It’s time to discover the best of Down Under. This itinerary is as diverse as it is awe-inspiring, from the tropical climes of Queensland to the cool cultural hub that is Melbourne. You’ll begin in Sydney, and what a place this is! Few things beat the feeling of standing in Circular Quay, with the Harbour Bridge on your left and Sydney Opera House on your right, it really is a pinch me moment. You’ll have time to explore the city along with a tour to the charming Blue Mountains, finished off with a cruise back to the city along the Parramatta River. Then it’s time to board your home for the next 28 nights, Crown Princess as you head South to Melbourne and Tasmania before moving up the stunning and often overlooked West Coast. Perth is a must see and the Kimberley Coast is the perfect backdrop as you sail for Darwin before finishing in Sydney, but not without calling at favourites Brisbane and Cairns.
Inside from £4,799pp
Outside from £6,359pp
Balcony from £7,259pp
Fly from the UK to Sydney, arriving two days later.
On arrival, take your private transfer to your four-star hotel for a three-night stay.
Blue Mountains and Parramatta River cruise.
Enjoy a full-day tour from Sydney to the Blue Mountains to discover the charms of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed region. Enjoy sweeping views of the Blue Mountains from Kings Tableland. Take a walk at Wentworth Falls or Leura Cascades; visit Leura and Katoomba; stop to see the Three Sisters rock formation and explore the rides at Scenic World. See ancient Aboriginal rock carvings, then take a boat cruise down the Parramatta River to Circular Quay in Sydney Harbour.
Embark Crown Princess for your 28-night Australia cruise. Depart Sydney.
Tasmania’s capital has much in common with Sydney. Founded but a few years later, Hobart also owes its origins to the establishment of a penal colony – and its natural setting is just as impressive. Seen from its fine deep-water harbor, Hobart spills over the lower reaches of the Derwent Valley as Mt. Wellington towers in the background. Much of the city’s heritage is centered on the historic waterfront. North of the city stretches the vast parkland of the Queen’s Domain. Many of Tasmania’s other attractions are within easy reach of Hobart.
With more than 90 National Trust buildings, Hobart, founded in 1804, combines colonial character with a sophisticated metropolitan lifestyle.
Victoria may be Australia’s smallest continental state, but Melbourne, its capital, is big on everything. With a population of 2.7 million people living in 59 separately named communities within 715 square miles, Melbourne is a sprawling city offering culture, art, fashion and friendly, sports-minded Australians. It is also an easy city to explore. At the heart of the city is the Golden Mile, the city’s governmental and commercial center, home to hotels, shops, restaurants and theaters.
Originally part of New South Wales, Victoria became a colony in its own right in 1851. The discovery of gold propelled Melbourne’s growth to prominence and prosperity.
Founded in 1836, this graceful city lies nestled on the coastal plain between Gulf St. Vincent and the Adelaide Hills. Adelaide was the vision of Colonel William Light, Australia’s Surveyor General, who created a one-mile-square grid for the city’s center and surrounded it with a belt of stunning parkland. Today, Adelaide is a metropolis of over one million people, boasting wide, tree-lined boulevards, superb Victorian and Edwardian architecture, tranquil parks, world-class shopping, and the highest number of restaurants per capita of any city in Australia.
Beyond the city and the rugged Adelaide Hills lie the Barossa and Eden Valleys. Here Australian vintners are winning international acclaim for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz.
On December 26, 1826 – Boxing Day – Major Edmund Lockyer and his party of convicts and soldiers landed at Princess Royal Harbor to establish a penal colony. Originally named Frederickstown in honor of the Duke of York and Albany, the first European settlement in Western Australia was renamed Albany in 1832. Thanks to its superb harbor, the town quickly became a busy port. Albany served as a coaling station for steam ships, as a commercial outlet for the rich farms of the interior, and as a base for the highly profitable whaling industry. The whaling station at Frenchman Bay was the last whaling station in all Australia, closing in 1978. Today it is home to Whale World, one of the world’s largest whaling museums.
This small city of some 25,000 souls is off the beaten track. Which makes exploring all the more fun, whether visiting Whale World Museum or touring one of the area’s excellent wineries.
Busselton is a city on the southwest tip of Western Australia. It’s known for its sheltered beach and seasonal humpback whale populations. The beachfront features the 19th-century Busselton Jetty. This wood pier stretches nearly 2km to the Underwater Observatory, where life in a coral reef is on view.
The capital of the Batavia Coast was founded in 1850 as a commercial port serving the Northampton lead mine some 30 miles to the north. While Geraldton remains one of Western Australia’s major ports, the city has become a magnet for vacationing Australians. Located between the Chapman and Greenough Rivers, Geraldton boasts a superb Mediterranean climate, scenic beauty and pristine beaches. Coronation Beach has become an international destination for windsurfers.
In 1692 the Dutch East India Company Batavia was shipwrecked on the offshore Abrolhos Islands. Calamity was followed by mutiny and murder. The lurid tale ensured this portion of Western Australia would be named the Batavia Coast.
Note: Geraldton is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship’s tender.
In the 1870s, pearl fishermen discovered the rich waters of Roebuck Bay. A decade later, Broome was founded as a base for the pearl trade and was soon described as “the pearling capital of the world.” Japanese, Chinese and Aborigine divers toiled in arduous, dangerous labor to harvest oysters from the seabed. For all its importance to the pearling industry, Broome remained a remote outpost on Australia’s Kimberley Coast until its discovery as a travel destination. The legacy of its pearling days can be seen in the town’s colorful mix of 19th- and early 20th century buildings. Broome also boasts Cable Beach – a 13-mile strand of white-sand that stretches along the azure waters of the Indian Ocean.
Yampi Sound Scenic Cruising
Located in the northern part of Western Australia, Kimberley is one of the continent’s earliest settled regions, dating as far back as 40,000 years. But although its mainland has been inhabited for centuries, its over 8,000 miles of ruggedly beautiful coastline remain so unspoiled that the Kimberley Coast has been identified as one of the least impacted marine environments in the world.
Healthy reefs and incredible biodiversity make the Kimberley Coast a prime spot for marine wildlife viewing, from sea turtles to blue crabs, manta rays and the planet’s largest population of humpback whales.
Approaching the Kimberley Coast from the Indian Ocean, you’ll make out dramatic red cliffs that stand out in stark contrast to the aquamarine waters of the fringing reefs below. More than 2,600 islands are scattered beyond the reefs, serving as nesting grounds to a variety of seabirds, including cormorants, giant Australian pelicans and Red-footed Boobies. The islands also provide breathtaking scenery in one of the world’s most extensive coastal wilderness areas – and the best way to take it all in is from the sea!
Closer to Indonesia than to any other Australian city, Darwin is the capital of the “Top End” – the remote, vast Northern Territory. Home to more than half of the territory’s population, the city reflects the rugged endurance and individualism required to survive the Outback. Darwin also boasts a colorful history to add to that heritage. During World War II the Japanese bombed the city and threatened invasion. In 1974, Cyclone Tracy cut a destructive swath through the region. In addition, man-eating crocodiles, tropical monsoons, searing heat and bush fires that burn for weeks are all part of everyday life.
Locals in the Top End consume over 60 gallons of beer a year. All those empties don’t go to waste: Each year Darwin residents compete in the Beer Can Regatta, a race with boats, rafts and other vessels manufactured out of beer cans.
Cairns is one of Australia’s hottest vacation destinations. Cairns boasts three of Australia’s great natural wonders. Just offshore, immense bastions of living coral form the Great Barrier Reef. Sixteen miles of superb beaches stretch to the north of the city – the famed Marlin Coast. And inland lays the immense Daintree National Park. Cairns itself basks in tropical sunshine, balmy breezes waft in from Trinity Bay. The city’s graceful, tree-lined esplanade was once the gateway to the gold fields of North Queensland.
Cairns graceful, tree-lined esplanade was once the gateway to the gold fields of North Queensland. A travel tip – Cairns is pronounced “cans.”
This tiny island measures in at just 1,600 feet long by 490 feet wide, though it is the only permanently inhabited island in the Coral Sea Islands Territory. You won’t find any neighborhoods, schools or homes here, however. The only structures on Willis Island comprise a weather monitoring station hosted by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, where just a handful of weather observers reside at any given time.
Willis Island is one of several tropical islands sitting beyond the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea Islands Territory, and is surrounded by thriving reefs where many creatures make their homes. Numbering into the thousands, Willis Island itself caters to many species of seabirds, including Masked, Brown and Red-footed Boobies that cry out nearly 24 hours a day. It is also an important nesting ground for turtles.
Once considered the “country cousin” among Australian cities, Brisbane is today the nation’s third-largest metropolis – and one of the most desirable places to live in the country. Lying on the banks of the meandering Brisbane River, this cosmopolitan city boasts elegant 19th-century sandstone buildings, a lively cultural scene and superb parklands. Brisbane is also your gateway to uniquely Australian adventures, be it the theme parks of the Gold Coast or Queensland’s dazzling beaches.
The beaches south of Brisbane form Queensland’s Gold Coast. Travel tip: Brisbane is pronounced “Bris-bin.”
Disembark in Sydney and take your overnight flight to the UK.
Arrive in the UK.
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