2 weeks Australia itinerary - how to plan your dream Australia vacation

Coming in hot upon landing in Australia’s iconic capital, we jump straight into Sydney harbour cruises, foodie tours and Blue Mountain day trips. Then it’s to Melbourne to cash in on the local café culture before the Great Ocean Road gives us a salty taste of the south coast’s best natural attractions. Diving into week two, we take on both the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, basing ourselves in Cairns to sample top nightlife. Then it’s to the outback to dry off and finish up our 2 weeks in Australia with native wildlife, Aboriginal traditions and sacred peaks. Traversing some of the country’s most glorious terrain, this is our most epic Australia trip yet. Whether you want adventure or a relaxing city break or something in between, our Australia 2 weeks itinerary has something to please everyone. Take what you need and leave what you want!

Tailor Made Journey

Tailor-Made Australia: Uluru, Lizard Island & Beyond

Immerse yourself in an epic Australian adventure as you experience the insider's Melbourne and Sydney, marvel at the Outback's monolithic wonder of Uluru, encounter iconic Australian animal species and bask for two nights in the Daintree Rainforest. Also explore the Great Barrier Reef from your own island hideaway, and take in the Great Ocean Road's stunning vistas.

Uluru | Photo: Henrique Felix

LGBT situation in Australia

The majority of Australians support gay rights and have fought hard to win marriage equality in recent years, finally catching up with the rest of the Western world on this front. Australia will no doubt see an uptick in “rainbow tourism” in years to come, to join the 11% of Australians (or 2.5 million individuals) already out and proud in the country. Find diverse queer communities all over this sprawling land, most concentrated in the gayborhoods of Sydney’s Darlinghurst and Newtown, Melbourne’s St Kilda and Brunswick, or Brisbane’s New Farm and Fortitude Valley. For specific LGBTQ venues, try Oxford Street in Sydney to find community favourites such as the Colombian and the Stonewall, while Melbourne’s Fitzroy and Collingwood neighbourhoods are home to The Laird and Sircuit Bar.

Photo: Rijan Hamidovic

Photo: James Barr

When to Travel Australia

Generalising the weather of such as vast country can be a bit tricky, but the most important thing to remember is that the seasons on the Southern Hemisphere are flipped, which means that summers run from December to February and winters from June to September. Summer is considered peak season with a warm and ever-sunny climate rarely dropping below 20° Celsius. Of Australia’s extremes, Alice Springs in the Northern Territory has one of the harshest climates, where temperatures in summer average between 32° and 36°C. Contrastingly, winter temperatures in both Melbourne and Sydney dip to around 7°- 9°C, so warm clothing is a must.


Taking a strict stance on all international visitors except their New Zealand neighbours, Australia requires that all tourists arrive with a visa. If you belong to an EU member country, you can get an eVisitor visa online for just $20 USD with a processing time of just under one week. Similarly, citizens of the US, Canada, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore can apply for the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

Sydney | Photo: Dan Freeman

Days 1 & 2 – Sydney

The largest city in New South Wales and the national capital, Sydney wows newcomers with its iconic skyline and multicultural flair all centred on the glitzy Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. Your Sydney itinerary can be as short or as long as you like, but we’ve allotted just two days for the best bits. This should be enough to explore top attractions such as the observation deck at Sydney Tower and the world-famous Bondi Beach, taking time to sync up with local lifestyles amongst the Rocks District and King’s Cross areas.

If a shopping tour plus beach afternoon doesn’t appeal, try the Sydney Bridge Climb involving harnesses and panoramic views atop the Harbour Bridge. A bike tour is a great alternative to move between Sydney’s best districts, focusing on top foodie spots or historical quarters depending on your priorities! When sunset comes there’s no better option than to enjoy the magnificent views from the harbourside, opting for a sunset dinner cruise to make your Sydney experience even more memorable. If gay Sydney is what you’re after, find it among any number of cocktail bars, trendy cafés, bars and clubs surrounding Taylor Square in Darlinghurst, the city’s main gay district. Come in March to mark the legendary event of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Discover more to the wonderful world of Sydney with our Sydney travel guide.

Bondi Beach, Sydney | Photo: Belle Co

Photo: Justin Clark

Day 3 – Day Trip to the Blue Mountains

Driving west from Sydney, the Blue Mountains quickly dominate the skyline with rugged rock formations stretching across some 140 kilometres of natural reserve. A part of the Blue Mountains Heritage Area, these mountains are just two hours away from the capital and provide the perfect terrain for trekking and view finding among myriad cliffs, waterfalls and subterranean caves. Sign up to a Blue Mountains tour led by local Aboriginal guides to best appreciate the natural environment alongside local art and folklore before settling into a luxury wilderness retreat for the night.

Alternative Blue Mountains accommodation is easily accessed by car in Katoomba, the biggest town towards the edge of the park, hosting resorts for under-the-stars camping opportunities. Though many of the Blue Mountains hotels offer information on how to get around in the park, booking a multi-day tour in Katoomba is also an option, packing in some of the best attractions, such as Echo Point or the Jenolan Caves on a three-day trail. In keeping with our Australia itinerary 2 weeks however, consider doing the Princes Rock Walk in an afternoon, a trail leading to the Wentworth Falls lookout, Kings Tableland and Mount Solitary. The Glenbrook Gorge Track is another slightly longer option but with all the more challenging terrain on the National Pass.

Blue Mountains | Photo: Quentin Grignet

Day 4 – Melbourne

Taking a short flight from Sydney takes us back into the urban jungle, this time to Victorian capital of Melbourne, the cultural heart of the nation. Start your one-day Melbourne itinerary in style with a world-class cup of coffee along Centre Place or Flinders Lane, branching out from there to wind through the lanes of the inner city, marvelling at the fine architecture and European feel. Hop on the City Circle Tram when your legs grow tired, travelling for free through the glittering business district, stopping off at La Trobe or Victoria Streets and moving towards the Queen Victoria Market for arts, crafts and tasty local produce, or even its summer Night Market after dark on Wednesdays.

If the sun is still up and time allows, a half-day trip to the coastal village of St Kilda beckons, a tram ride away and a popular gay hotspot. Ultimately, however, gay Melbourne lies around the fringe neighbourhoods of South Yarra and Collingwood, where open-minded locals flaunt their freedoms and queer street art lines the streets among numerous gay bars and saunas. Follow the trending spots in the city, including speakeasy cocktail bars and artsy performance venues with our Melbourne travel guide.

Melbourne | Photo: Michael Lee

Melbourne | Photo: Mwangi Gatheca

Day 5 – Phillip Island

From lovable Melbourne bears to offshore island seals, day five of our Australia vacation takes us to Phillip Island, home of the world’s largest fur seal colony. Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, Philip Island is the ultimate day trip for wildlife lovers keen on escaping into Australia’s natural world. As well as seals on Nobbies outcrop, there’s also the Koala Conservation Centre, EcoBoat Tour and the Penguin Parade best visited at sunset. All of this comes backgrounded by beautiful island landscapes, covering tranquil bay beaches and rugged edges, much of which lies within view along the Pyramid Rock to Berry’s Beach Walk. If something a little more high-octane is on your mind, however, swap koalas for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix which circuits the island every October.

Day 6 – the Great Ocean Road

Sticking within Victoria for one more day, we journey up the winding coastline past rock stacks and the Otway Ranges rainforest, enjoying any number of stops along the way. The road is the main attraction here, offering one of the most scenic drives in all of Australia (and there is a lot of top scenery to contend with!) with small towns such as Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Fairy fishing village primed for lunchtime pit stops. Top places to mark on your GPS include Shipwreck Coast, Loch Ard Gorge and a choice of either Anglesea or Bells Beach for sunbathing and surfing respectively. The most famous natural attraction meanwhile is the 12 Apostles, a series of enormous limestone stacks rising from the Southern Ocean and best seen from the beach beyond Gibson’s Steps.

Windswept you will be, but take it slow to marvel at the natural world as it vies for attention beyond the road. Undertaking the 91-kilometre Great Ocean Walk is one option, but alternatively, take to the skies to get a bird’s eye view of the situation by helicopter, passing the Bay of Islands, London Bridge and the entire Shipwreck Coast as it leads to Cape Otway, Australia’s oldest lighthouse. Inland from the coast you’ve also got the Great Otway National Park to explore, featuring trails that pass a waterfall, gorge and cool rainforest on either the Otway Fly Treetop Walk or the slightly faster Otway Fly Zipline Tour.

Great Ocean Road | Photo: Flo K.

Mr. Hudson highlight image

While of course snorkelling and diving excursions are the main draw of Cairns, the town is also an experienced host, providing lively gay nightlife, high-end lodgings and myriad restaurants within its centre

Days 7 & 8 – Cairns

Though its name might not ring any bells, Cairns is in fact one of the famous places in Australia, home to the mighty Great Barrier Reef resting in Queensland’s marine reserves just off Cairn’s fabulous coastline. Get to Cairns by plane (3.5 hours direct) or consider going the whole hog with Mr Hudson’s coastal road trip from Sydney to Cairns, passing through Brisbane along the way. While of course snorkelling and diving excursions are the main draw of Cairns, the town is also an experienced host, providing lively gay nightlife, high-end lodgings and myriad restaurants within its centre. Beyond diving, another great way to take to the water is aboard a multi-day Great Barrier Reef cruise or glass-bottomed boat for sundown cocktails around Michaelmas Bay. And though beaches are not Cairn’s forte, the Esplanade Lagoon and Pier Marin are worthy alternatives, offering up live music and crafts markets on weekends.

Extending you Great Barrier Reef vacation by a day will allow you to see the unique Pacific world of Far North Queensland in more detail, from the magical Fairy Falls to the river rapid tubing adventures of Ross and Locke. Thinking of taking a shorter road trip? Join us on our compact road trip from Sydney to Cairns.

Photo: David Clode

Cairns | Photo: Manny Moreno

Day 9 – the Great Barrier Reef

Crossing an area of nearly 350,000 square kilometres and spanning almost 3,000 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system boasting as many as 24 authorised diving locations. As you can guess, choosing where to dive in is the tricky part, though fortunately Australia’s Great Eight (humpback and minke whales, manta rays, sharks, Maori wrasse, turtles and more) can be found year-round at many of these locations. Enjoy the deep blue down under on diving tours led by expert guides, coming up for air to experience an eco-adventure on Green Island, a private island resort packed with exotic flora and fauna among pristine rainforests and beaches.

Day 10 – Daintree and Cape Tribulation

The barrier reef isn’t Queensland’s only natural paradise however as you’ll soon find on arrival to the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest rainforest on earth dating 135 million years old and marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alongside kingfishers, lorikeets and tree frogs, a walk in the forest will eventually bring you insight of the Cape Tribulation, where white sand beaches slope into warm coral reef waters. Trek the ancient jungle towards Alexandra Lookout for panoramic views over the Daintree River and the Coral Sea before being brought back down to water level for crocodile-infested mangroves served by riverboat cruise. Easily accessible on a day trip from Cairns, Daintree makes for an exciting break from diving enthusiasts, bringing alternative opportunities of zip-lining, tree canopy walks and paddle-boarding in Emmagen Creek.

Culture is also in the offing at Daintree, a reserve that the Kuku Yalanji people have called home for over 50,000 years. Team up with a local indigenous guide who’ll enlighten you on the history of the forest, bush tucker delicacies and traditional medicine, resting up at an eco-luxury lodging nearby.

Daintree | Photo: Federico Garcia

Photo: Corey Serravite

Day 11 – Alice Springs

Heading into drier climes, it’s to the outback we go. The dusty Red Centre of Australia may not be the most welcoming of terrains, but it’s easy to see why it’s the most favourited. Get to Alice Springs – the gateway to the outback – by plane, resting up in town before ticking off the many things to do in the area. The Alice Springs Desert Park towards the base of the MacDonnell Ranges will not only introduce you to the local kangaroos but also put you in range of a number of other regional species, such as the endangered bilby, the thorny devil and the bearded dragon. Besides much wildlife, Alice Springs can also teach visitors about the rich culture of the region through several impressive Aboriginal art galleries – such as the Araluen Arts Centre – and rather older rock carvings hidden within the MacDonnell Ranges and further afield. The Tjanpi Desert Weavers store meanwhile is the perfect place for appreciating local artisan crafts.

Before leaving Alice Springs, one of the top experiences raises the altitude on a hot air balloon flight over the area. Start in the desert park before sunrise to watch daybreak over the desert in all its ochre glory. Those wanting to stick to the outback should follow us on our ultimate desert road from Alice Springs to Uluru.

Mr. Hudson highlight image

The most sacred of all Aboriginal sites in Australia, and perhaps the country’s most popular natural wonders, is the majestic Uluru Rock, an iconic sandstone behemoth deep in the Northern Territories

Day 12 – Uluru

The most sacred of all Aboriginal sites in Australia, and perhaps the country’s most popular natural wonders, is the majestic Uluru Rock, an iconic sandstone behemoth deep in the Northern Territories. With such harsh weather, the wildlife surrounding Uluru is not the best, but the trekking opportunities around the perimeter more than makeup for the lack of kangaroos. Hire a local guide to learn more about the culture and history of the land, passing through the Field of Light and Kata Tjuta before ending at a common viewpoint come sundown or sunset. While it’s possible to do Uluru in a day, booking on a multi-day camping tour within Kata Tjuta National Park will allow you the comforts of an overland truck, inclusive BBQ fare and cosy sleeping arrangements under world-famous starry skies. Bear in mind that you cannot climb to the top of Uluru these days and photographing some sacred spots is forbidden.

Uluru | Photo: Kyle Hinkson

Days 13 & 14 – Kings Canyon

For your last two days in the desert, keep your hiking boots and your sunscreen close as Kings Canyon has a series of outdoorsy treats in store. Not far from Uluru, it’s easy to find a combined tour of the rock, the canyon and Kata Tjuta, with numerous guided walks taking place throughout. Once at Kings Canyon, choose the six-kilometre Kings Canyon Rim Walk featuring panoramic gorge views or level up for the rather more challenging Giles Track, a 22-kilometre self-guided trek leading to Kathleen Springs. Otherwise, follow an elder through the sandstone dunes of the Lost City, passing myriad natural amphitheatres on the journey towards the Garden of Eden, best seen at sunrise. Along the way, you’ll also get the chance to learn of the area’s many native plants and animals, as well as the Luritka Aboriginal people who have lived within the wider Watarrka National Park for 20,000 years.

Want to simplify luxury travel planning?

Whether you want a resort vacation, wildlife safari, city break, luxury cruise, wellness retreat, honeymoon, once-in-a-lifetime adventure or weekend escape, the trip curation experts at Mr Hudson make travel planning a breeze. Find out how we can handle the finer details of vacationing in style.

Kings Canyon | Photo: Philippe Wuyts

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