The cultural meccas of Sydney and Melbourne, to the wild and rugged authenticity of the outback, and on further still to the azure waters and vibrant coral of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is a sought-after cruise destination in its own right—offering up a beautifully diverse range of landscapes, activities, and styles for cruise goers.
In fact, Australia offers up so much diversity that several cruise liners provide month-long circumnavigation cruises to explore the coastal waters of the Land Down Under.
It should come as no surprise then, that this awe-inspiring continent serves as the central hub and jumping off point for exploring the rest of the region.
Ships leaving from Australia often head southeast to experience authentic Maori culture in New Zealand and explore the natural wonders of the Fjordlands National Park. True adventure seekers can sail even further, on to the icy waters of the Southern Ocean—home to the Krill penguins and soaring albatrosses of eastern Antarctica.
For those seeking a more tranquil and tropical holiday experience, ships also depart from eastern Australia and New Zealand to explore the warm waters and remote islands of the South Pacific. Depending on length of stay, these cruises often visit New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji or Papua New Guinea. For lucky cruise goers able to spend 15 or more days at sea, options are even broader and can include sailing to Tahiti, Hawaii, or even making a transpacific voyage.
But let us not forget about one of most coveted treasures of Southeast Asia—Indonesia—home to Bali, Lombok, the Gili islands, Komodo National Park, and so much more. Ships often depart from western Australia with their sights set on exploring the culturally rich islands of the Indonesian archipelago. However, there are also several Indonesian cruises that depart from Sydney. Far East ports, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, also offer excursions to this area.
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to cruising the Australasia region. So, in order to narrow down the playing field a bit, first consider the duration of your trip. Cruises in the region can vary in length, anywhere from three nights to a month or more. Secondly, think about what style of cruise is best suited for you. Are you all about that culture and keen to drink some fine wine?
If so, a three or four-night cruise from Sydney to Melbourne might be just what you’re looking for. Or are you an outdoor adventure enthusiast? A 14-day expedition into the depths of the Southern Ocean might be your calling. Envision yourself maxing and relaxing on the tranquil shores of Fiji? You just might need to spend a couple of weeks sailing through the South Pacific. But no matter your tastes nor time constraints, one thing is for sure: the natural wonders of the Australasia region won’t disappoint.
When to Go
While it’s a good rule of thumb to say that the best time for exploring the southern hemisphere would be during the fall-winter months of the north—i.e. October through February—when it comes to homing in on the Australasia region in particular, things get a little bit more complicated than that.
Circumnavigation cruises operate from September to April, with February, March, and October being the best months. Keep in mind that during this time of year, the northern part of Australia will be much hotter than the southern areas. For those looking to explore just the southern tip of Australia, November to March will offer up the best window for cruisers.
Cruises bound for the islands of the South Pacific, however, will find that the months of May through October are the driest, and often the best, times to set sail.
Those headed to New Zealand, or on to explore the Southern Ocean, will find that December, January, and February are the best months for cruising. However, the season runs from October through April.
Lastly, the window for exploring Indonesia and Papua New Guinea aligns with the northern hemisphere’s spring and summer months—April through September. However, May and June, are often the driest and best months for travel.
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