With recent rises to the cost of obtaining a passport and simultaneous slides in the Aussie Dollar, it’s becoming more economical than ever to cruise close to home. But it’s not just the seven-night Queensland coastal runs that you have to settle for – there are plenty of great sea jaunts in Australia that still offer a great deal of flair and excitement.
P&O’s Fraser Island Fling
When Pacific Aria first called into Fraser Island a few months ago, it marked the first ever call of a major cruise ship to the world’s largest sand island. It also marked another new port to be added to the domestic cruise roster. Ashore, guests can experience some of the deepest lakes in the world, four-wheel driving excursions and opportunities to discover the unique ecosystem that encapsulates it. Fraser Island is somewhat difficult island to reach but can be found on many three and four-night itineraries from Brisbane and Sydney. Even better, the only two ships that can sail to Fraser Island are P&O’s boutique sisters Pacific Aria & Pacific Eden, so there’s little chance you’ll find yourself in a people crush while on the island.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Melbourne Cup Madness
Rounding the turn and racing into our list of favourite domestic voyages is Carnival Spirit’s eight-night voyage to The Emirates Melbourne Cup. Starting in Sydney, the cruise sails down to Melbourne packed full of fashion and racing experts to give you that edge both in the betting and fashion stakes. Guests also arrive a day before Cup Day in order to take advantage of the great shopping in Melbourne, offering a great last-minute chance to pick up that last must-have to look their best at Flemington. A further two days in port allows guests more chances to enjoy the cosmopolitan city before sailing back to Sydney.
Coral Expeditions’ Tassie Explorer
Discovering the Apple Isle’s more remote areas is easy with Coral Expeditions. The line which recently rebranded from Coral Princess Cruises now operates, among others, an annual season of Tasmanian voyages to discover Australia’s southern frontier. The small vessel Coral Expeditions I takes travellers on an in-depth discovery of hidden coves and bays along the state’s southwest coast, with zodiac rides down inland tributaries that flow off Wineglass Bay, while guests will be able to experience historical Hobart at both ends of the circumnavigation. Voyages run November to March, in line with Tasmania’s best weather.
Silversea Cruises’ Luxury Kimberly
If you are looking at pairing the ultimate in luxury, style and expedition activity, it’s difficult to top Silversea Expeditions and its comprehensive Kimberly program. The recently relaunched Silver Discoverer runs a range of itineraries between Broome and Darwin each dry season (around the middle of the year), occasionally also venturing into seas around the northern tip of Queensland and ports such as Cairns.
Guests will be pampered to the high Silversea standard while also experiencing the rough and dramatic north of Australia. Combine this with a pre or post-cruise stay at Broome’s Cable Beach Resort or go super deluxe and take in El Questro ranch. The inclusive nature of Silversea sees all zodiac expeditions included while helicopter excursions can also be arranged for a small additional surcharge.
Princess Cruises’ Southern Discovery
Recently announced by Princess, Golden Princess will embark on a new range of “Southern Discovery” itineraries in future seasons from both Melbourne and Adelaide. The new runs see guests calling into a range of South Australian and Tasmanian ports, with guests able to join the ship in the capital cities of both states. The best part about this voyage is that Princess is letting guests also do one-way voyages between Adelaide and Melbourne, so you could combine this voyage with a trip on the Overlander train for a grand adventure.