East Coast 11 Day Itinerary
Day 1 Overnight Flight to Australia
Day 2-4 Melbourne (3 nights)
Day 5-7 Cains - Great Barrier Reef (3 nights)
Day 8-10 Sydney (3 night)
Day 11 Flight Home
Day 1- Travel Day
The flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne is about 17 hours. Sleep is my best play on a long flight. It sounds silly but someone gave me a blow up ottoman to use in my coach seat on the way back from Spain and I have to tell you it was AMAZING. If I can curl my legs I can go to sleep. So as dorky as it sounds you may want to consider it.
Melbourne, Victoria Australia (3nights)
Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and Australia's second-largest city. Melbourne is a city of style, fashion, food, architecture, theatres, galleries and gardens.
Day 2 Arrive in Melbourne, Australia. Pick up car and ask if the toll pass is included.
NOTE: Melbourne’s ‘hook turn’ is terrifying to non-locals, such as myself. Basically, many of the cities intersections require you to make a righthand turn from the left lane so that you don’t block oncoming trams. When you see a ‘Right Turn from Left Only’ sign, often hanging from tram lines, get in the left lane and wait with your indicator on, when the light turns green in the street you will want to turn into, hook right and complete your turn.
We stayed at the lovely Crown Metropol in Melbourne. It was conveniently located and offer lots of amenities. Drop your bags at your hotel and head to Movida Next Door for a decadent lunch to start your Austrailan adventure. Melbourne is a foodies paradise - enjoy.
Day 3 Explore Melbourne - Known as the Arts and Culture centre of Australia, a visit to Melbourne is not complete without experiencing a show at one of the many live theatres, music venues or comedy clubs. We went to a comedy show at Malthouse theater that mostly made fun of Americans and it was hilarious. The City Circle tram service operates within Melbourne's central business district. The service operates in a circular route passing major tourist attractions
The NGV National Gallery of Victoria has not to miss blockbuster exhibits.
ACMI is a the Australian Center for Moving Image - when I visited William Kentridge was the featured artist. He is one of my favorite artist and exhibit was expansive and thrilling.
HEIDE Museum of Modern art with 15 acres of gardens
Day trip to Phillip Island Nature Parks to see the Penguin Parade. Since the 1920 people have been gathering at dusk to experience the beauty and fortitude of the worlds smallest penguins as they march in from the water at sunset. They gather in “rafts” just off shore and wait until the birds of prey roost at sunset. Then they march to their burrows. It is really impressive and an experience that you will not forget. Buy your tickets well in advance as they often sell out.
The nature park is a 90 minute drive from Melbourne and offer other wildlife actives while you are waiting for the sun to set. Phillip Island Nature Park great place to spend the day.
Cairns, Queensland (3nights)
Wake and make your way to the airport for your morning flight to Cairns in Far North Queensland. The flight is about 2.5 hours. There is plenty of ground transportation outside the airport to take you to your hotel. We stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns because it was centrally located and we wanted to walk the town. As a side note, at dusk go outside and look up. You will most likely see colonies of fox bats, the worlds largest bat, flying from their caves in the lava tubes to their feeding grounds. Luckily for us they only eat fruit.
After you have checked in to your hotel visit a local dive shop to schedule your dive on the Great Barrier Reef. Lets be clear, I had no desire to dive in water with a local Great White Shark population of over 6000. Nope, I was planning on sketching and cocktailing on the boat all day. However, while we were at the dive shop we learned that I could take a 45 minute dive class on the boat and have a “babysitter” with me as I dove the reef. Needless to say, I did not sleep much the night before and I was scared during the dive but it is one of the best adventures of my life. Do it. Don’t snorkel - dive.
Dive the Great Barrier Reef - All Day
Sydney, New South Whales Australia
Make your way to the airport for a late morning flight to Sydney. The flight will be about 4 hours. When you land there will be plenty of ground transportation to take you to your hotel. There are so many great hotels in Sydney. We stayed at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel which is located within walking distance of may Sydney's most famous landmarks and attractions, including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge, the Rocks and the Botanical Gardens.
Quiet morning - check in for tomorrow’s flight.
Spend the afternoon exploring the Royal Botanic Garden
Bridge Climb - Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset. This is a fantastic way to cap an already amazing Australian vacation. This was one of the highlights of our trip. We climbed it at sunset and it was a great way to see the city. Buy your tickets before you leave home to guarrantee the date and time.
Say goodbye to Australia as you board your flight for home.