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Sydney, Cairns, Port Douglas

Please help with 14 days itinerary in Australia

Hubby and I are planning long-awaited trip to Australia in 2015. We can prob spend 14 days or so. Would like to start a few days in Sydney and on from there. Heard Great Ocean Rd is a do not miss and I see it's south from Sydney. We're also interested in snorkeling, water activities so is the best area north to Cairns, Port Douglas? Re: transportation, is it very awkward getting used to driving on left side? Am wondering about logistics getting from one city to the other. Thanks so much for your help! 

8 Answers

answered by
Chris from Endicott

Sydney was fantastic.  The Sydney Aquarium is a must see if you like that sort of thing, Sydney's Paddy's Markets is a great place to shop for souvenirs and fresh food.  You should also visit the zoo if you get a chance.  We took a tour of the Blue Mountains, it took a full day but worth it.  Our transportation was planned out in advance when we booked.  We did 2 tours in Sydney, one of the city and one at the Blue Mountains.  Did not do the Great Ocean Rd, looks like it would be amazing though.  We then flew up to Cairns to see the barrier reef and do some snorkeling.  We also took a train ride up the mountain to Australian Venom Zoo, then took the sky rail across the rain forest, another must.  In Sydney and Cairns we mostly walked around or took a ferry somewhere, didn't rent any cars or take a taxi, but we recently were in a country where we were driving on the left side.  Getting used to driving on the other side isn't that bad, just remember after you turn on a new road to keep left.  It's easy to go to the natural right.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney Aquarium (attraction)
  2. Sydney's Paddy's Markets (restaurant)
  3. Blue Mountains (attraction)
  4. Great Ocean Rd (attraction)
  5. Cairns (city)
  6. Australian Venom Zoo (attraction)
6 thanks

answered by
Maria from Sydney

Great trip planned. Australia is very big and to cover that area in that time you will end up exhausted. I suggest having travelled Australia extensively, that you fly to Sydney and stay in the CBD, Rocks area for 4 days. My favourite hotel is the QT Sydney. Visit the Blue Mountains with an overnight stay. You can catch a train there from Central Station. In your 3 days, do Coogeeto Bondi, walk and enjoy this area. Day 2, head on a bus to Palm Beach and do the Lighthouse walk, eat at The Boathouse Palm Beach, catch a bus back to Manly, then ferry back to CBD. Day 3, do a walk through the city. Royal Botanic Gardens to Mrs Macquaries Chair, around Sydney Opera House and have a picnic in Hyde Park Taronga Zoo, have a roar and snore night where you stay in luxury tents and do tours/feeding throughout the Zoo. This is a must. That's 5-6 days covered in Sydney. 

Then fly to the Whitsundays Region. Hamilton Island is amazing, though 5-7 days is probably enough. You have water activities and Island hopping. If you can afford 2 nights on Bedarra Islandyou are winning. With the remaining days Gold Coast is wonderful for a holiday. So much to do. Happy to help further......if you need any questions answered. Have fun.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. QT Sydney (hotel)
  2. Blue Mountains (attraction)
  3. Central Station (attraction)
  4. Coogee (city)
  5. Bondi (city)
  6. Palm Beach (attraction)
  7. The Boathouse Palm Beach (restaurant)
  8. Manly (city)
  9. Royal Botanic Gardens (attraction)
  10. Mrs Macquaries Chair (attraction)
  11. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  12. Hyde Park (attraction)
  13. Taronga Zoo (attraction)
  14. Whitsundays Region (attraction)
  15. Hamilton Island (island)
  16. Bedarra Island (city)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Angeline from Jakarta

Though you can travel around in 14 days, I would suggest to immerse yourself in one or two states, and take times to explore and enjoy it rather than spending more times on the road/flying.

New South Wales itself has a lot to explore.

Last Christmas - New Year, I had 2 weeks just for Sydney the city and the states, out to Blue Mountains  

Did Coastal Walk from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach amazing coastal views and stopped by at different beaches! Watching sunset from

Enjoy a good cup of coffee at Campos Coffee and gourmet burgers in Newtown. Walk around historial area of The Rocks and then cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Of course you can add adventure to Ayers Rock and Alice Springs or do The Great Ocean Road which I wished I had done it, but did not have enough time :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Blue Mountains (attraction)
  3. Coogee Beach (attraction)
  4. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  5. Campos Coffee (restaurant)
  6. Newtown (attraction)
  7. The Rocks (attraction)
  8. Sydney Harbour Bridge (attraction)
  9. Ayers Rock (attraction)
  10. Alice Springs (attraction)
  11. The Great Ocean Road (attraction)
5 thankscomments (2)

top answer by
Lara from Cape Town

Hi Joanne

I did a very similar trip to what you want to do over a month. I flew into Adelaide, drove along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, flew to Sydney and then went to the Whitsundays to end my trip. I also went in winter when things were less crowded and rates were cheaper.

Here's how I'd suggest you do your trip.

Sydney is a great place to start your trip. Public transport is amazing and efficient in the city making it easy to get around. Definitely use the Manly Ferry and the CitySightseeing Bus.

I'd suggest you fly to Melbourne, hire a Wicked Camper (quite funky) and head along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide. There is a Wicked office in Adelaide that you can drop the camper off. I did this trip in the opposite direction (Adelaide to Melbourne) in four nights, five days as there are some amazing stops along the way. I really took my time though, but the trip can be done in 2 days. Great places to stop at are Port Fairy, Robe, Port Campbell, 12 Apostles, London Bridge, Great Otway National Park and Torquay.

Driving on the left side of the road should not be an issue, but will take time to get use to.

From Adelaide you can catch a flight to the Whitsundays Island (close to the Great Barrier Reef). There are many islands with the most popular being Hamilton Island. I stayed at Daydream Island which was kitsch, but they offer jet skiing, snorkeling and other water sports all at an additional cost.

I'd suggest you take a speed boat to White Haven Beach with Ocean Rafting company which is a day trip that includes snorkeling, swimming at White Haven Beach and lunch. It was by far one of the coolest things I did in Australia.

I hope this help and you enjoy your trip.


Lara, co-founder of  ExoTravels

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Adelaide (attraction)
  2. Great Ocean Road (attraction)
  3. Melbourne (city)
  4. Sydney (city)
  5. Manly Ferry (attraction)
  6. Great Ocean Road (attraction)
  7. Port Fairy (city)
  8. Robe (city)
  9. Port Campbell (city)
  10. 12 Apostles (attraction)
  11. London Bridge (attraction)
  12. Great Otway National Park (attraction)
  13. Torquay (city)
  14. Great Barrier Reef (region)
  15. Hamilton Island (island)
  16. Daydream Island (island)
  17. White Haven Beach (attraction)
12 thankscomments (2)

answered first by
Helen from Sydney

Hi Joanne!

RE: the driving, I've just moved to the US from Australian and found adjusting to driving on the other side a little nerve wracking but not too bad. Depending on what size car you end up with, the main challenge is staying in the middle of the lane when all your instincts will be telling you to veer further left - I just had my friend let me know when I was getting too close to the edge, and soon got used to it. Merging and turning right will be a bit stressful, but if you're doing mostly highway driving you won't have to deal with that much.

RE: your destinations - forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but if you want to hit The Great Ocean RoadSydneyCairns and Port Douglas you're looking at covering a LOT of distance, so it depends on what kind of holiday you're after. If you take a car the whole way, you're in for a road-trip style vacation that's mostly spent driving. Otherwise you could consider flying between Sydney and Cairns, which will probably work out about the same cost as the petrol to drive and will save you several days minimum.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Great Ocean Road (attraction)
  2. Sydney (city)
  3. Cairns (city)
  4. Port Douglas (attraction)
10 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Henry from Australia

I would suggest you go Melbourne first, visit great ocean road, Geelong St Kilda beach and other attraction in VIC. While on the move towards the top, take Canberra, the capital of course. Brisbane, gold coat, Cairns, there a train from Cairns to Mareeba a scenic drive all along waterfall do give it try at the end or middle of the journey they drop you off to a great location at the waterfalls walking in the jungle it is an experience you can’t miss. If you have any plane in mind except this let me know I can help lived there for 3 years and travelled all over so. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Melbourne (city)
  2. Geelong (city)
  3. St Kilda (attraction)
  4. Canberra (city)
  5. Brisbane (city)
  6. Cairns (city)
  7. Mareeba (city)

answered by
Dobariya from Ahmedabad

As far as driving goes, not easy to drive left side driving if you're used to right side driving. better to take local taxi.

answered by
Alica from Australia

I have been to Australia for so many years. My passion is to travel the Gold Coast region and explore something new in every tour. For transportation, I would like to suggest you check out my company Aussie Campervans which is best in providing branded vendors for transport and comfort living on the same home wheels.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gold Coast (city)

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