There’s no easy way to say this, but, you simply can’t visit Australia for one week! The Land Down Under is just that amazing. However, as I myself had only one week the first time I landed on the continent, I thought it best to share my wisdom and let you in on my version of a one week itinerary in Australia, more specifically the Pacific Coast. Once you visit this part of Aussie Country, you will instantly fall in love, and believe me when I tell you, it will just be the start of a returning journey.
But beware, this is a packed itinerary and is meant to stretch you to the limit. Be prepared to go hard all day every day because who needs sleep when you can Australia!? Let’s go!
Make your starting point the dynamic city of Melbourne. The capital of Victoria is located at the Southern tip of the Pacific Coast. Take the first day to plan how you will get around Australia. After you figure this out, you have the rest of the day to explore the city. Start your exploration by checking out Victoria Market and Federation Square’s museums and galleries, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Later in the evening, get lost among the historic laneways and alleys, and discover true Melbourne culture in the multitude of bars, restaurants, jazz clubs and hidden cafés.
After a good night’s sleep, take the 30-minute ride to nearby to Yarra Valley. Australia is known around the world for its delicious wines. Towns like Healesville and Warburton on the Yarra Valley Food Trail are the ultimate foodies’ adventure. You can try delicious family-made Pinot Noir and stock up on tasty organic cured meats, cheeses and fish. Spend the early afternoon lazing around in a pristine natural setting at the Yarra National Park, and get your first glimpse of koalas, wallabies and wombats munching on eucalyptus leaves. Afterwards, get back to Melbourne for some last-minute shopping and prepare for the 7 hours drive to Canberra.
Yarra Valley, Source
Another day – another city; this time, head to the Aussie capital of Canberra. On my own trip, I found a great charter bus rental in Canberra which made it easy to go sight-hopping in such a short amount of time. Grab a cup of java at the award-winning ONA Coffee (by Sasa Sestic) and make your way to the Old Bus Depot Markets. There, you can haggle and find yourself a bargain from clothes to home-made sweets. Visit the National Gallery of Australia and spend some time viewing ancient Aboriginal art. You can also take a trip to the nearby Australian Alps or visit the National Arboretum (over 600 acres of gardens). Finally, let the bus take you to the Parliament Building. Spend as much time as you’d like here then take the same bus for the 4 hours drive to Sydney. Once you arrive, delay going to your hotel because you might just snooze the night away. Rather, go to Circular Quay and get wowed by Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Opera House at night.
The next day in Sydney, trace back your footsteps to Circular Quay and marvel at the Sydney Opera House during the day. Walk across Harbor Bridge and get a glimpse of the best views of one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world. Get a day pass to Taronga Zoo and catch a glimpse of over 4,000 different animals. Alternatively, visit Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSW, or the historic Customs Office House. For lunch, visit the colonial Rocks district to find a quiet little bistro in Sydney’s most active cultural urban hub. If you have time to spare, visit Bondi Beach to dine at its best restaurants then and make the 10 hours overnight trip to Brisbane from there.
What little sleep you had during the ride is all you get today. The good thing is that you’ll get an early start. This allows you to cover a great deal of Brisbane. Catch a panoramic view of the city at dawn by visiting the 262 feet Story Bridge. Explore Brisbane’s art and culture scene at the Institute of Modern Art, or pay a visit to Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall. Brisbane is also home to Australia’s top designer brands and shops. Even if you don’t intend on buying something, a bit of window-shopping at James Street won’t hurt. End the day by having fun at Fortitude Valley, exploring Brisbane’s renowned wild nightlife.
Sun, surf and sand are reserved for day six at Australia’s premier holiday destination – the Sunshine Coast. As soon as you arrive, grab your towels, throw caution to the wind and hit the beach! Crystal blue waters are ideal for the multitude of water sports this idyllic location has to offer with everything from snorkeling to surfing. Bask in the sun, explore the different white sandy beaches over a cocktail, or take a quick surf lesson. If you can, get back to the hotel before lunch, pack up, and make the trip to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. There you can laze in the sand just as much, or get your adrenaline pumping in a buggy ride across the dunes. In the early evening, book a last-minute flight to Cairns for the cheapest tickets; otherwise, you’ll be traveling over 15 hours by road to the next destination.
Fraser Island, Source
After the bumpy trip to Cairns, the last day of your seven-day Pacific Coast trip ends with a grand crescendo. Today, you get to go out to sea and dive among the coral and technicolor fish at the Great Barrier Reef. Book an experienced guide and captain who can take you to all the best places. After your underwater adventure, spend the day whale watching or let the boat take you to a secluded beach to enjoy sun and sea. Use this day to take in as much as you can because you will want to return as soon as you take off.
A seven-day trip across the entire length of Australia’s Pacific Coast is a challenging but grand experience. For first timers wanting to experience this road trip, I would always suggest you go by bus. That’s what I did when I first came here, and it was much easier to leave the stress of driving to someone else. You will fall in love with both the people and the country, and once you return you can take a different approach and road trip it by yourself.
Are you pumped yet? If you decide to go on this trip (even if you only do a part of it), please let us know how it went by sending us a quick note. We’d love to hear your travel story.
Travel on, my friends!
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