Few continents provide such contrasts as Australasia, where golden beaches, cosmopolitan cities and sprawling valleys vie for attention.
Green Turtle, Australasia.
Port Willunga Beach, Adelaide.
Melbourne central business district.
Cave, Rock Hole, Bay of Islands, North Island New Zealand.
Wellington Cable Car, the landmark of New Zealand.
A cruise to Australia and New Zealand was made for true travellers. Set sail down under in search of a life lived by the beach and adventures in vast areas of Outback that wouldn’t look out of place on another planet. Australia and New Zealand smash together wild beauty and urban cool, its cities some of the world’s most iconic and its natural wonders some of the most phenomenal on the planet. With wine lands, wildlife, underwater encounters, the epic landscape of the Sounds, plus a real lust for life, a cruise to Australasia is a full of those WOW moments you remember for a lifetime.
Australasia Cruise Ports of Call
Welcome to South Australia and to the beautiful city of Adelaide. This gorgeous destination is located right at the mouth of the Torrens River and sits in the most strikingly beautiful location imaginable. Food and wine are always a key factor in deciding your cruise and the same applies for many when choosing destinations. Just beyond the city you will find the Barossa and Eden Valleys that together make up the Barossa region to produce some of the world’s most impressive wines.
Located in the heart of the city, spend an hour or all day to explore the beauty and diversity of plants at The Botanical Gardens. With 50 hectares of maintained gardens the Botanical Gardens is home to an array of colour and also home to the Bicentennial Conservatory, famous for being the largest glasshouse in all of Australia. Many passengers enjoy a visit to the South Australian Museum, particularly to see the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal artefacts.
Of course a visit to Adelaide as we mentioned before, would not be the same without a little culinary and winery indulgence. Many cruise lines will provide wine based excursions and these primarily revolve around the wineries along the Murray River and Barossa Valleys. These areas are prime grape growing regions and certainly worth experiencing when docking at this charming city. The wineries are a maximum of an hour’s trip outside the city and an excursion is always recommended to achieve the most from your day. Barossa Valley wine and scenery tours are always popular so it is certainly wise to pre-book and the same applies to wildlife parks.
Alternatively, wildlife lovers will relish the chance to take in Kangaroo Island where you can experience kangaroo, wallabies, koalas and platypuses up close in their natural habitats. Kangaroo Island is accessible via a convenient ferry crossing and even more can be seen at the Cleland Wildlife Park and in the Coorong National Park.
Whether you wish to explore the inner city or head further afield, there is so much to choose from during your time in Adelaide. Should you feel like doing something completely different with your time in port, one exciting option on offer is the chance to enjoy a kayaking eco-adventure through the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. This experience takes you through sheltered creeks to see the fascinating wildlife that call the mangrove forests home. Here you can also explore the Ship’s Graveyard Maritime Heritage Trail dating right back to 1856 also a haven for marine creatures.
Bay of Islands
Myriad bays, beaches and 144 islands make up this stunning New Zealand cruise destination. The Bay of Islands is renowned for being the finest maritime park in New Zealand and is a fantastic port of call when cruising this beautiful part of the world. The climate here is fabulous and therefore The Bay benefits from a pristine natural environments with an incredible array of marine life including whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets, the big marling and much more.
Exploring the maritime and historic park is a great attraction when visiting here and gives passengers the chance to gain greater insight into the diversity between European civilisation and the fascinating Maori culture. Built by the British in the early 19th century, Te Waimate Mission is now the second oldest building in the entire country and has recently been restored to pay tribute to the missionaries. From here you can experience a warm Maori welcome or powhiri as it’s known to the locals, before entering the carved marae (sacred place).
The Maori culture is truly captivating and an amazing experience when visiting here but if you prefer to relax and enjoy the scenery, perhaps opt for an island hopping tour aboard your own catamaran. Such scenic cruises whisk you away to an abundance of sandy beaches and secluded caves to uncover the hidden gems of the islands. These sensational cruises are capped off by a visit to see Cape Brett and the iconic ‘Hole in the Rock’.
A call into Brisbane combines both nature and elegance as you will see when you arrive to the golden Queensland capital coastline. The beaches are lined with favourite Australian pastimes such including surfing, snorkelling and swimming. Here the glorious sandy beaches are truly amazing and this is the ideal place to kick back and relax under the tranquil Australian sunshine. Alternatively, if you are in the mood to explore, then Brisbane has plenty of exciting attractions on offer.
Beach lovers will relish the south and its incredible Gold Coast resorts whilst to the north there is the more sedate Sunshine Coast. Brisbane is much more than a beach resort however and the cultural attractions here are excellent. The majority of the major sightseeing here can be done at the South Bank Parklands located close by to the Brisbane River. Here you will find the site of the 1988 World Expo. Just a little further along are two very popular attractions here, these being the Queensland Museum and the State Art Gallery. The art gallery is hugely popular due to its collection of many Aboriginal works. Other fascinating cultural sites include the Maritime Museum here and the Butterfly House. All of these attractions can be explored independently or via an excursion with your cruise operator.
Excursion opportunities are fantastic in Brisbane and no matter the cruise line you are sailing with, the choice is always excellent here. One of the most popular is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s oldest and largest Koala Sanctuary. Here you will discover over 130 koalas amongst the stunning surroundings and beautiful landscapes. The sanctuary was founded in 1927 and has grown to become a hugely popular place to visit for cruise passengers. Alongside the koalas, the sanctuary is also home to a large quantity of other Australian wildlife species such as Kangaroos, Wombats, Emus, Echidnas and even Tasmanian Devils. You’ll also find various species of Reptiles here not forgetting a Platypus.
The gateway to Christchurch is through Lyttelton and the harbour here is beautifully presented. The narrow waterways provide a blissfully intimate arrival before heading into the charismatic charm of Christchurch itself. Upon arrival to the city, guests are welcomed by a setting of strong cultural heritage. Christchurch is renowned for its cultural sightseeing opportunities and there are many “must see” attractions. A hugely popular method of navigating the major attractions here is to use the city’s brilliant tram system. This links all the distinctive points of interest together on the Cultural Precinct and is definitely worth considering when planning your day. When visiting Christchurch there are many beautiful areas to enjoy but the must see attractions include such sights as the awe inspiring Christchurch Cathedral, the Arts Centre and the delightful Botanical Gardens.
This city may boast an exceptional cultural heritage but there is much more to this metropolis. There is a wonderful entertainment scene here with a fascinating vibrant nature. This vast range of entertainment options continues to wow guests from the moment they arrive and is complimented perfectly by the glorious gardens, parks and superb shopping opportunities. Once again the tram system is often used to navigate such areas, making the city extremely accessible and easy to get around. This fabulous port of call opens up a whole new world. No matter how you wish to spend your time here, there really is something for everyone.
Excursions here with all cruise lines are brilliant, offering a wide variety of exceptional opportunities for an unforgettable experience. An overall city tour will always be an option and there is usually various ways of doing so. Whether you prefer a leisurely day by coach, stopping off at the major attractions or maybe a walking tour through the winding streets to get up close and personal to the city atmospherics, the city highlights offer something for all.
The city is known as the ‘Garden City’ and it is not hard to see why. Venture to the Sign of The Takahe for exceptional views over Christchurch and the impeccable Canterbury Plains. The Bridge Of Remembrance then leads onto the beautiful Botanical Gardens. The gardens are set on the Avon River and many guests here spend several hours roaming the surroundings and admiring the exquisite seasonal displays; the water gardens in particular are stunning. Continuing the theme of sublime scenery, there will also be an opportunity to venture away from the city, further afield via the Lyttelton Railway to the breath taking Arthur’s Pass National Park where you will marvel at the simply spectacular mountain scenery.
A laid-back city that’s just bursting with culture, Melbourne is a top destination for cruise holidays. As the second biggest city in the country and host to some spectacular events throughout the calendar, it’s no wonder that people come here year round to soak up the friendly Aussie vibe. From markets to galleries, parks to impressive restaurants and bars, Melbourne has an overwhelming amount of things to do that make it such a fun and exciting cruise destination.
You can easily spend an afternoon wandering the shops, cafes, markets and restaurants that permeate Melbourne’s cityscape. Some cruise lines offer a shopping tour whilst at shore, and it’s a great way to find your feet whilst updating your wardrobe. Melbourne is renowned for its fashion focus, and if you’re looking for high-end boutiques then you don’t need to go much further than Collins Street and Little Collins Street. However if you’d rather pick up a few quirky souvenirs to take home, then Queen Victoria Market has everything you could hope for and more.
If want to soak up the local culture, history and sights during your time in the city, Melbourne has plenty of things to see and do. To learn about the intriguing history of Melbourne and the region, the outdoor museum of Ballarat: Sovereign Hill is a fantastic activity for all ages that gives an insight into the days of the Gold Rush. Alternatively, you might want to learn more about the aboriginal past of Australia and view the fantastic artwork at the Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre. For fun in the sun, the Fitzroy Gardens and Royal Botanic Gardens display a fabulous show of colour and wildlife that makes for a great afternoon and a chance to chill out in the tranquil surroundings.
After you’ve worked up an appetite with a day of exploring the city, you can rely on Lygon Street for great Italian cuisine that will fill you right up. However for a truly unique experience, visit the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant to whizz through the city whilst tucking into 3 courses in this themed restaurant-on-wheels. On an evening, there are some delightful bars scattered throughout the city; head to a rooftop bar such as Aer bar to watch the sun set over Melbourne with a few cocktails or a taste of local Victorian wines. After dark, there is always a great choice of shows, musicals and live music if you’re looking for things to do in Melbourne on a night.
Perth is the capital of Western Australia and believe it or not is actually just as close to Singapore as it is to Sydney, a prime example of the enormity of Australia.
From the moment you arrive here, the relaxed ambience and chilled out aura is contagious. You instantly feel at home here and the city centre itself is ideal for visitors as it is predominantly pedestrian only making navigating your way around much easier. The temperate climate adds to the exquisite modern metropolis and there is so much to see and do here, the choices really are endless.
The parklands here are beautiful and one in particular that steals the show is Kings Park. This location is ideal for cruise passengers looking to just relax and watch the world go by. Many cruise lines will even put together a picnic for you to take with you here. An alternative option is to head for the magnificent Perth Zoo to witness a wide variety of local wildlife. Caversham Wildlife Park, which offers a complete bush experience, is also another exciting attraction to watch an amazing collection of animals in their natural habitat including emus, kookaburras, dingos and crocodiles.
Perth is not the only area to explore when visiting here. Many cruise line excursions offer the chance to combine Perth with a visit to the delightful location of Fremantle. A leisurely drive is a brilliant way to discover Fremantle’s old world charm, which provides a unique collaboration with the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Perth. Upon your arrival at Fremantle you will instantly notice the quaintness of its terraced housing and charismatic historic buildings. This is a historic city and certainly worth a visit. Whether exploring independently or via a cruise line excursion be sure to include the Western Australia Maritime Museum as it is a fascinating museum to explore. Close by you will also find the UNESCO Fremantle Prison and the 12-sided Round House. This is the oldest building in Western Australia and was originally a jail.
Shining like a beacon on the brink of the Sydney shoreline, the iconic Sydney Opera House welcomes visitors to this magnificent Australian city and is just one of the any attractions that make it such a popular cruise destination. Whether you organise a tour, see a show or simply get a few snaps, a visit to the Opera is a must on any visit to Sydney. From here, you can take a walk along the stunning harbour all the way to the Botanic Gardens, which provide a peaceful escape from the bustling city that’s perfect for a hot summer’s day.
Sydney is blessed with a wealth of places to eat and drink that make it a gem for any food fanatics who want to dine like royalty on their cruise in Australia. From romantic restaurants high above the Sydney skyline to quirky bars and restaurants scattered around the Sydney, there is no shortage of places to wine and dine during your time in the city. And with so many opportunities to shop til you drop, you’ll want to indulge with a few cocktails and a good meal after a day exploring the city. Although Sydney has no end of high street brands and luxury boutiques, for a real experience head to Paddy’s Market, the Chinatown Night Market, or the Sydney Flower Market.
At sunset, Sydney looks sensational, so find a good spot to watch the sun go down when you’re visiting the city. North Head Lookout is a popular choice, where you can feel the wind rushing against your face as you look out to the horizon. However if you’d rather sip wine as you watch the skyline from indoors, 360 Bar and Dining is a show-stopping spot for a few drinks as you watch day turn to night and the skyline light up as far as the eye can see. On an evening, Sydney has plenty of shows, bars with live music, and great places to socialise if you want to enjoy the city’s nightlife. For the adventurous, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a night is a thrilling activity that you’ll never forget.
Beyond the city, the vineyards that sprawl across Hunter Valley make a fantastic day trip and a chance to see the beautiful rural side to the south-east of Australia. However if you’d rather soak up the sun, sea and surf of the coast then there are some incredible beaches just outside of Sydney. Bondi and Coogee Beaches offers excellent opportunities for walks along the rocky coastline, whilst Shelley Beach is perfect for swimming. If you have the time, taking a surf lesson at one of the beaches near Sydney is a must!
Dive into the delights of Whitsunday Islands on your cruise holiday to see some of the world’s best marine life in a beautiful and exotic setting. Although the Whitsunday Islands may be better known for the Great Barrier Reef that lies below the waters, these tropical islands also offer a wealth of activities beyond diving and snorkelling that make them so mesmerising. From water sports to safaris, this tropical environment is rich with wildlife and is a great place to explore, making it a popular destination for cruise holidays.
The Great Barrier Reef
As the primary attraction of the islands, the Great Barrier Reef is understandably a highlight of any trip to the Whitsunday Islands. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, it boasts the largest system of coral reefs on earth. Although scuba diving might be the most popular activity on an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s also a fantastic place for swimming and snorkelling. Many cruise operators offer a day excursion to the Reef with the chance to take a trip on a glass-bottomed boat for a relaxing way to view the outstanding marine life.
The Great Barrier Reef is also an important attraction because its presence ensures that the beaches of the Whitsunday Islands are serenely secluded and tranquil. The clear waters and soft sands of hot spots such as Airlie Beach, are a picture perfect place to relax in the sun and paddle in the warm waters of the shoreline. However if you’d rather enjoy a rush of adrenaline during your time on the islands, then ocean rafting is an exciting experience and fun for all ages as you speed along the waters and capture the beautiful views of the coast. Other water sports include kayaking and jet ski safaris, providing plenty of activity for your time in the area.
Beyond the idyllic coastline, the wetlands and rivers that permeate the islands provide a thriving environment for a whole ecosystem that is waiting to be discovered. Whilst you might find tropical fish, clams and coral reefs beneath the waters, inland there are countless species that call the Whitsunday Islands home, including crocodiles, reptiles, exotic birds and more. On a crocodile safari, you’ll get a chance to explore the wetlands of the islands to witness some amazing scenery and animals in their natural habitat. For nature-loving travellers, it’s a fun bush experience that is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
As the evening draws in, be sure to find a good spot to watch the sun set over the Whitsunday Islands. Although you’ll get a stunning show from the beach, for more panoramic views over the area head up to Hill Inlet for a brisk walk and some great photo opportunities. On a clear evening, the sky lights up with stars and makes for amazing stargazing on the beach. However if you’d rather relax with a cocktail or a glass of wine, then there is a good selection of bars and restaurants around Airlee Beach, the perfect way to round off your day at Whitsunday.
A serene little paradise off the coast of Queensland, the Whitsunday Islands offer an insight into the unspoilt natural beauty of Australia that is sure to make you fall in love with this fascinating country. Whilst Melbourne, Sydney and the cities are thrilling places to explore, a day or two at the islands will have you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. As such, they are sure to be a highlight of your itinerary on an Australia cruise holiday.