Australia’s size and its distance from Northern Hemisphere destinations are the two most daunting things about planning a visit. A week or two in Australia is just enough time to scrape the surface of this vast, complex, and fascinating place. It’s a long way to come for just a week, but if that’s all you can spare, you still want to see as much as possible. While my inclination is to immerse myself in one spot, I know that not everyone can do that. Seeing as much as possible is often a priority, so here are some ideas on how to do just that.
If you’re a first-time visitor, with only 1 or 2 weeks, you may find these two itineraries most helpful: “Australia in 1 Week” or “Australia in 2 Weeks.” These itineraries can be adapted to suit your needs; for example, you could substitute the Cairns section of “Australia in 1 Week” for the Uluru/Red Centre suggestions in “Australia in 2 Weeks,” flying from Sydney to Uluru.
If you’re traveling as a family, the “Australia for Families” itinerary is designed to give you some ideas on keeping the young ones occupied (while still being interesting for parents!).
Getting around this continent, where major attractions are thousands of miles apart, can be daunting and time-consuming. Flying is the only way to cover long distances efficiently, but unfortunately it also can be expensive. Remember to build flying time into your itineraries, and don’t try to pack in too much on the days you fly—even domestic flights can be draining, some clocking in at around 3 hours.
My best advice: If the pace gets too hectic, just chill out and reorder your sightseeing priorities. Take time to meet the locals and ask their advice on what you should see as well.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.