Australia Travel Itineraries

  • Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney
  • Sydney, Gold Coast, Byron Bay
  • Cairns, Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Byron Bay
  • Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip
  • Northern Territory and Cairns
  • Western Australia
  • Visit Australia’s tourism website for more info on planning your itinerary

My next visit to Australia will be a road trip around Western Australia.

Australia travel itineraries

Things you should know about Australia:

  • The wifi sucks
  • American Express is not widely accepted
  • It’s huge
  • Traveling takes time (even if you fly)
  • Drinking is expensive
  • You will need to book tours for most of it
  • Australia is REALLY expensive
  • Download Hopper for flights!
  • Save money when you can (cook at home, public transportation, BYOB restaurants, etc.)
  • Visit the parks and sanctuaries instead of a zoo (highly recommend!!)

Visiting Australia is like visiting the US; big and expensive. When you can, plan ahead. Expenses add up because of all the tours/flights you need to book so it will help you save a lot of money.

If there’s one thing I learned from this trip, it’s don’t overwhelm yourself trying to visit everything! And if you don’t get to it, no matter where you are in Australia you’ll find something gorgeous to do instead.

I had an enormous list of all the places I wanted to visit. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t decide where to go or what to do. But I played it by ear and decided to stick with 3 places: Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney.

I stayed with a friend in Melbourne and did Syndey and Cairns on my own. If I had stayed another week I would’ve added Byron Bay and Whitsundays or Uluru and Alice Springs because of how highly recommended they were.

The thing is I was on Standby which means I can only get on the flight if there is space on the plane. That being said, I couldn’t prebook my flights within Australia which made flights ever more expensive. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t change anything about my trip.

Ways to travel around Australia:

Australia Travel Recommendations:

  • Find out what you like and what you want to see before you go
  • download Hopper for watching/booking flights
  • download Foursquare to have a list of all the places you want to go to in each city
  • If you are traveling alone and are only traveling for a few weeks, I’d opt in for flying. Book your flights in advanced! Jet Star and TigerAir are cheap but like any low-cost airline, they’ll charge you for everything.
  • If you’re staying at hostels book your tours with them because you will get discounts.
  • If you’re at a hotel or staying with someone look on Viator or go to a travel agency (they’re practically on every corner!)
  • rent a car if you’re not alone and aren’t tight on time
  • If you’re alone and staying 1+ months you could take the greyhound. I met a ton of other backpackers traveling Aussie by bus and though it took a bit longer, they got to see a lot more than I did! Besides, you meet people as you go so you can just rent a car later on and make a trip out of it.

Suggested Travel Itinerary

2 weeks
Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney

3 weeks
add Byron Bay and Whitsunday or Uluru and Alice Springs

4 weeks
Add the Goldcoast or the Sunshine Coast

Here is a recap of my trip and where to stay, eat, and do in Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney:

Melbourne – 5 Days

Stay

Eat

  • Mr. Ramen San
    • favorite ramen I had in Melbourne
  • Hakata Gensuke
  • Shop Ramen
  • Little Ramen Bar
  • Shujinko
  • Fukuryu Ramen
  • G2 Korean BBQ
  • Melbourne Hwaro Korean BBQ
  • ShanDong MaMa
  • Golden Dragon Palace
  • Din Tai Fung

Do

  • Rent a car for the great ocean road
  • Hosier Lane
  • Chinatown
  • Bike Ride around the city
  • ACMI
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Yarra Valley
  • Eat.

Cairns 4 days, 3 nights

cairns reef quest scuba dive

Stay

Eat:

You’re at a beach town, your options are pretty limited (and not very good). Truthfully, I loved eating cheap bar/hostel food while I was there because I saved a ton of money that I saved for eating in Melbourne and Sydney. But also, try the ramen place!! Their Gyoza is phenomenal.

  • Ganbaranba Ramen
    • best ramen and gyoza you’ll find in Cairns.
  • Murphys Irish Pub
  • Gilligan’s

Do

  • Scuba Diving w/ Reef Quest
    • I went with Reef Quest because it was the best price and quality for a day tour and the staff is extremely nice! We ended up having to save a catamaran that had been lost at sea!
  • Stay overnight on a scuba diving cruise
  • Waterfall Tour – Waterfall Wanderers
    • One of the most fun I’ve had on tour. You will love the tour guide!! It was the first tour I did alone and it was the best group I’ve gotten to date! Highly recommend if you’re up to jumping into waterfalls and singing on the bus (as lame as that sounds).
  • Daintree Rainforest
  • Kuranda Railway
  • Green Island
  • Fitzroy Island

Sydney 1 week

bondi beach

Stay

  • Sydney Central YHA
  • Sydney Harbor (The Rocks) YHA
    • The rooftop bar is incredible, especially if you’re there during Vivid.

Eat

  • Gumshara Ramen
    • Best ramen I’ve had to date!! The spicy garlic tonkotsu is beyond words. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
  • Gogyo
  • Single O
  • Manpuku Chatswood
  • Tan Viet Noodle House
  • Buffalo Dining Club
  • A drink at the Shangri-la bar for the greatest view!

See

There is so much to see and do in Sydney!! I absolutely loved it so if you’re only planning to stay a few days you should plan ahead or reevaluate and stay a few more days.

  • Kangaroo and Wine Tour
    • yep, that’s right. You get to hang out with Kangaroos, koalas and wallabies for an hour before getting boozed up on wine. Sam, our tour guide, is such a sweetheart and incredibly funny! Two wineries, a chocolate tasting (not the most fun, but Sam agrees), cheese tasting, lunch, and a final stop at a brewery. I was practically the 3rd wheel for every couple there but idc this has possibly one of the best wine tours I’ve been on!
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park
    • If you want to see Kangaroos and feed them! It’s a pretty easy commute too on the metro
  • Figure 8 pools (if in season)
    • I did this one with Barefoot Down Under and it’s highly recommended!! They’re the only tour company that does it. We ended up seeing whales, octopus, a baby fox, deer, and some wallabies along the way!
  • Blue Mountains National Park
  • Bondi to Coogee Walk
  • Manly beach
    • Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) says its nicer than Bondi. The only reason I decided to skip it was because I only had a day left and had already made plans to go to Bondi with my hostel roomie.
  • Opera House
  • Harbour Bridge
  • Surrey Hills – cool bars, coffee shops, & vintage shops in the area

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or shoot me an email!

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