A visitor from Sweden once asked an Australian tourism website if he could walk from Perth to Sydney. Maybe, he suggested, he could follow the railroad tracks? Certainly, the website responded, it’s only three thousand miles, just be sure to take plenty of water. And they meant a lot of water – according to Google, the most direct route from Perth to Sydney would take 745 hours to walk, or 31 days non-stop, including a well-deserved break on a ferry across the Spencer Gulf.
Visitors and Australians alike are routinely taken aback by the vastness of Australia. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a country whose smallest state is roughly the size of Ireland, and whose largest cattle station is roughly the size of Belgium. The question for travellers is often how to maximise their time in Australia, and cover as much distance as comfortably as they can.
Many are turning to cruise holidays as a solution to that problem. In combination with day trips and shore excursions, the traveller can experience the best of Australia’s cities and towns, the majority of which are coastal, as well as beautiful landscapes, and can dream through away the kilometres covered overnight. This post is just on suggested itinerary in which visitors to Australia can see both the east and west coasts, rather than having to choose.
Arriving a few days before their cruise leaves Perth, guests have the time to take in some of the sights of the second most isolated city on earth. They can spend a morning exploring Fremantle, an afternoon on one of the pristine white sand beaches a stone’s throw from the city, and visit attract such as the Fremantle Prison or the Perth Zoo. There are a number of options for day trips with Gray Lines, whether it be wine and cheese tasting in the Margaret River area, wandering among the striking forms of the Pinnacles, or swimming in the clear waters of Rottnest Island.
Embarking the Queen Mary II, guests can enjoy the impressive Southern Australian coastline as the boat cruises from Perth to Melbourne. The vessel will move past the dramatic cliffs of the Nullabor plains, lush national parks and tranquil bays. Guests will have access while on board to a full range of facilities, including fitness centres, swimming pool, library, entertainment program and midnight buffet!
After a relaxing interval on the ship, guests arrive in the busy cosmopolitan city of Melbourne. With eclectic shopping, art galleries and museums, well laid out parks and gardens, and an ever-changing restaurant and bar scene, there is plenty to do in Victoria’s capital. Few visitors to Melbourne, however, can leave without taking a trip down the Great Ocean Road.
After an early pick up, guests can enjoy views of Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay in the morning sun from the West Gate Bridge. After passing through Geelong and Torquay guests arrive at the start of the Great Ocean Road, with its characteristic precipitous cliffs and rolling surf, punctuated by ferny gullies and river inlets. Lunch is a tasty two course meal at the lovely township of Apollo Bay. Guests have the time to take a stroll along the beach before we continue on through the Great Otway National Park, a temperate rainforest chock full of koalas that you may be able to spot as we drive along.
Along the Port Campbell National Park’s “Shipwreck Coast” the coach will make several stops in order for guests to visit the arresting geological formations for which this region is renowned. From Gibson’s Steps, guests have unique views of the 12 Apostles, followed by visits to the Island Arch and Razorback, and the deceptively peaceful Loch Ard Gorge, site of the Loch Ard shipwreck. This coastline is a photographer’s dream in any lighting, and more adventurous guests have the option here to take a helicopter flight for an aerial perspective.
Finally, guests arrive at the fishing village of Port Campbell in the late afternoon for well-earned Aussie style Bush Billy tea with lamingtons, vegemite, and crackers, then it’s back onto the coach for the trip back to Melbourne. Guests can unwind by watching Australian movie All the Rivers Run, or use the Wi-Fi on board to send their friends pictures from their trip!
Crossing back over the West Gate, guests will be able to see the night lights of Melbourne and reflect on an Australian holiday well-spent.