3 Ways to See Australia in 3 Weeks
Published 29 June 2016
Australia is big. And by that we mean huge; the UK would fit into it almost 32 times. It’s 2,485 miles wide – that’s about the equivalent distance from London to Baghdad. With such a large country, it’s impossible to see it all on just one trip, so prioritising the must-sees is key to getting the most out of your holiday. To help you choose, we've created the following three Australia holiday itineraries to showcase the very best of the country in three weeks or less.
Sydney, Rock & Reef – 16 days
This classic trip takes in Australia’s most iconic sights – the cosmopolitan city of Sydney, the dusty sands of the Red Centre and the kaleidoscopic natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
If you’re lucky enough to have bagged a window seat and you’re coming in on the main runway, you’ll never forget the first time you fly into Sydney. Most flights from the UK (via Asia or Dubai) arrive early in the day, so keep a look out for the morning sun reflecting off the sparkling harbour waters, overlooked by the iconic Harbour Bridge and with the gleaming white sails of the Sydney Opera House shining in the background. Once your feet touch the ground, Sydney is a great place to get your bearings. Don’t miss taking a harbour cruise, or hop on the ferry to Manly for that classic Opera-House-and-bridge photo. Surfers and sand lazers can get their fix down on Bondi Beach, and the must-do day trip from the city is a jaunt to the beautiful Blue Mountains, swirling in indigo-hued eucalyptus mist.
Uluru (a.k.a. The Rock)
Fly from Sydney to Uluru, the isolated and sacred Aboriginal site in the Australia’s Red Centre. Surrounded by russet-coloured sands, this enormous monolith juts dramatically out of the desert and makes for an arresting sight. Be sure to visit it at different times of day to see the colour changing from dusky pink to fiery red. It’s not just Uluru that’s the attraction here – the smooth sandstone domes of nearby Kata Tjuta come a close second to The Rock, and the dusty town of Alice Springs is a must for original aboriginal paintings.
Fly on to Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. You can opt to stay in Cairns itself or perhaps transfer to the smaller seaside town of Port Douglas. Number one on the list of activities here is snorkelling or diving on the reef, but if masks and flippers aren’t your thing try a semi-sub or even don an airtight helmet and walk along the sea floor. Not to be missed is the Daintree Rainforest, a lush natural playground filled with flowers, gorges, waterfalls and walking trails.
How to do it?
Our Sydney, Rock and Reef Journey takes in these three iconic spots, spending four nights in Sydney, three nights in Uluru and five nights in Cairns. The itinerary also include flights, transfers and a tour of Sydney, a romantic open-air dinner at Uluru and a day trip to the Outer Great Barrier Reef.
Best of the East Coast – 20 days
If you’d prefer to concentrate on Australia’s spectacular east coast, then this is the Journey for you. A self-drive holiday that starts in Sydney, this itinerary takes you from Cairns to Brisbane, with a focus on scenery and wildlife.
Start with a few days in Sydney, before catching a flight north to Cairns. Here you can explore the Daintree Rainforest by taking a crocodile-spotting cruise along the Daintree River or by hiking the dramatic pathways of Mossman Gorge. And don’t forget the must-do underwater attractions of the Great Barrier Reef. From Cairns, head south to Mission Beach, where nine miles of golden sand and a collection of funky boutique stores and cafes await. Further down the coast, Townsville is the perfect base for discovering the wild koalas of Magnetic Island.
The swirling white sands of the Whitsunday Islands are best discovered on a cruise from Airlie Beach – we promise you won’t forget the pristine Whitehaven Beach in a hurry. After a short stop on the lovely beaches of Yeppoon, it’s on to Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. Home to an incredible array of wildlife, including dolphins, dingoes and dugongs, this is an enchanting place. Finally, there’s just time for a few days relaxing on the beaches of Noosa before you finish your Journey in cosmopolitan Brisbane, a riverside city filled with fabulous restaurants and vibrant bars.
How to do it?
On our Best of the East Coast Journey, you’ll start with flights to and three nights in Sydney, then fly up to Cairns where you’ll pick up your hire car and drive down the coast to Brisbane, stopping off along the way to cruise the Whitsunday Islands and explore the delights of Fraser Island.
Gourmet Australia – 16 days
Love food? You can tour Australia’s most striking landscapes, tasting the flavours along the way with this tastebud-tickling Journey. Covering Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, you’ll enjoy spectacular cuisine, award-winning wines and visit some of Australia’s hidden foodie gems.
Loosen your waistband and start your gourmet adventure in style with a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour. After a few days exploring Sydney, push on to the gorgeous Hunter Valley, New South Wales’ prime wine region. Treat yourself in the luxury food shops, and visit the vineyards to sample the fine wines, particularly the fresh and fruit Semillon and rich and ripe Shiraz. Fly on to Melbourne and try the creamy cheeses and rich chocolates in the Yarra Valley, then find out more about Melbourne’s hidden culinary secrets too on a Lanes and Arcade tour.
Flying cross-country to Perth, taste your way along the picturesque Swan Valley and try the craft beers. Tuck into fresh seafood while overlooking the ocean, then continue on to the sun-drenched Margaret River and finish your Journey enjoying premium-label wine and soaking up the scenery.
How to do it
Our Gourmet Australia Journey spends three nights in Sydney, and Melbourne and two nights in Perth, and includes all flights, car hire and transfers. We’ve also added in a Sydney Harbour dinner cruise, a picnic in the Hunter Valley, dinner on a colonial tramcar in Melbourne, and a food and wine tour from Perth.
All of our Journeys to Australia can be tailor-made to suit you. So if you have more (or less) time to spare or want to add in a day trip or even another destination – perhaps Tasmania or Western Australia – give your Expert a call.