Australia is consistently classed among the world's top cruising destinations, and there are plenty of reasons for this. The endless sunshine is a big draw, as is the seemingly limitless supply of beautiful beaches, as well as the spectacular landmarks around its coasts, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, or the Great Barrier Reef. Australia cruises provide enough of the historic, the ultra-modern and the exotic to satisfy the most demanding traveller.
Many cruises to Australia from the UK or the USA form part of longer itineraries, and include New Zealand, plus either the Far East or the Pacific Islands. However, there is more than enough in Australia itself to provide the ingredients for unlimited cruising, whether it's visiting the major port cities, experiencing the fascinating indigenous cultures, or exploring the countless world heritage sites and natural wonders. And with Australia being such a long way to travel from the UK, it really makes sense to combine your cruise with a land tour extension -- or two.
Among the cruises that focus on Australia itself, a large number head north to the coasts of Queensland, the Sunshine State, calling at Cairns, Brisbane, and Newcastle, with some also including Mooloolaba, the Whitsunday Islands, and Port Douglas and Cooktown further north. Many cruise departures are from Sydney, though there are an increasing number of departures from other ports -- Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Fremantle. Cruises may circumnavigate Australia, or may be shorter journeys such as Sydney to Fremantle, or Sydney to Melbourne and Tasmania.
Whitsunday and Barrier Reef
One of the special highlights of cruising Australia is sailing among the stunning Whitsunday Islands, between the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the islands are uninhabited, and are clothed in dense rainforest and studded with white sand beaches. It's worth arranging an overnight stay in one of the Queensland ports near Cairns to explore the Great Barrier Reef, as the cruise ships can't take you down below the surface -- many cruises will include this.
Another exciting area to explore is the spectacular wilderness of Broome and the Kimberley Coast in the north of Western Australia, full of extraordinary natural wonders including the Gibb River Road, and the Bungle Bungles of Pumululu National Park. Broome is also the gateway to the beautiful remoteness of the Dampier Peninsula. You can catch a glimpse of these wonders on a circumnavigation cruise, but for more in-depth exploration there are smaller expedition vessels, such as North Star Cruises.
Australian Wave Season
Australia is a year-round destination, but the peak, or "Wave", season for cruising is October to April, when you have the widest choice. The cyclone or storm season peaks in March-April, though doesn't interfere with cruising too much. Australia welcomes you to enjoy its delights at any time of year -- you can never see it all, but you can see more with a cruise than any other way.
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