Australia draws millions to its outdoor wonderland with every water sport imaginable. Take a four-night catamaran cruise to Lizard Island for snorkeling and diving at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a day of surfing and sun at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, followed by an evening ferry cruise of iconic Sydney Harbor for the best view of nearby Sydney Opera House.
On summer cruises (December–March), it’s possible on one voyage to explore ports on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Auckland, the largest city, and windy Wellington, the capital city, are both on the North Island and combine the best of outdoor recreation with the sophistication of museums, Maori arts and crafts, fine dining and the burgeoning New Zealand wine scene. (You may receive a “hongi,” a traditional Maori greeting involving pressing noses and foreheads together!) Be charmed by lesser-known Akaroa, a French-influenced village snuggled inside an ancient volcano.
In addition to Sydney, Australian ports include green, cosmopolitan Melbourne, and Hobart, the capital of Tasmania and home to the ferocious Tasmanian devil and other exotic wildlife.
And there’s still time to hike mountains, rainforests, volcanoes and the bush (try your hand with a boomerang) and visit vineyards and sheep farms.
Not everything Down Under takes place on or in the water. An ultimate Australia road trip alongside the Southern Ocean highlights the famed food and wine region of Barossa; Adelaide, the City of Churches; and Kangaroo Island, home to kangaroos, sea lions, kookaburras, owls and falcons.