Day 1-2: Fly into Brisbane and take some time to unwind and wander around the city centre. If you arrive on a Friday night, and you’re feeling sociable, join the Paddle and Prawns experience on Brisbane River. You’ll kayak with a group for an hour and a half, then return to a prawn feast and cold drinks served in a riverside marquee. Bed down at Spicers Balfour Hotel, an urban crash-pad with European good looks and a sociable rooftop bar.
Day 3-4: Continue the adventure by climbing Brisbane’s Story Bridge; abseil down, if you’re feeling daring. Treat yourselves to dinner at swish Esquire restaurant, which has racked up awards for its ambitious degustation menus (expect to eat between 12 and 25 courses) and thoughtful wine pairings.
Day 5-6: Drive 170km south of Brisbane for Byron Bay, a coastal town famed for its mellow, hippie vibes and beach-loving lifestyle. Check into The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, a ravishing rainforest retreat just by Tallow Beach. Potter around Byron’s galleries, boutiques and juice-loving cafés, hop on a bus to Nimbin (which first became famous after hosting the Aquarius festival in 1973) or take to the waters: a cruise, fishing charter, paddle boarding, snorkelling or scuba diving, perhaps.
Day 7-8: Drive back to Brisbane from Byron Bay, then catch a flight north to Cairns (flight time: two hours, 20 minutes). Relax in sunny Cairns. Stay overnight at quirky QT Port Douglas, just a few minutes from Four Mile Beach (an hour’s drive from Cairns).
Day 9–10: Keep things adventurous by whooshing above the tropical rainforests surrounding Cairns on the Skyrail, whose cosy, six-person gondola cabins put you at the heart of the rainforest. Skyrail’s Smithfield Terminal is located at the corner of Cairns Western Arterial Road and Cook Highway, Smithfield, a 15-minute drive north of Cairns city; 50 minutes south of Port Douglas.
Day 11–12: Go on a Great Barrier Reef tour to experience the World
Day 13–14: Stroll down to the beaches close to Lizard Island before catching a flight back to Cairns; fly home to London from Cairns.