Australia is vast and wild, save for pockets of civilization on the coasts. With everything being spread out, a campervan is the best way to view this beautiful country! We also spent a few days just exploring the larger cities and spending time with new friends too, so make sure you don't miss out on what this wild country has to offer. Check out our 9 day trip itinerary - starting with Sydney followed by a 6 day road trip from Cairns to Brisbane - with suggestions on places to go, cheap eats, hidden gems, and unforgettable bucket list experiences!
Day 1: Sydney
We flew into Sydney to start our trip and were lucky enough to connect with some friends online before we arrived. While waiting for our friends, we went into town to walk along the coast, get some coffee, and see the famous Icebergs pool. We also happened to be in town for the Vivid Light Show happening all across Sydney Harbor! Everyone can get a picture of the Opera House, but how many people can get pictures of it with light projections going on?
Later that day, we met up with Heena + Kevin at Paddington Reservoir Gardens, an abandoned train station looking area. While there were at least four other photo shoots going on that day, we managed to carve out some space and it was such a stunning location - straight out of a fairytale!
Day 2: Blue Mountains
But of course, we have never been the type to stay in the city for too long. Luckily, there is a vast nature area just over an hour from the city center! We trekked out to Blue Mountains for sunrise (and came back for sunset too), but you can easily spend the whole day hiking and adventuring in the area.
Day 3: Kiama
We got to shoot the most stunning engagement session with this beautiful couple - read all about our adventures on our blog post! We love when clients become friends, and Courtney + Dickson were no exception. They brought us gifts, took us on a wild adventure, and broke bread with us. They were incredibly encouraging to us, and we are so lucky to call them friends. Plus, when you have views like these, what's not to love?
Day 4: Cairns
A few days was plenty for us in Sydney, so we quickly packed our bags and flew to Cairns. You can't go to Australia and not see koalas! At Kuranda Koala Gardens, you can hug a koala (though it's all of 30 seconds, enough to take a photo), feed kangaroos and wallabies, and a whole lot more! It is one of the few places that allow you to hold one of these precious animals, as Queensland is the koala capital. They also have an entire bird sanctuary called Birdworld, where birds will sit on your shoulders...and try to steal any shiny or small items on you. We even saw a parrot take a button off someone's hat!
Day 5: Port Douglas
Port Douglas is a rather small town, north of Cairns, but it is one of the best places to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Though we don't have any photos, it was certainly an experience to remember. We got to dive at three different sites all across the reef, meet some of the resident fish and even see two sharks! Definitely one of those bucket list experiences.
Day 6: Millaa Millaa
Now the road trip truly started, getting up early and driving for hours each day. Sunrise at Milla Milla waterfall is the best time to go. It can get crowded, so best to go early. We continued to drive down the coast and stopped at the Tea Plantation to buy some tea and take pictures in their tea fields. It is just a field on the side of the road with a stand to buy tea, so don't miss it!
We were certainly grateful for the rest stop that night because the Wallaman Falls hike is intense! Though the hike is relatively short, don't underestimate it as it is extremely steep - you are hiking from the top to the bottom of Australia's tallest single drop waterfall, after all. You are well rewarded though, as the views from the base of the falls are absolutely worth the climb.
Day 6: Whitsundays
Things were a little more relaxed this day, at the very least, there was less driving. One of the highlights was the flight on Air Whitsundays. We got both lucky and unlucky because our flight was cancelled but they upgraded us to a better flight later that day. Flying over the reef is absolutely a must; plus, look how cute that plane is! Though we had originally debated between flying on a helicopter vs. seaplane, we definitely made the right decision. We loved walking off the seaplane right into the clear blue waters, drinking champagne on the beach, and just enjoying the beauty that is Whitehaven Beach.
Day 7: Agnes Beach
Confession time: I was really hesitant to go surfing. I am clumsy...not great hand-eye coordination. But I know that K loves surfing, it's actually one of the first things that I learned about him. So I surprised him with a surfing class and much to our surprise, I was already standing on my second attempt! So I guess it's not so bad...
After our morning adventures, we discovered an amazing hidden gem called Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary. For just $7, you can go and feed kangaroos while they are in recovery. The sanctuary is only open to the public for one hour each day, but you can get up close and personal with tons of kangaroos. It was a far better experience than a zoo - we even saw a mama kangaroo with a baby in its pouch.
Day 8: Noosa
No one tells you on the internet how many surfers go out to Noosa to surf! In the early hours before dawn, we trekked out to the Fairy Pools, expecting a quiet, lonely walk in the early dark. Instead, lines of people running to the beach to catch the early morning waves. We shopped in a few little towns, going to farmer's markets and artisan markets. We ended our day with a short hike to Mt. Ngungun, where we watched our last sunset in the beautiful country of Australia.
Day 9: Brisbane
Sadly, our trip ends here and we had to drive back to Brisbane. Hope you enjoyed the itinerary, and have a great time on your next trip!