Australia and New Zealand each have unique and ports, sights and attractions for cruise passengers; together, the two make a spectacular cruise destination.
Most of the sizable cruise lines sail to Australia and New Zealand at least part of the year; for some, it’s a year-round destination. When selecting a sailing date, remember in the southern hemisphere winter is June through September, and summer is December through March. Summer "Down Under" means warm temperatures and strong sun, so pack your sunscreen; winter can be a bit chilly in the southernmost ports, so bring a warm jacket.
Each port that welcomes your ship will have a distinctive character. Auckland, New Zealand, is a sophisticated, multicultural city that’s as much about the water as the land: the sailboats and yachts in the harbors seem to be more numerous than the people. Spend a day enjoying beaches and water sports, touring museums and galleries, or venturing out to the wine region or the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Christchurch, New Zealand, may be "the most English of cities outside England." The architecture, lovely gardens and punts (flat-bottomed boats) on the Avon River are reminiscent of Oxford. Visit the Christchurch Cathedral, and the cafes and boutiques around Cathedral Square. Then, ride the Christchurch Gondola up Mount Cavendish for stunning 360-degree views.
Across the Tasman Sea, Sydney is Australia’s most famous port city. Many of its iconic symbols, including the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, surround the beautiful harbor: don’t miss The Rocks, the historic birthplace of Sydney. From the harbor area, venture out to Sydney’s beaches, including Manly and Bondi; to King’s Cross, once the city’s red-light district; to the Paddington neighborhood’s art galleries, boutiques and cafes; and much, much more.
On Australia’s tropical northeast coast, Cairns is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The lively town features the Cairns Esplanade, with a boardwalk, a craft market, bars and seafood restaurants. The Esplanade Lagoon is a pretty and safe place for saltwater swimming; there are none of the crocodiles or jellyfish that tend to inhabit the coastal beaches. Many visitors take excursions to the Great Barrier Reef for unbeatable snorkeling, diving and glass-bottom boat tours.
There are more great ports and so much to see that you and your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert could consider booking two back-go-back cruises: one to circumnavigate Australia and another to circumnavigate New Zealand. That would add up to one unforgettable cruise vacation!