Honeymoon Itinerary: Australia

We've planned the ultimate honeymoon down under—see cosmopolitan Sydney, rugged Tasmania, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef in 15 unforgettable days. Your itinerary starts here!

Updated 05/11/12
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Sydney

Day 1

Morning You've flown forever and literally a day—if you can, splurge on the Park Hyatt, fresh off a $70 million makeover. Minimalist rooms all have balconies and heart-stopping views of the Harbour Bridge or Opera House. Rooms from $772. If that doesn't fit the budget, book the design-driven Establishment, a hopping scene within walking distance of the harbour. Rooms from $384.

Afternoon Check out Volume One: MCA Collection, an exhibition of more than 150 Aussie artists at the newly expanded Museum of Contemporary Art.

Evening Try the degustation dinner at Quay—just wait for the intricate "snow egg" dessert.

Day 2

Morning Go stand onstage at the Opera House as part of the two-hour behind-the-scenes tour. You won't be the first to have an American Idol moment.

Afternoon Join locals jogging the two-and-a-half-mile Bondi-to-Bronte Coastwalk. Few pedestrian paths match this view.

Evening Discover the next Aussie star at famed indie theater Belvoir, where Cate Blan­chett got her start. Stay in the bohemian Surry Hills area to browse cute shops, and stop at Bodega for tapas.

Day 3

Morning Order the banana-ricotta hotcakes and a "flat white"—similar to a latte but with less milk—at Darlinghurst area favorite Bills.

Afternoon Visit Paddington, a neighborhood crammed with fashion-forward boutiques like Belinda.

Evening Head to Bondi Beach for Iceberg Sunsets—vodka, Cointreau, Aperol, and grapefruit juice blended with lemon sorbet—and seafood risotto at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. The legendary swim club's saltwater pool, perched on the ocean's edge, dates back to the 1920s.

Tasmania

Day 4

Morning Catch the two-hour flight to Tasmania (Aussies call it "Tassie"), the tiny, verdant island-state at Australia's southernmost point. From Hobart, drive three scenic hours up the east coast (keep an eye out for kangaroos) to Saffire Freycinet, a slice of glamour in remote Freycinet National Park. The 20 sleek suites have floor-to-ceiling windows that frame Great Oyster Bay—plus thousand-thread-count sheets. Rates are steep, but they include all meals, activities, and minibar wines. Rooms from $1,873 (all-inclusive).

Afternoon Sample Riesling at the Freycinet Vineyard.

Evening Every seat at Palate, Saffire's intimate restaurant, overlooks the bay. The menu features exquisitely prepared local favorites, like snapper baked in rock salt and cumin-spiced venison.

Day 5

Morning Early birds can kayak off Muirs Beach. Everyone else will want to sleep in.

Afternoon Walk to the lookout over Wineglass Bay, one of the world's most stunning beaches.

Evening Drive to the nearby waterfront Freycinet Lodge for oysters. The 60 cabins are rustic but cozy; this is a great lodging alternative if Saffire's out of your price range. Rooms from $235.

Day 6

Morning Head back to Hobart, a relaxed port town with a vibrant art scene. The place to stay is the Henry Jones Art Hotel, which is decorated with funky pieces by Tasmanians. Rooms from $233.

Afternoon Don't miss the eclectic Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which houses everything from Egyptian mummies to a sex-and-death gallery.

Evening Sit at the communal table at trendy Garagistes, known for its house-smoked meats.

Melbourne

Day 9

Morning Catch a flight from Hobart to Melbourne. If Sydney gets compared to L.A. (think laid-back, slightly hedonistic), Melbourne gets compared to New York City (people wearing lots of black, a big café culture). Check into The Olsen, a mod, all-suite boutique hotel on Chapel Street, which is fabulous for shopping. Rooms from $238.

Afternoon Do a progressive lunch at Queen Victoria Market, a fantastic open-air market with tons of food vendors.

Evening Cab to celebuchef Andrew McConnell's Cutler and Co., a trendy restaurant set in an old factory, and order the suckling pig for two.

Day 10

Morning Walk the 100-acre Royal Botanic Gardens. Locals love to picnic here.

Afternoon Head to the up-and-coming Northcote neighborhood, popular with creative, hipster types. (It's sort of like Williamsburg in Brooklyn.) Visit cool boutiques like Hummingbird 60.

Evening Take a taxi to the bayside suburb of St. Kilda, which has a great nightlife scene. At Riva, you'll dine alfresco on a deck overlooking the water.

Day 11

Morning Jump on the tram and head to Clarendon Street in South Melbourne for breakfast. St. Ali café is known for its specialty coffees.

Afternoon Visit the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia's oldest public art museum, in Federation Square.

Evening You'll likely wait for a table, but hot Mamasita on Collins Street is worth it. The menu at this Mexican restaurant is designed for sharing. Order the braised lamb quesadillas and black pudding tacos.

Barrier Reef

Day 12

Morning Fly to Hamilton Island, and check into the fabulously chic Qualia. The 60 suites feature private sundecks overlooking the turquoise Coral Sea. Rooms from $1,017. (A wallet-friendly alternative is Daydream Island, 45 minutes by boat from Hamilton. Rooms are comfortable but basic; perks include seven restaurants and on-site activities like hand-feeding stingrays. Rooms from $320.)

Afternoon Wind down with a rebalancing li'tya kodo massage, inspired by Aboriginal techniques, at Qualia's spa.

Evening Enjoy seafood dishes like yabbie tails (similar to crawfish) at Qualia's Long Pavilion, with its infinity pool and catwalk-like redwood deck.

Day 13

Morning It's touristy, and kids run wild, but breakfast at Wild Life Hamilton Island involves cuddling a koala.

Afternoon Place dibs on a Hobie cat (renting one at Catseye Beach is easy), and explore the Whitsunday Islands.

Evening Sign up for a sunset sail aboard Qualia's antithetically named Atomic, which sets off from the Hamilton Island Marina for a leisurely outing complete with canapés and wine.

Day 14

Morning Meet Hayman Island's luxury launch at the marina for the 30-minute trip to this amazing 726-acre private resort. Rooms from $489.

Afternoon The Panorama Tour includes a seaplane ride, snorkeling past the reef's kaleidoscopic marine life, and a stop on secluded Whitehaven Beach. If you're certified, this is the day to dive coral-rich Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman, since you shouldn't dive for 18 hours before a flight.

Evening Dress for truffles and wagyu beef at Fontaine, Hayman's fine-dining restaurant.

Day 15

Morning Get an outdoor cabana massage, with crashing waves as your soundtrack.

Afternoon Laze by the pool.

Evening Test your stamina at Hayman's Chef's Bench, a 12-course extravaganza behind the scenes in the kitchen. Why not go big before you go home?

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