Most Australian cruises will start in Sydney and its world famous harbor with landmarks such as the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, although it is possible to start at other Australian ports, and outside Australia.
Australian cruise routes normally concentrate on port stops along the east and the north coasts. Brisbane, the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Port Douglas, Townsville and Darwin are the main ports of call, with cruise durations typically of between 7-10 days. From Darwin, a few cruise lines offer services westwards towards Broome. Cruises along the southern and western coasts are less popular. Here, the main ports of call are Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. A port stop in Hobart, Tasmania is also incorporated into many Australia cruises.
There are basically four different types of cruises in Australia. First, you can fly into a major airport in Australia and embark on a cruise of 10-15 days to various ports in Australia including Tasmania, and then fly back home.
The second type is repositioning cruises from Asia or North America to Australia. These repositioning cruises all feature more sea days and are usually two weeks or even longer.
Third, you can book a segment of 15-100+ days of an around-the-world cruise that includes Australian ports.
Finally, you can fly to Australia and book a cruise of a week or so on a small ship that only cruises in this region.
An Australian cruise gives you the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of pleasures. Sydney is the jewel in the crown of Australia's south-east coastline; it offers a lot of sightseeing opportunities just on its own. By the Sydney Harbor, the Opera House, Bondi Beach and Watson's Bay are among the top attractions. Sydney also has plenty of museums, fine restaurants and excellent shopping facilities. Two hours outside of Sydney is the world renowned Hunter Valley wine region, where you can sample some of Australia's finest wines.
Further to the north are Brisbane and the Gold Coast - one of the world's hottest surfing locations. In Brisbane there will be many excursions to choose from, including boat trips up the navigable Brisbane River, the CityCat ferries and other local boat services that sails you to the most popular museums, botanical gardens, wildlife parks, lively shopping areas and riverfront plazas with their variety of restaurants and cafes. Not many cities make such good use of its river as a travel artery as Brisbane.
Cairns, located in northern Queensland, is primarily known as the jumping-off point for excursions to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, some fabulous rain forests and an excellent Aboriginal museum/attraction, as well as beautiful sandy beaches. The city itself is geared to tourists and very visitor friendly. Darwin on the north coast has plenty of attractions for the one-day cruise visitor. Its arcaded streets are lined with Aboriginal art and craft galleries, boutiques selling locally cultured pearls, and restaurants and cafes where ethnically diverse cuisine highlights Australia's plentiful produce and seafood.