It's hard to know where to start when self booking/planning a 2-week trip to Australia.  It's so big and obviously you want to try and see as much of it as you can but at the same time you don't want to come back needing another holiday!  Maybe you think it's a good idea to drive between cities to experience some of the less touristy places but hadn't appreciated the distances involved so due to the time constraints, that was a no-no.  This article should help you sort out some options  as you plan your trip.

This trip starts in Sydney and concentrates on the East Coast as much as possible.  If you want to include the Great Barrier Reef and the Australia Zoo (nr Brisbane) this itinerary should be useful:

  • 4 days in Sydney (stay near Darling Harbour which is thoroughly recommended as easy to walk everywhere and has a real buzz) 
  • Fly to Cairns (3 hrs) for 1.5 days
  • Self Drive to Port Douglas (1.5 hrs) for 5.5 days - coast road is spectacular (do a Reef Trip and Daintree + relax on beaches)
  • Fly to Brisbane (1.5 hrs)
  • Self Drive to Noosa (1.5 hrs) for 4 days (go to Australia Zoo and relax on beaches and in Noosa National Park)
  • Fly back to Sydney from Sunshine Coast airport (1.5 hrs) 
Other things of note:
  • You shouldn't see many bugs, flies, wasps, mosquitos, spiders, snakes on the trip which goes against the popular beliefs about Oz although it could vary with the time of year
  • Weather is temperate (and sunny!) everywhere - 20c in Sydney to 26c in Port Douglas/Noosa - although it gets cooler in the evenings so light jacket/cardigan/fleece is essential
  • Food and coffee are consistently fabulous  and people eat dinner earlier than in the UK/Europe
  • Don't bother booking a hotel with a pool/gym - there's too much to do that you probably won't use it
  • Do read the reviews of hotels, restaurants, trips etc on Tripadvisor - they are very useful
  • People are very friendly and obviously happy with their lives which together with the sunshine really makes you feel good!
  • Check the luggage allowance on the internal flights as that is what you will need to adhere to for the whole trip
  • No matter how much you watch them, flights from UK to Oz don't get any cheaper over time so just pick your airline and go for it!
  • Book your international flights first, then hotels, then internal flights, then car hire
  • It is worth booking the reef trip and Daintree trip upon arrival in Sydney based on the weather forecast
Individual reports on hotels, restaurants, trips etc are on Tripadvisor.  Obviously there are lots of things missed out on this time but hopefully there will be a next time!