one of the largest in the world and features over 7,000 artists.
The city sprawls on both sides of the Torrens River, where you can amble through parkland backed by the peaks of Mount Lofty Ranges. These green belts are home to top cultural attractions like the South Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of South Australia. In the historic center of Adelaide, you can wander charming laneways and take in stately landmarks like Parliament House and the Darling Building, ending in bustling Victoria Square for dinner.
Day 6: Adelaide's Central Market & Glenelg Beach
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Explore one of Adelaide's most visited attractions today: the Central Market. Established over 150 years ago, it's the oldest food market in Australia, and with over 70 traders under one roof, it's also one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Browse the colorful stalls laden with produce and grab a bite to eat.
Next, hop on the Bay Tram, which runs from the city center to popular Glenelg Beach. This vast stretch of sand is the perfect place to soak up the sun and take a refreshing dip. Stroll along the jetty and visit the Foreshore Playground and Moseley Square, hives of activity throughout the warmer months, offering a huge range of family-friendly entertainment and sporting activities.
Day 7: Pick Up Rental Car, Drive to the Barossa Valley
This morning, pick up your rental car to begin your self-drive adventure to the Barossa Valley, an hour away. This picturesque region produces some of the best wines in South Australia and is home to over 150 vineyards and 80 cellar doors. The Barossa Valley also has a strong German heritage, which you can explore with a stop at Hahndorf, filled with 19th-century German architecture.
Continue driving through the valley, stopping at boutique wineries for tours and tasting sessions. The stretch between Lyndoch, Tanunda, and Nuriootpa, in particular, is dotted with top wineries such as Château Tanunda and Penfolds. If interested in a fine-dining experience, consider making a reservation at Hentley Farm Wines in Seppeltsfield, or for something more casual, try Harvest Kitchen in Tanunda.
Day 8: Barossa Valley Wine Tasting TourSavor Barossa's wine culture today with a trained professional who'll take you to the best spots in the Barossa Valley to learn about the wine production process, from grape to bottle. The tour itinerary will be tailored to your tastes and may include visits to tourist attractions, famous vineyards, and lesser-visited local wineries. You'll enjoy vineyard tours, tastings, and gourmet snacks depending on your specific itinerary.
Day 9: Drive to Cape Jervis, Ferry to Kangaroo Island
Continue your road trip to Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula, another 2.5 hours away. The tiny coastal town has an iconic lighthouse and is a popular jumping-off point for whale-watching tours and countryside hikes. Here, you'll board a ferry for the 45-minute journey across the Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island, where you'll check into your hotel.
Touted as Australia's Galápagos, over a third of Kangaroo Island is a protected nature reserve divided into seven regions. The island's astounding wildlife includes black swans, fur seals, Cape Barren geese, penguins, and cockatoos. Winter brings southern right whales to the shores, and the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary has a stellar koala walk and a coastal path where you can see barking sea lions.
Day 10: Kangaroo Island Nature Tour
Discover Kangaroo Island on a full-day nature tour. Travel west to your first stop, Seal Bay Conservation Park, home to the endangered Australian sea lion. With only an estimated 12,000 sea lions left in the world, Seal Bay is the third-largest colony of this species. Next, stop at Vivonne Bay General Store for one of their famous whiting burgers, made from a local fish, before continuing to Flinders Chase National Park.
Keep an eye out for goannas lazing in the sun and other wildlife as you drive; you'll also see the stunning rejuvenation of native bush species, which were devastated by the bushfires of 2019-20. Stop at Remarkable Rocks for rugged coastal views and distinct red rock formations beloved by photographers. You'll spend the afternoon visiting park highlights such as Cape Du Couedic, Weirs Cove, and Admirals Arch. There's also time for a swim or beach walk before returning to your hotel for the night.
Day 11: Taste of Kangaroo Island Tour & Return to Adelaide
Get a taste of Kangaroo Island this morning with a food tour. Start with a visit to Kangaroo Island Olives, a family-owned agribusiness that introduced the Ligurian olive tree to Kangaroo Island in the early 1990s. These olives have a rich history, as they've been grown for over four hundred years by the Saint Benedictine monks of the Italian Riviera.
Continue to another local favorite, Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery, which produces 100% pure Australian eucalyptus essential oil from the Kangaroo Island narrow-leafed mallee. You'll have morning tea and learn about the distillery's production here. Discover the island's honey production at your next stop and participate in a unique tour and tasting of the Ligurian bee's honey products.
The final highlight is visiting Kangaroo Island Spirits, Australia's oldest dedicated gin distillery. Join a guided tour of the distillery and beautifully landscaped garden filled with native botanicals. Sample a gin and mixer paddle and enjoy lunch in the garden before returning to your hotel midafternoon, in time to catch the ferry back to Cape Jervis and make the hourlong drive back to Adelaide.
Day 12: Fly to Cairns, Pick Up Rental Car, Drive to Palm Cove
This morning, drop your rental car off at the airport and fly to Cairns in Far North Queensland. This tropical paradise lies on the shores of Trinity Bay and is the gateway to some of Australia's most extraordinary natural attractions. The most famous is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's most popular diving sites. To the north lies another UNESCO treasure, the ancient rainforests of Daintree National Park.
Pick up your next rental car from the airport and drive 15 miles (25 km) up the coast to Palm Cove, your base for the next four nights. Travel along the Captain Cook Highway, bordered by exotic coastlines and forested mountains. Palm Cove is one of the most idyllic seaside towns on this route, home to a pristine beach named for the swaying paperbark trees that line the esplanade. Have a waterfront meal and browse the town's boutiques and spas.
Day 13: Great Barrier Reef Day Trip
Drive back to Cairns this morning in time for your boat trip on the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. This natural wonder covers 133,000 square miles (344,000 sq km) and is visible from space. The UNESCO site is home to over 2,900 individual reefs and an array of marine life, including 130 varieties of sharks and rays and over 1,500 fish species.
Board a high-speed catamaran for a cruise to Agincourt Reef. Choose to dive, snorkel, or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a Quicksilver semi-sub, which sits just 3 feet (1 m) underwater. Accompanied by a marine biologist, you'll learn all about the reef's unique ecosystem and a mind-boggling variety of marine life, then tuck into a delicious buffet lunch on board. Afterward, dock in Cairns and drive back up to Palm Cove for a restful evening.
Day 14: Kuranda Scenic Railway & Rainforest Tour
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kuranda Rainforest and observe native Australian wildlife today. The adventure begins with a journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which winds through 15 tunnels and past Stoney Creek Falls and Barron Falls to Kuranda Village. This fascinating village has a thriving Aboriginal art scene and a Heritage Market that sells handmade arts and crafts.
Next, you'll tour the Rainforestation Nature Park in an amphibious Army Duck vehicle, taking in views of the rainforest from the water, and visit the koalas, kangaroos, and other critters at the Koala and Wildlife Park. Before lunch, you'll also learn about Aboriginal culture at the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. The trip ends with a ride on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, soaring over the rainforest canopy.
Day 15: Free Day in Palm CoveSpend a final day in Palm Cove, relaxing on the soft sands of Clifton Beach, indulging in a spa treatment at one of the town's award-winning wellness centers, or joining a yoga class. If you're feeling active, take a kayak to paddle around nearby Double Island or ramble along the cobbled waterfront esplanade. End the day with a meal at the renowned Nu Nu Restaurant, with sea views and tasty cuisine.
Day 16: Return to Sydney
Say goodbye to Palm Cove today and drive back to Cairns, where you'll drop off your rental car in time to catch your flight back to Sydney. Your driver will be waiting at the airport to take you to your hotel in the heart of the capital, where you'll spend a final evening in the city. Head out for some last-minute souvenir shopping and a meal overlooking the bright lights of Sydney Harbour.
Day 17: Depart SydneyToday your adventure in Australia comes to an end. You'll be transferred to the airport in time for your onward flight—safe travels!
More Great Australia Itineraries
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