You might tell yourself that it’s impossible to explore Australia in 1 week, well, you are correct. Australia is very vast and you’ll probably get in a small corner of it—limited to one city or few of its natural wonders. However, with careful planning, you’ll get to maximize well your time and you’ll get to see some of the major sights. If you want your trip to be memorable, you can consider following this itinerary and make the most of your stay in Australia for a week.
First things first, don’t stress out yourself too much trying to cram everything in. Australians are very laid-back in general so in some places, the pace is relaxed, just enjoy things the way it naturally is. In reality, one week allow only just enough time to see the best of Sydney, which for most people is the entry point to Australia. You can enjoy the view of the 2 of the famous spots in Sydney including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from an aerial view as your plane comes in.
Day 1 – Arrival in Sydney
If your arrival needs a recovering from a severe jet lag and you arrived late afternoon or evening, then we suggest that you check into your hotel and spend whatever you can to rest. However, if you have arrived in the morning and you have a full day ahead of you, you can try your best to stay up. Grab some coffee to keep you going so you can make the most of your first day. Head to Circular Quay and from there you can enjoy the famous view of Sydney Harbour Bridge before you walk your way to the Sydney Opera House and drench yourself with some historical lessons at The Rocks. If you still have extra time, you can ride a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach and relax with fish and chips. After that, you can go back to your hotel for a much-needed sleep to prepare you for the next day.
Day 2 – Travel Around Sydney
If you love heights, you can head to the top of the Sydney Tower to come up against Sydney’s highest open-air attraction, Skywalk, a breathtaking 260 m (853 ft.) above Sydney. Its safety is utilized onto a moving, glass-floored viewing platform that extends out over the edge of the tower so you have a great view all of Sydney’s landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour, and even the Blue Mountains beyond. If you hate heights, it’s not actually that terrifying, just think about the Instagram-worthy sceneries you’ll be able to get from above. After that, if you have your kids with you, don’t let them get bored on the trip. Australia is very rich with wildlife that you and your children will discover and enjoy. You can choose from Taronga Zoo or the Sydney Aquarium. And if you can squeeze some extra time, another interesting alternative is Featherdale Wildlife Park. Take note that you only have an hour and a half from the city center.
Of course, museums are a must if you’re visiting a new country. You can visit two or three museums in a row such as the Australian Museum, the Australian National Maritime Museum, and the interactive Powerhouse Museum. After that, get some understanding about Sydney’s beginnings as a convict settlement by heading to Hyde Park Barracks Museum–a convict built-prison. You can finish off your day with a relaxing simple activity with a twilight BridgeClimb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Day 3 – Explore the Blue Mountains
From the Central Station, take a train going to Katoomba so you can get to the Blue Mountains which is only 2 hours from Sydney. Focus this day on the Blue Mountains since it’s going to be a long day. Once you’re there, jump on the Blue Mountains Explorer bus which allows you to jump on and off wherever you want. So don’t you worry how you can get there since many day-tour operators are available running to the Blue Mountains from Sydney. It depends whichever mode of transportation you want to use to get there, the important thing is that you don’t miss the spectacular Three Sister rock formations which you can greatly enjoy viewing from Echo Point Road at Katoomba. Also, near the mountain is the Scenic World, which you don’t want to miss out. This is a great bonding if you have your kids with you. You can ride the world’s steepest railway into hills full of ancient rainforest, and you know what’s the best part? You come back up on a cable car. Super adventurous! Your kids will also enjoy the ride. And for the last part of the day, you better head back to Sydney and treat yourself with dinner somewhere with a view along the coast.
Day 4 – Fly to Cairns to Get to Great Barrier Reef
You better wake up as early as you can for you to take the earliest flight you can from Sydney to Cairns. Don’t worry about taking a flight since it would only be for 3 hours. When you get there, check into a hotel in the city and try to avoid staying on the out-of-town northern beaches. Being in the city is a tighter schedule and it will be easier and faster for you to get to the major attractions. You can explore the city for a short time but remember that you are there to explore the Cairns Wildlife Dome—including a massive saltwater crocodile. What’s exciting about this is that it has a very unique setting which is located atop the Hotel Sofitel Reef Casino. After that, you can have the rest of the day to visit Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. This will be an incredible experience to learn the culture and life about Aboriginal, notwithstanding its theme-park kind of way. Or you can roam around places near Cairns and save the evening for the Tjapukai, its tours by night offer a different look at traditional ceremonies, including dinner and a fire-and-water outdoor show.
Day 5 – Beach Retreat to the Reef
Of course, a relaxing and an adventure retreat on the beach should not be missed out when you’re in Australia. Have a day trip to the reef to the Great Barrier Reef from the Reef Fleet Terminal. It will only take you about 2 hours and you will be with an estimated 300 people on a pontoon. If you’re an aquaholic, riding the pontoon will be a fantastic experience that you’ll be able to see and feel the marvelous views of the blue ocean. If you plan to go diving, you must spend another 24 hours in Cairns before flying. However, if you are already contented with snorkeling, then hop on the glass-bottom boats and get ready for a tan, plus you’ll be able to fly the following day. After you come back from Cairns, you can look for busy cafes and restaurants that line the strip along the Esplanade.
Day 6 – Big Day Out in Kuranda
Since you can’t fly for 24 hours after a dive, the waiting period is perfect for you to recognize some of Australia’s rainforests. You can head to the mountain village of Kuranda using the steam train along the Kuranda Scenic Railway, past falls, and canyons. Also, you can find markets and nature parks in Kuranda, just ride a Kuranda Riverboat Tour to take you there which runs about 45 minutes. After that, you can return to the Skyrail cableway, which will bring you up the rainforest. Again, take your cameras out because the views will get shocking.
Day 7 – Fly back to Sydney
Make sure that you had some rest before you head to the airport for your flight to Sydney. You’re lucky if you’ll be taking an international flight straight out of Cairns, and you can spend most of your last day in Australia before returning to Sydney. Having that free time left in Sydney, go and provide yourself a feast for dinner at a restaurant across the harbor. Surely, the sight is worth the memory to carry along home with you.
Use this itinerary to make the most of your week in Australia with fun discoveries and adventures. Don’t try to fit everything in your list, just simply enjoy and have a happy pace that will provide you with enough time to see the best of Australia.
Author bio: Ivandrea Ollero is a daytime writer for Kims, one of Australia’s impeccable beach retreat places. Ivandrea gives out tips and hacks for finding the perfect location for a delighted vacation.