Cruises from Melbourne: Australia's Southern City
Melbourne in Australia's state of Victoria is low-key in comparison to its bold and brash northern counterparts, Sydney and Brisbane. Its historical buildings and sprawling suburbs give it a stately and sophisticated atmosphere, and it has a multitude of places to eat, drink coffee, shop and stroll. There are plenty of cruises departing Melbourne, which gives cruisers the opportunity to stay a few days before or after a cruise. It is also used as a port of call during a cruise to New Zealand or around the bottom end of Australia.
The Port: Station Pier
Cruise ships arriving to Melbourne dock at Station Pier, where there is a dedicated passenger terminal. It is an historical structure, erected in 1854 as Railway Pier. The cruise terminal is wheelchair accessible, and it is around 15 minutes' drive from the CBD. There is a free shuttle bus into the city on weekdays, and also a tram station ten minutes' walk from the terminal.
The City: Cruise Around Melbourne
Australia's cultural capital, Melbourne has a lot to offer its visitors. The city centre is based on the northern bank of the Yarra River and includes the historical core and the new Docklands precinct. It is an exciting place to be, with a lot going on. The restaurant and cafe scene is amazing, and there are plenty of iconic buildings to see, chief amongst which are the Flinders Street Railway Station and the Eureka Tower. Federation Square makes a great meeting-point.
Fanning out from Melbourne's CBD are the suburbs which bring their individual flair to the city as a whole. Southbank across the river from the CBD is the place for fun, with plenty of theatres, entertainment venues and a casino. River trips also depart from here:
St Kilda is the place to go for the beach and the nightlife, as well as the rides at Luna Park.
South Melbourne holds a lot of history including Port Melbourne, a thriving hub of sea transport during the Gold Rush of the 1850s.
The Inner North district contains the University and student culture, and the Inner East has a bohemian edge, which happily manifests itself in ethnic cuisine and boutique shopping.
Stonnington is a high-end area where one will find the more exclusive shopping and dining.
Highlights for families are the Melbourne Aquarium, the Melbourne Zoo, the fun and bustling St Kilda Pier and of course Luna Park. Melbourne also has plenty of green areas, and the biggest of these is the area of natural bushland not far from the city centre, Yarra Bend Park. Some of the outer suburbs back safe swimming beaches which are great for kids- these include Altona, Beaumaris, Carrum and several others. For those able to head slightly further afield, Point Cook Coastal Park provides a sandy beach, picnic areas, walking tracks and birdwatching.
Cruise From Melbourne: P&O, Princess and More
There are a variety of directions a cruise departing Melbourne could take. Many head across the Tasman to New Zealand. The Dawn Princess is based in Australia, and currently she regularly sails a New Zealand roundtrip out of Melbourne during the peak season. Tasmania cruises also usually depart from Melbourne, or cruises north or west to the rest of Australia. It can also be used as an embarkation point for a leg of a world cruise.
Princess Cruises sail often from Melbourne, as do P&O Australia. Other cruise lines occasionally seen taking on passengers there are Cunard, Celebrity and Holland America. CruiseSaleFinder.com.au has the best deals on cheap cruises from Melbourne, last minute cruises from Melbourne, and the full range of destinations.