Australia is the world’s largest inhabited island. It is so huge that we decided to create 2 itinerary options, one for the east coast and the other across Australia. Since this country is massive, the best mode of transportation is by aeroplane when travelling between cities.
The country is made up of 18% desert, one of Australia’s charms is the diversity of species that you can find here. Aside from kangaroos are the Tasmanian devil, mistletoe bird, Australian southern cassowary, and short-beaked echidna, to name a few. Australia also produces tasty wine, has great surfing spots, unique marine life, and provides free health care to its citizens. It’s easy to understand why many people decide to emigrate to Australia.
But if you can’t move here, you can instead plan an incredible vacation. You can also ride one of the world’s greatest railway journeys, sunbathe with the kangaroos, swim in the Great Barrier Reef, visit the Sydney Opera House and ride a hot air balloon – you can do all these if you’re staying for 3 weeks in Australia.
Of course, you don’t need to follow our itinerary, but maybe you can find inspiration or two when writing your own itinerary for a 3-week trip. Excited yet? Let’s start with the east coast itinerary.
RECOMMENDED DESTINATION: 3 weeks in New Zealand
HOW TO VISIT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
While the Great Barrier Reef will not be on the way of our itinerary, if you have some extra time, you can fly to Cairns. From there, you can book tours and sailing trips to visit this popular destination.
ALSO READ: Where to go on your next 3 weeks holiday
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING AUSTRALIA
If you are coming from the West, you want to make sure that you have everything prepared. It’s a long trip and you don’t want to book anything or even arrive at your destination just to be either turned away or get things not in order too early in your trip. So, here’s a little list of important things you should know about Australia:
Australia is a massive country. Flying is the best and fastest way to get from one city to another. While there are also buses and trains, it’s only suitable to use them within cities or if the place you are getting to is not far from the city itself.
The most efficient mode of transportation across the east coast of Australia is through renting a car. One-way car rental is commonly used by tourists in Australia. It is when you rent a car in one state and drop it off in another.
From Sydney to Adelaide, the price ranges anywhere from $273 to as high as $918 depending on the rental company, car brand, and model. This is for the first day. However, for the following days, you’ll just have to add smaller amounts to the total bill.
Car rental companies that offer this service
- Budget Australia
- Avis Australia
Visa and COVID Policy
Travellers from Europe, North America, East Asia, and Malaysia don’t have to worry about travel visas. You either need an electronic travel authority (ETA) or e-Visitor permit which costs about $30 and can be obtained online.
Australia opened its borders to international tourists on February 21, 2022. A visitor must be fully vaccinated (prepare your vaccination certificate/card), complete a digital passenger declaration pass 72 hours before your flight, and a negative result of the COVID-19 test taken 24 hours before your flight. Read more information.
Other basic travel tips
To travel more convenient, I use travel sites and tools to help me plan and ensure I will encounter little hassle as possible. Here are the travel sites and services I trust and use all the time:
MUST-SEE PLACES IN AUSTRALIA (pinned map)
3 WEEKS IN AUSTRALIA EAST COAST
The east coast of Australia has it all, vibrant cities, beaches, and rainforests. First, let’s discuss travelling across the east coast of Australia, starting from Sydney, then Canberra, to Adelaide.
If you have the time and patience, this itinerary can be a fun road trip. You should also make sure you pack your luggage smartly. You will be travelling far from home, bring all your necessities but do not overpack.
Sydney and Canberra for 9 days
I recommend you combine these two cities together in a week. The distance is about 300 kilometres (186 mi) or a 3-hour drive or 4-hour train. The fastest way to reach Canberra from Sydney is via plane but it is very expensive. The cheapest is via train, which would cost anywhere from $27 to $40. If you’re going to ride a bus, it could cost you anywhere from $30 to $60 and will take 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. It is also frequently included in the top 10 most liveable cities all over the world. Going for a dip in Sydney is definitely a must-do. Even if you are travelling with a pet, there are dog-friendly beaches to choose from. Aside from having more than 100 beaches, it also has numerous vibrant dining scenes and various cultural venues which is enough reason for the tourists to stay for at least a week.
- Visit the Sydney Opera house, a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Definitely do the Bridge Climb Sydney.
- Go to the Sydney Tower Eye which boasts an alfresco viewing platform called Skywalk.
- If you love amusement parks, head over to Luna Park Sydney.
- Hop aboard a harbour cruise at Circular Quay.
- Spend an afternoon walking around the Chinese Garden of Friendship or at King Street Wharf Darling Harbour
Canberra is Australia’s capital city which not many people knew. It is also one of the only places in Australia where you can fly a hot air balloon!
- Stroll around Lake Burley Griffin, where you could also bike, sail, fish, paddle or have a picnic. This is a perfect place to just unwind and chill with your family or friends.
- Check out the Australian War Memorial and National Gallery of Australia
- Wander through National Botanic Gardens, where you would see the Rainforest Gully, Red Centre Garden, Children’s Discovery walk
- If you have extra time, head over to Black Mountain Nature Park.
- Book a brewery tour
Accommodations in Sydney and Canberra
- Hostels in Sydney – Wake Up! Sydney Central or Sydney Harbour YHA
- Mid-range hotels in Sydney – Mariner’s Court Hotel or Meriton Suites
- Luxury Hotels in Sydney – Sofitel Darling Harbour or Radisson Blue Plaza or Shangri-La
- Hostels in Canberra – Unilodge or Canberra City YHA
- Mid-range hotels in Canberra – ibis Budget or The Sebel
- Luxury hotels in Canberra – Park Hyatt or Midnight Hotel
3 weeks in Australia is not complete without visiting Melbourne. Did you know that Melbourne has been declared by UNESCO as a city of literature? It was the second city in the world to become one. The city is also the sports capital of the world. Melburnians are just massive sports fans. They hold various notable sporting events here including the Formula 1 Grand Prix, Australian Open, and the Melbourne Cup.
The best way to travel across Melbourne is through public transportation, and tram. It operates throughout the day and offers multiple routes. There are even free trams that are designed for tourists. Aside from trams, buses, and trains are also available. Standard bus fares cost is about AU$2.70 to AU$3.90 (depending on the zone) for two-hour rides. The fare cost is also the same for train rides.
Things to do in Melbourne for a week
- Catch a cricket game at Melbourne Cricket Ground while you’re here and while you’re at it, you can also visit the National Sports Museum – there’s a tour that you can join
- Spend your mid-morning at the National Gallery of Victoria and your afternoon at the Shrine of Remembrance.
- Visit Federation Square which conducts regular live entertainment. It is among the largest free wifi spots in Australia.
- See the 12 Apostles without driving yourself – book a 13-hour tour
- The city’s best nightlife scenes could be found in the South Wharf Area, where the heritage sites are converted into entertainment venues. You can also climb aboard Polly Woodside, which is one of the country’s last surviving 19th-century ships.
- Join a 1-hour Garden and Sporting Precinct River Cruise
- Don’t miss the chance to spend 2.5-hour on a Wilderness Cruise – book a tour
- Take a City Circle Tram tour which is completely free. It runs every 12 minutes and a complete loop takes about 50 minutes.
- See wild animals at Werribee Open Range Zoo – get a ticket
- Feeling adventurous? Try the Skydive Melbourne.
- If you enjoyed or missed Luna Park in Sydney, you can visit Luna Park in Melbourne
- Bring your kids or yourself as a kid at heart at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
- Through the Yarra River Cruise, you’ll also get to see the city’s other famous sites such as the National Tennis Centre (Rod Laver Arena) and Royal Botanic Gardens
- Join a wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting tour
Accommodations in Melbourne
- Budget hostels – Space Hotel or Flinders Backpackers
- Mid-range hotels – The Victoria Hotel or Atlantis Hotel
- Luxury Hotels – The Langham or Crown Towers
Adelaide for 4 days
Adelaide is also well-known as a 20-minute city because it only takes 20 minutes to reach one point to another. It is considered the opal capital of Australia as well, which is perfect for jewellery lovers. Even if it is a small city, there are tons of places to visit and things to do here that’s why it is also worth a week-long stay.
The best way to get around Adelaide is through walking, trains, buses, or trams. If you prefer riding public transportation over walking, you can purchase a MetroCard or a MetroCard Visitor Pass which provides tourists with three-day unlimited travel for a fixed rate.
ALSO READ: 100 Adelaide experiences
Must-see places and activities to do in Adelaide
- Admire the stunning flora at Adelaide Botanic Garden.
- Visit the Glenelg area, which is a seaside resort where you’ll find a lot of heritage buildings – book a Catamaran Sunset Cruise
- Walk around the Art Gallery of South Australia
- Book a River Torren Cruise
- Have fun at BOUNCEinc Adelaide
- Join an eco kayaking tour at Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary
- Be awed by the diversity of flora and fauna at Cleland Conservation Park. You will also get to see Mt Lofty, Cleland Wildlife Park, and the Waterfall Gully Reserve.
- Join the famous Barossa Valley wine tour.
- Get crafty at the JamFactory, which is an interactive arts and crafts centre.
- Adelaide Oval Rooftop Climbing.
- Finish your day at Brighton Jetty and watch the sunset
Accommodations in Adelaide
- Budget hostels – Tequila Sunrise Hostel or Adelaide Central YHA
- Mid-range hotels – ibis Adelaide or Hotel Grand Chancellor
- Luxury Hotels – Mayfair Hotel or Pullman
3 WEEKS ACROSS AUSTRALIA ITINERARY
In this portion of the article, we’ll still discuss 3 weeks in Australia but stay for a shorter duration in each of the cities so that you’ll get to go to more cities. Here, we’ll discuss Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth.
Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and is the third-most populous city in Australia. However, there are dozens of interesting things about this city, like how the Spring Hill water reservoir is now an underground opera performing space.
Their city hall is also the largest city hall in Australia and the first-ever cultivated Macadamia tree in the world could also be found here. To make the most out of your stay in Brisbane, the ideal duration to stay here is four days.
The best way to get around Brisbane is through public transportation. You can ride a combination of trams, trains, ferries, and buses. Just like in the other cities, you can avail of an unlimited pass called seeQ card, which allows you to use these modes of transportation for three to five days.
Must-see places in Brisbane
- Visit galleries and museums at the Cultural Centre, including Queensland Museum and Science Centre, Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, State Library of Queensland, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, South Bank Parklands, and Wheel of Brisbane.
- Brisbane river cruise with lunch.
- Visit the Museum of Brisbane.
- Take a day trip to Moreton Island, the world’s third-largest sand island.
- Get up close with a koala and other species that you’ll only get to find in Australia at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
- Get your adrenaline fix from the Story Bridge Adventure Climb – book a tour
- Witness Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha at its entire glory.
- For crime junkies, there’s a True Crime Tour
Accommodations in Brisbane
- Budget hostels – Breeze Lodge or Brisbane YHA
- Mid-range hotels – Royal On The Park or Meriton Suites
- Luxury Hotels – Emporium Hotel or W Brisbane
This city was already mentioned in another section of this article. However, that one was focused on Sydney and Canberra and the transportation between the two cities whereas this portion would focus solely on Sydney. Four days would also be enough to explore this city.
Top-rated Sydney attractions
- Bondi beach and for a good reason. Bondi beach is a perfect place to surf. Aside from that, you can also stroll through a walking track called Manly Walk and take a well-deserved selfie at Bondi iceberg’s pool.
- Check out the Sydney Opera House.
- Chill and unwind at Sydney’s highest bar, Bar 83.
- Sydney’s Harbor Cruise with 3-course meal.
- You can go to Dharawal National Park for an indigenous walking tour.
- Golden Age Cinema is perfect for movie buffs as they play the latest indie movies.
Spending 3 weeks in Australia is not complete without visiting Melbourne. This is well-known for being the richest city during the gold rush era. You can also experience the 4 seasons in one day here. It is a pretty common occurrence in Melbourne, which is nothing short of amazing.
Melbourne is also perfect for coffee lovers because it is the city with the most cafes per capita and they are also considered the fox capital of the world. In just 4 days, you can see and do many things in Melbourne.
Perth is Western Australia’s capital. This city is usually overshadowed by its neighbouring cities but it has its charms as well. It is the world’s largest producer of gold and the only place in the world where you can find the species called quokkas.
It has one of the world’s longest straight railway tracks. Unlike some of the cities in Australia which have unpredictable weather, Perth has great weather that’s why walking and biking are possible throughout the year.
You can get around Perth through trains, buses, or ferries. You can purchase a TransPerth SmartRider card in which you’ll get fare discounts.
Famous landmarks and activities in Perth
There are so many places you could visit in Perth and around the area. If you have a car, you should also check out a few day trips from Perth.
- Visit Elizabeth Quay which is a hotspot for Perth Nightlife. Not to worry if you brought your kids with you because they have kid-friendly attractions as well.
- Mandurah Dolphin Watching
- Perth Mint is a must-see for those who are curious about Western Australia’s gold history.
- Book a Murray River Cruise
- Art Gallery of Western Australia houses artworks made by local and international artists from 1829 up to now.
- Visit Rottnest Island and ride the ferry and bike.
- Have a stroll at Kings Park and botanic garden, which is one of the world’s largest inner-city parks.
- Join a romantic Perth Swan River Dinner Cruise
- Enjoy Perth’s beaches, which include Cottesloe, one of the most popular beaches in the city.
- Have fun at Escape This – Escape room challenge
Accommodations in Perth
- Budget hostels – Hostel G or Spinners Hostel
- Mid-range hotels – Doubletree by Hilton or Great Southern Hotel
- Luxury Hotels – The Westin or The Ritz-Carlton
SUMMARY OF 3 WEEKS IN AUSTRALIA
It is advisable to plan ahead of your trip and book the various attractions where you’ll go and accommodations where you’ll stay as opposed to having a spontaneous trip, especially nowadays.
That’s why we compiled a list of places you could go to during your three weeks in Australia. We also included the best mode of transportation per city. We hope that this 3 weeks in Australia itinerary has been helpful and that you’ll consider going to Australia on your trip.