See the Sydney Opera House and Cairns on Australian Vacation
Your 11-day Australia vacation can begin in either Cairns or Sydney, and you’ll spend four nights in each city. Since there’s no set itinerary, you’re free to explore each destination at your leisure.
This deal includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) via Virgin Australia. Travelers can arrange to leave from other departure cities for an additional fee at the time of booking. Click here for more trip info.
Fodor’s ranks Sydney as “among the most beautiful cities on the planet.” Located on Australia’s southeast coast along the Tasman Sea, it’s the most populous city on the continent and a big draw for tourists.
In Sydney, you’ll spend four days at the luxurious Mercure Sydney Potts Point, a 4-star hotel close to some of Sydney’s best-loved sights. You’re also less than 2 miles from two landmarks—the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The first thing most people notice about the Opera House is its white, sail-like towers that seem to float at the edge of Sydney Harbour. The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts concerts and tours. The historic Rocks area is home to several shops, bars, cafes, and events.
Just northeast of the hotel, the 74-acre Royal Botanic Gardens are located along Sydney Harbour, with nearly 70,000 types of exotic plants from Australia and elsewhere. Here you’ll see tropical begonias, old-growth palms, and desert succulents and views of Sydney Harbour towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Cairns overlooks the Coral Sea on the continent’s northeast coast. If Sydney is the heart of east Australia’s culture, Cairns is its wild side, drawing vacationers looking to spot wild kangaroo or wallabies, hike the rainforest, or dive to the Great Barrier Reef. In Cairns, you’ll set up shop at the Mercure Harbourside Cairns, a 4-star hotel right on the glittering Cairns Esplanade.
Get a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest from a cable car suspended above the treetops with the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Some tours stop off at the rushing Barron Falls en route to the village of Kuranda. Tucked amid dense rainforest flora, this village gives travelers the chance to pick up handmade souvenirs or watch as locals perform Aboriginal dreamtime dances.
The Great Barrier Reef is an absolute can’t-miss while in Cairns. Made up of thousands of smaller reefs and islands, it is the world’s largest reef system. Travel + Leisure calls it “mind-blowingly beautiful.” A thousand types of tropical fish and hundreds of species of colorful coral make scuba diving here a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.