Australia & New Zealand Cruise Ports and Shore Excursions
Australia and New Zealand are like siblings, located close to each other, with similar cultures and unforgettable landscapes that define them. They jockey with each other for sporting supremacy on the cricket pitch and rugby field and simultaneously lay claim to inventing food items like the Pavlova and the Flat White.
Both Australia and New Zealand have some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. While they differ a lot in the specifics of their geography, they are both the envy of a lot of nations around the world. In general terms, Australia has dusty deserts with a coastal fringe of greenery. New Zealand is much greener than Australia, defined by the fjords that crisscross the nation, as well as the mountains and glaciers that make it such a picture of imposing geography. New Zealand's greenery is largely dependent on the country's weather, which is wetter and more temperate than Australia's. New Zealand has a maritime climate, which means that its weather is largely affected by ocean conditions, while Australia has a continental climate and is generally more self-regulating when it comes to weather conditions. Australia is warmer than New Zealand, with a summer average of 30C.
Both Australia and New Zealand have their share of landmarks, although Australia is larger and with more prominent cities, it tends to outnumber New Zealand in terms of bucket-list items. Sydney alone has a number of world-class landmarks, namely the Sydney Opera House, which is the most celebrated work of modern architecture in the world, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the largest steel arch bridge in the world. Along the south coast, you'll find cosmopolitan Melbourne, which has been ranked the "World's Most Livable City" for most of the past decade, and the Great Ocean Road, one of the world's premier coastal drives. If you travel to the Red Centre of the country, you'll find Uluru/Ayers Rock and the incredible sandstone formations, Kata Tjuta, or the Olgas. As well, the Red Centre has Alice Springs, which is the quintessential vision of the Outback, with its camel ranches, helicopter doctors, and dusty climate.
In terms of the ocean, Australia also has the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, and the planet's largest living structure. New Zealand landmarks tend to be restricted to natural ones. In New Zealand, you'll find the Southern Alps and the incredible Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, which are magnificent demonstrations of ice. A little further down on the South Island, you'll find Milford Sound, with the famous Mitre Peak as its centerpiece. Milford Sound is widely considered one of the most beautiful spots on the planet and is thought to be the most photographed attraction in the country. On the North Island, you'll find Rotorua, with its thermal pools, geysers, and bubbling mud pits. Further north, you'll find the Bay of Islands, a collection of 140 subtropical islands in a gorgeous bay that also served as the treaty grounds between the British and the Maori. In terms of city landmarks, the twin harbors of Auckland are certainly iconic, but they're another example of natural wonders.
Famous for the savory Vegemite spread, hearty and delicious meat pies, or perennial favorite fish and chips, this region has many delicious desserts to fancy your taste buds. The Lamington, a square piece of sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in dried coconut, The Pavlova, a meringue shell with a marshmallow center topped with whipped cream and fruit, and the ANZAC Biscuits are crunchy cookies that usually consist of rolled oats, golden syrup, and dried coconut. However, beyond the food, a multitude of craft beers, world-class wines, a host of ciders, and the famous New Zealand soft drink, Lemon, and Paeroa, will quench the greediest of thirsts.
There are endless opportunities to explore, enjoy new adventures, and create lasting memories. If you want to snorkel or scuba dive through coral gardens and alongside white-tipped reef sharks and starfish, you can go to Queensland to explore the Great Barrier Reef or Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. If you simply want to relax on the beach, Australia is exploding with places to do so, although Bondi Beach in Sydney is a favorite. For surfing, you can head west to Perth or the Margaret River to catch the spectacular waves coming off the Indian Ocean or head to the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast in Queensland to experience some of the most popular surfing spots on the planet. New Zealand isn't as renowned for its beaches as Australia, although you can certainly take advantage of the beach and surf across the island, such as in the Bay of Plenty. New Zealand is more famous for hiking and outdoor adventure.
Australia is the only place where you can see kangaroos, koalas, and all other types of fascinating marsupials, but you'll have to put up with the presence of crocodiles, snakes, and terrifying birds like the emu and cassowary. New Zealand has no natural predators, which contributes to its bird life adapting to be largely flightless since it had no need to escape predators in the air.
The combination of warm climate, a wealth of famous landmarks, bustling cities, fascinating animals, and opportunities to surf, dive, and snorkel, all paired with breathtaking landscapes makes "Down Under" the only direction to go!