A top bucket-list destination for many travelers, Australia offers some of the world's most enticing attractions -- from the largest coral reef in the world to snuggly looking koalas, and from vast deserts to some of the best surf beaches on the planet.
Most of Australia's major cities are along its coastline, making a cruise the best way to visit the country, especially if you can hop on a circumnavigation cruise that circles the entire continent.
And, considering the time it takes to drive or train between Australia's cities or the cost of flying from city to city, a cruise is also the most economical way to see the country.
Australia offers a staggering selection of activities, making it an ideal vacation for groups of friends or families, or for couples.
With so much coastline, water fun is abundant in Australia. If you've never tried surfing, there's no better place for it. Divers and snorkelers will want to check out the Great Barrier Reef for some of the greatest underwater scenery in the world.
For wildlife you don't need to get wet to see, there are plenty of chances to view kangaroos, koalas, wombats and wallabies in zoos, or even in the wild.
Anyone who prefers more urban diversions can check out the numerous museums in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Tour Sydney's opera house, test your courage on a Harbour Bridge climb or learn about Aboriginal culture at one of several Aboriginal centers.
Other popular activities include wine-tastings, shopping and visiting a tiny bit of the continent's vast deserts and outback.
Australia is a year-round cruise destination, though high season is between October and April, the region's spring and summer. You'll find the largest choice of cruise ships, sailing dates and itineraries during these months.
Keep in mind the Australian cyclone season begins November 1 and ends April 30, so if you sail during those months be prepared for itineraries to change if a storm arises.
If you're cruising during the Australian summer (December through February) expect it to get hot, up to the mid- to high-90s Fahrenheit.
The most popular ports of call on Australia cruises are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Fremantle (Perth), Cairns, Darwin, Newcastle and Hobart (Tasmania).
Other ports that are starting to pop up on itineraries more frequently include Burnie, Port Arthur, the Mornington Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln.
Most cruises depart from Sydney, but you can also find cruises that leave from Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).
Most big-ship cruises don't offer any particular region of Australia, but instead sail to the country's biggest cities. Others, however, stick to Queensland and the Sunshine Coast visiting Newcastle, Brisbane, Cairns and Moreton Island.
Many Australia cruises also call on ports in New Zealand -- such as Auckland, Tauranga or Akaroa -- as part of an Australia/New Zealand itinerary.
Popular with expedition cruise lines is the Kimberley region (out west) and Australia's Northwest. Big ships might stop at one or two spots along this area, likely Freemantle (Perth), but only smaller ships can get into the niche ports that line the country's western coast.
Here are our best tips for finding a cheap cruise or cruise deal to Australia. If you book a “guaranteed cabin” (they select for you), a cabin on a lower deck or sail on an older ship from a brand you like, then you can get the best price for a specific cruise to Australia. Last minute cruises deals to Australia appear as you get closer to the sail date, usually 1-2 weeks in advance. Taking a cruise to Australia in the shoulder season (before or after the peak season) can also be a great way to find a cruise deal.