Cruisers looking to channel their inner explorer and visit one of the most diverse and beautiful regions in the world can chart a course to Australia and New Zealand with Holland America Line come this fall. Noordam spends the fall through spring showcasing the lands Down Under, while Maasdam sets out on longer itineraries, including a once-in-a-lifetime Australia circumnavigation.
Offering a premium, mid-sized ship experience, Noordam uncovers Australia’s southern and eastern regions, and the North and South islands of New Zealand. Maasdam’s voyages touch New Zealand and also reach the entire coast of Australia.
Why should you take a cruise Down Under? Read on to discover the top reasons why Australia and New Zealand are a must-see!
When you hear the word Australia, most likely images of the Sydney Opera House come to mind, along with the notable Sydney Harbour Bridge (Auckland has one, too!) and Ayers Rock. Did you know that on a Holland America Line cruise, you can actually climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and take in a performance at the famed opera house?
Heading over to New Zealand, one of the first sites you’ll see in Auckland is the Auckland Tower that juts into the skyline. For an historic landmark, take a tour to the Port Arthur Penal Colony and the famous Separate Prison. Both are part of Australia’s Convict Sites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Are you a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies? Head over to Middle Earth or Hobbiton to become immersed in this unique world of fantasy.
Kangaroos, Koalas and Kiwis, Oh My!
Australia and New Zealand are known for their abundance of wildlife, both above and below the surface. Many shore excursions let guests cuddle a koala, get close to kangaroos, explore the world of the Tasmanian devil, and even sub-Antarctic penguins at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium.
Nocturnal animals are in full view at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania during an evening visit where guests have photo and feeding opportunities that simply are not available during the day. And guests on cruises with a call at Brisbane can visit the Australia Zoo, made famous by Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.
A World of Wines
Some of the finest wineries in the world are in Australia and New Zealand – from Jacob’s Creek to Hawke’s Bay. There are dozens to choose from, making this region a wine lover’s haven. In Bunbury, Western Australia, visit Aravina Estate, one of the 10 ‘Best New Wineries for 2014’ according to wine critic James Halliday.
In Hobart, Tasmania, visit Moorilla Winery, one of Tasmania’s most forward-thinking and entrepreneurial wineries. Head to Auckland’s wine country to enjoy tastings at Hunting Lodge Winery and Soljans Winery. A small-group tour in Adelaide, Australia, puts the focus on fine wines at the National Wine Centre.
Natural Wonders Abound
Ask anyone who’s been, and they’ll tell you that Australia and New Zealand are filled with stunning landscapes and breathtaking scenery. New Zealand boasts rolling hills greener than Ireland, and Fiordland National Park rivals Norway and Chile with the glacier-carved fiords of Doubtful and Milford sounds.
In Auckland, the Waitomo Glow Worm Cave is a spectacular wonder. Deep within the cave, you can see the millions of bioluminescent glow-worms that stick to the roof. Guests departing from Sydney have the opportunity to see the stunning Blue Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a day-long tour before heading to the airport. But there’s no greater natural wonder than the Great Barrier Reef, and if your cruise visits Airlie, Queensland, you’re in luck. The Great Barrier Reef Experience allows you to snorkel, swim, take a semi-submersible ride and explore in an underwater viewing observatory.
By the late 1830s, New Zealand was home to 125,000 Maori and about 2,000 settlers. See a traditional haka war dance in Auckland or learn about the Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 that promised the Maori people the rights to their taonga – their cultural and landmark treasures. To feel the relationship of the Maori people with the water, embark a waka – a Maori canoe that seats several people – and glide along the Waitangi River, or get in-depth view of how the Maori have retained their culture and customs in a rapidly changing world.
In Bunbury, hear local stories on the Aboriginal Experience and learn about the deep connection that Wadandi people have with the Cape to Cape region.
Are you ready to come explore Australia and New Zealand with Holland America Line? What interests you the most about this region?