Route & dates
17 days in Sydney, Melbourne & Cairns Itinerary
Start: New York City
bus + Fly: 26h
Sydney— 4 nights
Fly: 3h 30min
Melbourne— 4 nights
Fly: 5h 45min
Cairns— 6 nights
Fly + bus: 23h 15min
End: New York City
The Harbour City
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.The Rocks and The National Pass will appeal to history buffs. Visit Manly Beach and Bondi Beach for some beach relaxation. Take a break from Sydney with a short trip to Wentworth Falls in Katoomba, about 1h 30 min away. There's much more to do: take a stroll through Darling Harbour, steep yourself in history at Vaucluse House, get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, and examine the collection at Australian National Maritime Museum.
Start your trip to Sydney by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.
New York City, USA to Sydney is an approximately 26-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also do a combination of bus, flight, and train. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Australian Eastern Standard Time (New South Wales) is 15 hours. In December, Sydney is much warmer than New York City - with highs of 81°F and lows of 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Melbourne.
Things to do in Sydney
The National Pass, Wentworth Falls
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 31:
Australia's Garden City
The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.Visit Shrine of Remembrance and Old Melbourne Gaol for their historical value. Get a sense of the local culture at Melbourne Museum and National Gallery of Victoria. Spend the 2nd (Thu) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. And it doesn't end there: take in the local highlights with Royal Botanic Gardens, go for a walk through ACDC Lane, take in panoramic vistas at Eureka Skydeck 88, and soar above the sights with a balloon tour.
For more things to do, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Melbourne route app .
You can fly from Sydney to Melbourne in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Sydney in December since evenings lows in Melbourne dip to 54°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can travel to Cairns.
Things to do in Melbourne
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 4:
The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
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.We've included these beaches for you: Four Mile Beach and Palm Cove Beach. Take a break from the city and head to Safaris and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Venture out of the city with trips to Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas (in Port Douglas) and Hartley's Crocodile Adventures (in Palm Cove). Spend the 5th (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. It doesn't end there: stroll through Esplanade Boardwalk and take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Monica's Cathedral.
To see photos, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, read Cairns trip tool .
Traveling by flight from Melbourne to Cairns takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. In January, Cairns is a bit warmer than Melbourne - with highs of 89°F and lows of 75°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 10th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.
Things to do in Cairns
Port Douglas, Palm Cove
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 10:
19 days in Australia BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 23 days in Cairns, Sydney & Melbourne BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, teens, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 18 days in Australia BY A USER FROM INDIA June, popular sights PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 18 days in Australia BY A USER FROM INDIA June, popular sights PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 21 days in Cairns BY A USER FROM IRELAND July, kids, popular sights PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 21 days in Sydney BY A USER FROM BELGIUM September, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 18 days in Sydney, Fraser Island & Cairns BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 19 days in Australia BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND May, popular sights PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium