A cruise from laid-back, sunny Australia is the perfect holiday. Tropical islands are not far away, beautiful New Zealand lies just across the Tasman and south-east Asia is easily accessible. The variety of destinations is huge and increasing all the time. The market for cruising is the healthiest it's ever been and the range of lines and ships Down Under is increasing. There are so many options for an Australia cruise - here are just some of the most popular ones.
South Pacific Islands
A tropical getaway is high on most people's list of perfect holidays. And you can find it in New Caledonia, Vanuatu or Fiji with a South Pacific cruise. All of the cruise lines sailing Down Under offer itineraries to these wonderful island nations, and you can choose from week-long itineraries with only a few ports of call, to lengthier journeys that explore the region in-depth.
Noumea, Port Vila and Suva are sunny capital cities which welcome cruise passengers for shopping, dining and cultural experiences. However, the real highlights of a South Pacific cruise are the scarcely populated beaches and lonely isles where you can sit, swim, snorkel and just chill out in paradise! Some of the best are Mare, Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Champagne Bay and Dravuni Island.
Land of the Long White Cloud
This mythical-sounding place is better known as New Zealand. Located just 2 days' cruising from Sydney, it is simply stunning in summer. Those who love the outdoors should consider a New Zealand cruise - it has a reputation for picture-perfect scenery and won't disappoint! The amazing Fiordland National Park is a highlight, located in the picturesque South Island. City slickers and nature lovers can enjoy ports including Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch. Napier and Picton are close to fabulous sunny wine regions and the Bay of Islands is a holidaymaker's playground with plenty of water-based activities on offer.
You can find New Zealand itineraries with Royal Caribbean, Princess, P&O Australia, Carnival and Celebrity, with occasional jaunts across the Tasman by Holland America. Smaller expedition lines such as Azamara Club also offer in-depth Kiwi adventures, and can visit smaller ports which are unavailable to big vessels.
Getting to Asia from Australia's cruise ports is a slightly longer trek, but well worth the days spent at sea. Papua New Guinea's beaches and forests are not far away, and beyond those lie some amazing beach resorts, including the famous Bali and Koh Samui in Indonesia and Thailand respectively. As ships head north, they encounter the bright lights and exciting sights, sounds and scents of Asia's worldly cities - Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and more.
Princess and P&O both offer round-trip cruises departing Sydney or Brisbane which take in just Papua New Guinea. At less than two weeks, they are great for those who want to head in that direction without a big-time commitment. For more extensive itineraries there are plenty of options - Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Carnival all have one-way cruises into Asia, and you could even get on a Cunard World Cruise sector heading north.
For more in-depth information on ports you might reach on an Australia cruise, take a look at our "What to do in the South Pacific" series which offers helpful guides for cruisers in Auckland, Noumea and other significant ports around the region.