Last Updated on June 27, 2022 by Nellie Huang

Can you see anything with two weeks in Australia? Hell yeh! Here is the ultimate two-week Australia itinerary.

Let me start with the obvious: Australia is HUGE. It’s a country and a continent, almost as big as USA (not including Alaska).

Australia’s coastline stretches almost 50,000 kilometers and the country has a myriad of landscapes, ranging from tropical rainforests in the north to deserts in the center and mountains in the south.

Of the 130+ countries that I’ve been, Australia has to be one of the most diverse. I’ve traveled all over Australia (on five trips in total), exploring the Top End, South Australia, Sunshine Coast, and Tasmania. For those who have limited time, I’ve compiled the perfect two-week Australia itinerary and guide. 

two weeks in australia - two week australia itinerary

Two Weeks in Australia

Visas for Australia

Australia has a strict visa rule in that every non-citizen must have a visa to enter the country, except for citizens of New Zealand.

Citizens of EU member countries need to obtain an eVisitor visa online before arriving in Australia. You can apply for an Australia visa online for US$19.30 (£14,95) and takes 5 working days to process. 

Citizens of Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, US, and Canada can get an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) online as well. The official website to apply for the ETA is here. It costs AU$20.

two weeks australia itinerary - glen helen gorge

Current Australia Travel Restrictions

From 21 February 2022, Australia will open its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers. You must show proof of vaccination and complete the Australian Travel Declaration  to enter the country. A negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours, or a rapid antigen test 24 hours before  departure must be presented to the airline.  Check the Australia tourism website for up-to-date info. 

It’s important to have travel insurance for travel during the pandemic. Safety Wing is the most popular travel insurance company for COVID19-coverage. I use their Nomad Insurance plan, which covers COVID-19 as any other illness as long as it was not contracted before your coverage start date. Refer to my travel insurance guide for more details.

How to Get to Australia

The most popular international airport to fly in and out of is the Sydney International Airport.

There are direct flights from Los Angeles LAX to Sydney for under $1000 return and from London Heathrow to Sydney for around 600GBP.

I also recommend making a stopover in Dubai or Singapore to break down your journey to Australia. Many airlines don’t charge an extra fee for the layover.

There are lots of budget airlines that fly from Asia to Australia for just US$200+ return.

Check for flights to Sydney here

two weeks in australia - sydney opera house


How to Travel Around Australia

By Air

Since you’ve only got two weeks in Australia, the best way to travel around the country and see as much as possible is by domestic flight. Thankfully airfares to travel within Australia are affordable.

E.g. a flight from Sydney to Melbourne is US$100 return (you can get them as cheap as $50).

Here are the best budget airlines that can get you across Australia:

Search for domestic flights here

two weeks australia itinerary - bondi beach sydney

By Car

Australia is most famous for its spectacular national parks and remote islands, and driving is the best way to see them. Renting a car in Australia will set you back at around US$70/day or $160 for a week.

Petrol is particularly expensive in the remote regions such as the Red Centre, at almost $2.80 per liter. 

It is very easy to do road trips in Australia. There are road signs everywhere and they’re in English. The main thing you need to be careful about when driving in Australia is wildlife. Kangaroos often dash out to the roads especially at night, so be extra alert. Your best bet is to avoid driving at night.

Book Your Car Rental!

two weeks in australia itinerary - renting a campervan

By Bus

Backpackers with lots of time on their hands might prefer to take the bus around Australia. It’s the cheapest option and buses in Australia are comfortable and punctual. Greyhound Australia is the only national coach service within this beautiful country.

You can choose from hop-on and hop-off passes which give you lots of flexibility. Choose your start and end points from the routes, and then enjoy three months to hop-on and off where you please. You have 90 days to complete your travel (or extend to 180 days for a nominal fee) and your first day of travel must commence within 12 months of purchase. You can get the bus passes here.

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Travel Australia Independently or on Guided Tours?

Australia is safe and easy to travel around on your own. My first trip there was when I was 17 and I backpacked around Australia with a group of friends without any difficulty or challenges. 

If you prefer to travel with a group, check out this 15-Day Outback to the Top End tour with small-group operator G Adventures. I’ve traveled with them many times (to Mongolia, Antarctica, Brazil, Svalbard and Nepal) and can highly recommend them. Every single trip was epic and I’ve made some lifelong friendships on my trips with them.

Another alternative is to travel independently but go on day tours when necessary. You can find a wide range of day trips with prices and reviews at GetYourGuideThey have free cancellations and mobile vouchers which make it really convenient. I booked our three-day camping trip in Uluru through them and highly recommend it.

Most day trips in Australia cost around US$100 and upwards. If you book them when you arrive, they’re more expensive at local travel agencies or hotels.

two weeks in australia - camping in uluru


When to Travel Australia

Australia is a huge country, so this really depends on which part of the country you’re planning to travel.

Keep in mind that Australia is in the southern hemisphere so the seasons are reversed to the northern hemisphere. Summer in Australia runs from December to February and winter goes from June to September.

For our ultimate itinerary below, December to February is the best time to take the trip. The weather will be warm and sunny and temperatures won’t go below 20°C (68°F).

However, it can get very hot in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, with average daytime temperatures around 32 to 36°C (90 to 97°F). This is also peak travel season in Australia so prices are higher.

Winter can be quite cold in Melbourne and Sydney, with temperatures dipping to 7 to 9°C (45 to 48°F). You’ll definitely need to pack warm clothing and a winter coat.

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two weeks australia itinerary - darwin


Cost of Travel in Australia

Prices in Australia are quite high, comparable to prices in the US and Western Europe. Expect to pay US$15-25 for a restaurant meal and at least $70 for a standard three-star hotel room.

Renting a car can set you back at around US$70/day or $160 for a week. Petrol is particularly expensive in the remote regions such as the Red Centre, at almost $2.80 per liter. Keep that extra cost in mind as well.

However, there are ways to travel on a budget in Australia. It is quite backpacker-friendly with a strong network of YHA hostels and inter-city bus services.

A bed in a YHA hostel is usually around $25-40 per night, and Greyhound buses are around $50-100 each way (book your flights early and you’ll pay almost the same).

two weeks in australia - cost of travel


The Ultimate Two-Week Itinerary in Australia

Please keep in mind that this itinerary is designed to help those of you who want to get an overview of Australia in a short time.

The itinerary packs in a lot, so be prepared to be on the go a lot and to spend quite a bit on domestic flights and day trips.

I have included all my favorite states in the itinerary and what I think are the essential areas to explore in Australia. If you’d like to slow down a bit, I would suggest removing one state and extending your stay in the other three states.

Here’s an overview of where the itinerary covers:

  • Sydney – 3 days (day-trip to the Blue Mountains)
  • Melbourne  – 4 days (day-trips to Phillip Island & Great Ocean Road)
  • Cairns – 3 days (day-trips to Great Barrier Reef & Daintree)
  • Alice Springs – 4 days (camping trip to Uluru and Kata Tjuta)

two weeks in australia - kangaroo

Days 1-2: Explore the Vibrant City of Sydney

Sydney makes a great introduction to Australia, so make sure to spend at least two days exploring Australia’s biggest city. The multi-cultural city has a vibrant and lively flair, and the best places to get a sense of that are Darling Harbour, the Rocks district and Circular Quay.

Head to Sydney Tower for a bird’s eye view of the city; you can even walk 250m (820 feet) above the ground on the Observation Deck. Book your tickets in advance for fast-track entry.

A must-see in Sydney is its most iconic landmark: the Sydney Opera House and the nearby Harbour Bridge. I recommend doing the Sydney Bridge Climb, where you get to climb up the Harbour Bridge with a harness and get fantastic 360-degree panoramas of the city from above. I did that when I was 18 years old and absolutely loved the thrill of it.

Sign up for a bike tour to see some highlights of Sydney or a food tour in Sydney’s historical quarters. Spend an afternoon surfing on Bondi Beach or just people watch at King’s Cross.

In the evening, go on a Sydney harbor sunset dinner cruise for an unforgettable experience.

Book your Sydney experience here:

 

 

two weeks in australia - sydney from above

Where to Stay in Sydney

Budget: Noah’s @ Bondi Beach

This backpackers’ hostel is just a two-minute walk from the surfing hotspot, Bondi beach. It’s got lively vibes, a social atmosphere, and affordable prices. There’s a rooftop BBQ area with unobstructed beach views. Book your stay here!

Another good budget option is Ibis Budget – St Peters, where we stayed at. It is cheaper than Noah’s and offers more privacy than a hostel does. Check the latest prices.

Midrange: Glenferrie Lodge

Housed in a charming historical building, this lodge has an excellent location right next to Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s located in Kirribilli Wharf, where ferry services to Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House depart regularly. Kirribilli has a nice village atmosphere and lovely Victorian buildings. Book your stay here.

Luxury: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Boasting the best views of Sydney Harbour, Four Seasons is definitely a top choice for luxury travelers. It has a rooftop pool overlooking Sydney’s CBD and harbor-facing rooms all have spectacular water views. Check the latest rates here.

two weeks australia itinerary - sydney harbor bridge


Day 3: Day Trip to the Blue Mountains

It’s time to head out to see Australia’s beautiful natural landscapes. An hour west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains is a stunning region with rugged cliffs, waterfalls, and eucalyptus trees.

Katoomba is the biggest town, located on the fringe of the Blue Mountains National Park and its bushwalking trails. For the best views of the famous Three Sisters rock formation, head to Echo Point.

I recommend renting a car for the day or booking a day trip. Each has its own advantage: renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace and allows you to seek out secret corners; booking a day tour is easier and you’ll an expert to show you the hiking trails and the best viewpoints. Don’t forget to take your hiking compass to not to lose your way. 

two weeks australia itinerary - blue mountains


Day 4: Wander Around the Colonial City of Melbourne

Fly to Melbourne, my absolute favorite city in Australia. This multi-faceted city has gorgeous colonial Victorian architecture and a fun city beach.

The 1.5-hour flight from Sydney to Melbourne costs around $30-50 one way. Search for flights here.

Kick off your first day in Melbourne by hopping on the City Circle Tram that’s free for everyone. The historical tram travels through Melbourne’s central business district, specifically Flinders, La Trobe, and Victoria Streets. 

Next, stroll through the historic Queen Victoria Market for some fresh Australian produce and arts and craft. Every Wednesday night between November and April, it also plays host to the Night Market.

Then head out to St Kilda, a coastal village just a tram ride away from the city. Luna Park Melbourne is free entry and it’s an excellent spot for families.

two weeks in australia itinerary - melbourne

Where to Stay in Melbourne:

Budget: Melbourne Metro YHA

I stayed at this Melbourne YHA on my first trip to Australia when I was 17 and had a blast! It’s a fun and budget-friendly place perfect for those who want to mingle. Located on the city fringe, it has a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of Melbourne.  Book your stay here!

Midrange: Hotel Causeway

Housed in an Art Deco building, this boutique hotel is just steps from bustling Bourke Street Mall and the restaurants of Swanston Street. Despite its prime location and good quality accommodation, prices are reasonable. Check the latest rates here.

Luxury: Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Easily the best hotel in Melbourne, Grand Hyatt is perfectly positioned on Collins Street in the heart of Melbourne. Rooms here have views of either Melbourne’s skyline or the Yarra River. It’s well worth checking out the signature restaurant Collins Kitchen, and its stylish, modern bar Ru-Co. Check the latest rates here.

two week australia itinerary - melbourne


Day 5: Day Trip to Phillip Island

Next day, rise early for a day trip to Phillip Island, home to the world’s largest fur seal colony. Located only 90 minutes from Melbourne, this wildlife island features impressive landscapes and an overload of Australian wildlife.

Visit the Penguin Parade at sunset, see koalas at the Koala Conservation Centre, or go on an EcoBoat Tour. Don’t miss the Nobbies outcrop, where you’ll find the Australian fur seals.

I recommend booking this day trip as it includes hotel pickup and entrance to all the above-mentioned centers on Phillip Island. The tour leaves at 13:15 and gets you back to your hotel at 21:00 (from April to September) or 22:30 (from October to March).

two weeks in australia - koala bear

two week australia itinerary - kangaroo


Day 6: Day Trip to the Great Ocean Road

For your last day in Victoria, head to the spectacular Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most visited destinations. This meandering road snakes its way along the dramatic coastline, revealing unique rock stacks and the lush rainforest of the Otway Ranges (home to quite a few wild koalas).

With so much to see, the Great Ocean Road definitely merits more than one day to explore, but those tight on time will have to make do with a day trip.

From Melbourne, drive west to the start of the Great Ocean Road, passing the coastal towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay. You will also see the iconic Split Point Lighthouse.

Spend some time exploring the Shipwreck Coast and admiring the Loch Ard Gorge. The highlight of the Great Ocean Road is the 12 Apostles (twelve rock stacks rising from the waters). Descend the Gibson’s Steps to the beach, where you will get new perspectives of the enormous offshore stacks and cliffs.

two weeks australia itinerary - great ocean road

two weeks australia itinerary - great ocean road


Days 7-8: Soak Up the Sun in Cairns

Your next stop is Queensland, the sunshine state full of pristine beaches, castaway islands and miles upon miles of reef. Fly from Melbourne to Cairns for around $100 one way. It’s a 3.5-hour flight. Check for flights here.

Cairns is the liveliest city in Queensland and the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. I recommend spending your first day on the beach and soaking up some sunshine.

Located on the Esplanade is the Lagoon, a lively area to swim and chill. On Sundays, the Lagoon also hosts live music on a temporary stage. Don’t miss the Saturday Esplanade market for local artwork and jewelry.

If you’ve got some extra time, head to the many swimming holes outside of Cairns. Fairy Falls and Crystal Cascades are only a 10-minute drive from Cairns. A bit further away is Ross and Locke where you can go tubing along the rapids – just watch out for crocodiles!

two weeks in australia - cairns

Where to Stay in Cairns:

Budget: YAL Cairns

This well-priced budget hotel offers great value for money, with a nice swimming pool and a comfortable outdoor lounge area. All rooms come with air conditioning, microwave, fridge, and shower. This hostel is great for couples and backpackers who are traveling on a budget. Book your stay here!

Midrange: Palm Royale Cairns

Set amidst 2.5 acres of tropical gardens, Palm Royale is a surprisingly affordable resort with two gorgeous pools. The hotel is just a 10-minute drive from the city center. I would definitely stay here again on my next trip to Cairns. Check the latest rates here.

Luxury: Treetops Retreat Cairns

Perched on the treetops of the Crystal Cascades rainforest, this elegant yet rustic retreat is walking distance to swimming holes, hiking trails and waterfalls. The tree house has a spacious deck high in the canopy, with an outdoor pool and a private rainforest spa deck, perfect for star gazing. Check the latest rates here.

two week australia itinerary - cairns


Day 9: Day Trip to the Great Barrier Reef

On your second day, take a catamaran sailing trip to the Great Barrier Reef for some snorkeling and sailing. The world’s largest coral reef system is made up of nearly 3000 individual reefs sprawled across an area of almost 135,000 square miles (350,000 square kilometers).

During the sailing trip, you’ll get to snorkel at two of 24 authorized reef locations depending on the day’s sea conditions. All of the sites offer exotic marine life like turtles and parrot fish. You’ll also get interpretation talks on board from experts about the reef.

Alternatively, book an eco-adventure day trip to Green Island, a private island resort in the Great Barrier Reef. The island also has a lush rainforest with over 120 native plant species and a rich bird life.

At just 45 minutes from Cairns, Green Island gives you the unique chance to get a combined reef and rainforest tour. You can explore the island’s lush rainforest on foot, see the reef from the glass bottom boat, or snorkel off the beach.

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Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef

two week australia itinerary - great barrier reef

 

Day 10: Day Trip to Daintree and Cape Tribulation

For your last day in Queensland, head inland on an adventurous day trip to the Daintree Rainforests and Cape Tribulation. Daintree is Australia’s biggest tropical rainforest, and also the oldest rainforest on Earth at 135 million years old.

Here you will find kingfishers, lorikeets, tree frogs, and entwining strangler figs.

By foot, walk through the Daintree and find the point where the rainforest meets the reef at Cape Tribulation. Ditch your hiking shoes and dip your feet in the white sand beaches.

Don’t miss Alexandra Lookout where you can get spectacular views of the Daintree River and the Coral Sea. Cruise along the Daintree River among rainforest jungles, mangroves, and crocodile-infested waters before returning to Cairns.

two weeks australia itinerary - daintree rainforest


Day 11: Get to Know Alice Springs

I have saved the best for last! The Red Centre is my favorite part of Australia and it’s where the raw and rugged Outback lies. Alice Springs is a small town and the gateway into the Red Centre.

As low-cost airlines don’t fly there, airfares are slightly more expensive. A one-way flight from Cairns to Alice Springs costs around $200 on Qantas. Search for flights here.

Just 7km outside of town is the Alice Springs Desert Park, a wildlife sanctuary and botanic garden. Standing at the base of the MacDonnell Ranges, the desert park is a beautiful nature park where kangaroos roam, birds fly overhead, and endangered bilby burrows underground.

You get to see unique Australian animals like the thorny devil, echidna, and bearded dragon. For an interesting experience, sign up for a guided night tour to see rare and endangered animals under the stars.

If you’ve got some extra cash, I recommend treating yourself to a hot air balloon flight in Alice Springs. From the air, the landscape looks different and you get a real sense of the magnitude of the desert. Flights usually take place at dawn so you might need an extra day for this excursion. Read about our experience on a hot air balloon flight in Alice Springs.

Book your hot air balloon flight here!

two weeks in australia - thorny devil

Where to Stay in Alice Springs:

Budget: Alice Lodge Backpackers

Just 5 minutes’ walk from Alice Springs town center, this great hostel is the best budget place to stay in town. Rooms are clean and spacious, plus they have cheap private rooms. The outdoor swimming pool is a great area to hang out and they organize barbecue nights occasionally. Check the latest rates here.

Midrange: Diplomat Motel

We stayed at this well-priced hotel and highly recommend it to travelers seeking affordable comfort and convenience. It’s located in the center of Alice Springs, just a few minutes’ walk from stores and restaurants. We hung out at the swimming pool in the evening and had a barbecued dinner that night! Check the latest rates here.

Luxury: DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs

As one of the best hotels in town, DoubleTree by Hilton is a luxury resort awarded for its environmental-friendly ethos. The hotel has a beautiful setting, with the MacDonnell Ranges as a backdrop. All rooms have balconies that overlook either the mountains, swimming pool or gardens. Book your stay here!

two weeks in australia - alice springs


Day 12: Camping Trip in Uluru

For some real Australian Outback adventure, head into the Red Centre on a three-day camping tour of Uluru, Kings Canyon and the Kata Tjuta National Park.

This trip is power-packed and you’ll need a medium level of fitness for the walks. They are not technically difficult, but the high temperatures in summer can make them slightly challenging. Check out the trip details here.

You’ll travel around on a sturdy overland truck and your guide will prepare barbecued meals every day. Plus you get to sleep in cozy swags under the stars every night!

We did this camping trip in 2013 and it was definitely THE best experience we had in Australia to date. Read about my experience here.

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Camping in Uluru - Part I: Learning Aboriginal Culture

two week australia itinerary - uluru


Days 13-14: Camping Trip in Kings Canyon

Next day, you’ll head straight to Kings Canyon for a three-hour hike through the sandstone domes of the Lost City. Admire the many natural amphitheaters and see the North and South walls on the way to the Garden of Eden.

The next day, take a guided walk in the Kata Tjuta or the Olgas and learn about the spiritual significance of the area.

Then visit the Aboriginal Cultural Center and listen to tales from the Tjukurpa Dreamtime. On the last day, watch the sun rise over Uluru, the world’s largest rock.

Do a base walk at Uluru to see beautiful Aboriginal cave paintings. You’ll get back to Alice Springs in the evening of the last day.

Book the camping trip here!

two weeks in australia - camping in uluru

two weeks in australia - kata tjuta


Day 15: Fly back to Sydney

Sadly your trip has come to an end! Fly from Alice Springs to Sydney direct for around $150 one-way, just in time to catch your flight home.


Other Two-Week Itineraries in Australia

Because Australia is such a massive place, you could easily spend two weeks focusing on one particular state in Australia that fits your interest.

Consider what your interests are: do you prefer hiking in the outback or exploring cities? These itineraries will help you narrow down your focus and show you the best in one state. You’ll also save money as you won’t need to book domestic flights to get around.

Here are some examples of two-week itineraries in Australia:

Victoria & Tasmania: For A Mix of Everything

Victoria is a micro-Australia, with dramatic coastlines, outstanding landscapes, wildlife-rich islands, and buzzing beach vibes. This state is great for road trips and a mixture of adventure, urban life, and relaxation.

Tasmania is an outstanding, scenic island that every nature lover needs to visit!

two weeks australia itinerary - cradle mountain

Northern Territory: For Adventure Seekers (my favorite!)

This is where you’ll see the real Outback, where termite mounds rise above the rose red sand and Aboriginal artwork sprawl across ancient rocks. Adventure seekers would love this itinerary as it involves lots of hiking and camping in the deserts.

You can easily do a road trip from Darwin, driving from Australia’s Top End to the Red Centre and flying back from Alice Springs.

two weeks in australia - kakadu

Western Australia: For Family-Friendly Adventures

Western Australia is the sunniest part of the country as it averages an annual eight hours of sunshine per day. This itinerary is great for families who are looking to get outdoors and experience Australia’s wildlife and beaches.

Read this two-week itinerary of Western Australia for more details or click the links below for day trip ideas.

  • Explore the sunny capital of Perth: King’s Park, Cottesloe Beach, and Fremantle
  • Take a day trip to Rottnest Island to bike around and see quokkas
  • See koalas and kangaroos at Yanchep National Park
  • Have a 4WD adventure in the Pinnacles and try sandboarding
  • Wine-tasting in Margaret River

two weeks australia itinerary - the pinnacles

Queensland: For Underwater Lovers

The sunshine state is more than just blue skies and never-ending beaches. With five World Heritage Listed sites and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, Queensland is Australia’s favorite natural playground.

This itinerary is perfect for underwater enthusiasts and those who want to see the lush rainforests and pristine islands of Australia.