Sydney showcases what the rest of Australia has to offer: stunning beaches, inspiring architecture, a vibrant and diverse food culture, and some of the most breathtaking nature within a couple hours drive. As Australia’s largest city, Sydney operates as both a thriving modern city but also as a relaxing beach town. Sydney has some of Australia’s most notable landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This guide details everything you need to know for planning your 3 days in Sydney as a first time visitor – where to stay, how to get around, and what to do.
Melbourne has consistently won the world’s most liveable city and for good reason. It is also a favorite for many travelers to Australia (us included). Not only is it close to the water, but a trip to Melbourne offers access to world-renown restaurants, cultural events, stunning architecture, a laidback atmosphere, one of the best street art scenes, and many amazing day-trips. While you could spend a week lounging around the city, one day is all you need to see the main sights and get a feel for the city. The true draw to the state of Victoria is the famous Great Ocean Road, so after your day at Melbourne, rent a car and get out of the city!
One of the hardest parts of longer-term travel is figuring out just how you are going to pack a month’s worth of clothing and accessories into easily manageable luggage. This is an added challenge when visiting Australia and New Zealand, where you have to manage multiple different climates and activities within the same trip. During our month in Australia and New Zealand, we went from snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef to being surrounded by snow-capped mountains in Milford Sound. Temperatures ranged from 115ºF (45ºC) to 40ºF (4ºC). While New Zealand has a fairly mild climate all year round, Australia was battling bushfires, flooding, numerous heat waves, and a cyclone during our visit. With all that in mind, between the two of us, we shared one checked bag and one carry-on to ease the hassle of hauling multiple bags while traveling. While it might require some forward-thinking, it is definitely possible to pack light for a month-long vacation.
Most people don’t visit Australia for the cities. They visit for the beaches, the scenic drives, the kangaroos, and the stunning expansive landscapes. While Sydney is one of the world’s best cities, after a couple days, a bit of you might still yearn for a break from the skyscrapers and crowds. Blue Mountains National Park is just a 2 hour train ride from Sydney’s CBD. The Blue Mountains offers miles of hiking trails, alluring views, waterfalls, and record-breaking adventure attractions.
Where the Reef Meets the Rainforest – Cairns’ slogan is all too accurate. This tropical north Queensland city is the gateway to both the Daintree Rainforest (the oldest rainforest in the world) and the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Natural Wonders of the World! While you could spend a week or more taking in the warm sea air around Cairns, three days is the perfect amount of time for a getaway to check out the major sights.