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Australia Small Ship Cruises

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Discover the remote corners of Australia on a small ship cruise with Adventure Life. The cruises we feature are aboard small expedition ship engineered especially for cruises in Australia where you can snorkel from the ship accommodate less than 50 passengers, or larger luxury-class expedition ships that will take you beyond Australia. Your journey will give you the chance to snorkel in the world's biggest coral reef, the vibrant Great Barrier Reef, or witness the rugged landscapes of the Kimberley region of the country, home to the signature King George Falls. As you get to know the Outback, you will see Aboriginal rock art indigenous to the vast desert in Kakadu National Park. The untamed wilderness of Cape York or pristine islands like Tasmania are also staple parts of many Australian cruises. Contact us if you need help planning your trip.
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Top 10 Small Ship Cruises visiting Australia and New Zealand

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Cape York & Arnhem Land$942512Apr 1, 2025Join Coral Discoverer on its 12-day expedition that sails across the top of Northern Australia to explore the remote islands and ancient cultures …
Coastal Wilds of Tasmania$554011Jan 28, 2025Cruise to the edge of the world on a Tasmanian expedition cruise that teams wombats with wine, beaches with brie and convict ruins with craft beer in …
Outerknown Adventures on the Great Barrier Reef$37008Nov 11, 2024Explore exclusive private islands, tropical resort, and ancient rainforest trails on this 8-day Australian cruise aboard the Coral Expeditions II. …
Coastal New Zealand: Dunedin to Auckland$2403014Nov 3, 2024Board the National Geographic Orion and set off on a 14-day expedition of New Zealand's beautiful coasts, sailing from Dunedin to Auckland. Spot …
Australia's Iconic Kimberley$926011Aug 2, 2024Explore the wild and untamed sceneries of Australia’s Kimberley region in this 11- day adventure cruise. Travel from Darwin to Broome as you marvel …
The Kimberley$895011Jul 19, 2024Marvel at the natural beauty and some of the earliest known Indigenous art, the enigmatic Bradshaw drawings. Soak up the history and unique geology, …
South Island & Fiords of New Zealand$749513Dec 24, 2024Embark on a 13-day expedition aboard Coral Adventurer to explore New Zealand's Fiordland and surrounding islands. Sail past Solander Island towards …
Abrolhos Islands & the Coral Coast$716013Sep 22, 2024This 13-day expedition explores Western Australia’s wild and largely untouched coast, with its contrasting coastal palette of rich red sands and …
Kimberley Explorer: Expedition Cruising Australia's Iconic Kimberley Coast$699511Aug 11, 2024Join Heritage Adventurer on this brand-new 11-day cruise expedition along Australia's world-renowned coast and Kimberley, one of the world's most …
Best of the Kimberley and Tiwi Islands$756511Aug 26, 2024Explore natural wonders of the Kimberley coast. Witness magnificent coastal vistas created by towering rock ridges, silent secluded gorges, plunging …

Australia Travel Tips & Guide

Fun Facts about Australia
You might know that Australia's nickname is the "Outback" and that it is full of kangaroos, but what else do you know about the "land down under"? Test your trivia knowledge here:

How many people live in Australia?
According to the 2012 census, 22 million.

What is the capital of Australia?
Canberra. Contrary to popular belief, Sydney is not the capital city, although it is the largest city.

How many cities are there in Australia?
Despite the fact that it is the world's 6th biggest country by land size, it only has 45 major cities (population over 30,000). 

What does the Latin word "australis" mean? 
Australis means literally means south in Latin.

What is the name of Australia's reef system (the biggest in the world)?
The Great Barrier Reef.
Highlights of Australia
Tucked between the Pacific and the Antarctic, Australia claims a unique geography both on land and in the water. Our tours highlight the tropical region of this country, offering explorers a diversity of adventurous opportunities to snorkel, hike, and share in the local culture that has developed on this island continent:
  • Explore the Kimberly region of Australia, including its expansive arid plains, where waterfalls and desert critters abound.
  • View well-preserved Aboriginal paintings at Raft Point and Bigge Island.
  • Snorkel in the rainbow of marine life of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Hike through various national parks, like Kakadu National Park
  • Explore the famous and mighty Horizontal Waterfalls by zodiak. 
  • See the reefs from above in a glass-bottomed boat.
  • Meet local artisans.
  • See the animals of the area, like koalas, wallabies, and kangaroos.
Best Australia Small Ship Cruise Lines for 2024-2025
  • Ponant - operates 52 itineraries that sail to Australia, including the iconic Kimberley at the top of the list. Environmentally friendly, equipped with cutting-edge technology, and with lounges that are largely open to the exterior, the new and intimately sized yacht, Le Laperouse, offers a unique type of cruise experience.
  • Silversea Cruises - has a fleet of small, ultra-luxury cruise ships such as the Silver Explorer, which offers extensive coverage of the entire Australian region, with 79 cruises ranging from tracking Aboriginal art in the Kimberley to diving the Great Barrier Reef. 
  • Aurora Expeditions - has a 2022 maiden voyage to Raja Ampat and the West Papua Islands with Darwin, Australia as its disembarkation. The revolutionary ULSTEIN X-BOW® on the Sylvia Earle provides improved stability in rough seas, enhanced ship speed, and reduced environmental impact. 
  • Coral Expeditions - proudly sails under the Australian Flag. Coral Geographer discovers the hidden nooks and crannies of Australia's Kimberley, West, and South Coasts, and the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Heritage Expeditions - is a New Zealand-based family-owned and operated company, a pioneer in environmentally-responsible expedition travel, offering intimate group excursions to Australia's Subantarctic Islands. Heritage Adventurer combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of polar exploration.


Australia FAQs

Do I need a visa to travel to Australia?
You must have a valid passport and a visa or Electronic Travel Authority at the time of entry into Australia.
Is tipping customary in Australia?
For servers: 10-15 percent of the bill.
At hotels: Porters can get $1/bag; concierge can get $10-20 for favors; housekeeping might get $1/day.
Guides and drivers: $5-20 based on whether you got private service and how good it was. 
What is Internet access like in Australia?
Australia is a developed country with access to high-speed WiFi in the bigger cities that you will visit - especially in hotels and public spaces like restaurants or cafes - but if you are on a cruise on the open water or a camp or lodge in the outback area, don't count on having internet so isolated from the rest of modern Australia.
Can I use my cell phone while in Australia?
If you want to use your cell phone in Australia while you are in the more developed parts of the country, like major cities, then you can purchase a SIM chip that you can replace in your smartphone. However, do note that most of our itineraries spend days in the most isolated corners of the country where you will not get a signal
Do I need power adapters in Australia?
You will need plug adapters and step-down converters for your devices if they are 110v and not compatible with Australia's 220-240v. The outlets in Australia are three slanted flat prongs (AS-3112).
What are the toilets like in Australia?
Most of Australia and all of the cruise vessels of the area feature modern flushing toilets. If you are in the more remote rural areas, then you may have to use a latrine.
Are credit cards accepted in Australia? Will I be able to find ATMs?
Yes to both. While you are in the major cities (for at least several days on most tours) you will find businesses that accept cards and ATMs where you can withdraw money. In the backcountry where there are less available, there also aren't many things to buy. Our tours are all-inclusive so you only really need to budget for souvenir and before and after-trip expenses.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
You should always purchase travel insurance for vacations; it just might save you thousands of dollars. Check out TravelGuard's deals on the Once You're Booked page.
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