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Australia & New Zealand

Distances are great down under, so why not enjoy the many advantages of shipboard life while your cruise ship whisks you from port to port? You'll experience the great diversity and see the iconic landmarks of the region: Hold a Koala, hike the Queen Charlotte Track, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, visit a world class winery, sail past the Sydney Opera House and under the Harbour Bridge! Australia and New Zealand offer a truly thrilling cruise experience.


Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Islands
Photo: Susan Milne

Cruising Down Under

Good news - there are now more options than ever when planning a cruise to Australia and New Zealand. This is the fastest growing cruise market in the world so the number of ships and itineraries is on the rise.

  • The most popular itinerary is still between Auckland and Sydney calling at ports in New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia.
  • Many other options are now available with more departures than ever before. How about New Zealand round-trip from Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney; Queensland from Sydney; Western Australia from Fremantle; a full circumnavigation of Australia from Melbourne or a top end cruise from Fremantle to Sydney?
  • Our preferred cruise lines calling at ports in Australia and New Zealand are Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, Silversea, Seabourn and Cunard, giving you a wide range of ships to choose from.
  • While there are a few ships based in Australia, year-round, most visit during the Southern Hemisphere's spring and summer arriving in November or December and staying till March or April. This means there are some great positioning cruise itineraries available as well. Sydney to Singapore and on to Europe as well as voyages to/from North America, via Asia or the Pacific islands, give you some amazing opportunities for long, exotic sailings.
  • New partner, Orion Expedition Cruises, offers luxurious adventure sailings to remote areas. The company's 100-passenger ships, Orion and Orion II, sail to the Kimberley Coast, Tasmania, Queensland and many parts of New Zealand.

Ports of Call and Natural Wonders

Many of Australia and New Zealand's most interesting towns and cities are found along the coast so cruising is a convenient way to see them. The major cities of Auckland, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth (port of Fremantle) are prominent on cruise itineraries. You'll find there are many other fascinating ports* of call to explore as well including these:

  • Geelong, Australia - The second largest city in the state of Victoria, noted for its vibrant waterfront. It's the gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and Great Ocean Road.
  • Hobart and Burnie, Tasmania - Discover the island state of Tasmania during calls at these ports. This beautiful island has many unusual attractions and a fascinating history. Highlights include scenic hiking, breathing the world's cleanest air and meeting some unique wildlife like the Tasmanian Devil.
  • Dunedin, New Zealand - This charming university town with a strong Scottish background is found on most New Zealand cruises. The rugged Otago Peninsula is within the city boundaries giving you the chance for some excellent eco-adventures, wildlife and bird viewing.
  • Picton, New Zealand - You're in the picturesque Marlborough region when you call at Picton. Tour the renowned Marlborough wineries, hike the Queen Charlotte track and visit historic Ship Cove.

Natural wonders abound down under and cruising lets you see these from a different perspective:

  • Fjordland National Park, New Zealand - Spend a day cruising not only famous Milford Sound, but Dusky and Doubtful Sounds as well! It's some of the finest scenic cruising anywhere as you maneuver through these spectacular waterways. The on board naturalist and historian will keep you entertained and informed throughout the day.
  • White Island Marine Volcano, New Zealand - See this active volcano in action as you sail close to the exposed crater. It's one of the most thrilling cruise experiences you'll ever have.
  • Rotorua, New Zealand - The thermal capital of New Zealand is certainly a fascinating place to visit on day trips from Tauranga. Be enthralled by the active geysers, mud pools and hot springs and enjoy one of the best Maori cultural experiences in the country.
  • The Great Barrier Reef, Australia - Cruising Queensland and the Coral Sea is another thrill. You'll see the reef at various points and have opportunities to discover its underwater world at floating platforms along the reef.
  • Willis Island, Coral Islands Territory - The three staff members at the weather station are the only people who live on this island in Australia's Coral Sea Islands Territory. Watch them set off a weather balloon and hear their interesting chat with the Captain which is broadcast over the speakers on deck.
  • The Kimberley Coast, Western Australia - This Outback region is considered by many to be the last great frontier of Australia. See it on "Top End" sailings between Sydney and Fremantle. Get a taste of the area during a call at Broome and scenic cruising of the rugged, red, Kimberley coast.

Koalas to Kiwis - a Wide Range of Excursions and Cruisetours

There are plenty of half and full day excursions to choose from in every port which will take you round-trip from the ship to the major sights and to some exciting adventure activities. Wine tasting to hiking; scenic drives to wildlife viewing; you'll have a wide range of experiences on your cruise to Australia and New Zealand.

Rail buffs will appreciate the railways, both scenic and historic, accessible from several ports including the Taieri Gorge Railway (Dunedin), the funicular railway and museum (Wellington), the Puffing Billy steam train (Melbourne) and the spectacular, internationally acclaimed Kuranda Scenic Railway (Cairns).

Pre and post cruise land tours add to the experience letting you see even more of Australia and New Zealand including Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, Darwin, Ayers Rock, Rotorua and Queenstown.

Of course we can help, through our local experts, to arrange private tours and pre-post cruise vacations just for you, if you prefer.

There's a lot to see down under. Cruising lets you visit vast areas conveniently and comfortably on one vacation. We're happy to help you narrow down the choices and find the cruise which will suit you best.

* A note re Christchurch: The city is welcoming tourists while recovering from the earthquake which struck last February. Many attractions were untouched while others have re-opened. The port of Lyttleton is expected to re-open by year-end for the next cruise season. Akaroa is also used as the port for Christchurch. Renowned for Dolphin Swimming and nature cruises, this picturesque town on the Banks Peninsula was originally a French settlement. It features quaint colonial architecture and sits in a volcanic crater, 85 km from Christchurch.

By Susan Milne

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