Unique Cruising Experiences in Australia

Ready to explore Australia from a different perspective? Set sail on one of these cruises with a difference. Unique Cruising Experiences in Australia
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Unique Cruising Experiences in Australia

Ready to explore Australia from a different perspective? Set sail on one of these cruises with a difference.


By Ute Junker

Australia's famous beaches aren’t the only attractions on our endless coastline. From the ancient rainforests of Tasmania to Queensland's coral reefs, Australia has some amazing places that can be discovered on a ship cruise.  

Seeing Australia by sea

ISLAND HOP ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF 

You don't want to rush a visit to the world's largest coral reef. A four night cruise such as the Coral Expeditions Cairns – Lizard Island – Cairns trip lets you discover some of the Great Barrier Reef's loveliest spots, including the rarely visited Ribbon Reefs. An onboard marine biologist will help you make the most of your encounters with the colourful life forms of the coral forests, from giant clams to huge schools of parrot fish. Between snorkelling sessions, explore remote islands, hike through pristine rainforest or simply laze on sandy beaches.

GO WILD IN THE KIMBERLEY 

Even in a country with as much striking scenery as Australia, the Kimberley is something special. This ancient landscape, where turquoise water laps the walls of rust-red gorges, is best explored by boat. The APT Tours 11 day Kimberley Coast Cruise, travelling from Darwin to Broome, features daily Zodiac (small boat) excursions to the Kimberley's most famous sites, including the astonishing Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay, where the ebbing tide is squeezed through a narrow chasm, creating a set of rapids that reach up to three metres (10 feet) in height. Other highlights include cooling off in the plunge pools of the lovely Mitchell Plateau, and Montgomery Reef, where you can spot sea turtles and reef sharks.

GO BUSH IN TASMANIA 

Few experiences can compare with hiking Tasmania's pristine bush; unless, perhaps it is sailing along its exquisite coastline. On the Wineglass Bay Sail Walk, you can do both. Restricted to 10 guests at a time, the company’s two itineraries – one four day, one six day option – include some of Tasmania's most distinctive landscapes, from the blue gum forests and pink granite boulders of the Freycinet Peninsula to Maria Island's mesmerising Painted Cliffs. After a day's hiking, return to your floating home, the 23 metre (75 foot) luxury ketch Lady Eugenie, to sail towards your next destination.

MAKE TRACKS IN THE TOP END

The untamed peninsulas of Cape York in Queensland and Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory are among the least visited parts of Australia. To explore these remarkable tropical landscapes, home to some of the country’s best preserved indigenous cultures, try Coral Expeditions' 11 night Cape York & Arnhem Land cruise. As you sail from Cairns to Darwin you will encounter crocodiles and spectacular birdlife on the Cobourg Peninsula, visit ancient rock art sites on Stanley Island and attend a smoking ceremony on Bathurst Island. Other highlights include visits to the unique Torres Strait Islander communities on Thursday Island and the Tiwi Islands, known for producing some of the country's most distinctive indigenous art.

GET STEAMED UP ON THE MURRAY RIVER

Enjoy a different sort of Outback adventure with a trip along Australia's mighty Murray River aboard a traditional paddle steamer. The third longest navigable river in the world, the Murray winds its way through three states before emptying into the Great Southern Ocean near Adelaide. Aboriginal tribes including the Ngarrindjeri and Coorong made their home on its banks. After European settlement, the river became an inland highway, with paddle steamers transporting crops of wool and wheat along its length. On a four night Outback Heritage cruise on the paddle steamer Murray Princess, visit historic river townships such as Murray Bridge and spot wildlife from black swans to western grey kangaroos.

DIVE INTO ROWLEY SHOALS 

For divers, a trip to Rowley Shoals, perched in spectacular isolation 300 kilometres (186 miles) off the coast of Western Australia, offers serious bragging rights. The rarely visited Shoals are a trio of coral atolls rising 400 metres (1300 feet) from the ocean floor. Clear water and an astonishing diversity of dive sites, from vertical walls and deep canyons to tranquil lagoons, make for some memorable encounters. Aboard Odyssey Cruises’ eight day Rowley Shoals cruise, departing from the town of Broome, you may spot turtles, sharks and manta rays.

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