Travel right round Australia by ship and train on Aussie Sail And Rail, exclusive to Worldwide Cruise Centres
Here’s the perfect holiday – an 18-night Northern Australia Explorer cruise on the luxurious Sun Princess right around the Top End of Australia in a huge semi-circle from Sydney to Perth, followed by two nights in a four-star Perth hotel and a journey on the world-beating Indian Pacific train from Perth back to Sydney.
The whole holiday is called ‘Aussie Sail And Rail’. It lasts 23 nights and it’s exclusive to Worldwide Cruise Centres.
There are no airports and no flights. The only section of the itinerary outside Australia is a visit to the little-known paradise of Alotau in Papua New Guinea, a glittering stretch of white-sand beaches, crystal waterfalls and volcanic mountains, set against tropical rainforest.
The Sun Princess cruise also visits Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Darwin, Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast for scenic cruising, Broome, Fremantle and Perth.
Fares for ‘Aussie Sail And Rail’ have been reduced. The new levels start at A$5899 for a twin-inside cabin, A$7079 for a twin outside cabin and A$7799 for a twin balcony cabin (all prices per-person twin-share). A special onboard credit bonus, per cabin, gives you A$385 total per twin inside or outside cabin, or A$85 total per balcony cabin.
The holiday begins when Sun Princess departs Sydney on 17 October 2016, heading north to Brisbane. Sun Princess, 261 metres long, is crammed with plenty to keep you well dined and entertained: two main dining rooms, specialty restaurants, Princess Theatre, Vista Show Lounge, Wheelhouse Bar, Crooners Martini bar, Shooting Stars Nightclub, three pools, six whirlpool spas, Movies Under the Stars poolside screen, Lotus Spa and Fitness Centre, Sports Deck, casino, internet café and art gallery. All shipboard main meals (excluding speciality restaurants) are included.
From Sydney, Sun Princess sails to Brisbane, Airlie Beach – gateway to the Whitsunday Archipelago – and on to Yorkeys Knob, Cairns, dominated by its dramatic headland. Alotau in Papua New Guinea takes you beyond Australia (blissful now, it was a site of fierce fighting during World War II), then back into Australian waters and Darwin, capital of the Top End and an Aussie city like no other.
Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast is one of the world’s most unspoiled marine environments. You’ll find it a prime spot for marine wildlife viewing, from sea turtles to blue crabs, manta rays and the planet’s largest population of humpback whales.
Sailing in is the right way to discover Broome. Once a base for the pearl trade, it was described in the 1880s as the pearling capital of the world. Japanese, Chinese and Aboriginal divers harvested oysters from the seabed. Stroll Cable Beach, a 21-kilometre strand of white sand stretching along the azure waters of the Indian Ocean.
Time now to see Fremantle and explore Perth beside the meandering Swan River, where you’ll spend two nights in a four-star hotel. Sample the beaches, markets, inner city parks, outdoor dining and Kings Park.
Next, it’s all aboard the Indian Pacific, one of the world’s most famous trains. You’ll be travelling on a three-night/four-day rail tourney from Perth to Sydney in Gold Service. Twin berth Gold cabins have private ensuite facilities. Private cabin accommodation comes with all-inclusive dining, beverages, off-train excursions and short stops included.
In the Queen Adelaide Restaurant, contemporary Australian menus reflect the finest produce sourced from the regions through which the train travels. A wide range of complimentary Australian wines, beers and non-alcoholic drinks are on offer.
Australians have journeyed by rail between Perth and Sydney since 1917 but they had to change trains on the way. An uninterrupted rail line, 4352 kilometres long, wasn’t completed until 1969, year of Woodstock and the first Moon Landing.
Scenery varies from relatively lush vegetation to stark salt lake country. Wedge-tailed eagles soar overhead. Wallabies, kangaroos and camels can be spotted, the parched Nullarbor Plain is awesomely desolate and the journey teaches you more about Australia’s immensity than any geography lesson could.
Stops include the old rough-and-tumble mining town of Kalgoorlie, Cook on the Nullarbor (which has a population of about two people), gracious Adelaide, and the mining and art city of Broken Hill, before reaching Sydney after an amazing holiday.