We ventured to the other side of the world to Queenstown, New Zealand and exploring through three of Australia's most popular cities; Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns. If you're looking for some adventure this trip has it all.
Day 1 - Travel Day Tampa -> Queenstown Tips: We prefer to arrive in the evening after a long travel day, we find it helps to combat jet lag.
Day 2 - Queenstown Queenstown is an adrenaline capital, so how would your trip be complete without a visit to Nevis. Early morning Nevis Swing Gondola to the top of the mountain. Late afternoon Ledge Bungy. Tips: Ask them to make you a combo if you want one that's not listed on their website, they made us a combo for the Nevis Swing and Ledge Bungy. Once you are at Nevis you can add on anything for a decent price so go twice if you want, Keith did!
Day 3 - Queenstown
This is a full day adventure, you will spend most of your day on a bus.
I think that it was 100% worth the time you spend driving, the scenery is beautiful and they make some stops along the way for pictures. The only downside is that it was dark most of the way back, good for sleeping, not good for scenery.
Tips: If you want to spend the money, take the bus there and fly or helicopter back. This gets you the best of the beautiful drive and gets you a different view on the way back while saving you the drive time back to town.
Day 4 - Queenstown Skiing the Remarkables https://www.theremarkables.co.nz/first-time/ This was our first time ever skiing and it was a blast. Quick bus from downtown to the mountain, full day of lessons, great instructors, beautiful scenery, amazing first skiing experience.
Day 5 - Travel Day Queenstown -> Brisbane We had an afternoon flight from Queenstown so we explored Kiwi Birdlife Park for the morning.
Day 6 - Brisbane Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Today was our free day, we had no plans so we wandered along the river after breakfast, took the boat to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, explored the sanctuary, took the boat back to downtown, walked down the river until around sunset, and took the water taxi back up the river to near our hotel. Tips: Depending on how you like to travel, I would suggest skipping the sanctuary and instead trying to get a day trip to Moreton Island, go snorkel, sand boarding, ATV, or whale watch. https://www.tangalooma.com/brisbane-day-trip-cruise
Day 7 - Brisbane Australia Zoo We took the Greyhound from downtown straight to the the zoo entrance. There is also a train that will take you to Beerwah and the zoo has a courtesy shuttle to bring you to the park.
Day 8 - Travel day Brisbane -> Cairns After arriving at our hotel in the morning we grabbed the last boat to Fitzroy Island, explored Nudey Beach, and caught the last boat back to Cairns. Tip: If you can spend a full day or stay the night on Fitzroy Island I would suggest it. I wish that we had more time to spend there.
Clownfish Great Barrier Reef
Day 9 - Cairns
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with SilverSwift This was a great day trip and I would suggest it to friends. They will take you to multiple spots on one of the reefs and it is beautiful. Tip: If you want to pay more money for a different experience maybe check out one of the islands or pontoons so that you can sleep on the reef. https://ladymusgraveexperience.com.au/lady-musgrave-hq/ https://ladyelliot.com.au
Day 10 - Cairns Kuranda Rainforest & ATV Tour Morning ATV tour with Cairns Quads. Explored Kuranda shops. Walked to Barron Falls. Caught the Kuranda Scenic Railway down the mountain. Tip: Don’t walk to Barron falls unless you want extended time there because the train makes a quick stop on its way down. Alternatively you could ride the Skyrail up into the rainforest and then explore, do an ATV tour, and catch the Kuranda Scenic Railway down the mountain.
Day 11 - Travel Day Cairns -> Sydney
Day 12 - Sydney Exploring Sydney during the morning Whale watching lunch cruise in the afternoon The tour was packed but we did get to see a lot of whales, you can probably get the same experience on any other cruise around Sydney.
Day 13 - Sydney Morning tour of the Sydney Opera House Lunch at the Opera House Ferry to Manly Beach Visit Bondi Beach Walk along the coastal walkway from Bondi Beach. The walk was incredibly beautiful, we only walked for a short while, grabbed some ice cream and walked back, eventually finding a spot on the cliffs near Bondi where we sat for about an hour, watching whales breach in the distance.
Day 14 - Sydney/Blue Mountains Caught the early train from Central -> Katoomba Grab a coffee and catch the first hop-on-hop-off bus. I can't put together a much better schedule than this blog, they lay out the itinerary perfectly and you can follow it however you please. Tip: Do this on your own and arrive early to avoid the crowds from the day tours.
Day 15 - Travel home
Where we stayed:
Queenstown - Peppers Beacon* This is a great place to stay if you are a family, they have condo style rooms. I would not suggest it for a couple, because our room was a little disappointing due to it being conjoined to a condo by one thin door.
Brisbane - Ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Street* Beautiful place in downtown and I would stay again. Pay for the room upgrade for an amazing view of the river.
Cairns - Pullman Cairns International* Beautiful hotel, close to everything, the concierge was amazing and scheduled us a last minute ATV tour with pickup from the hotel, we opted for a room on a higher floor and with a view of the water.
Sydney - West Hotel Sydney* Hotel was very nice, good location, I would stay again if it had a good rate.