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Lying at the mouth of the Swan River, historic Fremantle – founded in 1829 – is your gateway to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Situated on the banks of the Swan River some 15 miles upriver from Fremantle, Perth is a bustling city where soaring high-rises co-exist with elegant sandstone buildings from the colonial era. Life here moves at a slower pace, so during your visit, relax and savor the bounties of Western Australia, from the wonders of the bush to the wineries of the Swan Valley, from excellent shopping to a leisurely cruise on the Swan River.
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.
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!
Kuri Bay is a remote coastal bay in the far north of Western Australia in the Kimberley region, about 370 km north of Broome. It is a designated point on the Western Australian Forecast Areas, utilised by the Bureau of Meteorology as a boundary for the North Kimberley Coast area from the West Kimberley Coast.
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.”
Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby.
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