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  • The Great Barrier Reef's vast expanse is best explored by small ship. read more

  • View ancient aboriginal art in Australia's Kimberley region. read more

  • Melanesia offers some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. read more

Australia

Take a small ship cruise to the world’s largest and most diverse island, Australia. With the unique experience of the harsh outback contrasted by the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is truly unforgettable. Small ship cruising in this region takes you off the beaten path to more uncharted places like the Kimberley coast and Australia's neighbors of Melanesia and Micronesia.

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We are award-winning Australia cruise specialists. With Australia's largest selection of small ships we ensure you'll find the right Australia cruise.

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Our experts have firsthand experience with Australia and Great Barrier Reef cruises. We will help you choose the right cruise for your interests, ability and budget.

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Great Barrier Reef Cruises
From $1596
4 days
Travel Season
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Cruise

Great Barrier Reef Cruises

A Coral Princess cruise is a Great Barrier Reef and Island experience you will never forget. An incredible underwater world will be revealed to you at numerous exclusive reef sites on the most comprehensive Great Barrier Reef itinerary available. Become a lazy beachcomber or an inquisitive adventurer on a 4, 5 or 8 day island-hopping voyage of discovery.
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The Kimberley - Cruising to the Australian Outback
From $7390
11 days
Travel Season
SepOctAprMayJunJulAug

Cruise

The Kimberley - Cruising to the Australian Outback

Discover the heartland of Australia’s northernmost unspoiled outback on this exciting small ship expedition. With so many highlights, it's hard to know where to begin. Luckily this 11 day itinerary allows you to experience them all. The Kimberley is a completely unique experience!
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Kimberley Expedition
From $8210
14 days
Travel Season
MayJunJulAug

Cruise

Kimberley Expedition

Explore secluded beaches and river inlets – waters famous for an abundance of wildlife. From spectacular waterfalls and awe inspiring gorges, to ancient cultural history and indigenous rock art, the only way you can access the best of the Australia's Kimberley is from the sea on board the National Geographic Orion.
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Cape York & Arnhem Land
From $7390
12 days
Travel Season
OctMar

Cruise

Cape York & Arnhem Land

By combining the best of The Top End (as it is affectionately known), The Great Barrier Reef, Cape York Peninsula, Arnhem Land and the Cobourg Peninsula, you will experience all of Australia's best. This unforgettable 12 or 13 day exploration of the unique and remote Northern Australian coastline will take you to the hot spots few have experienced.
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Papua New Guinea
From $8990
11 days
Travel Season
NovMar

Cruise

Papua New Guinea

Mysterious Papua New Guinea is, in the truest sense, the last frontier on Earth. Experience its vast expanses of thick tropical jungle and razor-sharp mountains remain daunting to all but the most intrepid explorers on this 11- or 13-day small ship cruise aboard the Oceanic Discoverer.
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Islands of the South Pacific
From $11390
14 days
Travel Season
Nov

Cruise

Islands of the South Pacific

The Islands of the Pacific will charm and delight you. Rediscover ritual, peace, childlike enchantment and reawaken your senses to the warmth of the South Sea Islanders. Take a journey of discovery into the land where minutes and hours pass by ever so peacefully.
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Australia is the world's largest and most diverse island. This magnificent country beholds an assortment of breathtaking landscapes and assorted cultures, which draw people from all over to partake in the unique experience of the outback.

Secluded from other continents, Australia has an abundance of unique plant and animal life including charming koalas, bouncing kangaroos, untamed emus and slithering reptiles. It has 10 percent of the world's biodiversity.

Although much of Australia is characterized by harsh savanna land, rocky outcrops, shifting deserts, and dry salt lakes, the coast is a spectacular contrast offering a refreshing retreat of beauty and tranquility. Whether looking for a nice walkabout in the alpine scenery of Tasmania, exploring the rainforests in Queensland or taking the plunge on a scuba diving trip in the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, Australia has something for every traveler to enjoy.   

Secluded from other continents, Australia has an abundance of unique plant and animal life including charming koalas, bouncing kangaroos, untamed emus and
slithering reptiles. It has 10 percent of the world's biodiversity, and a great number of its native plants, animals and birds exist nowhere else in the world. Therefore Australia has an array of protection procedures including World Heritage listings, and many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries all committed to conserving its unique environment and natural heritage.

Australia History

Australia is one of the world's oldest landmasses and has been populated by human beings for an estimated 60,000 years. Before the arrival of European settlers, aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples inhabited most areas of the continent. Australia's contemporary history is relatively short, with the first European settlement established by Great Britain on January 26, 1788.

Australia Geography

Australia is the smallest continent and yet the largest island in the world. It lies amidst the Arafura and Timor Seas to the north, the Coral and Tasman Seas of the South Pacific to the east, the Southern Ocean to the south and the Indian Ocean to the west. Its coastline including its islands covers 37,119 miles. The landscape is comprised of low plateaus, with lakes and rivers bounded by coastal mountain ranges. There are rainforests in the far northeast (mainly in Queensland). The southeast is a huge fertile plain. Farther to the north lies the enormous Great Barrier Reef, a 1,200-mile strip of coral that covers a total area of 133,000 square miles. Although Australia is among the driest lands on Earth, it nevertheless has enormous snowfields, the size of Switzerland, and there are vast mineral deposits.

Australia has a very diverse climate comprised of a mixture of desert, tropical, sub-tropical, grasslands and temperate environments. This variety of climate, weather and ecosystems make Australia the perfect destination for small ship cruises year-round.

Weather in Australia by Season

The seasons in Australia are opposite those in North America and Europe. To further confuse things, traditional seasons only prevail in the southern, more temperate parts of Australia. In Australia’s southern regions the warmest and longest days occur during summer (December through February). Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are pleasant in the south with moderate temperatures and rainfall. Winters can be cool and wet with snowfall at higher elevations of the southeast.

As you travel north in Australia you move into sub-tropical and tropical climates. In the coastal tropics and Great Barrier Reef, weather falls into two seasons. April to November marks the hot and cloudless Dry Season. This is the most popular time to travel. December to May is the Green Season when humidity and rainfall are highest.

Water temperatures at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are always fairly warm. They can vary from 70 degrees F (23C) in the winter (Jun-Aug) to 85 degrees F (29C) in the summer (Dec-Feb). Snorkeling and diving opportunities abound year-round.

Dressing for Australia's Weather

Recommended clothing for Australia travel depends on the season and region. In the southern states, lightweights are recommended during summer months with warmer clothes needed during the cooler winter period. Lightweight cottons and linens are recommended all year in the central/northern states with warm clothes only for cooler winter evenings and early mornings. Sunglasses, sunhats and sunblock lotion are needed year-round in the north and during the summer months in the south.

Coral Princess

Coral Princess

Coral Princess is a 50-guest twin-hulled boutique catamaran cruising in the Australian coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef, Cape York & Arnhem Land and Kimberley regions.
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Coral Princess II

Coral Princess II

The 46-guest Coral Princess II operates year-round on the Great Barrier Reef. Her size is ideal for reef maneuvering and snorkeling straight from the ship.
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National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion

102-guest National Geographic Orion is arguably the most sophisticated vessel in its class. Small ship cruises aboard the Orion offer a luxurious exploration of Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Antarctica.
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Oceanic Discoverer

Oceanic Discoverer

Launched in 2005, the 72-guest Oceanic Discoverer sets a new benchmark standard for luxury small ship cruising in Australia and the South Pacific.
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