Get the most out of Southeast Australia
Public transport is a good way to get around Sydney, with the Manly Ferry a cheap way to take a tour of the bridge and harbor. You can also explore the waters by luxury yacht, helicopter or seaplane flights, or take a walking tour and Harbour Bridge climb.
The Blue Mountains and the wineries of the Hunter Valley lie close by, but we'd also recommend less-visited places such as Kangaroo Valley and Port Stephens. Stay in the city and daytrip out to surrounding areas, or find a more rural location and zip in to see Sydney's sights.
There are rewarding self-drive routes including a loop through Port Stephens, the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley, the drive to Brisbane via the Hunter Valley and famous surf beaches, or to Melbourne. Alternatively, head west along the Great Ocean Road, tracking the dramatic coastline towards Adelaide. Though most people rush along this route, it is worth taking longer to explore the historic towns and national parks along the way.
Melbourne is relaxed and civilized, with excellent restaurants, galleries and a cultural vibe. Drive out to discover excellent wildlife, with fairy penguins along the coast and an array of native wildflower species bursting into life each spring among the caves and rock art sites of the Grampians; this route can also take in the Yarra Valley vineyards, a selection of spas in Daylesford and the arts scene of the Mornington Peninsula.
Adelaide is a friendly, bookish place, ideally explored on foot. Nearby Kangaroo Island is one of the country’s most significant wildlife reserves, while the coast is dotted with national parks including Coorong’s magnificent waterbird haven, the orchids, ferns, bandicoots and whales of the Fleurieu Peninsula, and the sea lions, koalas, echidnas and platypus of Baird Bay.
Southeast Australia itinerary ideas
Our Southeast Australia highlights
Go 4WD driving on Fraser Island
The world's largest sand island, Fraser Island is ideal for some adventurous 4WD driving and the freshwater lakes make great spots for a refreshing swim.
Escape to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane
Explore the pristine beaches and verdant hinterland of this all year round destination, which is only a couple of hours drive from Brisbane.
Spot whales at Byron Bay
From July to October, the migrating whales can be seen off the beautiful beach coastline of Byron Bay. The clifftop lighthouse is possibly the best land-based viewpoint.
Wine tasting in the Hunter Valley
Indulge yourself with an afternoon of sampling the premium wines produced by famous names and boutique wineries of the Hunter Valley region.
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Take a cruise on the harbor, a night at the opera, a swim in one of its famous surf beaches, or even a climb of the famous steel girders of Sydney Harbour Bridge. This exciting city has a plethora of highlights all waiting to be experienced.
Look out for native wildlife in the Grampians National Park
The volcanic caldera is a fascinating combination of ancient twisted rock formations and ancient forests. Enjoy the walks along the trails and look out for rare native wildlife.
See the Twelve Apostles
These giant rock stacks cling precariously to the land along the southern coast. The pounding waves and winds constantly change the formations and are as impressive in their own way.
Some of our favorite places in Southeast Australia
Read our suggestions for what to see and do in Melbourne, capital of Australia’s Victoria State. Learn about its districts, from Fitzroy to St Kilda’s, and places to visit nearby, from the Yarra Valley vineyards to the Great Ocean Road.
Hugging the contours of Victoria’s rugged coast, this famous road snakes from the surf-capital of Torquay past cliffs, scenic lookouts, rainforests, wrecked ships, and laidback fishing villages on its way to Port Fairy.
Sydney is a city that can be explored in many different ways: cruising its port, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, walking its coastline or relaxing in the Royal Botanic Garden. Wherever you go, you’re never far from waterfront views.
Great places to stay in Southeast Australia
The Grampians National Park