When cruising Australia’s east coast: Sydney to Cairns, vacationers have the opportunity to explore natural phenomenon, such as the Great Barrier Reef. While the Great Barrier Reef may be the main attraction of cruising from Sydney to Cairns, vacationers also get to enjoy the splendid journey. Cruises offer an abundance of on-board entertainment such as games, live music, shows, as well as themed nights, multiple bars, restaurants, and night clubs.
Cruises are a great option for families, as the kids can be entertained all day with the children’s entertainment, while parents can relax in the sun with a cocktail or two, listening to music and enjoying the holiday atmosphere.
Cruise as a couple or in a group of friends, all needs are accommodated for on-board.
Why Sail from Sydney to Cairns
Cairns has enchanting beaches, tropical rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef, and is the gateway to tropical North Queensland. It is a popular travel destination because of its tropical climate and proximity to many attractions.
Cairns city itself is a modern, sophisticated city in the heart of the tropical north, with restaurants, boutique shopping, modern art galleries, and classy nightclubs to keep visitors entertained. There is a man-made 4,000-sqm saltwater lagoon and artificial beach on the Esplanade which is great for swimming to escape the heat.
Things to see and do in Cairns
• Hartleys’s Crocodile Adventures
• Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
• Snorkeling on the Barrier Reef
• Wild-World – The Tropical Zoo
• Rainforest Skyrail to Kuranda
Cairns Seaport is the closest port to the Great Barrier Reef and is located on Trinity Inlet. It is a picturesque port, with passenger terminals and marina facilities located virtually in the central business district.
What to expect along the way
A popular cruise from Sydney to Cairns is the P&O Barrier Reef Discovery Cruise aboard the Pacific Dawn or the Pacific Pearl. This 10 night cruise offers vacationers the opportunity to visit great beaches in Australia and relax in a toasty warm climate.
Ports of call include kicking-off in Sydney, cruising to Whitsundays (Airlie Beach), Cairns (Yorkeys Knob), Port Douglas, Willis Island, Brisbane, and back to Sydney. Starting at $1,177 USD per person, this cruise is great for vacationers who want to cruise on a budget while still experiencing everything a great cruise has to offer.
The price includes daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some exclusive restaurants onboard may charge a fee to dine, but it’s definitely worth it if you wish to splurge on a fine dining experience during your cruise.Alcohol is non-inclusive, so vacationers with a party-streak will need to keep an eye on their spending. Cruisers are given a cruise card which contains the tab for the entire cruise. Tab balances can be checked at reception throughout the cruise.
There are plenty of other ways to spend money on a cruise, such as on shore tours, souvenirs, or duty free shops – not to mention at the ship’s day spa or casino.
What to do while on shore
Great Barrier Reef
Travel on board a premier Whitsundays’ day-cruise vessel to one of the largest and most sophisticated Australian-owned reef platforms in the Great Barrier Reef. Pristine Knuckle Reef Lagoon is acclaimed as the region’s most spectacular Great Barrier Reef site.
Along with lunch, there are a host of activities in store including swimming, snorkelling, a semi-submersible boat, an underwater viewing observatory, regular presentations by marine biologists, and a waterslide.
SCUBA diving options are available, but snorkelling may be the best choice for beginners. Either way, you will see surreal sights as you interact with the beautifully coloured tropical fish, coral reef, and experience the truly amazing underwater world that is the Great Barrier Reef.
Transfer from the ship’s anchor to the pontoon is approximately two hours each way. Approximately 2.5 hours will be spent at the pontoon depending on weather conditions. Therefore guests prone to seasickness should take the necessary precautions as the passage over open water is sometimes rough.
Box jellyfish and stinger season generally starts with the onset of the wet season across the top of northern Australia, usually around October until April.
Due to “stinger season” some beaches will have a special area netted off for swimming as a precaution. Beaches usually have bins with vinegar attached for people to apply if they do get stung, but be sure to swim in designated areas if you are travelling during this season.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Join the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway for a journey through the mountains on this legendary railway constructed 100 years ago.
Enjoy a scenic coach journey up the mountain to the charming Atherton Tableland township of Kuranda. The charming Aboriginal township of Kuranda, located on the eastern tip of the Atherton Tableland, boasts an array of retail shops, restaurants and other attractions.
Complete the day by boarding the Kuranda Scenic Railway and travelling back down the mountain via Barron Gorge and the breathtaking Barron and Stoney Creek Falls.