23 days in Australia, New Zealand & Japan Itinerary

23 days in Australia, New Zealand & Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Australia, New Zealand & Japan Itinerary

Start: Palermo, Italy
Fly:  27​h
1
Melbourne, Australia
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
2
Sydney, Australia
— 4 nights
Fly:  6​h
3
Queenstown, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Fly:  5​h 30​min
4
Rotorua, New Zealand
— 3 nights
Fly:  7​h 30​min
5
Cairns, Australia
— 2 nights
Fly + bus:  9​h 30​min
6
Kyoto, Japan
— 1 night
train:  2​h 45​min
7
Tokyo, Japan
— 3 nights
Fly:  22​h 30​min
End: Palermo, Italy

3
nights
Melbourne, Australia

The state of Victoria crown jewel, Melbourne boasts shaded streets, leafy residential neighborhoods, vibrant street life, and a picturesque city center.
Change things up with a short trip to Werribee Open Range Zoo in Werribee (about 42 minutes away). And it doesn't end there: take in nature's colorful creations at Royal Botanic Gardens, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Melbourne Zoo, soar above the sights with a balloon tour, and enjoy breathtaking views from Eureka Skydeck.

To find reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Melbourne sightseeing planner .

Palermo, Italy to Melbourne is an approximately 27-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. Traveling from Palermo to Melbourne, you'll lose 9 hours due to the time zone difference. In December, daily temperatures in Melbourne can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 14°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to travel to Sydney.

Things to do in Melbourne

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Tours

Side Trip

Werribee Open Range Zoo
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Balloon Rides
Melbourne Zoo ©
Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Museum ©
Melbourne Museum

4
nights
Sydney, Australia

Sydney ©
Lent iconic status as a result of its famous bridge and opera house, Sydney has a down-to-earth charm that enhances its spectacular setting and functional efficiency.
Sydney is known for nightlife, trails, beaches, shopping, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk, take in the views from Sydney Harbour Bridge, examine the collection at Australian National Maritime Museum, and kick back and relax at Manly Beach.

To see ratings, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Sydney day trip planning website .

You can fly from Melbourne to Sydney in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from Melbourne in December since evenings lows in Sydney dip to 21°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) so you can travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Sydney

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk ©
Bondi Beach ©
Bondi Beach
Manly Beach
Manly Beach

3
nights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown ©
Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Take a break from Queenstown with a short trip to Milford Sound in Te Anau, about 1h 50 min away. There's still lots to do: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, look for gifts at Amisfield Cellar Door, hike along Hollyford Track, and get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To find other places to visit, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, read Queenstown trip planner .

Traveling by flight from Sydney to Queenstown takes 6 hours. Traveling from Sydney to Queenstown, you'll lose 2 hours due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 2:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

3
nights
Rotorua, New Zealand

Surrounded by lakes and featuring impressive areas of geothermal landscape, the city of Rotorua offers an otherwordly landscape and a welcoming, peaceful environment, with the culture of the native Maori people very much in the foreground.
Change things up with these side-trips from Rotorua: Taupo (Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Huka Falls Walkway, & more). The adventure continues: take in the natural beauty of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, take a peaceful walk through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, and contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Rotokakahi.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Rotorua trip site .

Fly from Queenstown to Rotorua in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of car and ferry. In January in Rotorua, expect temperatures between 27°C during the day and 19°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sun) early enough to travel to Cairns.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Taupo
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Huka Falls Walkway ©
Huka Falls Walkway
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ©
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

2
nights
Cairns, Australia

A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Mon): explore and take pictures at The Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk and then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour. Here are some ideas for day two: relax in the rural setting at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Esplanade Boardwalk.

For maps, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Cairns trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Rotorua to Cairns takes 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight. Traveling from Rotorua to Cairns, you'll gain 2 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Rotorua in January, things will get somewhat warmer in Cairns: highs are around 37°C and lows about 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Cairns

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

The Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk, Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Esplanade Boardwalk ©
Esplanade Boardwalk

1
night
Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
On the 8th (Wed), explore the historical opulence of Nijo Castle and then steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 9th (Thu): take in the spiritual surroundings of Kinkaku-ji, then wander the streets of Gion, and then contemplate the long history of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

For where to stay, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Kyoto online itinerary builder .

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Cairns to Kyoto in 9.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of flight and train. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Cairns to Kyoto. Prepare for much colder weather when traveling from Cairns in January: high temperatures in Kyoto hover around 10°C and lows are around 1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

3
nights
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo ©
Tokyo holds the status of most populous metropolitan area in the world--a fact you'll find tangible as you walk the bustling streets and explore its diverse neighborhoods and cultures.
On the 10th (Fri), get a sense of history and politics at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, then have some family-friendly fun at Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou, and then make an unforgettable trip to Tokyo Disneyland. On the next day, examine the collection at Edo-Tokyo Museum, then admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower, then don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, and finally take some stellar pictures from Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

To find where to stay, reviews, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Tokyo tour itinerary maker app .

You can take a train from Kyoto to Tokyo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. In January, daily temperatures in Tokyo can reach 11°C, while at night they dip to 1°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Theme Parks Museums Parks

Side Trip

Tokyo Disneyland
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou ©
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou
Tokyo Disneyland ©
Tokyo Disneyland
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden ©
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

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