Day 1-2: Fly into Brisbane and check into Spicers Balfour Hotel, an urban crash-pad with a rooftop bar. Get a flavour for the city by eating at one of its en vogue restaurants: Gerard’s Bistro for Middle Eastern influences, Aria or Public for fine dining, perhaps? Walk off your meal with a stroll along South Bank, which has pools, parklands, restaurants, bars and plenty of year-round events.
Day 3-4: Spend some time exploring Brisbane. Check out an exhibition or two at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) or visit the city’s man-made beach.
Day 5-7: When you’ve had your fill of Brisbane, set off on the coastal drive to Sydney. Break up the drive at Byron Bay, a beach resort famed for its relaxed approach to life and its arty galleries, boutiques and juice-loving cafes. Spend the night at The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, just steps from Tallow Beach. You might also want to break up the drive at Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Port Stephens, which has 26 gold-sand beaches, an azure bay and lots of glittering inlets. Go swimming, snorkelling and kayaking, or hit One Mile Beach, Box Beach or Fingal Split if you’re after surf thrills. Nature-lovers might want to go on a search for bottlenose dolphins with expert guides; the area is known for its resident dolphins.
Day 8-9: Once you’ve reached Sydney, check into The Old Clare, which was once Carlton United Breweries’ administrative HQ. Peer behind the curtain of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks with a backstage tour of Sydney Opera House.
Day 10: Get an eyeful of the city and its coastline on the clifftop Bondi to Coogee Walk (allow two hours for the ramble). There are some sensational restaurants to discover: start with Quay, whose food is as fabulous as the harbour views.
Day 11–12: Spend your last few days in Sydney exploring the famous harbour and the Rocks. For a different take on Australian cuisine, try an Aboriginal Heritage Tour in the Royal Botanical Gardens, where you’ll taste indigenous ingredients. Keep the culinary theme going with a pootle around Glebe Markets, open every Saturday (10am–4pm).
Day 13: Fly back to London from Sydney.