We’re so excited to visit Australia and New Zealand on our all-new voyages starting next year. From serious wildlife to a laid-back, good-times culture, everything about Australia is chock full of fun and surprises.
We’ve got some exceptional tours planned for the trip, too, beyond the usual landmarks and into an authentic cultural experience — the “real” Australia and New Zealand if you will. Here’s nine reasons why we can’t wait to go!
1. Aboriginal Art
We love the art created by indigenous Australians. Full of animal motifs and eye-boggling geometry, the tribal expressions in the galleries of Melbourne and other cities is incredible. We’ll be meeting up with Stan Yarramunua of Art Yarramunua in Melbourne to learn more about it.
2. Sheep Farms
New Zealand has the highest density of sheep in the world. Introduced in the 18th century by the infamous Captain Cook, there are now about 30 million sheep in the country — compared to just under 5 million people. We’re going behind the scenery on a real, working New Zealand sheep farm in Picton to see how people and sheep live together. Yes, we know we’ll be outnumbered.
3. Major Flora
If you think there’s a lot of sheep, check out the flora — in fact, check it out with us! With more plant species than 95% of the world, Australia is considered a “mega-diverse” nation, a real term for plenty of plants. About 90% of these plants are endemic, meaning they’re only here. We’re traveling to The Botanical Ark, a private reserve at the edge of the Daintree Rainforest to see as many of them as we can. It’s bound to be 100% awesome.
4. Pearl Culture
We’re going to sneak a bonus reason in here. We love how Australia packs so much culture into one floating continent. Official Reason #4 is the pearl culture and history. Japanese pearlers have lived on the remote Friday Island, just beyond Thursday Island, for about 150 years. They still rely on rain collection and they don’t have wired electricity, but they have beautiful pearls everywhere. Good trade if you ask us.
Since we #lovetravel so much, we also #lovetheearth. It’s where we travel! Australians agree with us. The country claims to be the world’s first to have a political Green Party and a leading researcher at James Cook University — no political affiliation — is cracking the secrets of bioenergy right now. We’re intrigued, so we’re paying her a visit to see how her team is using algae to convert waste into tons of things humanity uses from biodegradable plastic to cosmetic pigments. Respect!
Of course, loving the earth means loving all its creatures, right? At least from a safe distance, anyway. No journey to Australia is complete without a glimpse of a crocodile. Toothy, scaly and super-speedy in water and on land, crocs send shivers down our spines. We want to see them anyway and we’re going to on a — safe! definitely safe! — nighttime cruise on a historic paddle boat through Dickson Inlet in Port Douglas.
7. Sydney Harbour
The rumors — rumours? — are true. Sydney Harbour is astonishing, particularly at night when everything is all lit up. The architecture, the skyline, the inky night blending into the deep harbour — harbor? — water. No matter how you like your spelling, everyone loves Sydney Harbour. We’ll be cruising it from coast to coast after sunset for a spectacular city panorama.
8. Animal Encounters
So you probably don’t want to “encounter” a crocodile per se. Viewing is enough. But what about a koala? Or even a Tasmanian Devil? Would you be interested in feeding some snacks to a wombat? What is a wombat, anyway? (It’s a squat, furry little marsupial.) We know just where to find these critters at Bonorong Wildlife Park in Tasmania. We’ll even bring snacks just for you.
9. The Bush
It’s a rite of passage for Australians to go on a walkabout. But it’s a big deal in New Zealand, too. The bush holds adventure, mystery and unbelievable, breathtaking scenery. We’ve got a guy — make that, a guide — who knows how to make it through the bush unscathed and highly enriched by the experience. That’s not all, though. We’re going at night. This is going to be so good. Beyond good. Beyond all you imagined.
Are you excited for your next Azamara voyage?
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