When you cruise to Australia and New Zealand, you’ll experience a part of the world like no other. Both countries offer various opportunities to explore unique natural wonders, discover fascinating cultures and dive into worlds of adventure. Cruises to the Land Down Under provide a convenient, hassle-free way to explore some of the region’s most interesting cities, while also bringing you within easy access of tons of excursions and tours to sites further inland, including Australia’s sprawling Outback. And as Boromir would remind us, one does not simply WALK into
Mordor Australia or New Zealand – one should cruise.
Best Time to Visit
The seasons in Australia and New Zealand are opposite to those occurring in North America and Europe, so when we’re having our cold winter in the US, they’re experiencing a beautiful sunny and warm summer season. For this reason, most cruises to Australia and New Zealand depart between October and April. You may experience larger crowds between December and February, as this coincides with the Australian summer holiday when the weather is the warmest. In general, New Zealand’s temperatures stay a little cooler throughout the year, but the smart cruiser packs for various conditions as their weather is notoriously unpredictable.
Continue “down under” for our top five sites to see on an Australia and New Zealand cruise vacation, Australian accent optional:
Top 5 Sites and Attractions
Great Barrier Reef
If you cruise to Cairns, Port Douglas or Airlie Beach in Queensland, Australia, you absolutely have to take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef – one of the world’s seven natural wonders. Guests can board a catamaran for sail out to a floating platform above the reef. Grab some snorkeling equipment and jump into the clear waters, or board a semi-submersible watercraft for a more relaxing (and drier) way to explore the intricate coral formations of the Great Barrier Reef.
Ayers Rock and the Outback
To travel all the way across the world to Australia and not visit the rugged Outback is almost criminal, so we highly recommend adding a tour package that includes a trip to Ayers Rock. Princess Cruises offers one such itinerary that includes a campfire history lesson on the Aborigines, followed by a sunset behind Ayers Rock. The next morning, you can enjoy a magnificent sunrise before heading to the Kata Tjuta rock formations and a local cultural center.
Sydney Harbour Bridge & Opera House
For the best view of downtown Sydney, one has to climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Celebrity Cruises, for example, offers an afternoon bridge climb up “The Coathanger”, as the Sydney Harbor Bridge is often referred. You’ll go through a quick safety briefing before harnessing in for the one-of-a-kind hike up the bridge’s catwalk. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to take in the best of Sydney’s cityscape, including the famous Sydney Opera House.
Fiordland National Park
New Zealand is famous for its stunning and diverse terrain, which is what inspired Peter Jackson to film his Lord of the Rings films throughout the region. One of the most mesmerizing areas is Fiordland National Park. As you tour New Zealand’s oldest national park, you’ll witness mighty fjords, towering mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls. Some cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises, offer an extended overnight tour to Queenstown which gives you the most time to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of New Zealand’s Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park.
Great Ocean Road & Twelve Apostles
Australia’s Great Ocean Road, which winds along the southern coast of New South Wales, is one of the most scenic highways in the world. Take a scenic guided drive to some of Australia’s hottest surf spots while stopping at various beaches along the Great Ocean Road. Other excursions can take you straight to the Twelve Apostles, which is a set of massive limestone rock formations jutting out of the water off the coastline’s towering cliffs. Get your camera ready, because Australia’s coastline might be the most picturesque in the world.
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If you’ve ever cruised to Australia or New Zealand, what was your favorite port of call? If you’ve never been, which city or attraction is your biggest draw?
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