14-day Australia Itinerary Options – Classic, Foodie + Adventure

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Australia has traditionally been called ‘the Last Frontier’ and from the travel perspective it is not difficult to see why. Residing towards the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere, nestled in between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is a destination that many international visitors need to take at least two flights to reach. This country is so big, it is the only nation in the world that covers a whole continent. Extending for 4000 km from the east coast to the west coast, and for around 3200 km from its most northeastern point of the Cape York Peninsula to its southeastern most point of Wilsons Promontory, it is a place so big that some people own farms the size of Belgium!

It is also a country with wildlife, ecosystems, cultural experiences and incredible natural beauty that you won’t find anywhere else on earth.
For many tourists, Australia is the number one destination on their bucketlist. However, due to its sheer size and scale, most visitors barely scratch the surface of what the land down under has to offer. Ideally, you need as much time as possible to visit the nation, which the locals call the ‘Lucky Country’. But if you don’t have much at your disposal, you are going to have to maximise your travel adventure. If you are planning a visit for the first time, creating an Australian itinerary is not easy as there’s so much to see. You’ll obviously need to tailor yours to what you specifically want to see and do. However, in this post, I’ll showcase three themes you might want to embrace.

Australia Itineraries For First Time Visitors

Australian Itinerary Tips

Australia is very different from most other countries you might go to so, before I outline the itineraries, it is a good idea to run you through some useful tips for visiting it.

Firstly, there is no ‘best time to visit Australia’ as a whole; only the best time to visit certain places and attractions.

For this reason, you should make a point of researching the weather conditions and other factors that might determine a good time to venture to a particular place.

You can hire a car and easily drive around as the roads are good but be mindful that because Australia is so big it can take a bit of time to get between places.

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Many visitors have grand plans of visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Great Barrier Reef within the space of a week, without realising that they will spend a lot of time in transit.

It is best to take a “less is more” approach and focus on seeing fewer destinations in a lot more depth.

To visit Australia, all foreign nationals, except those from New Zealand, will need a visa, as they will not be allowed entry into the country without one.

Once you’re in the country, buy a local SIM card as this will enable you to use their mobile phones whenever you need – there aren’t many public telephones left in Australia.

Lastly, Australia leads the world when it comes to rates of skin cancer, so whenever you are out in the sun don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated, wear a hat and sunglasses and apply plenty of sunscreen.

Australian Itinerary Options

When visiting Australia for the first time, it’s helpful to have a theme to base your sightseeing activities. Below are three I would recommend.

Classic Australian Itinerary

Day 1 and 2 – Uluru
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Uluru is a stunning landmark to see on your Australia itinerary.

Uluru is not only Australia’s most iconic landmark but also one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

Rising majestically to a height of 348 metres, this 550 million-year-old sandstone monolith is a deeply spiritual place with a powerful presence.

As soon as you set eyes on it, your skin will break out into goosebumps!

Often referred to as the ‘Red Centre’, Uluru is in the magnificent Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

As it is a sacred site, walking on it is considered disrespectful.

However, you can stroll around its base with a traditional owner, partake in a camel tour, or dine under the stars at night with it as a backdrop.

Recommended tour: Uluru Base Segway Tour at Sunrise

Day 3 and 6 – Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is another of Australia’s blockbuster attractions.

As the largest coral reef system in the world, it stretches for around 2300 km and covers an area of 344,400 square kilometres, roughly the size of Japan.

It comprises more than 2,900 individual reefs and around 900 islands and is home to 1625 species of fish, over 30 species of dolphins and whales, and 1,450 species of hard and soft coral.

You can explore this World Heritage-listed site from various points across Queensland, including Cairns, Mackay and Bundaberg – with snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking and sailing being the most popular activities.

However, if your budget can stretch to it, I’d recommend flying over it. The view is spectacular!

Recommended tour: From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

Day 7 and 8 – Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road Australia
The Great Ocean Road is a popular driving route to take on an Australian 2-week itinerary.

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most famous and scenic driving routes in Australia.

Spanning 243 km along the stunning south-west coastline of Victoria, this iconic drive takes you through a diverse tapestry of landscapes that showcase the areas jaw-dropping beauty.

The winding road takes you up and down headlands, traverses sheer limestone cliffs and overlooks spectacular beaches.

It also guides you through lush rainforests and past river estuaries.

Of course, the main highlight is the famous 12 Apostles.

However, you can also visit several charming seaside town, as well as the Great Otway National Park and Port Campbell National Park along the way.

Recommended tour: From Melbourne: Great Ocean Road and Wildlife Tour

Day 9 and 11 – Sydney Harbour
View Of Sydney Harbour And The Opera House
The Sydney Harbour and Opera House is an unmissable icon to add to your Australia trip itinerary.

There is no question that Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbours and while you might be familiar with it from what you’ve seen on TV and read, nothing beats spending some quality time here.

Boasting more than 240 km of shoreline, this area features plenty of pristine beaches, landscaped gardens and areas of natural bushland, that are all beautifully offset by the shimmering water.

It is also accommodates some big-ticket attractions, such as Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and Taronga Zoo, as well as plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and other cultural attractions.

Recommended tour: Sydney Harbour: Thunder Thrill Ride

Day 12 and 14 – The Kimberley
Lake Argyle Is Western Australia's Largest Man-Made Reservoir
The Kimberley is a remote and wild place to include on an Australia travel itinerary.

If you want to discover the ‘real Australia’, it doesn’t get too much more real than the Kimberley.

One of the most sparsely populated areas on the planet, it covers a landmass roughly the size of Germany but is home to only 40,000 people – half of which are indigenous.

As one of the world’s last remaining wilderness frontiers, the area has several majestic canyons, some with rock formations that date back 2 billion years.

It is also defined by its exotic wildlife, freshwater swimming holes and sprinkling of outback stations that reside in the remotest of places.

However, don’t be fooled by its desolation.

The Kimberley is also renowned for its friendly locals, luxury accommodation, excellent culinary scene and stunning beaches. All of which make it a magical place.

Recommended tour: Cygnet Bay Unique Tidal Waterfall Reefs Scenic Cruise

Itinerary for Foodies And Oenophiles

Day 1 and 2 – Hunter Valley, NSW
Hunter Valley Panorama
Hunter Valley, NSW – a top wine region to include in an Australia itinerary of 10 days or more.

Located northwest of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is the birthplace of Australian wine.

The area accommodates more than 150 cellar doors and is renowned for its superb varietals of Shiraz, Verdelho and Semillon.

Some of the best venues to visit include Peterson House, Tyrell’s and the Lambloch Estate, all of which offer plenty of samples and delicious charcueterie boards.

Aside from being Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley has a strong background in farming.

This has resulted in it developing a robust reputation for being a gourmet getaway, with plenty of restaurants offering delicious farm-to-plate experiences.

Recommended tour: Hunter Valley: Uncork the Hunter Full-Day Wine Tour

Day 3 and 5 – Yarra Valley, VIC
Black Grapes In Crate At Vineyard Yarra Valley Victoria Australia
The Yarra Valley, VIC, is another wine destination to add to your Australia itinerary is you have 14 days or more.

The Yarra Valley, just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, is unquestionably the home of Victorian wine.

Its cool, sun-kissed locale is home to more than 80 wineries, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being among their most coveted drops.

Comprising a breathtaking landscape of remote natural valleys, verdant pastures blue mountain backdrops and rolling hilly vineyards, the area is home to charming villages like Warburton, Marysville, Healesville and Yarra Glen.

One of the best ways to see them is from above in a hot air balloon.

However, you should also spend a couple of nights at any of them in a self-contained cottage, boutique B&B, or at a winery retreat to really get to know them.

Recommended tours:

Day 6 and 8 – Barossa Valley, SA

The Barossa Valley is a highly acclaimed wine region which is located about a 50 minute drive from Adelaide.

It incorporates the towns of Angaston, Nuriootpa and Tanunda among its most notable destinations.

Overall, there are more than 80 cellar doors you can visit, including Whistler Wines, Chateau Tanunda and Penfolds.

While foodies should explore the legendary Epicurean Way, where you will find some of the best local produce and artisanal eateries in Australia.

The area’s gorgeous landscape makes it another destination worth seeing from the air.

Recommended tours:

Day 9 and 10 – Margaret River, WA
Roast Duck With Seared Scallops At Winery Restaurant In Margaret River
Margaret River, WA, is a splendid destination for foodies on an Australia itinerary 2 weeks is not enough.

Nestled on the South West Coast of Western Australia, the Margaret River region is a beautiful area that runs from Busselton to Augusta.

Taking you along the coastline around Geographe Bay it is home to more than 200 wineries, thanks to it possessing an oceanic climate that is tailor made for growing grapes.

This area is famous around the world for its many different varietals, which include Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Rose and Cabernet Franc.

You can taste some of these at Pierro and Wills Domain, two of the most highly regarded wineries in the region.

When not sampling wine, make sure you head to the many spectacular beaches in the area.

You’ll find stunning coastal walking paths, mysterious caves and plenty of top-class surfing spots aplenty at them.

Recommended tour: From Margaret River: Margaret River Wine Adventure

Day 11 and 14 – Darwin, NT

For foodies looking for a taste of Asia, Darwin is the place to be.

The city offers an incredible range of culinary experiences, thanks largely to its proximity to countries like Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and the native ingredients available from the area.

Overall, Darwin offers so many international restaurants and food trucks its difficult to know where to start – though Mindil Markets is as good a place as any.

So, whether you fancy a laksa, Sri Lanka string hoppers, Greek mezedes or crocodile in betel leaf, follow your nose to embrace the gastronomic adventure.

Itinerary for Outdoor/Adventure Seekers

Day 1 and 4 – Drive the Nullabor

If you love to drive, there is no better place to do it in Australia than across the Nullarbor.

More commonly known as the Eyre Highway, it covers a distance of around 1200 km, linking Ceduna in South Australia with Norseman in Western Australia.

What makes this iconic drive such a ‘must-do’ activity is that it gives you a full appreciation of the remoteness and desolation that comprise the mystical ‘Outback’ of Australia.

While traversing the straightest, flattest, and longest road in the country, you’ll enjoy a transcontinental journey full of unbelievable experiences, including driving for 200 km along the Bunda Cliffs – the world’s longest continuous line of cliffs.

Day 5 and 7 – 4WD K’gari (Fraser Island)
Cars Parking On The Main Transportation Highway On Fraser Island
Hire a 4WD and explore K’gari (Fraser Island) on an Australia itinerary 7 days.

Another terrific place for driving is K’gari (formerly known as Fraser Island).

This World Heritage-listed site is the largest sand island in the world, making it a perfect destination to explore via 4WD.

Located about 15km from the mainland from Hervey Bay and about 300 km up from Brisbane, it stretches for 123 km in length and has a width of 22 km.

It accommodates white sandy beaches, dense tropical rainforest and shimmering freshwater lakes that offer the ultimate in serenity.

As well as 4WD, camping, walking, mountain biking, boating and fishing are popular activities. You may even see whales during their annual migration.

Recommended tour: From Hervey Bay: K’gari, Fraser Island Full-Day Coach Tour

Day 8 and 10 – Sail the Whitsundays
Boats At Whitsunday
Sailing the Whitsundays is a wonderful activity but you’d need more than a 2-week Australia itinerary to fit it in.

The Whitsundays are a beautiful collection of 74 islands that start roughly 55 km off the coast of Queensland.

For those wanting to enjoy spectacular secluded beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, this destination offers it all.

Sailing is the best way to experience them, whether that be via motor boat, yacht or catamaran (all of which could be hired).

Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Chalkies Beach, Bali Hai, and Butterfly Bay are some stand-out places to go.

During your exploration, you’ll be able to swim, snorkel, scuba dive and go fishing.

Recommended tour: Whitsundays Ocean Rafting Tour: Snorkel, Walk & Whitehaven

Day 11 and 13 – Ride Camels on Cable Beach, WA
Camel Ride At Sunset
Riding Camels on Cable Beach, WA is an iconic activity to include in a 10-day Australia itinerary in the west.

If you’ve ever seen images of people riding camels in Australia on the beach at sunset, then the chances are you are already familiar with Cable Beach.

One of the most famous beaches in WA, this beach is not far from Broome in the northern part of the state and has 22 km of sun-drench sand.

While camel rides are the main attraction, this is another excellent beach for 4WD. You can also explore the sand dunes, hike the trails of Minyirr Park or take a boat out fishing.

Given its length, the beach has plenty of space for sunbathing, as well as a dedicated section for those who want to don their birthday suit.

Book a camel ride here.

Day 14 – Swim with Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef
Coral On Reef
Snorkelling with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef is an adventurous activity to include in an Australia road trip itinerary.

Also in Western Australia, the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park is one of Australia’s largest fringing reefs.

Accommodating hundreds of fish and coral species, it is a prime spot for snorkelling with the whale sharks.

In the warm, clear waters, you’ll be able to swim with these magnificent creatures, no doubt with your heart racing at a million miles an hour!

If that thought sends shivers down your spine, you can always choose to see them, as well as humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays or dugongs on a glass-bottom boat tour.

Recommended tour: Coral Bay: Ningaloo Reef Swim and Snorkel with Whale Sharks

Looking for more itineraries? Try these:

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Spencer Samaroo
Spencer is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years experience producing written content for tourism-related businesses. A thalassophile who was afflicted with wanderlust from a young age, he has visited over 40 countries in the world. An ex-pat Brit who now lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he cites Miami Beach in the USA and Palm Cove in Australia as his favourite travel destinations. Specialising in writing about beach destinations around the world, he would probably bleed sand if you cut his arm open