Australia – 10 Days in Melbourne and Sydney

Australia – 10 Days in Melbourne and Sydney

May 2022

Australia – 10 Days in Melbourne and Sydney

Two destinations I had been watching closely for international travel border openings in this post-pandemic world were Australia and Japan. As of writing this, Japan is still struggling to commit to opening requirements but Australia announced opening in February. For fun, I applied for visas (pre-pandemic visas were not required for tourism from the USA to Australia so this is a new travel requirement) and was pleasantly surprised we were granted visas quickly – to Australia we go! 

Due to other travel plans the rest of the year, this trip was limited to 10 days so we decided instead of trying to see it all, we would just focus on Melbourne and Sydney as there is so much to see. Australia is big – the size of the USA so to compare, it would be like traveling to the USA for 10 days – there is just way too much going on to even try and accomplish everything. 

Entry requirements for our travel were fairly straightforward:

  • Visa (this is new for USA citizens traveling to Australia)
  • Fully vaccinated – this avoids the need to quarantine and COVID testing
  • Health Questionnaire (DHP) filled out 7 days prior to travel

Note that each state is handling things a little differently so check the official state website you are traveling to to ensure you meet the requirements. Victoria (Melbourne) and New South Wales (Sydney) had the same requirements which made it easy and did not require testing while traveling in between states. One thing I found interesting is that COVID testing was not required for entry. We had it completed ahead of the trip anyway since requirements can change rapidly and having a negative COVID test is almost as important as your passport these days.) For New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne), both require a rapid COVID test to be done within 24 hours of arrival though results only have to be reported if they are positive. 

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We started a very long travel day on Wednesday evening. Thinking back, our trip to New Zealand was the only trip close enough in terms of cumulative hours traveling to reach the final destination. Our first leg was out of Newark to Los Angeles for an evening flight and our goal was to stay awake on this leg which we were fairly successful with up until the final hours of the flight. Fortunately, our connecting flight was in the same terminal only a few gates down. This flight was from Los Angeles to Sydney for a 14 hour journey. Overall, it was an easy flight but much more crowded than our last long haul flight to South Africa in Oct 2021 where the flight was empty and everyone had their own row to sleep. From what we could gather, most travelers seemed to be from Australia returning home so I can understand how eager they probably are to travel again after such a long time locked down. But it is safe to say that revenge travel is in full swing. Customs at Sydney was way more efficient than I expected. I had all my paperwork printed out and ready for inspection. We noticed that the USA passport was eligible for e-passport so we went through a kiosk and soared through customs without ever encountering a person. All the items we had to fill out – including the visa and the DHP – must have linked to the passport but I did not expect it to go so smoothly.

Though I have to admit not getting up at all on the 14 hour flight did take a physical toll – an aggressive charlie horse in my calves. The final leg of this journey was from Sydney to Melbourne and I wish I had done a bit more research on transitioning from an international terminal to the domestic terminal ahead of encountering it as it was not very clear. Sydney airport is enormous and it is not possible to walk between the international and domestic terminals. I think we could have taken the train but we followed signs for a shuttle bus which was waiting at the stop and left shortly after we confirmed we were in the right place and hopped on. The bus was over ten minutes to get to the domestic gates! Thankfully the security line was short and we made it to the gate with a few minutes to spare. And then we had the pleasure of sitting on the plane for almost an hour – at least this was the last part of the journey where a delay was not going to send me into a panic attack. Landed in Melbourne, we grabbed our rental car (rented from Bargain Car Rental as it was half the cost as car rentals within the airport) and hopped in for a short ride on the left side of the road. 

Read all about our time in Melbourne here!


It was hard to believe our time in Melbourne was already over – we fit so much into a short amount of time but there is so much more to see and do! But the next portion was something we were looking forward too. We had a very early morning for the second leg of our trip – the Great Ocean Road! After our journey on the Road to Hana and how great of an experience it was, we were really looking forward to this road trip!

Read about our journey on The Great Ocean Road here!


The drive back to the Melbourne airport was actually quite relaxing with half of it driving through the countryside – more cows and sheep. Then it turned to the highway as we turned on hyperspeed for the final leg of the journey. 

We returned our car with no issues and took the shuttle to the airport terminal. Our 2PM flight ended up being delayed two hours which was a big disappointment given we could have used that time at the Great Ocean Road. Our flight to Sydney arrived after 5PM as the sun was setting so our hours exploring today were numbered.

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There are multiple ways to get from the airport to downtown – the train, rent a car, or rideshare / taxi. While the train would seem like the most cost efficient, if you are traveling as more than one person it is actually cheaper to ride share so make sure to double check when you arrive – the train is $17 a person which is not inexpensive for a twenty minute journey. 

And with that, the final leg of our Australia trip had begun – let’s explore Sydney.

Read about our time in Sydney here!


Our journey back home commenced. We grabbed a ride share to the airport and had an easy flight from SYD to LAX. With a brief layover, we finish the journey back home from LAX to EWR. The time travel on this travel day is wild – start in the morning in Sydney, land in the morning at LAX, then arrive later that same day in EWR – 24 hours of travel whittled down to an 8 hours time difference. 

While I know we only scratched the surface of what Australia has to offer, it was a great trip to see the major cities and opens the door to discover other areas on future trips!

See our full itinerary for Australia – here!

How did we pack? Find out – here!

Read all the blog posts for Australia – here!

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