Australia 12 Days Itinerary & Highlights

March 12, 2020

It feels like it was just yesterday since I was sitting on the plane, about to visit my dream country, Australia. I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since I visited. Up until now I didn’t have the inspiration to write about my time there, but I miss it so much that I decided to show you what I was up to when I was there.

I’ll bite, 12 days is too short for Australia. For such a big country, there’s so much to see. But since I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, we had to prioritise the places we wanted to visit. I’ve come up with a short guide, in case you have limited holidays and want to make the most of them. Note: if you’re leaving from Europe, you should take into account that it takes roughly 2 days to get there. Considering the time difference and the flight times.

How to travel to and around Australia

First things first, the only direct flight to Australia from Europe is from London to Perth via Qantas. If you’re planning on going to the East Coast, you can then get a connecting flight from Perth or you can fly to Sydney or Melbourne directly via Emirates, Qatar or Singapore Airlines which have connections all over Europe.

We flew with Emirates as we were stopping over at Singapore first, and coming back from NZ on the way back, so the connections for us were slightly better.

Note: Everyone needs a visa to enter Australia (except New Zealand citizens) A visa is easy to get, you can apply for an e-visitor visa online which should take about 2-3 days to process. (I would still apply for the visa as early as possible to avoid hassle) With this visa you’re allowed to travel to Australia 3 months at a time.

You can travel within the country with these budget airlines:

Uluru ayers rockGreat barrier reef australia
When is the best time to go to Australia?

Probably a question everyone asks. Their summer is our winter, and our summer is their winter. I would it depends on the kind of weather you’re looking for. Since Australia is such a big country the weather is different all over.

We visited in October, when it wasn’t too cold or too hot. The weather in Australia changes drastically during their Spring & Autumn. Our first day in Sydney we were at 25 degrees, and the next day it was raining and the weather was around 16 degrees.

Meanwhile in Northeast Australia (think Cairns) the weather is humid and stays between 25-30 degrees all year. During December and January it can get really hot all over Australia, around 35-40 degrees. Plus it’s peak season meaning there will be lots of tourists and higher prices to pay for hotels and travelling.

How much will it cost to travel around Australia?

This totally depends on you. Australia is considered ‘expensive’ but personally I didn’t find it as expensive as I thought it would be. If you’re going backpacking you’ll definitely be able to save money because of how cheap hostels are.

For food we spent around 40-70€ per day (for two people) as our breakfast was included in our hotels. At a normal-ish restaurant you can expect to pay between 10-12€ per person. (€1 = $1.58)

You can book day trips to a lot of places through local travel companies or rent a car and travel around within your freedom. We used to take day trips from Melbourne from arround $100-120 AUD (around €60-80) which included travel, lunch and snacks and entries to national parks.

Where should I visit in my short time?

Now this depends on you. We had a limited amount of time so we chose the following places. We skipped the Gold Coast because I heard from a lot of people it wasn’t worth it. And obviously we didn’t get time to go to Perth because it’s on the other side of the country. Here’s what our itinerary covered.

Day 1-3: Melbourne

Explore the foodie capital of Australia and venture outside the city to explore the Great Ocean Road, Penguin beach and St Kilda. You must definitely eat at Hochi Mama for amazing Vietnamese food and try for brunch. Melbourne has the best brunch spots.

Day 4-6: Sydney

It wouldn’t be a visit to Australia without stopping over at Sydney. If you’re lucky and get good weather, you can explore the harbour area, the iconic Sydney Opera House and head on over to Bondi Beach. You can also spend the day at Manly, it’s a lovely town just 20 minutes from the Sydney Opera House and has a beautiful beach.

Day 7-8: Uluru

For a complete change of scenery head into the desert in the middle of Australia. You’ll learn more about the history of Australia and view the sunrise and sunset over Uluru, which is said to be an amazing experience.

Day 9-11: Cairns

Of course you can’t miss Cairns if you come to Australia. Home to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is full of incredible outdoor activities. One of the most popular being snorkelling/diving in the Great Barrier Reef (which I’d highly recommend!). You can also take a helicopter tour over the Reef to view it from above. You’ve also got the Daintree forest where you’ll firsthand see what it’s like to explore a rainforest, and see a whole bunch of animals like crocodiles and alligators. You also have the option to stay another few days and visit Fraser Island.

In terms of food, you’ll find a lot of places where you can try crocodile and kangaroo meat (if you’re into that sort of thing)

Day 12: Fly back home

From Cairns you can fly back to Sydney or Melbourne to then catch you flight back home!

Other places you can add to your trip:

I hope you guys enjoyed this post or felt inspired to take a trip down under. Let me know if you need any help at all! Have you ever visited Australia?

12 days in australia itinerary


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