Island Hopping on the Tasman Sea
On a cruise to Oceania—that remarkable corner of the world anchored by Australia and New Zealand—this scene becomes frequent but never common, for there is nothing common about these coastal cities. Australians know this well, where 80 percent of the population lives near the coast in uncommon towns of uncommon beauty. New Zealanders are avid coastal dwellers as well; no spot is farther than 79 miles from the sea. From beaches of solitude and sand to giant glaciers of unyielding serenity, New Zealand's coastal splendors dare you to forget them—a dare they never lose.
Travel agents know that the best way to explore these storied ports is from the luxuries of the water, entering new harbors with a fresh "wow" ready on the tip of your tongue. Luckily, the Tasman Sea, a body of water stretching from Australia's southeastern tip to New Zealand, is outlined with dazzling seaports like a constellation of stars. These stars—Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin in New Zealand; Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia—provide an exceptional glimpse of Oceania's coastal treasures.
Your journey begins on the North Island in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, the City of Sails. Cruising into this harbor, your ship is playfully surrounded by sailing vessels of every shape and color, for New Zealanders have a passion for ocean-going craft second to none. While docked, enjoy the vibrant waterfront, walk to the summit of Rangitoto, a black lava volcanic island, or ascend 328 meters straight up at Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, for a view unimaginable.
Hopping down to the New Zealand's South Island, the city of Christchurch will surprise you with English charm, reflected in its well-tended gardens and Victorian architecture. Enjoy the city's extraordinary range of flora and fauna by visiting both the Botanic Gardens, the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants found anywhere in the country, and Orana Wildlife Park, internationally recognized for its breeding of rare and endangered New Zealand and African animals.
Leaving Christchurch will be difficult, but well worth it once you reach Dunedin, an old city with a distinctly Scottish feel. Whether you explore Larnach Castle, take a ferry ride around Otago Harbour or walk up Baldwin Street, the world's steepest street, your memories will stay with you for a long time. Even Mark Twain once remarked on a visit, "The people here are Scots. They stopped here on their way home to heaven, thinking they had arrived."
Departing New Zealand waters, you glide across the Tasman Sea to the wild island-state of Tasmania to discover Hobart, one of the world's most picturesque harbor cities. If you can tear yourself away from the scenic waterfront, then cruise the leisurely Derwent River, ascend Mt. Wellington to experience a view unrivaled, or, if it's Saturday, lose yourself in the shoppers paradise of Salamanca Market, where thousands come to buy arts and crafts straight from the artists, along with antiques and collectibles.
Without spotting any Tasmanian devils (they're nocturnal), you'll disembark for the big island and land in Melbourne, the cultural heart of Australia. Melbourne comfortably blends 100 cultures for a rich, international air that deliciously lingers in the city's 15,000 dining venues. Take a quaint tram ride through the downtown area past lush gardens and sleek high-rises to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the country's biggest and most popular stadium that has expanded into both an entertainment center and tourist destination.
While much of the country's national praise is aimed at Melbourne, international eyes are set on Sydney, where the distinctive profile of the Opera House and the proud arch of the Harbour Bridge gladly greet your ship. Sydney knows it is one of the world's great cities, and that confidence is warmly reflected in its residents. Step off the boat in Circular Quay and meander through the Rocks, the original old city; take the Sydney Explorer bus around town where you can hop off and on whenever you feel; or, for a breathtaking view of a breathtaking harbor, take the Bridge Climb to the very top.
On islands this large and diverse, exciting ports of calls are around every bend, anchoring exquisite bays and peaceful coves. Your trusted travel agent will help you explore your options, guiding you to a luxury cruise to the above destinations, or to a smaller cruise up north to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, or down the southern coast to Kangaroo Island. Creating tailor-made travel plans for you and your family is what a travel agent does best.
Get to know the many sides of Oceania. Click here to find a trusted travel agent in your area and begin planning a cruise chock full of "wow!"
Travel agents are available to assist
you in 37 languages!
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Auckland Dragonboat Festival — February
Devonport Wine and Food Festival — February
Auckland International Cultural Festival — February
Pasifika - New Zealand's largest Pacific Culture festival — March
Waiheke Jazz Festival — April
Lindauer Coastal Classic Yacht Race — October
World Buskers Festival, street performers — January
Christchurch Festival of Flowers — February
Food and Wine Festival of Canterbury — February
Le Race, cycling — March
Christchurch International Jazz Festival — August
Montana Christchurch Winter Carnival — August
Tasmanian Cultural Festival — January
Royal Hobart Regatta — February
Salamanca Readers' and Writers' Festival — August
Australian Wooden Boat Festival — November
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race — December
Taste of Tasmania — December
Hobart Summer Festival — December/January
Montsalvat Jazz Festival — January
Chinese New Year Festival — February
St Kilda Festival — February
Irish Festival — March
The Melbourne International Comedy festival — April
The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show — April
Melbourne International Festival of The Arts - September
Melbourne Writers Festival — October
Sydney Festival — January
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival — February
Greek Australian Festival — February
Blue Mountains Fine Food And Wine Festival — May
Stroud International Brick and Rolling Pin Throwing Competition — July
Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival — September
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Start: 26 December — December
My mother is considering a cruise on the Silver Aeas around NZ to Australia, January 4 -15, and is concerned she will get sea sick.The cruise crosses the Tasman Sea. Is the sea very rough and do people actually get sea sick on a large cruise ship? I thought they were very stable these days but would like someone who knows the area to give me an opinion.
By: Jennifer Roth At: 07/30/2010 12:00:00: PM
I heard a lots of great things about the Tasman Sea, I red on http://www.linotravel.com/from-triumph-to-tragedy-australias-epic-sydney-to-hobart-yacht-race that there will be a yacht race and I would definitely like to see that.
By: jimmy jones At: 09/02/2012 00:00:00: AM
I love the Tasman Sea, I saw it last month and and I liked it a lot. I even found reasonable accommodation thanks to http://www.kiwiaccommodation.com/.
By: Anonymous At: 09/10/2012 12:00:00: PM