Despite its huge size, it is definitely possible to see Australia in one week and experience some of my home country’s charms. Don’t be overwhelmed by the massive distances and huge choice for things to do in Oz, it is possible to plan an awesome itinerary for one week in Australia.
That said, you’ll likely want to choose one region when determining your itinerary for one week in Australia so that you have less time in transit, and more time enjoying the Land Down Under. Keep in mind that the distance between Perth in the west and Sydney in the East is almost 4,000 kilometres – by contrast, London to
Narrowing down what you want to see in Australia can be a challenge, as there are just so many options! From the cosmopolitan capital of New South Wales, Sydney, to the far western outback of the Kimberley region, there is so much to see and do. To help you decide what you want to see during your one week in Australia, here is my guide to the best places to visit depending on your interests.
Adelaide to Melbourne
If you love good food, you’re going to be spoiled for choice during your week in Australia. Being a multicultural country, Australia offers an amazing variety of cuisines as well as up-and-coming ‘Australiana’ cuisine, which emphasises local produce and sustainability.
While great food can be found all around the country, it’s particularly delectable in the capitals of Adelaide and Melbourne.
In Adelaide, you’ll find an amazing variety of multicultural restaurants, including ‘Orana’, which has been named Australian restaurant of the year. You can also take a food tour around the Central Market, which is the southern hemisphere’s largest undercover fresh produce market.
Then you can get started on the wine! You can’t leave South Australia without sampling some of the region’s best vino. With your week in Australia, you can definitely make it to at least one wine region: my pick would be the Barossa Valley, although the McLaren Vale is a good contender as well.
After spending a few days in Adelaide, make a road trip to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road. Along the way, there are many great stops to sample all kind of delicacies, including my personal favourite – Cheese World.
Melbourne itself is a mecca for foodies, and especially those who love a good cocktail or coffee. Melbourne’s small bar and cafe culture is legendary the wold over, so be sure to leave a few days of your one week Australia itinerary to enjoy it.
The Nature Lover
Darwin and the Kimberley
If your idea of a dream week in Australia involves large swathes of red desert and the true ‘outback’, then you’re going to love the Kimberley in Western Australia’s north. Having been all over the world, I can honestly sat that the landscapes up north are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
From the mesmerising Bungle Bungles to the vast expanse of Lake Argyle, the Kimberley is a nature lover’s paradise. If you can survive the heat, you’ll love the hikes around the region and may even like to stay overnight. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife hopping about the place.
I recommend basing yourself in Kununurra, the largest town in the Kimberley region. From here, you can easily reach Lake Argyle, the Bungle Bungles, Mirrima National Park, and the Zebra Rock Gallery (with its friendly fish).
From Kununurra, drive across to Broome and then down to Monkey Mia to meet the friendly wild dolphins. It’s also just a beautiful drive, taking in the stunning coastal scenery.
Finally, fly across to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory and the most untamed part of Australia. Kakadu National Park is an amazing place for hikes and trails, as well as learning more about Australia’s First Nations people.
The Culture Addict
Sydney and Uluru
If learning about a country’s culture and history is important to you, then I recommend visiting Sydney (Australia’s largest city) as well as the Red Centre of Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock).
Sydney is a convenient base for travellers who have only one week in Australia, as it will allow you to hit up many of Australia’s most famous sights. This includes Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, as well as Taronga Zoo to meet some native wildlife. You can also visit a selection of Australia’s premier art galleries and museums, such as the Australian National Museum.
An essential part of Australia’s culture is the beach, and in Sydney, you can also visit some of the most famous beaches in the country, including Bondi Beach and Coogee (in fact, it’s a great walk between them).
After getting your fix of the big city life in Sydney, head out via bus (note, it’s a long ride) or plane to Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) in the red centre of Australia.
There are many other opportunities to learn about the world’s oldest living culture in and around Uluru and Alice Springs. For example, take a walking tour around Alice Springs with Journey the Dreaming or take an art class with Maruku Arts, which is 100% owned and operated by the Anangu.
The Party People
The Gold Coast to Cairns
Are you looking to let your hair down and dance the night away during your week in Australia? If so, your 1 week Australia itinerary should include a stop in Australia’s party capital, the Gold Coast, and legendary Surfer’s Paradise.
Australia’s answer to Sin City (Las Vegas) is a non-stop party town popular with those looking to party from dusk ’til dawn and then some. Its reputation as a holiday hotspot also means that there are many exciting activities and attractions, such as jet boating and ziplining.
One of the most popular things to do in the Gold Coast is to visit the theme parks of Movie World, Dream World, Wet ‘n’ Wild and Sea World. They’re a lot of fun, although I recommend avoiding the weekends and school holidays if you’d prefer not to be surrounded by kids!
Although you could spend a whole week in the Gold Coast, I’d advise mixing it up and heading up north to Cairns or Port Douglas. These beautiful tropical paradises have their own party scenes, owing largely to the endless stream of backpackers and travellers visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Plus, they are gorgeous places to rest off a hangover.
The Beach Bum
New South Wales (although you can’t really go wrong anywhere)
Australia has some of the best beaches in the world, hands down. If you want to fill your one week itinerary in Australia with lazy days spent on beautiful beaches, you’re in luck. With over 10,000 (!) beaches in Australia, pretty much anywhere you go will offer you the chance to experience beachside culture in Australia.
If you can only pick one place, however, I’d go with New South Wales and hit up a few of the most famous and happening spots, as well as some underrated gems. Of course, there’s Bondi Beach – surely one of the most famous beaches on the planet – and then Byron Bay, a laidback hippie hotspot where you might even meet a Hemsworth (one can dream).
It’s not all super well-known spots, though. There’s also pretty Green Patch Beach in Jervis Bay, Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park (where kangaroos hop right up to the water) and Wategoes Beach also near Byron Bay. Basically, there’s a beach for every day of your week long stay in Australia, and then some.
I’ve chosen NSW’s beaches with two things in mind: firstly, there are a lot of fun things to do around them (especially in Byron Bay and near Bondi), but also because they’re a little more budget friendly with good public transport links. If you’re not on a budget and mainly just want total relaxation (with a couple of activities thrown in), I say go for the Whitsundays in Queensland instead.
The Wildlife Warrior
Tasmania and Kangaroo Island, South Australia
If it’s the chance of meeting Australia’s unique and adorable wildlife that draws you to Australia, I don’t blame you! No matter where I go in the world, I always love coming face-to-face with cuddly Australian critters when I’m at home. To meet as many as possible during your week in Australia, I’d suggest heading for South Australia and Tasmania.
Starting in Adelaide, it’s possible to give a koala a cuddle at Gorge Wildlife Park, before heading on to the Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha to feed some friendly kangaroos (and alpacas).
The main attractions are outside the city, though, so the next day hop on the ferry for Kangaroo Island (not cheap, unfortunately, but worth the splurge) to check out Seal Bay with its incredibly friendly colony of sea lions, Raptor Domain for its rescued birds of prey (including a gorgeous
After three days in South Australia, hop on the plane for a flight to Tasmania – you’ll probably need to stop in Melbourne along the way. You can’t leave Tassie without spotting a Tasmanian Devil (the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, which is found only in Tasmania), as well as some adorable fairy penguins, which are dotted all over the island of Tassie. You can also spot other animals including kangaroos, echidnas, sugar gliders and tawny frogmouth owls on the island.
The Adrenaline Junkie
Is your idea of having a good time in Australia getting your heart pumping as you try some death-defying activity? If so, there’s plenty to cram in during your one week in Australia itinerary – although it’s not likely to be very budget friendly.
I’d recommend heading over to action-packed Queensland and basing yourself in the Gold Coast. The city – known as Australia’s answer to Las Vegas – has great nightlife, but also offers lots of different adrenaline activities from jet skiing to hot laps to skydiving. Surfer’s paradise is also (of course) the
After a few action-packed days on the Gold Coast, I recommend heading up further north to Cairns near the Great Barrier Reef. Here, you’ll find lots of hikes, trails and rockclimbing courses near the Daintree Rainforest, while you can also do plenty of amazing diving and snorkeling on the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.
Victoria & New South Wales
When you think of Australia, you probably don’t think of skiing and snowboarding. But, the Land Down Under actually has some great ski resorts to hit the slopes. Best of all, they’re open when most resorts in the Northern Hemisphere are closed! So, if you want to rug up and shred some powder, you’ll find some great places to spend a week in Australia.
There are a number of great ski resorts in Australia,
You could easily just base yourself at one ski resort, however, if you want to mix it up, you could also go for one of New South Wales’ famous ski resorts, including Thredbo (Australia’s best-known ski resort and great for beginners and intermediate skiers), or Perisher Blue, which is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere and is better for other activities like the nightlife (it even has its own distillery!)
Disclaimer: I can’t ski at all. Tried it once, in Whistler, and just ended up covered in bruises. However, those I know that do ski swear that Mt Hotham and Thredbo are the place to be.
Perth to Monkey Mia Loop
Are you looking to experience a little bit of everything during your week in Australia? I don’t blame you! If so, it may be a slightly controversial choice to stay away from the Eastern Seaboard, but I say head west and base yourself in Perth.
First things first – this means missing out one some Australian icons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge as I simply wouldn’t recommend trying to do the east and west coast of Australia in the same trip. The distance between Perth and Sydney is just a smidgen under 4,000 kilometres – to put that in perspective, that’s like driving from Lisbon in Portugal to Istanbul in Turkey. I wouldn’t recommend trying that in a week.
So, back to where to spend an all-round week in Australia. I personally recommend Western Australia, which has fantastic variety without the crowds of the East Coast.
You can start in Perth, a cosmopolitan and happening city that has beautiful green spaces, excellent shopping and also a number of great beaches. I particularly love the trendy seaside town of Fremantle, which has a laidback, bohemian vibe. It’s also home to the Fremantle Jail, an old jail where you can retrace Australia’s convict history.
Just out from Perth is the island of Rottnest, which is home to one of the world’s cutest animals – quokkas! It’s not just the quokkas that make it a great place to visit, though, but also the lovely beaches and cycling trails (even I
Outside of Perth, Margaret River is not too far away and has great beaches, while the drive up to Monkey Mia will take in beautiful outback views. In Monkey Mia, you can meet some friendly dolphins and also even take a cultural tour with the Aboriginal-owned Shark Bay Coastal Tours. Phew, that’s most of Australia’s greatest hits in one epic week!