When people take a cruise to Australia or New Zealand they tend to visit ports in both countries, not just because they are close to each other but because they each represent a remarkably different experience. The most common Australian ports of call (including Sydney, Melbourne) tend to be vibrant urban areas whereas New Zealand, whose largest town has a modest population of just under half a million, represents a slower pace of life. What’s clear, however, is that both islands
have a lot to offer tourists – especially those looking for a more active holiday, full of adventure sports and sailing.
Best Ports in Australia and New Zealand
1. Relive Penal Transportation at Hobart, Tasmania
This is better than it sounds. The town of Hobart, Tasmania is a cruise port which was originally founded in support of the island’s penal colony. Much of this colonial era architecture and history survives making it a picturesque and educational place to step ashore. Try visiting Taroona, the tower formerly used to make gun shot for keeping the prisoners in check. Alternatively, visit the exceptional museums that document this period in history, or the nearby sub-antarctic botanical gardens which keep plants at minus zero temperatures year round.
2. Visit the Scotland of the Southern Hemisphere at Dunedin, New Zealand
The strong local Scottish identity means that you can buy kilts or locally fermented malt whiskey in the shops around Dunedin. This part of NZ is also far enough south that you can occasionally find penguins on the island. It’s also well place for allowing you to explore a number of New Zealand’s many canyons and gorges.
3. Try your Hand at Sailing in the Bay of Islands
This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, surrounded by forests, mountains and some of the best deep-sea fishing on the planet. The area is also popular amongst sailing enthusiasts and there are many opportunities available for either renting a small boat yourself or enjoying a zip around the scenic bay on a crewed vessel.
4. Visit the Largest City in Australia
Sydney is the most metropolitan experience you are likely to get in a cruise to the area so if you love all of the hubbub of city life, make sure you take the time to sample the delights of a city widely known as being one of the most beautiful in the world. As a large town, it often plays host to large outdoor festivals and sporting events, adding to its interest for the short stay traveller.
4 Facts About Australia and New Zealand
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- People often imagine the two countries to be similar when in fact, geographically, they couldn’t be more different. New Zealand is a mountainous country of fjords, ravines and coastal cliffs. Australia, on the other hand, is one of the flattest countries on earth.
- The population of Australia is just over 20 million which is less than a third of the UK population despite being over seventy times the size. The population of New Zealand, by contrast, is about 4.4 million.
- New Zealanders are colloquially known as Kiwis after the long-beaked, flightless bird that is native to its shores. The fruit is named after the bird, rather than the other way round.
- Both countries are former British Colonies and members of the Commonwealth group of nations. They both have the Queen of England and Wales as their head of state and incorporate the UK’s Union Flag into their flags.