Posted May 5th, 2012, 12:36 PM
We have been researching this area for some time, and are about ready to make some plans to come "Down Under" in November of 2013. Waiting for the RCCL to release their cruises for this time of year. We are planning to fly to Sydney, and stay several days to tour this area. Then, thinking of doing an 11 night Queensland cruise that will have stops in New Castle, Brisbane, Cairns(overnite) and Arlie Beach. Hoping this will give us a real taste of this part of the country. Wanting to know if the cruise would accomplish this, or do you think it would be best done all on land? Looking at cost of land vs. cruise. We do love to cruise, and I was thinking this would be a mix of both worlds to see as much as we can while there.
I would also love to go to the islands off the coast. Looking at either the New Caledonia stops vs the ones that also include Vanuatu. Or possibly doing New Zealand while there. We are looking at taking at least a month to visit Australia. We are open to some suggestions from all our friends in Australia. We are open to staying in Sydney for a week, and renting a car for transportation. Not afraid to drive places. Or taking the train, or a flight to another area. I will also be posting this on the Australia Ports of Call board. Thanks all for your input!
Cassiecruiser summed up most of it, but I would just like to add a couple of things, as by coincidence, the 2 cruises I have done have been the Far North Qld one, plus one to the sth pacific Islands. We also did a coach tour of NZ.
To me, one of the main things to consider is you are touring in November. The north of Australia is pretty hot and humid at that time of year. We were there in Sept/Oct and met some American tourists who were a bit 'over' the experience and looking forward to the cooler south, but they were on a coach tour.
Port Douglas was lovely but we were happy to get back on the airconditioned ship by 1pm.
We found some of the shore excursions were rushed. We went to the Great barrier Reef but were only on a pontoon for about an hour and a half and it was time to return. Our Cairns tour of the rainforest was a rush, too.
All the same, it was a good cruise overall.
Like cassiecruiser, I would say 3 days in Sydney should do it.
If you have time for a couple of weeks in NZ, it might be worth it. It is a much smaller place to get around in and absolutely beautiful.
We did a coach tour with AAT and got to see and learn a lot that we would never have picked up on a cruise. Plus-I believe a highlight of cruising there is being able to go along Milford sound, but regularly, cruise ships miss going there as the weather can be a bit changeable.
On a land tour, you would rarely miss out as they bus you in and you catch a smaller ferry.
The difference with a coach tour is you see much, much more of the places as you aren't having to go back to the ship. Plus many meals and excursions/entrance fees to venues are included in the price. Tour guide alos gives you a running commentary and you also get to know some of the people better than you might on a cruise. Do consider it.
In summary, I think you could do a coach tour of NZ, then fly into Sydney for 3 days, do a cruise to the Far north, take in the Great Barrier reef etc
I loved the pacific islands but maybe you could save that for another time.
Unless instead of flying all the way home, you catch a cruise that goes eg Sydney to Hawaii, as that will pass through some islands on the way. It would also make your flight home to the US a lot shorter.
Depends what you can fit into the time frame, I guess.