Cruises to Tasmania: Walk on the Wild Side
Tasmania is Australia's island state, a somewhat triangular patch of wilderness off the coast of Victoria. It is home to half a million residents in small enclaves of civilisation, and the rest of the island is mountains, greenery and beautiful landscapes. The island holds a lot of colonial history, as a former penal colony. It also has a wine-producing region and is the home of the small and unique marsupial called the Tasmanian Devil. Tasmania cruising usually involves the major ports and also some scenic cruising in the particularly beautiful parts of the island.
The Ports: Tasmania's Towns
The capital city of Tasmania, Hobart is a small but well-established city. It is overlooked by the tall peak of Mount Wellington, and has plenty to offer culturally, including the Salamanca Market, numerous galleries and museums, the historic architecture of Battery Point and lots of history. Tours outside the city limits can take in a number of natural delights and interesting historic sites. Ships dock in three berths at Macquarie Wharf, within walking distance of downtown Hobart.
Burnie is a small port city on the north-west coast and often hosts ships on Tasmania cruise itineraries. It overlooks Emu Bay and has plenty going on along the waterfront. The Pioneer Village Museum is great for learning about the history of the area. Ships dock at a commercial port, and there is a free shuttle for the short distance between the dock and the CBD.
Port Arthur is a small town and another former prison settlement not too far from Hobart, and often hosts ships. The Port Arthur Historic Site is a must-see attraction here, with ruins of the original prison, hospital, insane asylum and church. The Site is open everyday from 8:30am. Ships anchor offshore and passengers can get ashore via tender.
Scenic Tasmania cruising happens in Coles Bay, Wineglass Bay and Oyster Bay. Coles Bay is backed by the Freycinet National Park, and has some spectacular coastal scenery to be enjoyed from the ship. Wineglass Bay has a somewhat grisly history, as the name comes from the whaling days in the cove when the water was dyed deep red with blood, like wine. These bays are stunning to look at, and most ships stick to scenic cruising, but some of the smaller and more exploration-equipped ships will make wet landings.
The Cruises: Tasmania Cruise Holidays
Tasmania cruises are varied. Some take in just one or two of the bigger ports, often in combination with other port stops in mainland Australia. Hobart is the most often visited of all ports in Tasmania and is a common stop on cruises from Auckland. Others take in all of the ports mentioned above, and small expedition ships such as the MV Orion offer even more in-depth cruises which depart from Hobart.
Many of the major lines offer cruises to Tasmania, if rather infrequently. P&O Australia ships are a common sight, and Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival and Celebrity also include the island in their itineraries. Luxury lines Silversea, Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas visit occasionally.
Whatever the type of Tasmania cruise desired, it can be found at Cruise Sale Finder.