With its sprawling desert bush, thick rainforests and white sandy beaches, Australia is an exciting and fascinating holiday spot. But how do you see as much as possible in 10 days?
What many tourists overlook is the sheer size of this continent, which is over 31 times the size of the UK. With so much to see in this massive country, from the crystal waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the dusty elegance of Uluru, here’s a great itinerary with recommendations on how to spend those ten days. Start by booking flights to Sydney. (Sydney has more international connections and therefore more competition on prices)
Day 1Arrive in Sydney, where you’ll be staying for two nights. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, it has a stunning harbour and beautiful beaches, such as poser’s paradise Bondi Beach and laid-back Coogee Bay. Enjoy some time relaxing after the long flight, or explore the city’s exciting shopping and eating opportunities. In the evening you can experience Sydney’s famous nightlife, with its plush harbour-side bars, fun pubs and sensational clubs, offering a variety of music and entertainment to suit all tastes.
There’s plenty to keep you busy in this bustling city, so maybe spend the day exploring Sydney’s impressive historical sites. The Queen Victoria Building, Darling Harbour, the Sydney Opera House and The Rocks are just some of the fascinating attractions on offer and you can take a trip to the observation deck of the Sydney Tower for breath-taking panoramic views from the highest point in the city. Perhaps you could consider taking a boat ride to explore some of the stunning harbour suburbs such as Potts Point, ritzy Double Bay, Manly and Watson’s Bay. Those who are brave enough can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for unique views of the harbour.
Day 3After the excitement of Sydney, take the scenic two-hour train journey to Katoomba and spend the day exploring the stunning Blue Mountains. Named after the distinctive blue haze from the evaporating oil of millions of eucalyptus trees, this World Heritage Site is home to over 1500 species of plants and an abundance of birds and wildlife. Visit the Katoomba Scenic World tourist centre with the ‘world’s steepest’ Scenic Railway and the Scenic Skyway, as well as a theatre, shop and revolving restaurant.
In the afternoon you can view the stunning rock formations of The Three Sisters and enjoy the walking trail that descends to the bottom of the valley. Take a jumper because the forest acts like a canopy so it can get cool.
Now it’s time to leave Sydney and take a flight to Ayers Rock, now called Uluru. This incredible area is situated right in the centre of the arid Australian bush, far from city lights and bustling streets. The distinctive rock formations are an impressive sight and an unmissable attraction for any visitor to Australia. From here you can also enjoy spectacular star displays and unique wildlife such as dingoes, eagles, wallabies and emus.
There are so many tour options around Uluru each offering a different way to explore the area. Perhaps you could begin your day with a sunrise camel tour and take a cultural tour with an Aboriginal guide. You can also visit other nearby rock formations, including the Olgas – a collection of 36 rounded, red domes only 32 kilometres away.
Finish your day with a sunset dinner overlooking Uluru and soak up the stunning range of colours that this imposing rock takes on as the sun descends. Relish the opportunity to taste emu, kangaroo or barramundi under the remarkable starlit sky.
From Uluru you can enjoy a tour of Kings Canyon, which is situated within the Watarrka National Park and rises 270 metres high. A walk around the rim provides spectacular views and takes around three to four hours, or you can stroll through the canyon gorge in around an hour.
The longer walk will take you through the Lost City beehive rock formations and past the tropical oasis pools of the Garden of Eden. There is a wealth of history, geology, flora and fauna to learn about and some fantastic opportunities for photographers.
Fly from the dry heat of the centre to the tropical warmth of Cairns and, if you have time, spend the afternoon relaxing on the beautiful waterfront Esplanade. Here you can enjoy shopping, sample the many restaurants and cafes or swim in the salt water lagoon pool.
From Cairns you can visit the Great Barrier Reef – one of the seven wonders of the natural world. You can spend a day visiting some of the nearby islands and reefs by boat or enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving among the spectacular coral formations. Expect to see rays, dolphins, sea turtles, giant clams, whales, over 1500 species of tropical fish and more than 200 types of birds in this outstanding area of natural beauty.
Take a day trip to the Daintree Forest National Park. Here you can witness the unique and beautiful tropical fauna and wildlife of this 76, 000 hectare National Park – the largest area of tropical rainforest remaining in Australia.
With some of the world’s oldest trees, rare plants, more than 430 types of birds and animals such as cassowary, platypus, water dragon and kangaroo, there will be plenty of fantastic wildlife to spot.
Take a guided tour deep into the rainforest where you can cool off and swim in a river or rock pool. Head down to the beach to explore the reefs or discover Aboriginal sites and learn about this fascinating culture. You might want to consider a wildlife cruise, allowing you to explore the Daintree River, try your hand at barramundi fishing and get close to real Aussie saltwater crocodiles.
Fly back to Sydney for your return journey home. You’ll be sad to leave, but there’s so much more of Australia left to explore, you can start preparing for your next trip!