12 days in Australia Itinerary

12 days in Australia Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Australia Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly:  23​h 15​min
1
Cairns
— 1 day
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  5​h 45​min
3
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 45​min
4
Melbourne
— 1 night
Fly:  3​h 30​min
5
Sydney
— 3 nights
Fly:  25​h
End: Washington DC

1
day
Cairns

A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Fri): discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find where to stay, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Cairns vacation planner .

Washington DC, USA to Cairns is an approximately 23.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of subway, bus, and flight. You'll lose 15 hours traveling from Washington DC to Cairns due to the time zone difference. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Washington DC in August; daily highs in Cairns reach 80°F and lows reach 63°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Fri) so you can drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Tours Wildlife Outdoors
Find places to stay Aug 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling

2
nights
Port Douglas

A holiday in Port Douglas balances an activity-filled getaway with plenty of opportunities to relax, thanks to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and bustling beach life.
On the 3rd (Sat), discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 4th (Sun): relax in the rural setting at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, stroll through Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Four Mile Beach.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, read our Port Douglas trip itinerary builder site .

Traveling by car from Cairns to Port Douglas takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 80°F in August, and nighttime lows around 62°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Sun) early enough to travel to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Aug 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas ©
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

1
night
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park ©
For quintessential Outback scenery and culture, you can't beat a holiday in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a World Heritage Site.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Mon): go for a walk through Lungkata Walk, take in the exciting artwork at Walkatjara Art, tour the pleasant surroundings at Uluru Hiking Path, then take in the dramatic natural features at Uluru, and finally hike along Kuniya Walk. Here are some ideas for day two: appreciate the views at Valley of the Winds, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Kata Tjuta, and then head outdoors with Walpa Gorge.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. When traveling from Port Douglas in August, plan for a bit cooler days and colder nights in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: temperatures range from 74°F by day to 42°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Tue) so you can travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Aug 4 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Uluru ©
Uluru
Kata Tjuta ©
Kata Tjuta
Valley of the Winds ©
Valley of the Winds

1
night
Melbourne

Melbourne ©
The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Wed): examine the collection at Melbourne Museum, take in nature's colorful creations at Melbourne Zoo, and then admire the natural beauty at Royal Botanic Gardens. On the next day, steep yourself in history at Old Melbourne Gaol, admire the masterpieces at National Gallery of Victoria, then contemplate the long history of Shrine of Remembrance, and finally have some family-friendly fun at Zero Latency.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Melbourne journey planning tool .

Traveling by flight from Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to Melbourne takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. When traveling from Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in August, plan for little chillier days in Melbourne, with highs around 57°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 42°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Thu) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Melbourne

Museums Parks Historic Sites
Find places to stay Aug 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Zero Latency ©
Zero Latency
Royal Botanic Gardens ©
Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne Museum ©
Melbourne Museum

3
nights
Sydney

Sydney ©
Lent iconic status as a result of its famous bridge and opera house, Sydney has a down-to-earth charm that enhances its spectacular setting and functional efficiency.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Fri): explore the world behind art at Art Gallery of New South Wales, don't miss a visit to Mrs Macquarie's Chair, catch a live performance at Sydney Opera House, then take in nature's colorful creations at The Royal Botanic Garden, and finally take a stroll through The Rocks. On the 10th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for gifts at Sydney Fish Market, kick back and relax at Bondi Beach, then make a trip to Sydney Harbour Bridge, and finally take a stroll through Darling Harbour.

To find traveler tips, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read Sydney trip planning site .

Traveling by flight from Melbourne to Sydney takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Melbourne in August: high temperatures in Sydney hover around 66°F and lows are around 49°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 11th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

Neighborhoods Parks Historic Sites
Find places to stay Aug 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Sydney Opera House ©
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Harbour Bridge ©
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney ©
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

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