Australia trip itinerary - 5 weeks visting Sydney, Red Centre, Kangaroo Island, Great Ocean Road, Tasmania and more

Australia Road Trip Itinerary for up to 5 Weeks

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Are you looking for the best Australia itinerary? It’s a tough choice – there are just so many options… Nevertheless, in this post, we try to give you a good starting point on how to best plan your Australia road trip itinerary. Find out!

Good to know: This 5 weeks Australia itinerary is structured in such a way that it includes separate ‘itinerary blocks’ per area (Sydney, Melbourne, Red Center, etc.). So you can just pick the areas that interest you the most and plan your own perfect Australia road trip.

We visited Australia twice. The first time we followed a standard East Coast itinerary from Cairns to Sydney and, to tell you the truth, were quite disappointed. The 5-week Australia road trip itinerary that I share in this article is based on our second road trip in Australia. We planned this trip ourselves, spent many hours perfecting this itinerary and we absolutely loved this trip!

This Australia itinerary covers many highlights that we thought were worth our time the most. After all, when you fly to the other side of the world, you really want to see the best of the best, right?

We spent more than a month in Australia with kids and visited many different regions. Our Australia itinerary started in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, followed by the Red Centre. We then visited Kangaroo Island and the Great Ocean Road. We spent 10 days in Tasmania and ended our Australian road trip in Melbourne.

Below you can find our 5-week Australia road trip itinerary in a nutshell. It includes a day to day planning of our Australian road trip and some practical tips.

Would I change anything to this Australia itinerary? Not much. I would add some extra days here and there, but this itinerary pretty much covers all the highlights in each place. And who has so much vacation time… We could only do this trip because our kids were still young and we weren’t tied to school holidays at that time…

Driving in Australia's Red Centre
Australia road trip is one for the bucket list!

There are a few popular regions of Australia we didn’t cover during this trip – the Great Barrier Reef and the Northern Territories around Darwin, also Western Australia.

We skipped the Great Barrier Reef because we had been there in the past and because our kids were too young to go snorkeling. We left Darwin for another time as well because we visited Australia in November and it’s rainy season in the North. But if you have more time, I definitely recommend adding these two areas to your Australia itinerary as well. Here you can find a suggested trip itinerary for Darwin area.

If you have even more time in your Australia itinerary, Western Australia is also beautiful, especially if you like nature destinations. Just keep in mind that distances are big and so you’ll need at least a few weeks extra if you want to add Perth and Western Australia to your Australian itinerary.

Australia trip itinerary featuring Sydney and the Blue Mountains, the Red Centre, Kangaroo Island, the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians NP, Melbourne, Tasmania and more - plan your trip! #Australia

Planning tip: Below you can find our Australia road trip itinerary. To help you plan your trip easier, I split our Australia itinerary into separate blocks per region. That way you can easily mix and match these ‘blocks’ depending on which areas you want to visit. This will allow you to plan your trip Down Under and create your own perfect Australia itinerary, using our tips and suggestions. Take a look!

Sydney and The Blue Mountains – 4 Days

Probably every Australia itinerary will start or end in Sydney. It’s such a beautiful city and there is so much to see – definitely worth a stop. We don’t spend much time in cities when we travel, but we spent two days in Sydney and loved it. We also visited the nearby Blue Mountains and I think that this stunning area is also a must when visiting Sydney.

Here is how our itinerary in the Sydney area looked like:

TIP: You can either rent a car for the last two days or spend more time in Sydney, stay in the city, and book a day trip to the Blue Mountains. If you travel without kids, I think it’s a much better option to just stay in Sydney. Unless you want to spend more time exploring the Blue Mountains, of course. In that case, you may want to stay there for a few more days.

Sydney is a must in any Australia trip itinerary
Sydney is a must in any Australia trip itinerary
Blue Mountains Australia
Blue Mountains

Australia’s Red Center – 6 Days

If there is one part I would include in every Australia itinerary, it’s the Red Center. It’s just so typically Australian and so unique that you really shouldn’t miss it. The trip between Alice Springs and Ayers Rock including West MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon is probably one of the most special trips we ever did, not just in Australia.

Below is a short version of our daily schedule. Here you can find our detailed 6- day itinerary for Australia’s Red Centre, from Alice Springs to Uluru.

TIP: You will need a 4WD for this itinerary. It’s possible to do this trip driving only paved roads as well, but in that case, you will need to cover the distance of almost 700 km between Glen Helen and Kings Canyon on the paved road (instead of 250km via the Mereenie Loop).

If you decide to do that, then take your time to explore the gorges of the West MacDonnell Ranges a bit more and spend a night in Alice Springs again, before continuing to Kings Canyon. If you are only planning to drive from Alice Springs to Uluru, you can do it in a regular car. You can find the best outback car rental deals here.

READ MORE: Red Centre Itinerary – from Alice Springs to Uluru

Australia Red Centre itinerary for the most complete road trip including all the highlights like Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon, West MacDonnell ranges and more
West MacDonnell Ranges in Australia's Red Centre
Glen Helen Gorge – West MacDonnell Ranges

Adelaide and Kangaroo Island – 5 Days

I am so glad we included Kangaroo Island in our Australia road trip itinerary. It became one of our favorite places Down Under and one I’d like to return to again.

Here is an overview of our Kangaroo Island itinerary:

Good to know: You will need to rent a car in Adelaide and take a ferry to Kangaroo Island. We rented a car from Adelaide and dropped it off in Melbourne. After visiting Kangaroo Island, we continued our Australian road trip via the Grampians National Park and the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne (see further).

READ MORE: Kangaroo Island Itinerary

Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island Australia
Remarkable Rocks – Kangaroo Island
Seals on Kangaroo Island Australia
Seal Bay – Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island to Melbourne via the Grampians NP and the Great Ocean Road – 7 Days

This part of our Australia itinerary required a bit more driving, but the two main highlights – Grampians National Park and the Great Ocean Road were more than worth it. Here is how our road trip itinerary between Adelaide and Melbourne looked like:

  • Day 16: Kangaroo Island to Robe. Stay in Robe for 1 night. There isn’t much to see in Robe, but you need to break the long drive somewhere in the area.
  • Day 17: Robe to the Grampians National Park. Stay in Halls Gap for 2 nights.
  • Day 18: The Grampians National Park.
  • Day 19: The Grampians to Warrnambool. Stay in Warrnambool for 1 night.
  • Day 20: Warrnambool to Lorne (Great Ocean Road). Stay in Lorne for 2 nights.
  • Day 21: The Great Ocean Road. TIP: try to spot some wild koalas at the Kennett River first thing in the morning.
  • Day 22: Lorne to Melbourne Airport and flight to Tasmania. Stay in Hobart for 1 night.

As you can see, we skipped the city of Melbourne at this point and flew straight to Tasmania. This is because we came back to Melbourne at the end of our Australia trip for the flight back to Europe (see further).

The Great Ocean Road is one of the must see places in Australia
The Great Ocean Road
Wild kangaroos in the Grampians NP Australia
Wild kangaroos at our hotel in Halls Gap

Tasmania – 10 Days

While not many people include Tasmania in their Australia trip itinerary, it’s really worth a trip if you have at least a week to spare. It’s probably worth it for just a few days as well, but it really depends on how much time you have. Below you can see how our itinerary in Tasmania looked like.

TIP: You will need to rent a car in Hobart for this Tasmania trip.

READ MORE: What to See and Do in Hobart

  • Day 23: Hobart to Freycinet NP. Stay in Coles Bay near Freycinet NP for 2 nights.
  • Day 24: Freycinet National Park.
  • Day 25: Freycinet NP to Scamander or Saint Helens. We stayed in Scamander and this is one thing I would have changed in our itinerary. I suggest to drive further till St Helens and stay there instead. Visit the Bay of Fires. Stay in St. Helens for 1 night. 
  • Day 26: Saint Helens to Launceston. Stay in Launceston for 1 night.
  • Day 27: Launceston to Cradle Mountain NP. Stay in Cradle Mountain for 2 nights.
  • Day 28: Cradle Mountain National Park.
  • Day 29: Cradle Mountain to Strahan. Stay in Strahan for 2 nights.
  • Day 30: Strahan.
  • Day 31: Strahan to Hobart. Stay in Hobart for 1 night.
  • Day 32: Flight from Hobart to Melbourne. Stay in Melbourne.
Cradle Mountain National Park in Tasmania
Cradle Mountain NP in Tasmania
Russell Falls at Mt Field National Park in Tasmania
Russell Falls at Mt Field NP in Tasmania

Melbourne – 2 Days

  • Days 33-35: Melbourne and flight back to Europe.

If you like visiting cities, you can easily spend several days in Melbourne. We spent here one full day and half a day before heading back home.

If you are looking for more things to do near Melbourne, you could also visit the nearby Philip Island. It’s a great place to see penguins in Australia.

READ MORE: One Day in Melbourne

Flinders Street Station in Melbourne Australia
Flinders Street Station in Melbourne

So this is our 5 week Australia itinerary in a nutshell.

As you can see, I link to some more detailed itineraries per region here and there, so you can find more information in the related posts. I never found the time to write about all the places we visited, so feel free to leave a comment if you have any specific questions about the areas that we visited, but which are not covered on the blog.

READ ALSO: Tips for Planning a Trip to Australia

In our previous posts, you can also find tips and information for visiting Australia with kids.

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

Australia trip itinerary ideas


  1. Thank you so much for this awesome website! It’s very handy to have your post to outline a trip down under. We added most of your spots, ignored Tasmania and added the Great Barrier Reef instead. Planning to go next october/november. I’m looking forward to it and again thank you very much. Best wishes from Belgium 🙂

    1. Author

      Glad to hear you found it useful, Benedikt. Enjoy your trip – it will be amazing!

  2. Great itinerary, Jurga! We are a family of 4 planning to visit Australia for 6 weeks starting in October. Our boys will be almost 2,5 and 4 by then. Most likely we are going to follow your itinerary. Wondering how you would use the extra week? Which places would you add extra nights or would you add new places to visit?
    We don’t like cities; the kids especially love to see and experience animal encounters.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

    1. Author

      Hello, I think it really depends how you like to travel. This itinerary is rather fast-going, so you see a lot in little time. Some people would find it too fast with kids, so if you rather travel slower, you could easily add a few days here and there and make it a week longer and more relaxing.
      Some places we could have potentially liked to stay longer were: Blue Mountains near Sydney, The Grampians NP, maybe also a day or two extra on the Great Ocean Road, especially if you like beaches. Also West MacDonnell Ranges in the Red Centre was a place we could have stayed a day longer I think.
      If you rather add one other region to this itinerary, then I’d strongly suggest visiting the Great Barrier Reef. It’s so beautiful there! We haven’t been there with kids, but visited years ago and loved it. On the other hand, snorkelling might not be a good option with such young children, so not sure…
      As for wildlife, Kangaroo Island and the Grampians NP, as well as Cradle Mountain NP in Tasmania were the places where we saw the most animals during this trip.

      1. Love the article! Gives me a few ideas to add to my own itinerary, like the Kangaroo Island! I’m also looking into Tasmania, however, I did not see your post about it on the website. Am I just missing it, or did you just never write about it? Would like to read about your experience there, especially as we are traveling with 2 little boys as well.

        1. Author

          Hi Liene, no indeed I never wrote about it. I still kind of have it in the drafts, but not sure when/if will publish. We loved Tasmania and there were lots of things we could do with young kids. There are several things that come to mind as some of our favorite memories.
          The first one is Bicheno Blowhole. Kids were fascinated by it and we enjoyed it as well. The coastline there is also really nice.
          Another really nice place is Cradle Mountain National Park. Dove Lake circular walk was doable even for our 3-year olds and it’s one of the nicest things we did there. We also saw echidnas and wombats, and also visited a place that had Tasmanian Devils (I think it’s called Devils @ Cradle).
          Mount Field National Park was also nice and also Bay of Fires coastline is amazing. Also Launceston was a nice place with beautiful riverside walks and a nice park with lots of wildlife.
          I think that you really can’t go wrong with Tasmania (and also Kangaroo Island) with kids. Amazing nature and wildlife is a perfect combination for a family trip.
          Hope this helps a bit. And hope you have a great trip!

          1. Thank you so much for your reply and suggestions! And I hope you do finish and publish your Tasmania article! 🙂

  3. Hi Jurga,

    Chanced upon your really well written blog about your Australia trip with your little ones. I am planning a trip with my 7 year old son next year, just the two of us! I have around 2 weeks below but hoping to keep it within 12 days (not many days of annual leave). My itinerary is roughly based on yours but I skip the 4WD part at the Red Centre. Would really appreciate if you think there is anything I should improve on my itinerary below. For day 7 after visiting Kata Tjuta NP, is it viable to stay at the same place as Ayers Rock Resort? Do you think this itinerary is too packed? Too loose? I am actually hoping to cut short a day somewhere in between, where do you think I can do it to cut one day short?

    Day 1 Arrive Sydney airport
    Stay Sydney

    Day 2 Sydney
    Stay Sydney

    Day 3 Drive Sydney – Featherdale Wild Life Park & Blue Mountain
    Stay Leura

    Day 4 Blue Mountains
    Stay Sydney near airport

    Day 5 Fly Sydney – Alice Springs
    Stay Alice Springs

    Day 6 Drive Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) – 6 hours
    Stay Ayers Rock Resort

    Day 7 Drive Urulu – Kata Tjuta National Park
    Stay where?

    Day 8 Drive Kata Tjuta NP – Alice Springs
    Stay Alice Springs

    Day 9 Fly Alice Springs – Adelaide
    Drive Adelaide – Kangaroo Island – 4 hour
    Stay Kangaroo Island

    Day 10 Tour Kangaroo Island
    Stay Kangaroo Island

    Day 11 Tour Kangaroo Island
    Stay Kangaroo Island

    Day 12 Drive Kangaroo Island – Adelaide
    Stay Adelaide

    Day 13 Depart Adelaide airport

    Forgot to add. We are planning early-mid June 2019!

    1. Author

      Hi Khim, your itinerary looks ok to me, just in the Red Centre you’ll have two very long driving days very quickly after each other (days 6 and 8). But if you’re up for it, then I think it’s ok.
      Days 6 and 7 you should stay at the same place – Yulara, also called Ayers Rock. There are just a few accommodation options there and it’s really the only place to stay.
      Day 9 – make sure to check the ferry schedule so that you can actually get to Kangaroo Island in the evening. Also, book the ferry tickets in advance. Keep in mind that June is autumn/winter there, so probably low season with fewer boats/ accommodation options. I really have no idea how the weather is there in that period – make sure to do some research on that. I guess you saw it already, but just in case here you can read about visiting Kangaroo Island.
      Hope this helps. Sounds like an exciting trip – enjoy it!

      1. Many thanks Jurga, you are so quick to respond! Really appreciate that you highlighted about the 2 long drives within 2 days, and that makes me rethink my itinerary. I had a thought about it and think we will probably join the 3d 2n tour from Alice Springs to Uluru, Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta etc. That will save me from having to drive long distances, and I really love the idea of sleeping in a tent/ swag in the wilderness 🙂

        Yes I love your post about Kangaroo Island. I think my son will love seeing all the animals. I did some research on KI during winter and surprised to learn that it is the best season to visit! And thanks for reminder about the ferry schedule, they have ferry going to KI in the late afternoon so I guess that is my best bet, will book in advance 🙂

        Did you spend much time in Adelaide itself? Worth seeing with kids? I am wondering if I have one more day I should spend one extra day in KI or in Adelaide.

        1. Author

          Hi Khim, yes, I think that joining a guided tour for the Red Centre for a few days can be a really good idea. Camping in the desert will be a very memorable experience for you and your son! I found a few 3-day tours here, in case you are still choosing :).
          As for Adelaide, we only spent a couple of hours there, just enough to walk around, find a playground and a restaurant. It felt like a cozy town, but we didn’t really see enough of it to form an opinion. So no, I have no tips for you there. We’re more nature people so given the choice we always tend to spend more time in the nature and less in the cities, but I’m sure Adelaide can be fun too. It’s really about you and how you like to travel.
          Have a great Holiday Season!

          1. Thank you Jurga for the recommended tours.

            I contacted two tour operators and apparently they only accept children age 9 and above. Mine will be 7.5 at the time of travel. Now I am rethinking my itinerary. If I were to give up the Red Centre portion in my itinerary (days 5-8), which gives me 4 days to plan for another place, which part of Australia do you think will make a good balance for the trip – between seeing animals, and a bit of city (Sydney), and nature (now that Red Centre is gone)?

            Thanks and Merry Christmas to u!

          2. Author

            Hi Khim, oh, it’s a pity they don’t allow younger children on those tours… I guess they’re a bit worried with camping in the desert and all…
            If you rather look for another area, I think you’d really enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. White sand beaches, snorkelling, and plenty of nature nearby. Probably the best place to stay for day trips etc. is Cairns (it’s also the best place to fly to) or Port Douglas.
            Take a look here for some day trips you can do from Cairns and from Port Douglas.
            Alternatively, you could stay in the South of Australia a bit longer and visit Melbourne – Great Ocean Road area. We loved the Grampians NP as well!

  4. Good itinerary. Will help me tremendously in planning my next vacation to Australia. Thanks Jurga.

    1. Author

      Good to hear that. Have a wonderful trip!

  5. Excellent itinerary, Jurga. I am in the planning stage of our trip early 2019. We are retired so we have time flexibility and hope we can see more. We are hoping that we will spend 8-10 weeks.
    Thank you….., your site is an inspiration to my planning.

    1. Author

      Wow, that’s a lot of time you have in Australia, Nadia. If you base yourself on this itinerary, then I’d say add a few days at the Great Barrier Reef, visit Whitsunday Islands, etc. Then maybe a week in the North – Darwin and the National Parks there (avoid rainy season), and then maybe a week in the West, starting from Perth. Or focus on fewer areas and explore more… Just whatever you do, don’t drive really big distances with not much to see in between… 🙂 Have a wonderful trip!

      1. Thanks again!

  6. Great trip….but you missed the best part of Oz….the whole of WA! Of course I am a bit biased!!

    1. Author

      🙂 I know, Trudy. We will get to Western Australia one day too. Australia has just too many amazing places and impossible to see in one or two trips. We’ll definitely be back to explore Western and Northern Australia.

  7. I don’t want to miss out that seal when my boyfriend and I visit Australia. We’re still planning our 2 week trip in there. We are still planning carefully our Itinerary to car rental deals and our budget for the trip. Thanks for sharing your trip there . I am super excited to experience ours there.

    1. Author

      2 weeks in Australia is really short so try to focus on fewer places or you’ll end up driving/flying all the time. Enjoy it!

  8. Good itinerary Jurga. We are off to the red centre at Easter and have already visited Sydney (not so keen) and Melbourne (loved it) Far Northern Queensland next on our list and probably Tasmania. It’s an expensive country to visit but well worth it – so much to see! Ps Brisbane is worth a visit too ?

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