For travellers and cruise enthusiasts wanting a bucket-listed cruise adventure without venturing too far from home, a cruise around the stunning coastline of Australia promises an unparalleled journey of discovery.

Sydney Harbour is one of the crown jewels of Australia.
Travellers enjoy exploring Syndey Harbour.

It is always a treat to marvel at the iconic sights of Sydney Harbour, and explore the rugged splendour of the Kimberley region, which offer nothing but the best that delight even the most seasoned travellers. Whether you seek the thrill of urban exploration or the serenity of pristine natural gems, an Australian cruise has something to captivate every guest’s taste and preference.

Moreover, Australia’s coastal cities offer a peculiar blend of cosmopolitan flair and laid-back charm. Get to explore the vibrant streets of Melbourne, where cutting-edge fashion and world-class dining collide, or immerse yourself in the rich Aboriginal culture and stunning landscapes of the Northern Territory. Furthermore, the Great Barrier Reef unveils an underwater paradise teeming with vibrant marine life, while the untamed beauty of Tasmania’s rugged wilderness invites you to reconnect with nature in its purest form.

New South Wales

Sydney

There is nothing more breathtaking than sailing into Sydney Harbour. Many passengers step off their cruise ship at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, alongside the Museum of Contemporary Art in The Rocks – the city’s colonial heritage area. For cruisers looking for fine-dining experiences, you won’t have to travel far for a degustation at Quay restaurant. Some cruise ships dock at White Bay, a 10-minute drive from the city. If you’re looking for pre- or post-cruise activities, a drive through the Blue Mountains is recommended.

What is this destination best for?

  • Couples
  • young families
  • older cruisers
  • culture vultures
  • food lovers
  • history buffs

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • HAL
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Virgin Voyages

Newcastle

Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney, has great restaurants, cafes, bars and art precincts and is famous for its surf beaches. There are interesting walking tours around town and some beautiful trails and hikes nearby, including the Great North Walk. It’s also within an hour’s drive of the Hunter Valley wine region.

What is this destination best for?

  • All ages

Which lines go there?

  • Celebrity
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • Regent
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Silversea
  • Viking

Eden

On the Sapphire Coast halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, Eden is the place to see humpback whales. There are spectacular hikes in Ben Boyd National Park and cruise passengers can also sample some of the country’s best fresh oysters and fish in Eden’s waterfront restaurants or cafes.

What is this destination best for?

  • Older cruisers
  • history buffs
  • surfers
  • beachgoers

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • NCL
  • P&O
  • Regent
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Windstar

Queensland

Brisbane

A port stop in Brisbane offers dining and cultural attractions in Southbank, shopping on Queen Street, panoramic views from the Wheel of Brisbane and historic architecture at the Treasury casino and hotel. Ships dock at the modern and well-serviced Portside Wharf which is just 10 kilometres from Brisbane CBD. It is accessible by taxis, ferries and buses. Larger ships dock at Pinkenba Wharf.

What is this destination best for?

  • Shopaholics
  • foodies
  • Queenslanders who prefer to drive to board the ship

Which lines go there?

  • Carnival
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • MSC
  • NYK
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Norwegian
  • Celebrity
  • Azamara
  • Regent
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Oceania
  • Holland America
  • Viking

Tangalooma

Tangalooma Island Resort is just off the coast of Brisbane on Moreton Island, which boasts world-class snorkelling over more than 100 shipwrecks, great bushwalking and adrenaline-raising activities such as quad-biking, parasailing and kayaking. Wildlife is abundant and you can feed wild dolphins from the resort.

What is this destination best for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • first-time cruisers
  • families

Which lines go there?

  • Carnival
  • HAL
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Seabourn

Mooloolaba

Cruisers arriving in this Sunshine Coast town are transported by tender into the centre of Mooloolaba’s action. Its attractions include white sandy beaches, boutiques, markets and the Sea Life aquarium, as well as being within reach of Australia Zoo. If you cruise during winter, book on a whale-watching trip.

What is this destination best for?

  • Beach bums
  • families
  • couples

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Oceania
  • Regent
  • Silversea
  • Seabourn
  • Windstar

Airlie Beach

A popular port of call on the Great Barrier Reef’s southern end, Airlie Beach is a jumping-off point to the Whitsunday Islands’ world-class snorkelling, catamaran sailing, scenic seaplane trips, luxury resorts and world-famous spots such as Whitehaven Beach. From your anchor point, you will be tendered ashore to Airlie Beach, or out to the Great Barrier Reef.

What is this destination best for?

  • Watersports enthusiasts
  • thrill seekers
  • nature lovers

Which lines go there?

  • Carnival
  • Cunard
  • Celebrity
  • HAL
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Princess
  • P&O
  • Oceania
  • Regent
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Windstar

Fraser Island

Like nothing else on Earth, this huge sand island is the largest on the planet and the only place where rainforest grows directly from the sand. Picture dunes, freshwater lakes and lots of unique wildlife on the island. Fraser Island has no sealed roads and transport is via 4WD on the sand beaches.

What is this destination best for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • nature lovers

Which lines go there?

  • Ponant
  • Silversea
  • Windstar 

Townsville

Townsville has over 300 dry, sunny days a year and boasts a casino and museums. There is also a wide range of activities available, including white-water rafting, horse riding, golf and fishing. The Port of Townsville cruise terminal is a 5-10 minute taxi ride to the town centre. From Townsville, cruisers can visit Magnetic or Hinchinbrook islands and the former Gold Rush town of Charters Towers.

What is this destination best for?

  • Sunseekers
  • history buffs
  • seafood lovers

Which lines go there?

  • Oceania
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Seabourn
  • Viking

Cairns

Cairns is Queensland’s second busiest port, and from here you can take a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef or head inland to explore the Daintree Rainforest. Ships dock in the centre of Cairns so you can easily walk around town, spending the day meandering along the Esplanade and enjoying the lagoon pool.

What is this destination best for?

  • Snorkellers
  • Divers
  • foodies
  • bushwalkers

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Coral Expeditions
  • Cunard
  • HAL
  • Princess
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
  • MSC
  • NCL
  • North Star
  • Oceania
  • Ponant
  • Regent
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Virgin Voyages

Port Douglas

An hour further north, Port Douglas has the same splendid assortment of natural attractions as Cairns,  but also Four Mile Beach, a yacht harbour and tempting local food, boutiques and art galleries. Its several luxurious resorts also attract Hollywood celebrities. Passengers arrive at the Reef Marina; from here, town is just a short walk or taxi ride away.

What is this destination best for?

  • Celeb spotting
  • shopping
  • outdoor adventures

Which lines go there?

  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Silversea
  • Windstar

Thursday Island

In the Torres Strait, 39 kilometres from the very tip of Australia, tiny Thursday Island hosts a range of cultural activities and a museum where you can learn more about the Torres Strait Islander people. It is easy to walk around the island but taxis and rental cars are available.

What is this destination best for?

  • Culture vultures
  • nature enthusiasts

Which lines go there?

  • Coral Expeditions
  • Azamara
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises
  • Ponant
  • Regent
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Windstar

 

South Australia

Adelaide (Port Adelaide)

Adelaide is also known as the city of churches and there are lots to visit in the CBD. The South Australian Museum displays artefacts around natural history and Aboriginal culture and the neighbouring art gallery has a diverse collection of works. Adelaide is the gateway to the outback where you can explore the Flinders Ranges, Coober Pedy, Lake Eyre and Birdsville.

What is this destination best for?

  • Families

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Celebrity
  • Coral Expeditions
  • Cunard
  • HAL
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Regent
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking

Port Lincoln

At the base of the Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln is known for its fishing industry and seafood. It is also a good spot to swim with sea lions and tuna, or get the adrenalin pumping by diving with great white sharks in a cage. Visit an oyster farm at Coffin Bay to try oysters straight from the sea, or sample wine at a vineyard overlooking Boston Bay.

What is this destination best for?

  • Adventure lovers

Which lines go there?

  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Regent
  • Seabourn

Kangaroo Island (Penneshaw)

Cruise ships stop at Penneshaw and tender passengers to the pier, which is an easy walk from the village. There are free shuttle buses to the beach and Kingscote, the biggest town on the island. At Seal Bay, walk along the beach and watch sea lions dozing in the sun after feeding at sea. For the more adventurous, take a guided quad-bike tour of the bushland to see wildlife up close.

What is this destination best for?

  • Intrepid travellers

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Cunard
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea

Tasmania

Hobart

The charming Tasmanian capital revolves around its harbour and the waterfront is bustling. Cruisers arriving in Hobart can visit the waterside Salamanca precinct, which holds an eclectic market and has historic sandstone warehouses which are now home to galleries, bars and eateries. Out of the city, explore the convict village of Richmond, and see Tasmanian devils at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

What is this destination best for?

  • All ages

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • HAL
  • P&O
  • Ponant
  • Princess
  • Regent
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Virgin Voyages

Burnie

The most westerly city in Tasmania, Burnie produces premium milk and some of the island’s best brie. You can also pick up fresh produce at the farm gate or sip whisky at the cellar door. Burnie is the gateway to Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park with its walking tracks that take in Tasmania’s highest peak and deepest lake.

What is this destination best for?

  • Nature lovers

Which lines go there?

  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • HAL
  • NCL
  • Regent
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Silversea
  • Viking

Port Arthur

A tour of the historic site of Port Arthur is a must and for those brave enough a visit at night is memorable. Take a wilderness cruise with a local operator to see the spectacular rock formations, waterfalls and caves of the Tasman Peninsula. Bird-watchers will be rewarded with sightings of sea eagles, albatross, peregrine falcons and cormorants.

What is this destination best for?

  • Families
  • friends

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Coral Expeditions
  • Cunard
  • HAL
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Silversea

Victoria

Port Melbourne

The Port of Melbourne is one of the three main cruise terminals in Victoria, along with Geelong and Portland, and is close to the city. There’s a lot to do and see in Melbourne with its labyrinthine laneways, foodie culture and fashion boutiques. The city also has impressive art galleries, quirky bars and great music venues. Cruisers who don’t want to head into the city can relax at Port Melbourne beach, play beach tennis or take a stroll along the waterfront.

What is this destination best for?

  • Families with kids

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Coral Expeditions
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • HAL
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Regent
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Virgin Voyages

Geelong

Cruise itineraries also visit the regional city of Geelong where the Waterfront esplanade has charming cafes and restaurants and restored art-deco-style sea baths. Be sure to have a seafood feast at a waterfront restaurant overlooking the water. The port is considered the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. 

What is this destination best for?

  • Couples
  • families

Which lines go there?

  • Oceania
  • Regent
  • Seabourn
  • Viking

Western Australia

Fremantle (Perth)

Fremantle is Western Australia’s major port and the lively city has a buzzing strip of alfresco cafes and pubs and a harbour precinct with a brewery serving fish straight from the fishing fleet. You can take a ferry up the Swan River to Perth or out to Rottnest Island.

What is this destination best for?

  • Families
  • kids

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Cunard
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • HAL
  • Regent
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Ponant
  • Princess
  • Silversea
  • Viking

Albany

The southern coastal city has beautiful beaches, award-winning wines and fresh produce including yabbies, freshly shucked oysters and boutique goat’s cheese. You can spot migrating humpbacks and blue whales from the shore or on a whale-watching cruise.

What is this destination best for?

  • Families
  • kids

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Cunard
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Ponant
  • Princess
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking

Broome

On the Coral Coast, cruisers enjoy Broome where the 22-kilometre-long Cable Beach provides a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. The town’s historic Chinatown overlooks Roebuck Bay and is a jumping-off point for cruises to the local pearl farms.

What is this destination best for?

  • Fun-loving couples

Which lines go there?

  • APT
  • Coral Expeditions
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Ponant
  • Princess
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea

Esperance

This hideaway on the far southeast coast allows you to explore some of the state’s best beaches and golden outback. The landscape is filled with wildflowers in spring. Visitors can explore the rugged Cape Le Grand National Park or snorkel from Blue Haven or Twilight beaches. Passengers are tendered to the pier, where there is a free shuttle bus into town.

What is this destination best for?

  • Families

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Cunard
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • HAL
  • Princess
  • Ponant
  • Regent
  • Royal Caribbean

Exmouth

Swimming with whale sharks in Ningaloo Marine Park on the Coral Coast is a highlight for cruise-ship visitors from late March to late July. Snorkelling over the reef straight from the beach is also a must. The surrounding Exmouth Cape Range National Park is renowned for its red rocky gorges and sheer cliffs.

What is this destination best for?

  • Families and kids

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • HAL
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Regent
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea

Northern Territory

Darwin

Darwin cruise terminal is conveniently located adjacent to the CBD and most ships spend from six to 12 hours in port. To get a good feel for the Top End, visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and afterwards enjoy a picnic dinner while watching the sunset at Mindil Beach. Many passengers head to Litchfield National Park, less than two hours drive from Darwin, and the city is also a good departure point for a pre- or post-cruise tour to the Red Centre to see Uluru or a stay in a luxury wilderness lodge or on a cattle station.

What is this destination best for?

  • Couples
  • families

Which lines go there?

  • Azamara
  • Celebrity
  • Coral Expeditions
  • Cunard
  • HAL
  • MSC
  • Oceania
  • P&O
  • Ponant
  • Princess
  • Regent
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Windstar Cruises