Cruises to Australia and New Zealand are increasingly popular. The region is extraordinary in its blend of rugged terrain, unique wildlife and urban beach communities. As you cruise into Sydney Harbor you’re immediately met with iconic sights like Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. However, other major landmarks require a bit of travel inland. The world-famous Ayers Rock, for instance, is right in the middle of the island continent. To experience the best that Australia and New Zealand have to offer, take advantage of a pre- or post-cruise tour package. Holland America Line arranges all the details on these overland tours, giving you the peace of mind and time to relax and explore.
Many of our guests are traveling a long way to get to Australia, so why not take advantage of seeing the rest of the country while you’re there? The Great Barrier Reef and the Outback are must-sees. And we can make it easy for our guests to see it. We maintain the same standards on our overland tours as we do onboard, so our guests know they’re in for a fabulous adventure! — Danielle Rosenow, Holland America Line’s manager, hotel procurement and tour inventory.
These tours are available as pre- or post-cruise packages. Whether they start your vacation on the right foot or cap it off with depth and color, they are a wonderful way to enjoy some time down under!
AUSTRALIA PRE- AND POST-CRUISE PACKAGES
3-Night Pre- or Post-Cruise Tour: Sydney & Blue Mountains
Immerse yourself in Sydney’s cosmopolitan sights, take a walk down the historic district, “The Rocks”, then travel west to the Blue Mountains National Park, home to an abundance of rare flora and fauna.
Day 1 – Arrive in Sydney: Enjoy an afternoon city tour to the historical Rocks area and Milsons or Blues Point for splendid views of the harbor. Continue on past Kings Cross and Double Bay through Watson’s Bay and world-famous Bondi Beach. Then head back to the Wentworth Sofitel, your home base during the stay in Sydney. There you’ll find the same quality that you expect onboard.
Day 2 – Sydney: Following breakfast, set out on a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House with its distinctive sail-like roof. Learn about its history, design and current role in the world-class city. After your tour take in the sights and enjoy a luncheon cruise on Sydney Harbor. The night is free to stroll Sydney independently.
Day 3 – The Blue Mountains: Kangaroos, koalas and Tasmanian devils greet you at the Featherdale Wildlife Park! Enjoy some time with wildlife then it’s off to explore the Blue Mountains National Park, with the famed “Three Sisters” rock formation and panoramic views of valleys and waterfalls. A ride on the steepest railway in the world takes you to an ancient rain forest. Afterward you’ll head back to Sydney for the evening.
Day 4 – Sydney: Depending on whether it’s a pre-or post-cruise package, head to the airport or to your ship.
6-Night Pre-Cruise Tour: Explore Australia
(This tour operates as a five-night post-cruise package)
This tour gives ample time to get a true snapshot of Australia’s greatest attractions. From Ayers Rock glowing in the sunrise to the incredible undersea life of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is at your fingertips.
Day 1 – Arrive Sydney: For guests arriving before 10:30 a.m., enjoy an afternoon city tour including visits to the historical The Rocks area and Milsons or Blues Point for splendid views of the harbor. Continue on past Kings Cross and Double Bay through Watson’s Bay and world-famous Bondi Beach. The evening is at your leisure. Overnight in Sydney.
Day 2 – Sydney/Cairns: This morning fly to Cairns. Travel to Caravonica at the base of the Kuranda Range where you will board the Skyrail, an enclosed cable car, which takes you skimming across the rainforest canopy. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Coral Sea and Barron Falls. You will then arrive at the unique mountain village of Kuranda. Afterward, transfer to your hotel and join your Tour Escort for hosted pre-dinner drinks by the swimming pool. Overnight at Cairns.
Day 3 – Great Barrier Reef: Board a high-speed catamaran for a full-day cruise of the Great Barrier Reef. Morning tea and a buffet lunch are included on board the catamaran. An astonishing variety of brilliant coral, tropical fish and marine creatures await. Snorkel from the reef platform, visit the underwater observatory or ride a semi-submersible to view this underwater paradise up close. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon. Enjoy an overnight at Cairns.
Day 4 – Cairns/Ayers Rock: This morning fly to Ayers Rock, located in the “Red Centre” of Australia. After settling into your hotel, you will visit Ayers Rock. Your tour will take you to the major attractions of this remote area including more than 30 rounded red domes that make up The Olgas (Kata Tjuta). Witness the changing colors of the Rock as the sun sets while sipping on a glass of sparkling wine. Afterward, return to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure. You’ll stay overnight at Ayers Rock.
One little tip … if you go to the Outback, you laugh about how silly the fly masks look, but buy one. There are a lot of flies and you’ll be glad you have it. But there is nothing like watching the sunrise or sunset over Uluru (Ayers Rock). The colors change in the sunlight. It’s beautiful. — Danielle Rosenow
Day 5 – Ayers Rock/Bush Walk/Alice Springs: Watch the sun rise over Ayers Rock then enjoy breakfast in the Uluru Cultural Centre. Join your Aboriginal guide on an interpretive walk of discovery to Uluru. You will learn about ancient Aboriginal Law and watch demonstrations of traditional bush skills such as building a fire without a match. Afterward, travel across the Simpson Desert to Alice Springs. Enjoy views of Mount Connor and stop at a camel farm.
Day 6 – Alice Springs/Sydney: Take in the sights, sounds and heritage of this iconic outback town. You will visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Afterward, enjoy panoramic views from the Anzac Hill lookout and spend some free time in the town center. This afternoon, fly to Sydney and transfer to your hotel for the six-night tour. The five-night tour takes you to the airport or your ship.
Day 7 – Sydney: Bon Voyage! Following a morning at leisure, transfer from your hotel to the ship or flight home.
*Please note that some tours operate in reverse depending on the flight schedule.
PRE- AND POST-CRUISE TOUR PACKAGES IN NEW ZEALAND
Experience Auckland’s diverse climates and natural wonders, as well as its boutique wineries and quaint villages.
3-Night Pre- or Post-Cruise Tour: Auckland Coast to Coast & Waiheke Island
Day 1 – Arrive Auckland: Transfer to your hotel, then enjoy a city sightseeing tour. Highlights include the tree-lined suburb of Parnell, spectacular east coast bays and a visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, housing Maori and Pacific Island artifacts and treasures. Your vacation package includes a ticket to the Sky Tower, to be used anytime during your stay, located adjacent to your hotel and the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand. You’ll have the evening to enjoy Auckland.
Day 2 – Auckland: Isthmus Breakfast, then head out over the Auckland Harbor Bridge to the stunning north shore to visit quaint seaside villages, black-sand beaches and a rare mainland colony of gannets. Stop for lunch and a wine tasting at a third-generation family-run winery. Then continue on to the subtropical rain forest of the Waitakere Ranges, known for their beautiful and dramatic landscapes, magical waterfalls, streams and an abundance of wildlife. On your return, pass through the suburb of Titirangi, popular with artists and nature lovers.
Day 3 – Waiheke Island: After breakfast, board a ferry and glide past the volcanic island of Rangitoto on your way to Waiheke Island, one of New Zealand’s hidden treasures. Boasting a micro-climate a few degrees warmer than Auckland, the island is known for its peaceful and relaxed pace of life. Travel through Oneroa Village, then pass the enchanting bays and picturesque beaches of the northern coast to arrive at stunning Onetangi Beach. A morning tea stop overlooking the sea is followed by visits to two local boutique wineries for wine tasting. Return to Auckland by ferry. From there it’s back to Auckland for the evening.
Day 4 – Auckland: Bon Voyage! Wake up and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading on your way.
Whether you decide to add one of these tour packages pre- or post-cruise, the day-to-day itinerary is the same. Some guests prefer to extend their vacation with an overland option, while other travelers like to start with a package that builds up to the cruise.
If you’re taking an Australia/New Zealand cruise and want to add a pre- or post-cruise tour package, they can be pre-booked so you get the tour of your choice.