Australia immediately conjures images of the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, big-wave surfing, miles of Outback and a rather strange, and endearing, assortment of animals. While the country’s main cities offer charm, glamour, unique festivals, a well-preserved historical heritage, fabulous beaches and fun events, it’s also a land of immense contrast and captivating nature. The nation offers something for just about everyone – from water lovers, desert wanderers and canyon climbers, to arts and culture buffs, historians, and foodies. The country’s vast size makes it almost impossible to take it all in during a single visit, but you can pick and choose a perfect holiday according to your personal preferences.
Days 1 - 4
Once known as the ‘City of Churches’, today Adelaide is better recognised for its sophistication, charm and cosmopolitan feel. South Australia’s capital is a hub of festivals and art galleries; it enjoys a vibrant nightlife and live-music scene; plus there is plenty of shopping, including gorgeous opals, to be done; and gastronomic delights to be enjoyed. Pop into the Art Gallery of South Australia to view indigenous art, or the South Australian Museum devoted to natural history; take an amble in the Adelaide Botanic Garden; or if you’re up for a hike, find out about the trails on the Mount Lofty Ranges.
Days 5 - 7
This hardy and remote desert town, initially named Stuart, started out as a telegraph station in the 1870s. Renamed Alice Springs in 1993, it’s the capital of the Australian Outback and the best place to start your exploration of the breathtaking Red Centre – the country’s interior desert region – as well as to experience the vibrant art and culture of the Aboriginal people. Venture out to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and explore Kings Canyon, the West MacDonnell Ranges, Simpson Desert, and the Devil’s Marbles Conservation Reserve – home to an iconic pair of round granite boulders. While you’re in town, make sure to visit the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve to get a feel of the town’s unique pioneering history.
Days 7 - 9
Located in the south of Australia’s Northern Territory, the remote town of Yulara lies only 18 short kilometres from the sacred world heritage site, Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. This isolated town serves as a service hub for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and offers some welcome comfort in the harsh Outback landscape. Visitors use it as a base when exploring the park and viewing the main attraction in the area, Uluru. This epic sandstone formation stands almost 350 metres high and measures 10 kilometres in circumference featuring hidden caves, ancient rock art and otherworldly fiery hues at sunset. Other popular attractions and activities include: the Field of Light Uluru, the Desert Awakenings Tour and the Wintjiri Arts & Museum.
Days 9 - 12
Once a sleepy sugar-milling town, Cairns in North Queensland is now a vibrant cosmopolitan city and a premier destination for sailing, diving and snorkelling. Its tropical waters are home to the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, and lush rainforests cover the surrounding areas. Make the most of this coastal paradise by cycling along the 14 kilometres of sandy beachfront, or rafting through rapids to view the ruins of Mission Beach. Other popular activities include visiting Cooktown for a taste of history or taking a scenic drive through the farmlands, stopping at village markets along the way. In the town centre, visit the Tiapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park for a musical and dance interpretation of Aboriginal history, or relax at Cairns Esplanade for a perfect seaside dining experience coupled with a romantic sunset.
Days 12 - 15
Set along Australia's southeastern coast, Sydney is one of Australia's largest cities and serves as the capital of New South Wales. No matter what you fancy – shopping, the arts, the outdoors – you’re likely to be bewildered by the scope of choice available here. First up, there are the must-sees – iconic Sydney Opera House; Harbour Bridge, where visitors can climb while hearing about Sydney history; and the Sydney Tower which provides spectacular 360-degree views of the city. Explore the photogenic waterside hubs of Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, and the Rocks district; or delve into the larger-than-life music and food scenes of the metropolis after dark. For more laid-back diversions, head down to the beach or hop on a ferry for an extensive tour of Sydney Harbour and the gorgeous Parramatta River.
Days 15 - 19
Australia's ‘heart of culture’, Melbourne, is the capital of Victoria and lies on the banks of the Yarra River. Famous for its gorgeous gardens, exciting culinary scene, and wealth of arts and culture attractions, the city is alluring to travellers with a variety of interests. Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens offer a spectacular display of indigenous plants and flowers, an Aboriginal Heritage Walk, and live concerts; the impressive Melbourne Star provides a 30-minute, 120-meter-high experience over the city; and the uber-modern Federation Square includes the magnificent NVG International Gallery, housing ancient works as well as contemporary masterpieces. Other highlights include the abundance of Queen Victoria Market, the hidden lanes and alleyways around Bourke, Collins, and Flinders streets for food and nightlife, and the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground, arguably one of the best in the world.