To celebrate Australia Day, check out our pick of five of the best Australia cruises
1. Sydney to Southampton
If you have time to spare for a fantastic Australian adventure, then this 51-night itinerary with P&O Cruises on board Aurora will fit the bill. Fly to Sydney, where you can see the majestic Harbour Bridge and iconic Opera House. Dinner at one of the waterside restaurants that borders the historic Rocks district offers a spectacular view of the world-famous harbour at night. Excursions on offer include an early evening performance at the Opera House or, to experience the Aussie wildlife and nature in all its glory, visit Featherdale Wildlife Park and Blue Mountains, dubbed the Australian Grand Canyon, where you can feast your eyes on breathtaking rock formations and thundering waterfalls. Sydney is followed by calls at Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, all part of New Zealand’s breathtaking fjordland. Other calls on this epic itinerary include Wellington, Auckland, Hawaii, San Francisco, the Panama Canal, St Lucia and Barbados (pocruises.com).
2. Melbourne to Melbourne
Experience both metropolitan Melbourne and the luxury of the newly remastered Queen Mary 2 in one sumptuous holiday. Cunard’s four-night Melbourne to Melbourne itinerary will allow you to uncover its rich history and how it was propelled to prominence by the discovery of gold and the development of agriculture. You can learn more about its fascinating past with a guided excursion to the Fitzroy Gardens, which were laid out in 1860 in the shape of the Union Jack, and forms one of the city’s major tourist attractions. Your coach tour will continue on to see many magnificent buildings, including The Treasury, Parliament House, the Windsor Hotel, the Princess Theatre and some majestic Gothic architecture found on Collins Street. After a day at sea, your cruise will call at Kangaroo Island, which offers stunning natural beauty, unspoiled beaches and a unique opportunity to see a wide variety of native wildlife – and not just kangaroos but wallabies, koalas, seals, sea lions and a type of lizard that grows up to a metre long (cunard.co.uk).
3. Australia and New Zealand
This 17-night cruise with Royal Caribbean International will allow you to get a real flavour of Australia as it calls at Perth (Fremantle), Esperance, Adelaide and Melbourne before sailing on to New Zealand. Enjoy thriving cafe culture in Fremantle and take time to get to know its maritime history and roots as a British penal colony. Nearby Perth offers a variety of exciting wine bars and opportunities to swim and surf on Cottesloe Beach. At Esperance, dive in for fantastic water sports, from snorkelling to sailing in the picturesque bays, with ample chances to spot wildlife such as whales, dolphins and eagles. Wine connoisseurs will delight in sampling South Australia’s vintages in Adelaide as part of a vineyard tour or choose to visit some of the fantastic museums and art galleries of North Terrace. The calls at New Zealand, which include Wellington, Picton and Akaroa, enable you to uncover the raw beauty of stunning mountain and coastal scenes and breathtaking fjordlands before concluding at Sydney (royalcaribbean.co.uk).
4. Sydney to the South Pacific
Kick off your Aussie voyage with Celebrity Cruises on board Celebrity Solstice in one of the world’s most thrilling cities, Sydney, where there are a plethora of attractions, beaches and exciting districts to explore. For a memorable stroll, walk along the paths by the water and enjoy the scenic views of the legendary Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Of course, you can also visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, an ideal place for walking or simply enjoying the wonderful tranquility of the area. After two days at sea, this nine-night South Pacific cruise also calls at the Isle of Pines, nicknamed the “closest island to paradise” thanks to its idyllic white-sand beaches and stunning underwater wonders. There’s more time to enjoy the sun and unspoiled beaches at Mystery Island, aptly named as it is completely uninhabited, but it has an intriguing past as a former allied forces landing strip during the Second World War. Other calls include Lifou, just off the French island of New Caledonia, and the St Tropez of the Caribbean, Noumea, considered a diver’s paradise as just off its coast lies one of the world’s longest barrier reefs (celebritycruises.co.uk).
5. South Australia and Southeast Asia
Add a touch of the Orient to your Australia cruise with Princess Cruises, which has a 13-day itinerary on board Golden Princess from Adelaide to Singapore. Meander Adelaide’s wide, tree-lined boulevards and admire its wonderful Victorian and Edwardian architecture, tranquil parks and excellent shopping. Foodies will enjoy the fact that it has the highest number of restaurants per capita of any city in Australia, so there are a wide variety of fantastic restaurants to choose from. If you love seafood, the next port of call, Port Lincoln, will delight you. Dubbed the Seafood Capital of Australia, this laid-back fishing town boasts amazing eateries and aquatic activities – such as shark cage diving or swimming with the Australian sea lions – that will doubtless keep you entertained while visiting. On your way to Singapore, your cruise will call at Margaret River with its world-class wineries, ancient caves and fascinating Aboriginal culture, exotic Bali in Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia (princess.com).
If you’ve been inspired to take a cruise, use our Cruise Finder to find your perfect voyage.