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2-3 week trip to Perth, Cairns, and possibly another East Coast City?

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Hi!
My boyfriend and I are currently planning a trip to Australia over Christmas and New Years this year after he returns from his deployment to Afghanistan.

He wants to go to Perth so he can see old friends. We plan on spending a week or so there- any recommendations? We are very nature central. Already planning on doing Swan Valley and enjoying the city, hitting up the beaches, and maybe Lancelin and the Pinnacles. Anything else while we are in Perth?

After Perth i want to travel to Cairns so we can do the Great Barrier Reef. Perth and Cairns are the definite must haves of the trip.

We want to incorporate lots of hiking, being outdoors, The Outback if possible too....I don't know much about the country just yet - which side of the country would be best to include hiking in the Outback? We want to also use public transport as much as possible and haven't coordinated for hotels yet or which days we would need a rental car. We will fly from Perth to Cairns.

Is two weeks enough?

We are currently trying to see if we can do three weeks. If so, I want to add in some of the cities on the East coast. If we have to pick, should we do Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane?

Basically, I want to cram in as much as possible since this is a once in a lifetime trip. But I also want to be able to relax and explore a bit in each place. That's why I simplified a lot of it and settled on Perth and Cairns as non-negotiables. Any and all help/advice you can give is so much appreciated!!

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