So you have two weeks and you’re coming to Australia? Where should you go and what should you see? Contiki Europe offer a 12 or 14 day highlight tour. The equivalent in the USA doesn’t exist as the country is broken into east, west and south because the size is just too much to see all in that amount of time. Australia is the same size as both Europe and the Unites States. With far fewer people living here than in either the states or Europe, connections and methods of transport are limited. You will not see Australia in 2 weeks. However, get a taste for it or experience the highlights. You will want to come back over and over again. That is of course if you like planes!
Did I mention that? Getting to Australia takes time. We like it like that. Australia is largely insignificant in relation to the world financial market , that adds to being left alone. We don’t have large numbers of people (yet). Just think, every time you meet an Australian in Europe or the US how far they have travelled. I appreciate they are everywhere and you must question if there is anyone left Down Under. We are an adventurous bunch and there are still plenty of us left manning the mainland so you need not to worry.
Before you do this exercise what do you dream Australia to be like. For some people this might be all beaches and surf lifestyle. It may be the outback and the wide open spaces for others. Or it could be the reef and all that it offers. Write these down because when you are deciding where to go it is important you refer back to this and make sure your dreams are fulfilled. You’ve travelled a long way and for many you may never return. This is a continent like no other and you will not see what you see in Australia anywhere else.
I have given you Options. When you go to Europe you wouldn’t try to see all the major cities in a day? Use that as a rule of thumb as to why there is a choice. If you look at a Contiki highlights of Europe trip you certainly don’t spend long anywhere. I ask what’s the point?
Like all big cities you need at least 1-2 days here in this fabulous place, but to truly explore you will need 3-4 days. Melbourne is hip. It’s groovy and it’s an amazing place for foodies to hang. You will find getting around easy as the public transport system works well. Before you leave and fly somewhere else you need to do at least a day trip to the Great Ocean Road. This is a full day so you cannot do it before a flight. You could however fly in first thing in the morning and do the day trip after landing. The Yarra Valley would be my other day-trip tip if you had more time to spare. Melbourne is famous for its street art and its lane-ways. These lane-ways are full of delightful bars and cafes. Wander – it’s the best way to find things.
Sydney is my home so I am biased but surely every visitor has to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House? The harbour is a true delight and a bright sunny Sydney day will show you how glorious it is. Plan a ferry trip to Manly to enjoy the harbour and to sail right past the Opera House and bridge. At Manly take a stroll along the beach. There are loads of other things to do in Sydney but this is a taste of what your first ½ day could be. From Sydney you should do a day trip to the Blue Mountains and visit the Three Sisters and look at the wonderful views. Sydney competes with Melbourne in relation to foodie delights and you will not be disappointed with the array of produce and meals in this great city. Again I think you need at least 2 days but like Paris or Rome you would always be better with 3-4 days to explore and discover.
Spend two nights here and enjoy what could be referred to as Australia’s Saint Tropez. The beach will not disappoint and once again the restaurants are world class. You will love the easy feel with a sophisticated vibe. Spend time having some down time and wander through the National Park. You may even come across a koala.
We have covered off just over a week with two major cities and a few day trips. Now with a few days of rest in Noosa you will be ready for taking off on more adventure. Below is a list of options. This is the point where you can’t see all of these but you most definitely could see one. You have already spent 8-10 days and you have 4-5 days left. Choose to see one of these and enjoy your time there rather than rushing around. Travel is hard on the body and you need to give yourself time to enjoy. Some of my best travel memories are those of just sitting.
I personally think you cannot leave without going to the Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays is a collection of islands and you can choose whatever type of accommodation you like. If you prefer you can take to a cruise for a 3-4 day trip. Whitehaven beach is the jewel in the crown and something you will dream about for a long time after getting home. My pick would be fly into Hamilton, base yourself there and take day-trips from there.
If you prefer to visit Port Douglas or dependent upon where you are flying from it may be easier. Port Douglas allows you access to the reef. Be prepared that the reef is over an hour by boat so it is a full day trip unless you use a helicopter. It was once a sleepy fishing village but now a sophisticated alternative to Cairns (leave that for the backpackers) The Daintree Rainforest is nearby and a great day adventure.
The wonderful rock is a 3 hour drive from Alice Springs. So you will need the 3-4 days to allow for travel time. You need to visit the rock and allow time to see it both at sunrise and at sunset. It is such a special place and you will leave with e deep respect for our Aboriginal people and their heritage and culture. This is truly a place where you can marvel at the wonders of the world and how lucky we are to be a part of it for such a short time.
You really need at least 3 days to visit Kakadu but most tours include Litchfield National Park and Kakadu National Park. You can find a 3 day tour including both parks. Click here for a family tour. Darwin is a 6 hour flight from Sydney so you consider that there is travel time.
Enjoy. It’s hard not to. I will leave you with this YouTube clip of an Australia advertising campaign.
Go back to you dream list. Did you put seeing a koala on your itinerary? Did you go and see the Botanic Gardens or whatever was on your list? Make sure your dreams are covered. It’s a big country with a lot to see. Fulfill your inspiration for choosing Australia over so many others. And as Chris Hemsworth says, the air is different here.