17 days in Sydney, Brisbane Region & Cairns Region Itinerary

17 days in Sydney, Brisbane Region & Cairns Region Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Sydney, Brisbane Region & Cairns Region Itinerary

Start: Reno
Fly:  20​h 15​min
1
Sydney
— 2 nights
Fly + Drive:  5​h 30​min
2
Bribie Island
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h
3
North Stradbroke Island
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
4
Macleay Island
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Tamborine Mountain
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 15​min
6
Cairns
— 5 nights
Fly:  26​h
End: Reno

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.
Take a break from the city and head to Bondi Beach and Shelly Beach. You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Manly Beach and Clovelly. Next up on the itinerary: trek along Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk, wander the streets of Darling Harbour, browse the eclectic array of goods at Sydney Fish Market, and stop by Giulians.

For reviews and tourist information, read our Sydney road trip tool .

New York City, USA to Sydney is an approximately 26-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also fly; or do a combination of bus, flight, and train. Traveling from New York City to Sydney, you'll lose 15 hours due to the time zone difference. Prepare for warmer weather when traveling from New York City in December: high temperatures in Sydney hover around 81°F and lows are around 65°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Sun) early enough to travel to Bribie Island.

Things to do in Sydney

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Shelly Beach
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk ©
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk
Manly Beach
Manly Beach

3
nights
Bribie Island

Bribie Island ©
We've included these beaches for you: Sylvan Beach and Red Beach. Attractions like Woorim Beach and Bribie Island Butterfly House make great kid-friendly stops.

For other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Bribie Island trip itinerary planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Sydney to Bribie Island. In December, daytime highs in Bribie Island are 82°F, while nighttime lows are 68°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to North Stradbroke Island.

Things to do in Bribie Island

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 2:
Highlights from your plan
BBQ Boat Hire ©
BBQ Boat Hire
Bribie Island Butterfly House ©
Bribie Island Butterfly House
Ferryman Cruises ©
Ferryman Cruises

2
nights
North Stradbroke Island

North Stradbroke Island ©
On the 3rd (Thu), explore the engaging exhibits at North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum, then explore the activities along Brown Lake, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Amity Point Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 4th (Fri): kick back and relax at Frenchman's Beach, take some stellar pictures from North Gorge Walk, take a leisurely stroll along Amity Point Jetty, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Cylinder Beach, and finally stroll the grounds of Dunwich Cemetery.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our North Stradbroke Island travel route planning app .

Getting from Bribie Island to North Stradbroke Island by car takes about 4.5 hours. In January, plan for daily highs up to 83°F, and evening lows to 70°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) early enough to travel to Macleay Island.

Things to do in North Stradbroke Island

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Frenchman's Beach ©
Frenchman's Beach
Brown Lake ©
Brown Lake

1
night
Macleay Island

Macleay Island ©
On the 5th (Sat), take in the exciting artwork at Macleay Island Art Complex, view the masterpieces at Kara-Mia's Mosaics, and then kick back and relax at Dalpura Beach.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Macleay Island route planner.

Traveling by car from North Stradbroke Island to Macleay Island takes 4.5 hours. In January, daily temperatures in Macleay Island can reach 86°F, while at night they dip to 70°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sat) so you can travel to Tamborine Mountain.

Things to do in Macleay Island

Shopping Museums Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Kara-Mia's Mosaics ©
Kara-Mia's Mosaics

1
night
Tamborine Mountain

Tamborine Mountain ©
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sun): stop by Flights of Fancy, look for gifts at Tamborine Tea, stop by The Treat Shop, stop by Canungra Books and Art, then appreciate the history behind Canungra War Memorial, and finally look for gifts at Chocolates on Gallery Walk.

For where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read Tamborine Mountain trip planner .

Getting from Macleay Island to Tamborine Mountain by car takes about 3 hours. Expect a daytime high around 82°F in January, and nighttime lows around 69°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) so you can travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Tamborine Mountain

Shopping Wineries

Side Trip

Canungra
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
The Treat Shop ©
The Treat Shop
Canungra Books and Art ©
Canungra Books and Art
Flights of Fancy ©
Flights of Fancy

5
nights
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Palm Cove Beach and Sunday Market Port Douglas. Kids will enjoy Scuba & Snorkeling and Birdworld Kuranda. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Cairns: Hartley's Crocodile Adventures (in Palm Cove), Four Mile Beach (in Port Douglas) and Jaques Coffee Plantation (in Mareeba). There's still lots to do: identify plant and animal life at Michaelmas Cay and trek along Esplanade Boardwalk.

For traveler tips, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Cairns trip planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Tamborine Mountain to Cairns in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, train, and flight; or drive. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Tamborine Mountain in January; daily highs in Cairns reach 89°F and lows reach 75°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Cairns

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Port Douglas, Palm Cove, Birdworld Kuranda, Jaques Coffee Plantation
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Palm Cove Beach ©
Palm Cove Beach
Birdworld Kuranda ©
Birdworld Kuranda

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