This article was independently commissioned by Lonely Planet for Tourism Australia.
Think you don’t have enough time for an Aussie adventure? Think again. Just a week in this fascinating country is all it takes to get an authentic taste of Australia. With our five-day itinerary below, starting in Sydney, you can sample some of the best Australia has to offer. You’ll even get to climb Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and kick back on a classic Aussie beach.
Our Discover Australia guide includes helpful itineraries that are perfect for travelers on shorter trips. Check out this roundtrip to Sydney, for example, where you can sample the bustle of city life, the tranquillity of the mountains and the thrill of the ocean – all in only five days. Depart on a direct overnight flight and spend a week on an Australian journey you’ll never forget.
We’ve included a five-day city, surf & bush itinerary below. For the rest, download your free PDF copy of the whole chapter by visiting Australia.com.
Arriving in Sydney you’ll need time to adjust to life downunder and get acquainted with Australia’s first city. Take a city tour and wander across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you have planned ahead spend a few hours on a bridge climb before roaming the historic Rocks and Circular Quay. Have dinner in a harborside restaurant and perhaps see a show in the renowned Sydney Opera House.
Get your sea legs on a harbor cruise to discover the delightful coves, colonial history and inevitable celebrity gossip that accompanies prime harborfront real estate. Spend part of the day at Manly Beach taking a leisurely swim or even a lesson in surfboard technique. Explore the parks and harbor beaches of the eastern suburbs and wander out to the Gap for excellent clifftop views at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
You can hop on a tour, catch a train or (for maximum flexibility) hire a car to explore the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s backyard. Stop in Glenbrook, at the base of the mountains, inspect Aboriginal hand stencils and get the camera out for views of Jamison Valley and Wentworth Falls. Continue to the Blue Mountains hub of Katoomba, where you can indulge in gourmet delights and charming and romantic accommodation. Suck in the mountain air and enjoy the tremendous views at Echo Point. And if you’re feeling energetic, jump into some mountain activities, such as canyoning and rock climbing.
Back in Sydney, head to world-famous Bondi Beach for a relaxing day of sun and surf. If you’re feeling active you could take a lesson in surfboard riding or embark on one of the best short walks in New South Wales: the Bondi-to-Coogee Coastal Walk features stunning coastal views and plenty of opportunities to stop for a cooling swim or refreshing drink.