3 Weeks in Australia Itinerary

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Australia is one of the largest countries in the world and the only country named after the continent. 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. You should also know that there are three time zones in Australia, and not all parts of the country adapt to Daylist Saving Time, which adds two extra time zones.

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 and 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.



While the Great Barrier Reef will not be on 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.

If you book a 3-week cruise, it’s highly possible that there’s a port stop in Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef.


sydney opera house, koala, melbourne houses - 3 WEEKS IN AUSTRALIA

If you are coming from the West, you want to ensure everything is prepared. It’s a long trip, and you don’t want to book anything or even arrive at your destination just to be turned away or get things not in order too early. So, here’s a little list of important things you should know about Australia:

ALSO READ: Where to go on your next 3 weeks holiday

When is the best time to visit Australia

Spring (September to November) or fall season (March to May) is the best time to travel to Australia. Within these months, it’s neither too hot nor too cold in the country, making it more comfortable to travel around. It’s also outside the peak season, so the prices are relatively good.

The busiest season in Australia is in summer (December to February) when school is on break, it’s summer, and many Australians living abroad tend to visit home. During this time of the year, the cost of travelling around Australia is much higher due to demand.

The rainy season in Australia is from November to April, making December and March the wettest months. Regardless, it’s still warm and can be humid during this time, and it’s still a popular time of the year to visit.

The winter time in Australia is from May to August. Although cloudy and can be freezing, it’s not uncommon to have sunshine and good days. The price of tourism-related services in these months is low, which is ideal if you prefer to avoid the high cost and big crowds anyway.

If you’re spending more time in Melbourne, it’s best that you read this best time to visit Melbourne guide to have a more in-depth idea when it comes to planning your itinerary.

Getting around

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 Australia is renting a car, especially if you’re planning to visit cities not too far from one another. Tourists in Australia commonly use one-way car rentals. 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
  • Rentalcars
  • Hertz
  • Ace
  • Thrifty

Are 3 weeks enough for Australia

The simple answer is no. Australia is a massive country. Do you know that you can pretty much fit Europe at least 1.5x in Australia? Travelling cross-country takes days and is not recommended.

It’s better to stick to one coast during your visit to make the most of your time. Most people will spend their trip on the East Coast if it’s your first time here. If you prefer fewer touristy locations, go to the South or West Coast. You can fit 3-4 cities on your travel itinerary, maybe 5 if they’re close to one another.

3 weeks in Australia budget

Australia is not an affordable destination for a 3-week trip. On average cost, you should expect to spend around $3,500 for a 20-day vacation in Australia (that’s $175 a day) if you want to have a private room and maybe get a rental car.

For backpackers planning to go to Australia, you can stay in shared dorms and budget around $1,800. You’ll also be required to take buses and trains when getting from point A to B.

For those planning a luxurious trip, $5,000 will be a good budget to stay in four or five-star hotels most of the time and dine at fancier restaurants.

These numbers are in USD and don’t calculate your flight to get to Australia and out. It also doesn’t include your travel insurance or other travel items you wish to bring with you. This is calculated for a single person, add 80% of the cost if you’re travelling with another person and plan to share a room.

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 an 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 have a negative result of the COVID-19 test taken 24 hours before your flight. Read more information.

Other basic travel tips

To travel more conveniently, I use travel sites and tools to help me plan and ensure I will encounter as little hassle as possible. Here are the travel sites and services I trust and use all the time:



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. This is an ideal itinerary if you’re visiting Australia for the first time.

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 travel far from home, so bring all your necessities, but do not overpack.

We also have a specific itinerary if you prefer to spend 3 weeks on the East Coast of Australia only.

Day-to-day overview

  • Day 1: Arrive in Sydney and pick up your rental car or arrange an airport transfer to your hotel.
  • Day 2 to 5: Explore Sydney and a get city tour bus ticket.
  • Day 6: Drive or get to Canberra from Sydney
  • Day 6 to 8: Enjoy Canberra
  • Day 9: Fly from Canberra or Sydney to Adelaide
  • Day 9 to 12: Discover Adelaide
  • Day 13: Fly or take a bus from Adelaide to Melbourne
  • Day 13 to 16: Explore Melbourne
  • Day 17: Fly from Melbourne to Tasmania
  • Day 17 to 20: Enjoy Tasmia
  • Day 21: Fly to Sydney to catch the flight home

Sydney and Canberra for 8 days

I recommend you combine these two cities together in a week. The distance is about 300 kilometres (186 mi), a 3-hour drive or a 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 tourists to stay for at least a week.


Canberra is Australia’s capital city, which not many people know. It is also one of the only places in Australia where you can fly a hot air balloon. This city features a mix of cultural richness and natural beauty.

Home to significant national institutions like the Australian War Memorial, National Gallery, and Parliament House, it offers insights into the country’s history and governance. Surrounded by bushland and nestled near Lake Burley Griffin, the city also provides recreational activities and scenic spots.

Accommodations in Sydney and Canberra

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 also considered Australia’s opal capital, 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.

Walking, trains, buses, or trams is the best way to get around Adelaide. 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. 

Since Sydney and Canberra are both too far to drive to Adelaide, it’s best to book a 2-hour and 10-minute direct flight. This means that if you rent a car, you should schedule to drop it off at the airport where you’re flying from.

ALSO READ: 100 Adelaide experiences

Must-see places and activities to do in Adelaide

Accommodations in Adelaide

Melbourne for 4 days

melbourne clock tower, tram - 3 WEEKS IN AUSTRALIA

3 weeks in Australia is not complete without visiting Melbourne. Did you know that UNESCO has declared Melbourne 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 massive sports fans. They hold various notable sporting events here, including the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the 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.

You can drive from Adelaide to Melbourne, but it will take nearly 9 hours with breaks. A non-stop flight is only 1 hr and 20 minutes.

Things to do in Melbourne for a week

Accommodations in Melbourne

Tasmania for 4 days

As the final leg of your trip, it’s time to fly from Melbourne to Tasmania. There are three main airports, but flying to Hobart is the most recommended. This also means that you can fly from Hobart back to Sydney if you’re flight home is leaving there anyway.

Tasmania, a gem of Australia, offers pristine wilderness, unique wildlife, and a rich heritage. From the beautiful Cradle Mountain to the historic Port Arthur site and the vibrant Salamanca Market in Hobart, it’s a haven for nature lovers and culture enthusiasts alike.

With its diverse landscapes, artisanal food and wine scene, and the chance to spot the elusive Tasmanian devil, Tasmania is a great way to end your 20 days in Australia.

For this part, it’s best to rent a car to get around the island and save some time. You can pick up the vehicle at Hobart Airport and plan to return it there as well.

Things to do in Hobart, Tasmania

Accommodations in Hobart, Tasmania


In this portion of the article, we’ll still discuss 3 weeks in Australia but stay for a shorter duration in each city so that you’ll get to go to more cities. Here, we’ll discuss Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth.

This is an ideal itinerary for those who want to see the top destinations but also the less-travelled part of Australia to get away from crowds of tourists.

Day-to-day overview

  • Day 1: Land in Brisbane, get a car rental if you plan to drive or book an airport transfer to your hotel.
  • Day 2 to 5: Travel around Brisbane and maybe go surfing
  • Day 6: Fly from Brisbane to Sydney
  • Day 6 to 10: Explore Sydney with a city bus; you can plan a day trip to Canberra if you don’t mind the 6-hour roundtrip drive
  • Day 11: Fly from Sydney to Melbourne
  • Day 11 to 15: Enjoy Melbourne
  • Day 16: Travel from Melbourne to Perth
  • Day 16 to 20: Enjoy Perth
  • Day 21: Fly from Perth back to Sydney or catch your flight home from Pert

Brisbane for 5 days

brisbane ferries wheel, koala - 3 WEEKS IN AUSTRALIA

Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and is the third-most populous city in Australia. 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

Accommodations in Brisbane

Sydney for 5 days

With its iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney is a world-class city blending urban sophistication with natural wonders. Renowned for its vibrant arts scene, diverse cuisine, and stunning beaches like Bondi and Manly, it offers a multitude of experiences.

The bustling Circular Quay and historic Rocks district are just a few attractions that you must not miss during your 3 weeks in Australia.

Top-rated Sydney attractions

Melbourne for 5 days

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.

Top attractions in Mlebourne:

Perth for 5 days

perth city bridge - 3 WEEKS IN AUSTRALIA

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 by 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.

Accommodations in Perth


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 visit during your three weeks in Australia. We also included the best mode of transportation per city.

Australia is easily one of my favourite destinations when it comes to a place where various activities can be experienced. There is so much to see, and I can honestly say that I’ll be back in the future to explore more.

I hope that this travel itinerary for 3 weeks in Australia has been helpful and that you’ll consider going to Australia on your trip.


Discover Australia affordably by exploring Sydney's iconic landmarks, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, hiking in the Blue Mountains, and experiencing the vibrant culture of Melbourne. Opt for budget accommodations like hostels or campsites.  via @threeweektraveller