16 days in Australia Itinerary

16 days in Australia Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Australia Itinerary

Start: Los Angeles
Fly:  16​h 45​min
1
Cairns
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  4​h 30​min
3
Townsville
— 1 night
bus:  3​h 45​min
4
Airlie Beach
— 1 night
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  5​h 45​min
5
Sydney
— 2 nights
Fly + bus:  4​h 30​min
6
Byron Bay
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  5​h
7
Melbourne
— 2 nights
Fly:  17​h 45​min
End: Los Angeles

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Wed): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 20th (Thu): experience rural life at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Palm Cove Beach.

Plan trip to Cairns with our itinerary maker to find out where to go and what to do.

Los Angeles, USA to Cairns is an approximately 17-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time (PST) to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Queensland) (AEST), which is usually a 18 hour difference. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Los Angeles in December: highs in Cairns hover around 88°F, while lows dip to 73°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can go by car to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Outdoors Wildlife Adventure

Side Trip

Palm Cove
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

2
nights
Port Douglas

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 21st (Fri), stop by With Sugar, identify plant and animal life at Agincourt Reef, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Mossman Gorge. On the next day, identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas.

To find other places to visit, photos, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Port Douglas day trip planning website .

Getting from Cairns to Port Douglas by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. In December, daily temperatures in Port Douglas can reach 88°F, while at night they dip to 73°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) so you can travel to Townsville.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Adventure Outdoors

Side Trip

Mossman Gorge
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Agincourt Reef ©
Agincourt Reef
Scuba & Snorkeling
Mossman Gorge ©
Mossman Gorge

1
night
Townsville

Townsville ©
Tucked snugly beneath a steep, craggy mount--known as Castle Hill--the vibrant city of Townsville is as picturesque as its backdrop.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Sun): head off the coast to Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, then stroll through The Strand, and then go for a walk through Castle Hill.

To find reviews, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Townsville driving holiday app .

You can do a combination of shuttle and flight from Port Douglas to Townsville in 4.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. In December in Townsville, expect temperatures between 89°F during the day and 76°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun) to allow time to take a bus to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Townsville

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
The Strand ©
The Strand
Castle Hill
Castle Hill

1
night
Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach ©
Very much a town with an emphasis on the tropical lifestyle, Airlie Beach offers exotic surroundings with palm trees and charming, sandy beaches.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Mon): look for gifts at Whitsunday Opals, tour the pleasant surroundings at Airlie Beach Lagoon, and then add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Airlie Beach online tour planner .

You can take a bus from Townsville to Airlie Beach in 4 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. December in Airlie Beach sees daily highs of 85°F and lows of 75°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) so you can travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

Outdoors Adventure Tours
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Airlie Beach Lagoon ©
Airlie Beach Lagoon
Kayaking & Canoeing
Whitsunday Opals ©
Whitsunday Opals

2
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.
Sydney Opera House and Darling Harbour are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Relax by the water at Bondi Beach and Clovelly. There's still lots to do: take a stroll through The Rocks, stroll through Manly Beach, trek along The Opera House to the Botanic Gardens Walk, and take in the views from Sydney Harbour Bridge.

To see traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, read Sydney trip itinerary maker website .

You can do a combination of bus and flight from Airlie Beach to Sydney in 6 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and flight; or drive. Traveling from Airlie Beach in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Sydney, with lows of 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) so you can travel to Byron Bay.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Sydney Opera House ©
Sydney Opera House
Manly Beach
Manly Beach

3
nights
Byron Bay

Byron Bay ©
Named after Lord Byron's grandfather, Byron Bay is not only famous as the easternmost point of Australia, but even more so as one of the liveliest vacation spots in the country.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Coolangatta Beach and Broken Head Beach. Step off the beaten path and head to Burleigh Heads Beach and Cape Byron Walking Track. Take a break from Byron Bay with a short trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Currumbin, about 1h 15 min away. Next up on the itinerary: identify plant and animal life at Burleigh Head National Park and enjoy the sand and surf at Wategos Beach.

To see maps, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Byron Bay travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by combination of flight and bus from Sydney to Byron Bay takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and bus. In December, daily temperatures in Byron Bay can reach 84°F, while at night they dip to 63°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sun) so you can travel to Melbourne.

Things to do in Byron Bay

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Burleigh Heads, Broken Head Beach, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Coolangatta Beach
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Coolangatta Beach ©
Coolangatta Beach
Burleigh Heads Beach ©
Burleigh Heads Beach
Cape Byron Walking Track
Cape Byron Walking Track

2
nights
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 31st (Mon): explore the world behind art at National Gallery of Victoria, then make a trip to Shrine of Remembrance, and then take in nature's colorful creations at Royal Botanic Gardens. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: meet the residents at Melbourne Zoo, kick back and relax at St. Kilda Beach, and then take in panoramic vistas at Eureka Skydeck 88.

To see reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Melbourne trip builder tool .

Do a combination of bus and flight from Byron Bay to Melbourne in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from Byron Bay in December; daily highs in Melbourne reach 78°F and lows reach 54°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Melbourne

Parks Outdoors Museums

Side Trip

St. Kilda Beach
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Royal Botanic Gardens ©
Royal Botanic Gardens
St. Kilda Beach ©
St. Kilda Beach
Shrine of Remembrance ©
Shrine of Remembrance

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