A Guide to Cruise Holidays in Australia


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Australian holidaymakers are in a unique position when it comes to cruising. Not only are we within a proverbial stone’s throw of some of the world’s most exotic destinations – including the South Pacific, Fiji and New Zealand – our home country isn’t too shabby either. In fact, the Australian Coast is now one of the world’s most popular cruise destinations – with millions of cruise passengers holidaying here each year.

Should an Aussie cruise-goer opt for a cruise around their own patch – serene natural beauty, exquisite wildlife and soft, white sands await. Here, we provide an in-depth guide to cruise holidays in Australia, including information on popular ports and destinations, general travel advice, not-to-be-missed experiences and upcoming Cruise1st Australia holidays in Australian waters.

Popular Ports

From Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in the South to Darwin, Brisbane and Cairns in the North – Australia has a number of unique ports of call where it’s possible to eat, drink and explore to your heart’s content. Here, we look at three of Australia’s most popular ports to find what awaits the wayfaring cruise-goer.



First settled in 1788, Sydney Harbour is a unique and historic port, famed for its ties to Captain Cook. As Australia’s largest port, many cruises depart from Sydney, but it’s also a prime tourist destination in its own right. The precinct immediately surrounding Sydney port is a fascinating place for urban exploration, whilst visitors should also squeeze in a stroll around the city’s famous Opera House. If you’re in Sydney for a full day, book an excursion to the exquisite Blue Mountains, where you’ll find unmatched natural beauty and some of the best views in Australia. 


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Alan Lam

Famed for its culture and heritage, Melbourne is always a welcome port of call on any Australian cruise holiday. Teeming with restaurants, pubs and boutiques, Melbourne is certainly worth a visit for the discerning culture vulture. If you’re visiting the city for a short period, stop by Flinders Street and Federation Square to scour a series of charming streets, chock-a-block with friendly bars and kooky bistros. Want to travel further afield? Try an excursion to Mornington Peninsula or the Yarra Valley, both of which are renowned for their fantastic golf and wildlife spotting opportunities.


Image sourced via Google Images. Credit: Stuart Edwards

Thanks to its booming nightlife and semi-tropical climate, locals often refer to Brisbane as “BrisVegas” – a term that may puzzle some visitors. Nestled on the edge of the Pacific on Queensland’s stunning Gold Coast, Brisbane is the last major city until Darwin in far north Australia. The city is home to some world-renowned visitors attractions, including Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and Dreamworld Gold Coast Theme Park, so it’s well worth looking into possible excursions if you’re calling at the city for half a day or longer.


Taking pride of place on many a holiday bucket list, Australia is home to some truly unique destinations and visitor attractions – from the Great Barrier Reef to the otherworldly Northern Territory. To find out what’s on offer in Australia, here’s a guide to five of our country’s most beloved destinations. 

The Great Barrier Reef


As the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier has become synonymous with exquisite marine life above and below the surface of the Pacific. A number of cruise ships visit nearby ports, including Cairns and Townsville, with unforgettable Great Barrier Reef Excursions available on most sailings. For a truly immersive Great Barrier Reef experience, book a cruise aboard Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess, which is one of the few ships offering an overnight stay at the reef. 

Don’t Miss: A once in a lifetime reef-snorkelling and diving experience at the Great Barrier Reef.


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: texaus1

Famous for its white, sandy beach and tourist-friendly infrastructure, Mooloolaba is a town and holiday resort on Queensland’s exquisite Sunshine Coast – located just 97 kilometres from the region’s capital, Queensland. With its large, restaurant-strewn promenade and sun-kissed beach, Mooloolaba is a haven for holidaymakers young and old seeking a relaxed, beachfront break away from the confines of their cruise ship. If you’re in the resort for half a day or more, be sure to visit Point Cartright, a nature and wildlife reserve on the southern tip of the town.

Don’t Miss: Take a jet ski and hit the waves in front of Mooloolaba’s world-famous beach, before settling in a beachfront bar to watch the sunset over the Pacific.

Port Douglas

Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Machinate

Flanked by tropical woodlands and the turquoise wash of the Pacific, the town of Port Douglas is paradise found in northern Queensland. The town follows the curve of a stunning, white sand beach where sun-seekers can top up their tan. Those not content to lounge on the sand will find two UNESCO World Heritage sites within excursion distance of Port Douglas, including the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, whilst thrill seekers can also try their hand at windsurfing – a popular sport in the town.

Don’t Miss: A refreshing hike in the beautiful Mossman Gorge, located in the southern part of Daintree National Park.


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Dedi Sharabi

Should you choose an Australian cruise trip that circumnavigates the entire country, chances are you’ll stop off in Kimberley, a vastly uninhabited region in northwest Australia. From its untamed countryside to its wild coast, Kimberley is an enchanting destination where it’s possible to feel lost amid the sheer beauty. Those with a fondness for nature will love a daytrip to Bungles Bungles, whilst sun seekers and surfers will be in awe of Cable Beach in Broome, which is often voted among the top 5 beaches in the world.

Don’t Miss: A seafront stroll on the deserted beaches of Cape Leveque – bliss.

Kangaroo Island

Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Gary Sauer-Thompson

No prizes for guessing the name of the large marsupial that can be found on Kangaroo Island. Located off the southern coast of Australia, Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-largest island, and cruise ships regularly offer day tenders to the island’s largest settlement, Kingscote. Whilst the island is synonymous with kangaroos, there are several other species of wildlife on the island – making it an absolute must for nature fanatics. If you’re visiting the island for a day excursion, pay a visit to Flinders Chase National Park.

Don’t Miss: Hire a guide for the day for your chance to spot a range of wild Australian wildlife – from kangaroos to koalas.

General Advice

Australian cruise holidays offer an unforgettable way to see your home country like never before. To help you make the most of a cruise break around Australia, here’s some hints, tips and general advice for cruise passengers thinking of booking a cruise to Australia.

Excursions & Day Trips: Given the sheer scale of the country, planning excursions before you travel is an absolute must. To make the most of your cruise experience, create a list of the things you want to see in each Port of Call and book excursions early where it’s possible to do so.

Cruise Experiences: Though larger vessels offer longer cruise breaks with more on-board facilities, they often don’t offer the same immersive experience as smaller vessels. For instance, if you’re interested in travelling to the Great Barrier Reef, you may want to book a break with a smaller cruise line to fully explore this destination.

Duty-Free Shopping: Unlike Australian airports, the duty-free shopping available aboard Australian cruise liners is quite extraordinary – so have your purse at the ready for those impromptu purchases.

Cruise1st Australia Holidays

At Cruise1st Australia, we pride ourselves on our range of Australian cruise holidays. Whether you’re looking for a short trip along the Sunshine Coast or a long, unforgettable voyage around the entire country – our fantastic cruise deals can help you enjoy a memorable cruise getaway for less. Here are just three of our upcoming Australian cruise holidays.

Sunshine Coast

Explore the cosmopolitan city of Sydney and lounge on the sands of Mooloolaba on this affordable, 4-night cruise break.

Departing: 19th August 2015, Sydney

Price: From AUS$446.75pp

Click here for more information

Barrier Reef Discovery

Discover the delights of the Great Barrier Reef and explore the tropical woodlands of Port Douglas on this unforgettable 7-night cruise.

Departing: 2nd August 2015, Brisbane

Price: AUS$877.00pp

Click here for more information

Northern Australian Explorer

From Sydney to Western Australia, discover some of the country’s most beautiful destinations on this life-changing 17-night cruise break.

Departing: 4th September 2015, Sydney

Price: AUS$2156.00pp

Click here for more information

For more information on Australian cruise holidays, or to browse the rest of our Australian cruise holidays, visit the Cruise1st Australia website now or call 1300 857 345 to speak to a member of our team.

Images Sourced Via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Jerry Dohnal, Gary Sauer-Thompson, Dedi Sharabi,  Machinate, Stuart Edwards, Alan Lam, texaus1.


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