We’ve put together a 2 week Australia itinerary for you. Australia is such a vast country that a good plan to explore places like Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania and Adelaide is a must.
A 2 Week Australia Itinerary
Any good Australia itinerary should include Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, located in the New South Wales province. It’s a vibrant city full of amazing experiences and great places to eat. One must-see landmark is the Sydney Opera House and the nearby Harbour Bridge. Seeing this world-heritage site in person, especially at night, is breathtaking and shouldn’t be missed.
If seeing an opera isn’t your thing, you can always book a tour or enjoy a meal at one of the fabulous restaurants on-site. And, there are a number of harbor cruises you can take if you just want to enjoy a view of the Sydney Opera House from the outside.
Another thing to add to the Sydney leg of your 2 week Australia itinerary is to enjoy a stunning panoramic view from the top of Sydney Tower. Open 365 days a year, it offers a panoramic view of Sydney that is especially stunning right around sunset.
Spend a day at Darling Harbor, a pedestrian district filled with shops, restaurants, activities for all ages, the LG IMAX Theater Sydney, and the Australian National Maritime Museum. Be sure to check out the district’s various street performances, and if you can time it right, the free fireworks show on Fridays at 9 PM. It’s a great way to experience all that Sydney has to offer in one location.
Where to stay in Sydney.
Visiting Sydney wouldn’t be complete without spending a day at Bondi Beach or its smaller and less crowded counterpart, Coogi Beach. Soak up the sun, do some snorkeling, enjoy the scenic Bondi to Coogi coastal walk, and eat at some of the local establishments at this beach that’s about 7 miles south of Sydney. Note that admission to Coogi Beach is free, and parking is limited…so be sure to get there early to get the best spots.“Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence.” ― Douglas Adams Click To Tweet
Next on our 2 week Australia itinerary is Melbourne, one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever visited. Located in the province of Victoria, it is almost a 12-hour drive from Sydney. I found the best transportation option between these two cities is to travel by train on a sleeper coach. Australian trains are efficient, comfortable and reasonably priced. You get to see the countryside, you save one night hotel while you travel to your next destination and you arrive refreshed the next day. You arrive at Melbourne Central Railway Station which is right by Federation Square, where you are likely to spend a great deal of time. In Federation Square you will find the tourist information kiosks, transportation hub, great (I mean REALLY good) restaurants and museums.
First, you should know the trams are free. Yes, you read that right — FREE! You can also buy a 24-hour bus pass for $10. So grab a map, and explore, starting in the heart of downtown Melbourne, Federation Square.
Some of my favorite activities in Melbourne are wandering the many shops in the alleys or arcades and discovering the abundance of street art.
Spend some time on the waterfront. Take some beautiful walks along the riverfront where you can see art exhibits, eclectic shops, amazing views, and a lot of interesting bridges. If you get hungry, there are plenty of trendy restaurants.They have a society that is prosperous, well ordered, and instincrively egaliatarian. The food is good. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Life doesn't get much better tan this. Click To Tweet
Do some day trips on the Great Ocean Road. Stretching 151 miles (or 243 kilometers), it is widely considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. There is enough to do and see on this drive that could take you weeks, but there are plenty of day trips to give you enough memories to last a lifetime. You can book a bus trip to the Great Ocean Road at the Information Center at Federation Square, or at any other information center in town.
Where to stay in Melbourne.
Another fantastic day trip is to visit Phillip Island, which lies about 90 minutes south of the city. Hosting several bird sanctuaries, a wildlife park, and the largest fur seal colony in Australia, Phillip Island is a wonderful way to see a good portion of Australia’s unique wildlife. The big attraction, however, is seeing the Fairy Penguins. Being only about 13 inches tall, these adorable little guys are the smallest of the penguin family.
About an hour’s flight from Melbourne – you can also take the ferry – is the island of Tasmania, which is so much more than the home to the Tasmanian Devil. It features breathtaking scenery, fascinating history, world-class museums, and amazing restaurants. The capital city of Hobart will delight you with its combination of cosmopolitan vibe and small town hospitality.
About an hour from Hobart is Port Arthur, which from 1833 to 1853 served as a penal colony for the hardest criminals. In order to maintain its history, Port Arthur has preserved parts of the colony along with a museum where you can learn about the convicts’ lives and visit the prison.
For more in-depth tours in Hobart and Tasmania, check out these local tours.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
An easy day trip from Hobart, Bonorong is a sanctuary in every sense of the word. Operating without any government funding, it takes in wounded and other compromised animals and rehabilitates them. After they are nursed back to health, the animals get to live out the rest of their days in safety and comfort.
Bonorong is a home to the Tasmanian Devil, kangaroos, and the Echidna, a mammal that lays eggs. The staff is very helpful and provides extremely informative tours. You can even get pretty close to them, with the exception of the Tasmanian Devil. And, you may have a hard time seeing the Echidna because it is very elusive. It is definitely a must for your 2 week Australia itinerary.
MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) and the Maritime Museum
Now here is something sure to amaze you. Built into the side of a mountain near Hobart is a fabulous museum. MONA is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur and art aficionado, David Walsh. You need to take a 30 minute ferry ride to get there. The ferry leaves from the docks in downtown Hobart. MONA is billed as a museum of modern art but it is much more than that. The museum brochure states, “But we must be honest with you: our goal is no more, nor less than to ask what art is, and what makes us look at it with ceaseless curiosity. We don’t have the answer yet.” This place is unique, bizarre and delightful.
I’ve never seen anything like this. Definitely check this place out even if it means going out of your way. But don’t expect a typical museum visit.
For the lovers of maritime history, there is the the Maritime Museum in downtown Hobart, a neat place to learn how the island was populated and its role in maritime history.
Next up is Kangaroo Island, an intriguing location of animal sanctuaries and a remarkable collection of rock formations named, appropriately enough, Remarkable Rocks. The island makes a living with agriculture. More recently tourism has also become a significant income stream. KI, as the locals call it, lies about 130 miles southwest of Adelaide, Australia and makes for a good, albeit long, trip from that city.
We booked with Sealink which combined ferry and bus transportation with a gourmet lunch in one of the areas landscaped locations. Pick up is at 6 am from your hotel followed by a 90-minute bus ride and 45-minute ferry sailing to the island. Once there another bus takes you to the key attractions. The company also offers a return to Adelaide by airplane shortening the day trip substantially. It may be a long day but it’s worth it.
Melbourne and Sydney are a 3 and 3 and a half hour flight away making too far for day trips but certainly worthwhile for multi-day trips.
Last stop on this 2 week Australia itinerary is Adelaide which can be visited before or after Kangaroo Island or independently. With a population of about 1.3 million, Adelaide is all about parks, a sophisticated cuisine, museums and friendly people.
The capital of the province of South Australia, Adelaide was a planned city designed in a grid layout surrounded by parks, one of the features that make is so pleasant. It is the perfect walkable city. At every turn you find inspiring architecture and world-class museums like the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum. Many of the museums are located in one complex making it easy to visit them.Adelaide was the first city in Australia, if not in the world, to provide for the health and recreation of all its citizens. Robin Boyd Click To Tweet
You can find many cute little restaurants offering some of the best food in Australia. Lemongrass Thai bistro was a favorite. Find interesting restaurants in the Central Market District around Rundle Street where many of the best congregate. You will be hard pressed to make a choice.
Every year the city shows off its outstanding features by hosting several renowned festivals like the Festival of Arts and the Adelaide Film Festival.
Adelaide is definitely a city that cannot be missed in a 2 week Australia itinerary. And if you have the time, continue on to New Zealand for a unique experience, especially in the quirky city of Christchurch.
Don’t go empty handed to Australia. Do your homework before you go to ensure you maximize your time. Here are a couple of guide books to get your started; My favorites are DK Eyewitness Australia Travel Guide, Fodor’s Australia and Australia Lonely Planet.
Which is your favorite Australian city?