Wow, this is a hard post to write.
Having grown up in Australia and having travelled my share of the country, it’s really hard to narrow down this list.
Australia is a vast continent a fair distance from the rest of the world. One can easily spend their entire holiday in any of the major cities and be quite content.
There is a lot to see and do in each major (and minor) city and each have their merits.
But if you are looking to get a sampling of Australia and you don’t mind a bit of driving, here are our Top 5 Places to in Australia with limited time.
It’s a place where I’ve lived, so I’ve got to put it on the list! Besides, it’s the place most people say they want to go and I’m here to say, without hesitation or bias, it’s a great place to visit.
Head over to our post for Your Ultimate Day in Sydney, Australia.
Also, if you have a few days here, make sure you add Sydney Out Back to your itinerary. Seriously, prioritize this experience over the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley for a truly unique experience.
2. N.S.W. South Coast
If you have the time, take a road trip to the south coast. Go at least as far as Jervis Bay, further South if your plans allow for it. As we say in our Top 4 Reasons to head to the N.S.W. South Coast, the south coast of NSW is truly one of the best destinations in Australia.
Somehow it’s managed to keep what’s real and true about the Aussie beach lifestyle.
Check out these two posts for more: Road tripping the N.S.W. South Coast and Your Private and Serene Getaway in the Aussie Bush with The Bower at Broulee, if you are looking for a bit of luxury and escape.
This is utopia for us. Tasmania is one of Australia’s hidden secret, although it’s becoming more popular now. The best part about Tasmania is that you will experience ‘quintessential Australia’ here. You have empty beaches, stunning National parks, breathtaking views, and it’s best to experience by hiring a Campervan. The opportunities to free camp in Tasmania allow you to really see Australia at its best.
Check out these posts if you want a taste of Tasmania: What to Do in and Around Hobart If campervanning isn’t for you, check out this post: Accommodations In and Around Hobart Your Guide to Bruny Island
Relax you guys in Victoria. Melbourne is on the list.
Melbourne is so different from Sydney and each has their positives and negatives. I love Melbourne. It’s quirky. It’s easy to get around and you can have a great long weekend exploring most of it on foot and via the handy trams.
Check out our two posts on Melbourne: 48 Hours in… Melbourne, Victoria and 4 Great Ways to Save Money While Visiting Melbourne (Australia).
5. The Great Ocean Road (Victoria)
You’ve no doubt seen the photos of the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, but there’s so much more along the Great Ocean Road to discover.
I’ve road tripped the Great Ocean Road twice now. Both times, while completely different experiences, were unbelievably memorable. The landscape is breathtaking and truly worthy of the time. So, rent a car from Melbourne and discover it for yourself.
So how do you squeeze all that into two weeks?
While it may be a stretch, it can be done. Here’s our recommendation for your itinerary:
Day 1. Fly into Sydney.
Use the Ultimate Day in Sydney post as your guide. Be sure that you check the Opera House, and walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for great views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, before taking the ferry to Manly for fish and chips at the beach.
Day 2: Experience Sydney Out Back.
It’s a full day, but you’ll learn so much about Australia’s first Australians and New Australia’s history.
Day 3: Rent a car and drive head down to the N.S.W South Coast.
Your ultimate destination here over the next two days is Melbourne. Make a pit stop at Jervis Bay and plan on staying the night anywhere between South Durras and Narooma. Our recommendation is to kick it with a night of luxury the Bower at Broulee, but if you’re on a tight budget, other options are available. Check out our N.S.W South Coast post for more.
Day 4: Continue south toward Melbourne.
Stop for the night along the way at Wilsons Promontory National Park. While we haven’t adventured here yet (it’s on our list to do so this year!), check out our friend’s blog post on this awesome area over at YTravel Blog: Why Have We Not Heard of Wilsons Promontory National Park?
Day 5-7: Explore Melbourne.
Drop off the rental car. You won’t need it for the next two days! Spend two days exploring all that Melbourne has to offer.
Day 6-9: Pick up the rental car again and head to the Great Ocean Road.
I have a subscribers-only post called “48 Hours Discovering Australia’s Great Ocean Road”, so join our community and then shoot me a quick email, once you’ve signed up. I’ll be happy to send you the link!
Day 10: Head back to Melbourne and fly to Hobart.
Day 11-13: Spend 2 days exploring Southeast Tasmania. Hobart, Bruny Island…
Definitely check out Port Arthur to learn first hand about Australian Convict history (and why Australia has such strict gun laws!). Certainly head up to Mount Wellington–there’s a reason it’s near the top of TripAdvisor’s Must See list!
Day 14: Sadly, it’s time to head home
When you are ready for your Australia adventure, we recommend purchasing a book or two for where you will be travelling. These travel guides have detailed information on the best places to stay, eat, and explore.
While the information is out there on the web, internet connections aren’t always great in Australia, so it’s handy to have the travel guide in hand!
What Do YOU Think Shouldn’t Be Missed?
Been to Australia or live here? What would you add to – or replace – on this list? We know Aussies love their hometowns, so bring it on…