This diverse landscape is also home to some truly unique wildlife, from kangaroos to koalas, as well as the breath-taking Great Barrier Reef and a fascinating indigenous culture.
As restrictions begin to lift and we look forward to international travellers starting to return to Australia in the not too distant future, we thought it was time to remind you of some of the fantastic places you can visit on a cruise Down Under...
When talking about Australian cruises, the obvious place to begin is Sydney. Featured on practically all cruise itineraries, Australia's most renowned city is not to be missed. Home to the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, there is so much to see that it's hard to fit everything in.
In the shadow of the Harbour Bridge you can browse the trendy open-air markets of The Rocks, then wander through the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden to Mrs Macquarie's Chair for superb views of the Opera House. Admire the stunning vistas on the coastal walk from the famous Bondi Beach or relax at the city's quieter northern beaches. Sydney is also an excellent gateway to the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley, giving you even more reason to stay for a few extra days.
On Australia's south easterly coast lies the country's second city, Melbourne. From here you can travel the famous Great Ocean Road and visit the surrounding wine region. Itineraries focusing on this part of Australia often visit Tasmania, almost half of which is protected in order to maintain the island's wild beauty. Here you'll find stunning white beaches, waterfalls, forests and a craggy coastline where you can spot dolphins, penguins, and seals.
Occasional itinerary calls to Kangaroo Island add another dimension, with huge dunes, towering cliffs, large caves and remarkable rock formations, home to koalas, echidnas and of course kangaroos.
Those cruises travelling on towards Asia often include the highlights of Queensland, from the tourist hotspots along the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, where Fraser Island boasts coloured lakes and vast dunes, to the tropical rainforests and expansive reefs found further north. Visit Cape Tribulation, where verdant rainforest, rugged mountains, teeming rivers, rich coral reef systems and beautiful beaches combine. Another highlight is sailing the Whitsundays, which lie within the Great Barrier Reef, and where you can visit Whitehaven Beach, considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
Another call on many itineraries that combine Asia and Australia is Darwin, the jumping off point for tours to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. In Litchfield huge numbers of crocodiles can easily been spotted from the relative safety of the small tour boats that operate, but the real highlight is Kakadu National Park, where over 5,000 ancient rock art sites give clues to the immense cultural significance of an area that has been occupied by Aboriginal people for over 40,000 years.
Of course, the country's most famous Aboriginal site is Uluru, and although Australia's Red Centre is not on cruising itineraries (for obvious reasons) an overland extension here, including visits to Kings Canyon and the Olgas, should be a part of any trip.
Lastly, there is an undiscovered Australia rich in Aboriginal culture and boasting some of the most dramatic scenery on earth, Australia's north west. A beautiful and isolated region, the rugged Kimberley coastline is defined by inlets, gorges and huge waterfalls, not to mention extreme tides, which create spectacular horizontal waterfalls, as coral reefs appear to emerge from the sea. This stunning stretch of coastline is best enjoyed from the sea looking in, rather than the other way around, and several expedition cruise lines offer itineraries focusing on the Kimberley region - visit our Mundy Adventures website to find out more!