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Princess Round Australia 2023 Insights Requested


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We - DH and I, sister and BIL, 2 brothers and SILs - are getting ready to book the Coral Princess Round Australia 2023 (departing April 2 from Sydney) cruise next week and would love your insights and opinions. 

 

We are all in our early 60s to early 70s and have cruised on the Coral before (DH and I twice to Alaska; others once to Alaska) so we are familiar with the ship (and Princess in general) but this will be the first time any of us have visited Australia.  We definitely plan to arrive early in Sydney; its just a question of how many days early.  Some have mentioned arriving a week early and going to New Zealand and then taking on more time for Sydney post cruise or vice versa.  I checked but unfortunately there are no New Zealand cruises round trip Sydney on any line where the timing matches up very well so that trip would involve planes and cars. 

 

I'd appreciate any insights you might have especially if you've done this cruise before and/or visited/lived in any of the ports on the itinerary:  Sydney, Hobart, Burnie, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, Albany. Margaret River (Busselton), Perth (Fremantle), Geraldton, Broome, Kimberley Coast (Scenic Cruising), Kuri Bay, Darwin, Cairns, Willis Island (for Service Call), Brisbane, Sydney.
 

We have 2 years to plan and give the world time to recover from the Covid pandemic. It is exciting to be anticipating what we hope will be a magnificent trip.

 

Thank you for any help you can provide!

 

 

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3 minutes ago, capriccio said:

I'd appreciate any insights you might have especially if you've done this cruise before and/or visited/lived in any of the ports on the itinerary:  Sydney, Hobart, Burnie, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, Albany. Margaret River (Busselton), Perth (Fremantle), Geraldton, Broome, Kimberley Coast (Scenic Cruising), Kuri Bay, Darwin, Cairns, Willis Island (for Service Call), Brisbane, Sydney.

 

We have 2 years to plan and give the world time to recover from the Covid pandemic. It is exciting to be anticipating what we hope will be a magnificent trip.

 

Thank you for any help you can provide!

I recommend arriving a few days before the cruise so you can explore Sydney and the surrounding area. Ports of call -

Hobart - If someone in your group feels confident to drive, you could visit Port Arthur but it is a fairly long trip. Maybe it is of more significance to Aussies rather than international visitors. Another option is to go to the top of Mt Wellington if the weather is fine. A trip to a nearby town (Richmond) is also worthwhile. If your time in port is long enough, you could take the day trip from Hobart to Bruny Island by coach and boat, but you would have to check the times.

Burnie - I recommend visiting Cradle Mountain. This could be done as a self-drive, but might be better done on a Princess tour if they offer it.

Kangaroo Island - tour to see koalas and other wildlife, particularly seals.

Adelaide - The railway station is right beside the cruise terminal. You can go into Adelaide on the train and just wander. However, because this will be your first visit to Adelaide, maybe it would be better to take a tour, either with Princess or an independent one. There are some great wine areas near Adelaide (the Barossa and Clare valleys).

Albany - either self-drive or take tours (independent or with Princess). What to see - I usually recommend the ANZAC centre but this would have more significance to Aussies than international visitors. It commemorates the WWI fleets of troops that went to Gallipoli and other WWI battlefields. There is a short simple tour that operates from the centre of Albany right where the free shuttle bus lets passengers off (only about 2km from the ship). Other attraction in the area is Whaleworld. This sounds awful, but it is a former whaling station that if set up for tourists.

Margaret River (Busselton). Although Busselton is a rather nice tiny town (good place to buy a few bottles of wine), I feel Margaret River is massively over-rated - just my opinion.

Perth - gorgeous city. You could fill in a few days here if you had the time available. You don't have that amount of time so you will have to decide what appeals to you. What to do - visit Rottnest Is (see quokkas up close. They are the cutest animals in the world!), wine cruises up the Swan river, tour the Fremantle gaol, explore the centre of Perth (Swan Bells carillon, historic sights). In Fremantle, explore the Shipwreck Museum and the Batavia Museum - both great and fairly close to the ship. A free bus runs around Fremantle and stops at these sights.

Geraldton - don't pay for a ship's tour here. Take the tourist bus ($5 last time I was there) and get off at the HMAS Sydney memorial (Gorgeous and very moving), St Francis Xavier Cathedral (superb) and the Batavia Museum (great. Different stuff from that shown in Fremantle). I suggest you read about the HMAS Sydney sinking in November 1941 (amazing story) and the atrocity following the wreck of the Batavia (almost unbelievable story).

Broome - Take a tour either with the ship or take the free shuttle to the visitor centre and buy a tour there. People ride camels on the beach at sunset. The beach is stunning. In town, you will see wall to wall pearl shops that I feel are very over-priced.

Kimberley Coast - scenic viewing from the deck. The Kimberley is fantastic, but you only see a tiny bit of it from a ship.

Kuri bay - I don't know.

Darwin - Either drive, take a ship's tour or buy one from the visitor centre. You can take the shuttle bus (charge applies) or walk (a short distance and level walking if you get directions on how to find the lift (elevator). In town you can go to a tourist facility to get close to saltwater (estuarine) crocodiles. The Museum of the Northern Territory is good (and free). Don't bother with Fanny Bay gaol there isn't much to see there. If you walk around town, don't miss seeing Parliament House and going inside. Take the free tour if it is available. Darwin was bombed 64 times during WWII so you will see some reminders in various parts of town. It was also destroyed by a cyclone in 1974.

Cairns - Maybe take a tour to the barrier reef (if you snorkel). If you don't like that, there isn't much point. Another option is the train and gondola over the rainforest (called Skyrail) to Kuranda.

Willis Is - It is just a weather station. The ship stop, everyone gawks from the deck and the captain usually has a chat with staff on the island. The chat is broadcast on the open decks.

Brisbane - Lone Pine (koalas) in the city, Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin's zoo) and hour or so north of the city. You would need to self drive or take a tour to Aust Zoo.

 

Please ask any questions you like and I am sure someone here will be able to answer them.

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Just now, Aus Traveller said:

I suggest you consider what I have written and research on the internet. Then you can come back with some specific questions.

Great minds think alike!  I've already sent your response to the other travelers and am setting up my research folder. 

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I see that our very good forum mate [Aus Traveller] has provided some great info.

 

We did a very similar itinerary on Sun Princess Mar/Apr 2017 & it was an excellent cruise.

 

In terms of how many days you should arrive ahead of the cruise, or stay post-cruise, I would say as many as you can. You could easily spend 10-14 days in NZ, & just to pay justice to the Sydney and surrounding region, at least another week. And that is without anytime in Melbourne or the Outback!

 

At least you have plenty of time for planning!

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And remember, we drive on the left side, which is the right side.😆

 

Seems bizarre booking and planning for 2023, but it gives you ample time.

 

I think some people booked on 2022 Coral Worldie have also booked the 2023 one. Some want to do both but for others 2023 is plan B in case 2022 WC does not happen because of port/border closures, etc.

 

Good luck.

Edited by NSWP
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1 hour ago, nnps said:

The only thing I would add to Hobart is MONA (Museum of old and New Art) https://mona.net.au/ It really is excellent and has ferries from downtown Hobart. 

Add The Mawsons Hut museum on the waterfront. My son's company is major sponsor and he is also now Director of the Mawsons Hut Foundation. An excellent museum, worth a look for an hour or two.

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33 minutes ago, NSWP said:

Add The Mawsons Hut museum on the waterfront. My son's company is major sponsor and he is also now Director of the Mawsons Hut Foundation. An excellent museum, worth a look for an hour or two.

In addition to the popular waterfront Mawsons Hut Museum, Hobart is a paradise for Aussies interested in Antartica. 

  • Tas. Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) top floor features Antarctica.
  • Aust. Antarctic Division Visitor Centre
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1 hour ago, NSWP said:

Add The Mawsons Hut museum on the waterfront. My son's company is major sponsor and he is also now Director of the Mawsons Hut Foundation. An excellent museum, worth a look for an hour or two.

I missed that last year. Is it where the museum is or where the ferry leaves from in Hobart?

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50 minutes ago, MMDown Under said:

In addition to the popular waterfront Mawsons Hut Museum, Hobart is a paradise for Aussies interested in Antartica. 

  • Tas. Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) top floor features Antarctica.
  • Aust. Antarctic Division Visitor Centre

Salamanca Markets is worth a browse.

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Thank you all for wonderful suggestions and please keep them coming!  I'm known for my planning but this will be the furthest in advance we've ever booked a cruise.  From your initial responses it looks like it's a good thing we have lots of time to plan.  I'm already worried that obviously we won't be able to see everything recommended.  We're all so excited already I can't imagine how we will feel 2 years from now. 

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1 minute ago, MMDown Under said:

Ha ha  No, that is why I'm always drawn to them!  They go in my overseas travel box.  Now I wonder if I'll get to use them again.

In NZ I always admire the woollies and the wool and possum blend garments. However, I resist buying them - hard sometimes.

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Just now, Aus Traveller said:

In NZ I always admire the woollies and the wool and possum blend garments. However, I resist buying them - hard sometimes.

I'll have to resist them in future, like you.  I love the wool and possum blend products from NZ.  I just remembered I bought a beautiful hand knitted lacy woollen shawl for my expected first child in NZ, so I've been addicted for a long time.  

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1 hour ago, MMDown Under said:

Ha ha  No, that is why I'm always drawn to them!  They go in my overseas travel box.  Now I wonder if I'll get to use them again.

My sister lives at Currumbin, she has a big 🔥 fire in lounge, she lights it june, july, when it is 18c, lol.

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41 minutes ago, NSWP said:

My sister lives at Currumbin, she has a big 🔥 fire in lounge, she lights it june, july, when it is 18c, lol.

Wouldn't be too many fireplaces on the Gold Coast.  Too cold for us to swim, but too warm for a fire. 

However, I love to visit the Gold Coast hinterland (O'Reilly's and Binna Burra before it burnt down), as well as Bunya Mountains and enjoy fireplaces there.  

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Perth - I would definitely visit Kings Park. It overlooks the City and the river in different directions. It is just beautiful and is a great place to look around. Beautiiful gardens and a fantastic restaurant as well.

 

Albany - I would try to get a tour as everything is spread out but the coastline is absolutely fantastic on the Whale world side. On a cruise we did some English people got off the boat and had a tour with a local Taxi waiting just outside the Cruise terminal. They had a fantastic tour.

 

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An additional request: please provide reading (non-fiction and fiction), viewing (documentaries, TV, movies), and listening (podcasts) recommendations.  We have lots of time to get to know Australia before we arrive.   Thanks!

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I am just watching The Amazing Race, Australia, Season 2. This has been filmed during Covid, late 2020 and is only visiting sites in Aus. It may be of interest to you. So far they have been in Cairns, Gold Coast, Darwin, Central Aus and Adelaide.

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