15 days in Australia Itinerary

15 days in Australia Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Australia Itinerary

Start: Phoenix
Fly:  20​h
1
Cairns
— 1 day
bus:  1​h 15​min
2
Port Douglas
— 3 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:  5​h 45​min
5
Lord Howe Island
— 1 day
Fly:  3​h 30​min
6
Sydney
— 4 nights
Fly:  20​h 30​min
End: Phoenix

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.
On the 24th (Thu), see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To see maps, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Cairns itinerary app .

Phoenix, USA to Cairns is an approximately 20-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 17 hours traveling from Phoenix to Cairns. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Phoenix in December: highs in Cairns hover around 88°F, while lows dip to 73°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can take a bus to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling

3
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.
Take a break from Port Douglas with a short trip to Palm Cove Beach in Palm Cove, about 42 minutes away. Spend the 25th (Fri) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Spend the 26th (Sat) spotting exotic species with a safari tour. Next up on the itinerary: identify plant and animal life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures and look for gifts at With Sugar.

For where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Port Douglas holiday builder site .

Getting from Cairns to Port Douglas by bus takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. In December in Port Douglas, expect temperatures between 88°F during the day and 73°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Sun) early enough to travel to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Palm Cove
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Safaris
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

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.
On the 28th (Mon), view the masterpieces at Walkatjara Art, get advice or help at Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre, identify plant and animal life at Kuniya Walk, then explore the activities along Mutitjulu Waterhole, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Uluru. Keep things going the next day: don't miss a visit to Uluru, then take in the dramatic natural features at Kata Tjuta, and then head outdoors with Walpa Gorge.

To see maps, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, go to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park holiday maker site .

You can do a combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in 6 hours. Another option is to drive. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Port Douglas in December: highs in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park hover around 97°F, while lows dip to 70°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) early enough to travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Uluru ©
Uluru
Kata Tjuta ©
Kata Tjuta
Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre ©
Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre

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.
On the 30th (Wed), see the interesting displays at Melbourne Museum, brush up on your military savvy at Shrine of Remembrance, and then admire the natural beauty at Royal Botanic Gardens. On the 31st (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: steep yourself in history at Old Melbourne Gaol, then admire the masterpieces at National Gallery of Victoria, and then take in panoramic vistas at Eureka Skydeck 88.

For where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Melbourne trip itinerary builder .

You can fly from Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to Melbourne in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Traveling from Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in December, expect Melbourne to be a bit cooler, temps between 78°F and 54°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Thu) early enough to travel to Lord Howe Island.

Things to do in Melbourne

Museums Historic Sites Tours
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Shrine of Remembrance ©
Shrine of Remembrance
Old Melbourne Gaol ©
Old Melbourne Gaol
Royal Botanic Gardens ©
Royal Botanic Gardens

1
day
Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island ©
Bursting out of the Tasman Sea, Lord Howe Island offers stunning scenery and many sandy beaches.
On the 1st (Fri), get a new perspective on nature at Lord Howe Island Museum, kick back and relax at Lagoon Beach, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Ned's Beach.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Lord Howe Island travel planner.

Getting from Melbourne to Lord Howe Island by flight takes about 6 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Fri) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Lord Howe Island

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Ned's Beach ©
Ned's Beach
Lagoon Beach ©
Lagoon Beach
Lord Howe Island Museum ©
Lord Howe Island Museum

4
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.
Relax by the water at Bondi Beach and Clovelly Beach. Get a sense of the local culture at The Rocks and Darling Harbour. There's still lots to do: see a show at Sydney Opera House, see the interesting displays at Australian National Maritime Museum, steep yourself in history at Museum of Sydney, and kick back and relax at Manly Beach.

To find where to stay, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Sydney trip itinerary builder site .

Fly from Lord Howe Island to Sydney in 3.5 hours. In January, daytime highs in Sydney are 82°F, while nighttime lows are 68°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
The Rocks ©
The Rocks
Sydney Opera House ©
Sydney Opera House
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach

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