Australia is blessed with a wonderful collection of flora and fauna. Australia’s climate ranges from equatorial in the far north, to temperate in the far south, and tropical, desert and grassland in between. Because of this, we have huge variation in our natural wonders, and what better way to sample them than on a cruise. Below are some of the best spots to sample Australia’s true wilderness, accessible by cruise.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, located off the east cost of north Queensland. It is also one of the seven wonders of the natural world, offering the most breathtaking diving experiences. It contains the world’s largest collection of corals and sponges, over 1500 species of tropical fish, hundreds of birds, dolphins and sea turtles. Snorkelling and scuba diving are the best ways to see this underwater world, as well as specially designed glass-bottomed boats. For a real treat, take a helicopter flight over the reef. Another worthwhile stop is Willis Island; which lies in the Coral Sea (beyond the Great Barrier Reef). This uninhabited island offers great bird watching opportunities and total serenity.
The Kimberley National Park
A cruise in the Kimberley covers the area from Broome (Western Australia) to the Mitchell River National Park. This northwestern zone of Australia is home to some of the most iconic Aussie animals; dingoes, kangaroos, wallabies, bilbies, echidnas, frilled neck lizards, and bluetongue lizards. Be aware that it’s also crocodile territory, so triple check before you go swimming anywhere! The Mitchell Plateau has beautiful bushwalks through lush rainforest, waterfalls, and stunning views of the national park. The Montgomery Reef is a spectacular feature of the Kimberley coast and is Australia’s largest inshore reef. Marine life includes crabs, starfish, turtles and octopus.
Further south, temperatures plunge as you approach the Antarctic Circle. Short cruises in this area are the norm, with the cruise boats designed especially with eco-cruising in mind. Expect stops at Burnie, Port Arthur, Hobart and Bruny Island. Bruny Island showcases formidable cliff faces (the highest in the southern hemisphere), and unique wildlife including birds of prey, seabirds, migrating wales, seals and dolphins. The Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park is a must-see, where you can learn about these animals and other native wildlife. Learn about the efforts that are being undertaken to protect these threatened species. Be sure to stop at the Remarkable Cave, accessible by a long set of stairs, but truly worth the effort.
These destinations are just a small sample of Australia’s true wilderness experiences. Being an island nation, Australia’s wildlife has evolved to be different to anything else in the world. A cruise holiday is both a relaxing and convenient way to explore the array of natural sights Australia has to offer..
Written by Emma Jane