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Many people like the idea of seeing their own country first and don’t like the thought of travelling abroad. This is where cruising around your own country can be the perfect alternative for domestic travellers. Australian cruises have become very popular in my country. Lots of my friends have boarded a cruise ship in their nearest capital city and embarked on a cruise holiday to explore Australia’s vast coastline.
Next year I’m setting off on a week-long cruise that departs from Sydney, visiting Hobart and Port Arthur in Tasmania, and stopping by Melbourne on the return trip to Sydney. It’s going to be a “Sporting Legends and Wellness” cruise aboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth ship, and it just three girlfriends going. So it will be a bit of a girlie holiday.
There are plenty of cruise options, from short sampler cruises to week-long getaways, to voyages that circumnavigate the continent. There are Australian cruise itineraries that explore some of the most significant and spectacular places in Australia.
Short sample cruises are available from the bigger ports like Sydney and Brisbane and are generally a 3 or 4 night itinerary. Short cruises from Brisbane visit Airlie Beach, Cairns, Melbourne or Sydney. Whereas, short cruises from Sydney explore Hobart, Melbourne, Eden, or Brisbane.
Queensland cruises are extremely popular, departing from either Sydney or Brisbane, and heading to The Whitsundays, Cairns, Port Douglas and Willis Island. Or a Queensland Islands and Reef cruise that leaves from Cairns and visits Willis Island, Hardy Reef, Percy Island, Lady Musgrave Island, Fraser Island and terminating in Brisbane.
There’s a Southern Australia cruise that departs from Sydney to Hobart, Port Arthur, Kangaroo Island and Phillip Island. Or there’s an 8-day round trip cruise from Melbourne to Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln and Phillip Island.
You can also get aboard a Tasmanian circumnavigation cruise departing from Hobart.
The Kimberly Coast cruise from Darwin to Broome in the Top End of Australia is a fantastic one too. Plus there are cruises that circumnavigate all of the Australian coastline, or at least 75% of it.
There is a variety of short to medium length West Coast cruises that depart from Fremantle in Perth. Generally, these cruises take in Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome and Yampi Sound before returning to Fremantle.
If you have a month to spare, cruise lines like Princess, Royal Caribbean and Holland America offer a complete circumnavigation of Australia. The itinerary includes: major ports like Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales; Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns, and Port Douglas in Queensland; Darwin in the Northern Territory; Broome, Port Hedland, Geraldton, Perth/Fremantle, and Margaret River in Western Australia; Adelaide in South Australia; and Victoria’s Melbourne.
Top End Australia cruises can also cover a lot of ground and generally sail from Perth north through Western Australia and the Kimberley Coast to Darwin, across the top of Australia. The cruise then continues south along the eastern Queensland coast for ports like Cairns and Brisbane before disembarking in Sydney.
The best time to cruise in Australia is generally from late October to March, or during the warmer spring/summer months. However, in the tropical northern regions of Australia this can be cyclone season and also the wet season. So it is probably best to avoid the period from December through to February.
The Top End and Kimberly Coast cruise is probably best to be undertaken in the dry season from April to September.
The Southern Australia cruises are definitely better to do during the summertime, as the winters can be bitterly cold.
More cruise lines than ever are offering Australian cruises and there are some big players amongst the cruise lines. Here are some of the lines offering Australia cruises:
Azamara Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Coral Expeditions, Cunard Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises Australia, Ponant Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Seabourn Cruises and Silversea Cruises.
The smaller boutique cruise ships such as Coral Expeditions, Ponant Cruises, Seabourn Cruises and Silversea Cruises offer luxury cruise experiences that are able to get into smaller ports and shallow waters of the reefs. The various ships range in size from just 40 passengers up to 250.
Coastal cruises visit most major Australian port cities that gives passengers the opportunity to venture inland to wineries, national parks, tourist attractions and shopping precincts. Natural attractions such as vast mountain ranges, UNESCO World Heritage natural and historic sites, cultural and Indigenous attractions are abundant within only a few hours from the ports. There are also plenty of adventure activities available for adrenaline seekers, or maybe a more relaxed or cultural experience, like a food trail.
It is possible to begin or end a cruise at most Australia ports, and then extend your vacation with a land tour extension. You may even like to catch a flight to another capital city and explore that region as well.
Otherwise, there are plenty of daily activities aboard the cruise ship to keep you occupied, just like any other cruise ship holiday.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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