Live an adventurous life of work + travel

The ultimate itinerary for a trip around Australia

The ultimate itinerary for a trip around Australia

The ultimate itinerary. A route like no other.

Ok I may be getting a little dramatic but seriously, this itinerary for Australia is the bomb. It heads through every capital city (even Canberra!) and will take you by all the things Australia is famous for.

You’ll see national parks, gigantic red rocks, and specky coastline. You jump into crocodile territory and swim with clown fish. You’ll have plenty of time to admire the ocean while relaxing with a beer (but not Fosters, sheesh) and will explore some of the most remote areas of the outback.


The ultimate itinerary for a trip around Australia

itinerary features

  • Visits every capital city and all 8 states and territories.
  • 4 road trips including the Great Ocean road from Melbourne to Adelaide, Alice Springs to Ayers Rock, Broome to Darwin via the Kimberly, and Sydney to Canberra and the Blue Mountains.
  • 6 of the best national parks / natural wonders Australia has to offer.
  • 8 internal flights.

Where to start?

You can start anywhere on the loop! Most international flights will head into Sydney or Melbourne, but you may also find flights into Cairns, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Darwin.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, New South Wales

How long will it take?

Australia is actually the world’s 6th largest country by area. Wowee! So as you can imagine, a trip around Australia can not be completed quickly. The distances are great, so you’ll have a lot of travel time.

To do this ultimate itinerary quickly, you could probably squeeze it into 6 weeks at an absolute minimum.

If you’ve got more time (lucky you!) then I would definitely suggest taking at least 7-10 weeks, depending on the pace you’d like to travel and whether you’d prefer to drive or fly between destinations. Many people take years to do a trip around Australia properly.

Hobart 21 Insta

Hobart, Tasmania

HOW TO GET AROUND?

The whole itinerary can be done via road – but it would be a very, very long road trip. You could spend multiple days (yes, days) driving through desert without actually coming across any other form of civilisation, so flying is the best option between most places.

There are some parts that are best done by car, such as Broome to Darwin, Alice Springs to Ayers Rock, and Sydney to the Blue Mountains, and the Great Ocean Road. Hiring a car is easy from most airports and cities.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Australia is not a particularly cheap country to travel around. If you’re planning on doing it on the cheap, see my post on the costs of backpacking Australia. You can easily triple those costs if you’re planning on a little more luxury.

Blue Mountains 12

Blue Mountains, New South Wales

itinerary / where TO go

  • Queensland: Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Port Douglas, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast
  • New South Wales: Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Sydney, Port Stephens, Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley
  • ACT: Canberra
  • Victoria: Melbourne, Geelong, Great Ocean Road
  • Tasmania: Hobart, Port Arthur, Freycinet NP, Cradle Mountain
  • South Australia: Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Barossa Valley
  • Western Australia: Broome, The Kimberly, Perth, Nambung NP, Rottnest Island
  • Northern Territory: Darwin, Kakadu NP, Katherine, Litchfield NP, Alice Springs, Ayers Rick (Uluru), Kings Canyon

month-long seasonal ITINERARIES

If you’ve only got a month and you’re struggling to put together an itinerary for Australia, here are some seasonal suggestions.

One important thing to note for you folks that reside in the northern hemisphere; the seasons in Australia are opposite to what you’re used to. Winter in North America/Europe will be Summer in Australia!

Itinerary for Australia Summer

Summer Itinerary

Unless you want to swelter in humidity and travel through the wet seasons in the north, then stick to the south during Summer. The southern states of Tasmania and Victoria will be at their absolute best at this time of year.

Flights are required between all locations except Melbourne to Adelaide.

  • 6 nights Sydney
  • 6 nights Hobart / Tasmania
  • 5 nights Great Ocean Road
  • 5 nights Adelaide
  • 6 nights Perth

Itinerary for Australia Autumn

Autumn/Fall Itinerary

Australia’s red centre is perfect in the shoulder seasons with warm days that won’t leave you scorched. It’s also the perfect time to visit the southern states of Tasmania and Victoria while the weather is still ok, as Winter and Spring are often rainy.

Flights are required between all locations except Melbourne to Adelaide, and Alice Springs to Ayers Rock.

  • 6 nights Sydney
  • 6 nights Hobart / Tasmania
  • 5 nights Great Ocean Road
  • 5 nights Adelaide
  • 6 nights Alice Springs / Ayers Rock

Itinerary for Australia Winter

Winter Itinerary

Head North during winter to take full advantage of the year round pleasant weather. May-October is typically the dry season in Queensland, Northern Territory, and the north of Western Australia. You’ll be treated to many dry, sunny days.

Lonely Planet hails the drive between Broome and Darwin as ‘Australia’s Wildest Road Trip’. It will take you through huge expanses of untouched wilderness and mind-blowing landscapes.

Flights are required between all locations except Broome to Darwin.

  • 4 nights Sydney
  • 3 nights Broome
  • 7 nights Broome to Darwin
  • 4 nights Darwin
  • 6 nights Cairns / Great Barrier Reef
  • 4 nights Brisbane

Itinerary for Australia Spring

Spring Itinerary

Spring is the perfect time to visit Western Australia, as the wildflower season is in full swing! It’s also a great time to head to the Great Barrier reef, when it’s not overrun with tourists and the weather is balmy.

Flights are required between all locations except Alice Springs to Ayers Rock.

  • 6 nights Perth
  • 6 nights Alice Springs / Ayers Rock
  • 6 nights Darwin / Kakadu NP
  • 6 nights Cairns / Great Barrier Reef
  • 4 nights Brisbane

Guided tour options

If you want to see Australia but just don’t have the time to do these longer itineraries, here are a few multi-day tours that will allow you to see the best of Australia in a short amount of time:


You might also like:

Ashlea Wheeler

This post was written by Ashlea, a colourfully clothed and excitable vegetarian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

29 Responses to “The ultimate itinerary for a trip around Australia”

  1. Christie

    All of these trips sound so amazing! I am applying for a Working Holiday Visa to live in Australia for a year, so I’ll definitely need to see as many places you mentioned as possible. I’m planning to live in Melbourne, and Great Ocean Road is at the top of my list of things I want to see!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Melbourne is a great base for travel around Australia, and one year will be plenty of time to hit up a few of the popular spots 😀 Great Ocean Road should definitely be top of your list, you will love it!

      Reply
  2. Ruthie

    Great post! I drove around Australia for 11 months. It was fantastic and we still didn’t reach the Red Centre or Tassie! A good excuse to go again I reckon. I love how you have split the trip into seasons too! I met plenty of visitors that didn’t plan their driving trip very well and some ran into serious trouble. So thanks for sharing, hopefully more potential visitors will be better prepare by reading your posts!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      11 months is a long time, you’re the perfect example that Australia is just too big to do in one go. I’ve lived here 27 years and still never visited Northern Territory or South Australia! It can definitely be a troublesome place for those who don’t plan properly – I also know of people who’ve managed to get stuck in the middle of nowhere when their car broke down, and it’s apparently common to run out of fuel on the long stretches of road that require a full tank just to get to the next fuel stop. Thanks for your comment Ruthie!

      Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Jessica, I’m really glad you found it useful. I hope you get the chance to test out one of the itineraries sometime soon 😀

      Reply
  3. Alexandria

    What a great itinerary! It sounds like an amazing trip, I’d love to find myself there for the Wildflower season one day!

    Reply
  4. Jing

    THIS LOOKS SO GOOD! I wish this post had come earlier 😛 I’m heading to Australia in 3 days time and I’m only going Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sydney, Blue Mountains. Hopefully the weather’s good 🙂

    http://www.youtopiantravels.com x

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Sounds like you’ll still get a fabulous taster of the east coast, Jing! We’ve had a bit of wild weather lately but I think it’s settling down now. I’ve been posting some Blue Mountains pics on Instagram if you want to get inspired. I hope you have a fabulous time in Australia 😀

      Reply
  5. Julia

    This is without a doubt the dream vacation/journey I am saving for right now. Australia just seems so so incredible, and I will be referencing back to this post when I finally do get around to visiting!

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

    Reply
  6. Alex Conomos

    This is marvelous. I’m Aussie but have seen far more of Europe than I have of my own backyard. This is definitely the type of trip I want to tackle in the not-too-distant-future.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I know exactly what you mean – every time I look into travelling within Australia I’m turned off by how expensive it is… and how much longer I could travel in South East Asia for the same price! But still, Australia is wonderful and everyone should travel here 😛

      Reply
  7. Emmalene

    One day! What I really need is to find myself a really well-paid job, save lots of money, and then take three months sabbatical. Oh, and hubby needs to do the same 🙂

    Fab ideas Ashlea 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Now that is a great idea! I usually do my long-term travels in between jobs so that I have time to save up, then am not worried about how long I’m taking off work 🙂 Thanks Emmalene!

      Reply
  8. Marina Kartell

    Thank you for this article. Just stumbled upon it. I’m going to Australia for 2 weeks only over Christmas and New Year and I’ll try to squeeze in your Summer itinerary suggestion by cutting down on the days in each location. I have friends in Sydney, but want to see Melbourne, Perth and Tasmania very bad. Also to determine if I want to move there permanently.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks, Marina! It’s so great that you have a trip to Australia planned 😀 2 weeks isn’t long, but if you plan to move there then you’ll have plenty of time to see more of the country later. I’d say it might be hard to fit in Perth on this trip, but it should be easy enough to do Sydney, Melbourne, and Tasmania. Be sure to let me know what you thought of it all after your trip!

      Reply
      • Marina Kartell

        I sure will, Ashlea! But I think I can not skip Perth at all because that’s where you have quokkas! I’m in love with those animals. And Tasmanian Devils. That’s why I want to go to those places. I don’t want to go to the mainstream zoo and see animals behind the glass or in cages, but I want to visit a special wildlife sanctuary or even better if I can find a place where someone will let me hold them, I’ll be in heaven! Any suggestions?

        Reply
        • Ashlea Wheeler

          That’s fair enough, Perth and the areas around it (like Freemantle and Rottnest Island) are pretty lovely places 🙂 The quokkas are running about all over Rottnest Island so you’ll be able to see them everywhere. I’m not aware of any places in Tasmania that will let you hold Tasmanian Devils, but I have the perfect place for you to see them – go to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary just outside of Hobart. This place rescues injured wildlife and has a breeding program for endangered animals. You can also hand-feed kangaroos! And it’s definitely not a zoo 🙂

          Reply
          • Marina Kartell

            OMG, thank you so much!!!! I’m definitely going to the Rottnest Island and that sanctuary. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while – toying with the idea of abandoning career in yacht sales and dedicating my life to the animals. It’ll be great to see what it’s all about to help me make a decision. 😆😊😃

  9. Jan Stone

    The round Australia trip would ideally take three to four months…any less would be really rushed. If you have only two weeks I would suggest fly to Sydney and spend a few days there then fly to Melbourne and visit Wilson’s Promontory National Park and then go to Phillip Island to see the penguin parade. Return to Melbourne and try out some of the cafes in the city or in Lygon St Carlton. The drive out along the great ocean road stopping at Mait’s rest to do a rainforest walk, Kennet River to feed colourful cockatoos and see koalas in the trees and of course see the twelve apostles etc. Stay overnight at Warnambool then head north towards Grampians national park, stopping first at Tower Hill….an island park in the middle of an ancient volcano. At the Grampians stay for a night or two in Hall’s Gap and visit a number of waterfalls and lookouts. On your way back to Melbourne you could visit Daylesford which is an area famous for wineries and gourmet foods. After Melbourne fly to Perth and head south to the Margaret river region where you can visit Jewel cave, Yallingup beach, Canal Rocks, buy a pie at the Dunsborough bakery and eat it at Meelup beach before driving down to see Sugarloaf rock. Visit the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere at Busselton before returning to Perth, where you can explore Fremantle and the beaches for a few days before flying home. That will give you a taste of Australia in two weeks.
    Sydney…three days then fly to Melbourne
    Melbourne and Wison’s Promontory and the penguins at Phillip island …two days
    Great ocean road and Grampians …three days
    Melbourne city one day
    Fly to Perth….allow one day…..you need to get to the airport an hour before your flight, it takes three and a half to four hours to fly To Perth and because of time zone differences you lose another two or three hours, so you will only have time to eat and go to your accommodation once you get to Perth.
    Southwest trip three days then a day or two in Perth

    Reply
    • Marina Kartell

      Wow, that already seems like a lot! Lol Thank you, Jan, for your thorough suggestion. I’d love to see penguins as well! Do you know by any chance if there’s some kind of guided tours like that, with a group of people? I’m staying with my friends in Sydney but I’ll be pretty much on my own for the whole 2 weeks, so I wanted to find a group of other travelers to join to. I was going to search online for that in the next couple days….

      Reply
  10. Comfort

    This itinerary is PERFECT.

    Heading down under in 2 years and have been saving saving but the planning had been a bit slow. This has been a gear help, especially that you split them into seasons, thanks for that.

    I will be in Australia for a year on a s raking holiday visa, but dint know if I will even see all of this as I am also planning to visit nearby countries such as New Zealand, Fiji etc. Lets see how I go!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It’s so great that you’re planning a trip down under! And I’m very glad that you found my itineraries useful. There is a lot to see in Australia, so it would be totally understandable if you didn’t get to see it all. I lived there for 22 years and didn’t even get to see the states of Northern Territory or South Australia!

      Reply
  11. Not My Fault

    I enjoy reading your post, seems very different from other which you included the very important factors of touring which is the weather. We all know before we decide to go anywhere when touring, we check what kind of weather we expect. I like summer, less luggage. Great ocean road is one of my favorite to visit, been there once and wants to come back again and again with my camera of course.

    -https://www.notmyfault.com.au/

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS