OVERVIEW OF AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND

Go down under and you’ll discover that there’s more to Australia and New Zealand than just kangaroos, koalas and kiwi. Both destinations offer a myriad of experiences and adventures to immerse in. You could tour famous architectural icons such as the Sydney Opera House, go dolphin spotting along Melbourne’s pristine coast or even discover more about New Zealand’s art, culture and history from the museums. Take one of our 12- or 14-night cruises to Australia, New Zealand and the islands. Ports-of-call include enchanting destinations like Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, Christchurch, Tasmania and more.

   Ports of departure

This easy-going capital of South Australia is your portal to every big outdoor adventure you could dream up. Trek the raw, rugged Outback in all its aboriginal glory. Hop over to Kangaroo Island, one of the world's best places to view wildlife, hence the name. Then hit the wine trail with glass in hand! Adelaide is in the thick of the country's finest vineyards.

The town of Airlie Beach, often referred to as the "Gateway To The Whitsundays", radiates a certain bohemian charm, with a blend of cosmopolitan and contemporary Australian style. Facing north on the eastern coast of Australia, Airlie Beach is blessed with late afternoon sun in the winter and cool, refreshing breezes in the summer.

A one-hour drive from Christchurch, New Zealand is the quaint little fishing town, Akaroa. The historic French and British settlement situated on the southern side of Bank Peninsula is a must see for anyone looking for a few days of rest and relaxation. Spend your days exploring the galleries, craft stores and cafes in the village or venture in the great outdoors and explore the dramatic outer bays.

Located on the north coast of Upolu Island, Apia is the capital and largest city of Samoa. Here, the gentle old-world charm of the city blends with the lush tropical beauty of the island to create a slow and easy peace. It is no wonder Robert Louis Stevenson chose to spend his final years here. Saunter along the beach road to the promenade on the harbor wall or visit some colorful local markets.

With a population of 1.3 million people, including immigrants from all over the world and a heavy concentration of Polynesian people, Auckland is far and away New Zealand's largest and most cosmopolitan city.

Huge? Yes. But spiritual? See for yourself on an excursion to the awe-inspiring Ayers Rock, known locally as Uluru. This Aboriginal sacred site is the world's largest monolith, rising more than 1,000 feet out of the desert sand. Discover the mysteries of Uluru on a walking tour around the base or a guided hike to the rock's peak.

With its warm azure waters, golden beaches and some of the bluest skies on the planet, Bay of Islands is a magnet for the vacationally deprived. Some 150 isles, many still secluded, and a handful of coastal towns make up New Zealand's favorite holiday haven. Waitangi is your historic hotbed imbued in Maori myth and legends.

Bora Bora is universally revered as the quintessential vacation home for hopeless romantics. And why not? If its idyllic location isn't captivating enough, there's the sheer decadent beauty of the place. Silky stretches of deserted white sand. The rocky black peaks of Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia.

The cool and casual capital of Queensland offers all the glitz and glam of a big city without the big city airs. Located on the banks of the Brisbane River and surrounded by rolling hills, this urban oasis sure is easy on the eyes.

Burnie is a lively, attractive port city on the northwest coast of Tasmania, originally settled in 1827 as Emu Bay. With its broad beaches and rising hills, Burnie is as physically attractive as it is culturally interesting.

Rapidly becoming the "capital of the Great Barrier Reef," the tropical paradise of Cairns (pronounced "Cans") is one of Australia's fastest-growing tourist areas. Our cruisetour guests will experience both the wet and the wild as they explore lush rain forests, wetlands and woodlands and spy the glorious creatures that inhabit them.

Aptly named, Champagne Bay, Vanuatu is truly one of the finest tropical getaways. Nestled within the island of Espiritu Santo, this paradise boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the South Pacific. Famous for its pink sand, coconut trees and sun kissed waters, this heaven on earth has remained largely untouched. Leave the bustle of the touristy beaches behind, bury your toes in the soft sand, and watch time stand still.

Located midway along Australia's northern coast, Darwin is a youthful city known for its optimism and its melting-pot culture. Named after famous evolutionist Charles Darwin, the city is the capital of the Northern Territory and the gateway to several Southeast Asian countries.

Often referred to as the "Sound of Silence," Doubtful Sound is a tranquil, awe-inspiring destination known for its cascading waterfalls, looming mountains and rare marine life.

As gateway to Queenstown's many adrenaline-pumping activities and guard to the unspoiled natural habitats of the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, the second-largest city on the South Island, with its historic Victorian architecture, alternative collegiate vibe and outstanding outdoor recreation, stands second to none.

One of the most complex fjords on New Zealand's southern coast, Dusky Sound is a place of serene beauty, accessible today only by sea or air. European explorers first spotted this treasure when Captain Cook and his crew happened upon its opening in the late eighteenth century.

There are few places as tranquil as the island of Tasmania. It's no surprise that Aussies head here for a taste of laid-back island life. Over a third of the landscape is covered with national parks and wilderness World Heritage areas. It's even home to one of the world's best beaches and tons of aboriginal creatures such as echidna, and Tasmanian devil.

 

Hawaii's capital is indeed the jewel city of the Pacific. From Diamond Head and the world-famous beaches of Waikiki, to the inspiring memorials of Pearl Harbor and the Punchbowl National Cemetery, to the only royal palace ever constructed on U.S. soil.

It's been said that Captain James Cook named the Isle of Pines without ever stepping foot on its shore. Sure those sturdy Araucaria trees make a statement, but this pretty island deep in the South Pacific is so much more.

The city of Lautoka is situated on the northwest coast of the island of Viti Levu. The second-largest city of Fiji, Lautoka serves an important sugarcane-growing district and is the country's leading sugar export port. As a place with a vibrant population and a colorful life, the cultural lifestyle of the people here are worth exploring. The natural wonders of Lautoka, Fiji are just as outstanding.

Lifou is the capital of the Loyalty Islands, a far-flung archipelago located off the French island New Caledonia, which is east of Australia. Known for its friendly inhabitants and its physical beauty, Lifou is truly an island paradise. The islanders are of mixed Melanesian and Polynesian heritage, with a small European minority. European whalers were the first visitors to the Loyalty Islands, and contemporary visitors can still enjoy the islands' timelessly relaxed beauty.

Luganville is the second-largest town on Vanuatu, one of over 300 islands of volcanic origin located in Melanesia. Its population is extremely diverse, with over 100 different languages, a multitude of dialects and a South Pacific island heritage.

Relax in one of the three Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia. Surround yourself with lagoons teeming with marine life, hike along fossilized coral rock and discover secret grottoes.

Sitting pretty in the southeast corner of Australia is the very multi-dimensional Melbourne. Whether you're into football or funky fashion, local pubs or chichi cafés, out there or traditional architecture - this epicenter of everything truly has it all. Including a rich and notorious past.

For first-time visitors and lifelong natives alike, Milford Sound is one of the most immediately breathtaking places in New Zealand. The 22-km-long fjord is dominated by beautiful Mitre Peak and calmed by gorgeous waters that mirror the sheer peaks surrounding them.

If you're in need of an essential island escape - sun, sand, surf and all the tranquility that goes with it - say hello to Moorea. This ethereal atoll is an unsung romantic and a tad more laidback than its "big name" sister islands in the South Pacific.

Located on the southern most point of the Vanuatu archipelago, this little jewel of the South Pacific is completely uninhabited. Formerly used as an allied forces landing strip during WWII, today only palm trees and sweet seclusion grow from the white sand of Mystery Island.

Napier, a port city in the Hawke Bay region of New Zealand, is the art deco capital of the world. After a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, and subsequent fires, destroyed most of its commercial center in 1931, the city was rebuilt in the flamboyant art deco style prevalent at the time. The clean geometric lines, neon clocks and brightly lit fountains lend Napier a movie-set feel.

Newcastle is New South Wales' second largest city and provides all the excitement of a large city with the hospitality of a regional town. In fact, Newcastle is an Australian port city which stands apart from other port cities. A harbour with a picturesque coastline, an interesting topography, tree lined streets and a rich legacy of historic and architecturally significant buildings make up Newcastle.

Nouméa, the charming capital of New Caledonia, has quite a few things to brag about. It's the third largest island in the South Pacific. It's home to the world's largest lagoon and second largest coral reef. And if that's not enough, it's part French. The cuisine is fabulous. The shopping, well, can you say haute couture?

From the stunning deep-water harbor-formerly a volcanic crater that collapsed and filled with seawater—to the towering mountains that surround it, Pago Pago is unforgettably scenic. You'll find rocky islets that create warm lagoons perfect for swimming. And the stunning panoramic views from the Afono Pass guarantee impressive photos.

Brilliant blue lagoons, proud jagged peaks, coconut groves and a hint of gardenia in the air. Everything you've ever imagined about this island is true. An enchanting place to say the least, its little wonder Tahiti is a muse to so many. Herman Melville and Paul Gauguin certainly found some inspiration here.

The city of Perth is best known for its sunshine (3000 hours of sunshine a year), natural beauty and relaxed pace. You'll also find some of the country?s best beaches, plenty of things to see and do when the sun sets, bustling waterfront markets, inner city parks and plenty more. Notable attractions include the meandering Swan River, the neighboring port city of Fremantle, the vineyards of Swan Valley and the landscaped gardens of Kings Park.

Imagine a scene of regal sailboats floating atop blue waters, hugged by a picturesque landscape of rolling green mountains and cloud sprinkled skies. This is Picton, New Zealand, a charming seaside town at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Fishing village charm meets aquatic amusement and jungle intrigue in Port Douglas. And if you think this sounds like the perfect setting for your Australian adventure, wait 'til you experience it firsthand. Take a dip in the warm tropical waters. Sip a fruity drink at one of the many seaside cafés.

Port Hedland has been the center of a thriving iron-ore industry with a natural harbor that handles the largest tonnage of any port in Australia. Though renowned for its massive resource industry, long trains, big ships and salt piles, the port town is just as rich in pristine beaches and mangroves, which are home to an abundance of fish and other wildlife. Much of the population resides in the satellite town of South Hedland.

Little wonder life is electric in Queenstown, it's built on a lake shaped like a lightning bolt, after all. Of course, the scenery created by the surrounding Remarkables and Eyres mountain ranges certainly doesn't hurt either.

Spa lovers and culture vultures rejoice! This seething hotbed of spouting geysers, boiling mud pools and warm geothermal springs surrounded by silica terraces is a natural spa paradise set in the heartland of ancient New Zealand Maori culture.

 

This island city seems to be ultra modern and a commercial centre at first, but dig a little deeper and you'll discover a mix of cultures and colonial history which gives it its unique character.

The tropical paradise Suva lies on a beautiful peninsula on the Island of Viti Levu (pronounced Vee-tee Lay-vu), the largest island and the hub of the entire archipelago of Fiji. A city rich with color, life, and exuberant energy, Suva is Fiji's most concentrated confluence of ethnicities and cultures, mixing Indian, European, Chinese and South Pacific Islands. The city's downtown is a jigsaw of colonial buildings, modern shopping plazas, abundant eateries and a breezy esplanade.

 

The whole world's in love with Sydney. It's stylish, it's sophisticated, it's home to some of the friendliest people on the planet. And yes, a few koalas, if you know where to look. What's not to love? This gateway to the Outback has it all: endless outdoor adventure around the harbor or in spots like the Blue Mountains.

 

Perth, the capital of the state of Western Australia, is the fastest growing major city in Australia, with a population of over 1.5 million people. Situated alongside the tranquil waters of the Swan River (named for the indigenous population of Black Swans), much of Perth's growth and vitality is due to its proximity to surrounding natural resources.

Tauranga lies in the heart of the Bay of Plenty region, about 2.5 hours south of the city of Auckland. It has become one of New Zealand's fastest-growing areas thanks to plentiful sunshine and beautiful beaches. But with a population of only about 100,000, Tauranga can still offer you generous space to yourself.

There are 83 idyllic islands that make up the amazing archipelago of Vanuatu. And Port Vila, the capital city of the island of Efate, is the heart and soul of them all. Sandwiched between the northern and southern atolls - it's like the city was built for island hopping.

As gateway to Queenstown's many adrenaline-pumping activities and guard to the unspoiled natural habitats of the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, the second-largest city on the South Island, with its historic Victorian architecture, alternative collegiate vibe and outstanding outdoor recreation, stands second to none.

The fact that Wellington has become New Zealand's fastest-growing weekend destination tells you something about the city. Once merely its political capital, the city's calendar is packed with celebrations, festivals and some of the country's best theater and dance.

Willis Island, located east of Australia just beyond the Great Barrier Reef, is the only permanently inhabited island in Australia's Coral Sea Islands Territory. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a weather monitoring station on the island, staffed by three people, who make up the island's human population.

Willis Island, located east of Australia just beyond the Great Barrier Reef, is the only permanently inhabited island in Australia's Coral Sea Islands Territory. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a weather monitoring station on the island, staffed by three people, who make up the island's human population. Thousands of masked, brown and red footed boobies - a seabird that looks like a dressed up seagull - keep them company.

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