Thinking about which far-flung parts of the world you’d like to explore on your next cruising holiday? Maybe you’re looking for scenic treasures a little closer to home? From the ochre-dusted rocks of Tasmania’s ancient coastline to the dazzling display of creativity around Singapore Harbour, here are just a few of the world’s most inviting and cruise-friendly bays.
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Wineglass Bay is one of Tasmania’s natural wonders – a pristine, perfectly curved bay with impossibly clear water and a backdrop of untamed, unspoilt wilderness. This gorgeous bay – together with Oyster Bay – is found within Freycinet National Park and the best place to appreciate its beauty is from the sea. If you’re cruising by, look out for the dramatic pink-granite of the Hazards on the Freycinet Peninsula, said to be named after African-American whaler, Captain Richard Hazard.
Marina Bay, Singapore
Cruising into Marina Bay is dazzling in the extreme, with awe-inspiring modern architecture and the lush expanse of Gardens by the Bay beckoning you to disembark and come ashore. No matter how luxurious your ship, arriving at this city-state port is like turning up at El Dorado, with a huge choice of dining options, alfresco cafes and world-class bars, as well as plenty of things to do, such as shopping in style, exploring the ArtScience Museum at the Marina Bay Sands resort and taking a relaxed, scenic walk along the waterfront.
Tadine Bay, Mare, New Caledonia
One of the gems of the South Pacific and second largest of the Loyalty Islands that are part of New Caledonia, Mare welcomes visitors with its aquamarine waters, friendly locals and charming beauty. Relatively unchanged by the outside world, Mare is just about as true to island life as you can get, with a rugged interior which is dotted with grottoes, inland pools and deep sink holes. If you have the chance to hire a car or bicycle and go exploring – do it. Don’t miss the Natural Aquarium, a natural seawater pool just a few kilometres from the main village of Tadine, teeming with marine life.
Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Located on the north eastern fringe of the North Island of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is a subtropical paradise – a pristine enclave which contains more than 140 islands and an abundance of wildlife, including penguins, marlin, dolphins, whales, gannets and more. Aside from the spectacular forests, dramatic coastlines and golden beaches, this part of New Zealand is rich in Maori culture and considered to be the birthplace of New Zealand, with the historically significant site of Waitangi situated on the Bay. If you want to experience the unique and wildly beautiful nature of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is the place to be.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
If the stunning scenery of Halong Bay feels a little familiar, it might be because you’ve seen the movie Avatar. With thousands of limestone cliffs topped with rainforests, towering out of emerald green waters, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re cruising amongst James Cameron’s epic floating mountains. Halong Bay – which means ‘where the dragon descends to the sea’ – is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most popular attractions for travellers to Vietnam. If this unforgettable place is part of your next cruise, prepare to b wowed.
Blanche Bay, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
A journey of discovery into the heart of Papua New Guinea and its island gems will most likely take you into Blanche Bay, en route to Rabaul. The Bay is one of the most dramatically beautiful in the region – as is often the case when there’s volcanic activity involved. In 1994, the eruption of Mt. Tavurvur dropped hot ash and rock on Rabaul, but in the years since, the city has gradually been rebuilt. If you’re visiting Rabaul, make sure you visit the Volcanological Observatory atop Mt. Tovanumbatir, which monitors 14 active and 23 dormant volcanoes in Papua New Guinea. Established after a 1937 eruption, the centre offers breathtaking views.
Mele Bay, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Think of Mele Bay as your gateway to an idyllic island paradise – because that’s what is waiting for you in Vanuatu. As you cruise into the Bay you’ll already be accustomed to the surrounding tropical waters, deep blue then pale turquoise as they lap the countless sandy shores. Known for its friendly welcome, world-class diving, ancient culture and breathtaking waterfalls, Vanuatu is nature’s splendour at its finest. If you like to get your adrenalin pumping, take one of the thrilling Port Vila shore tours such as the high speed Jet Boat adventure.
Fitzroy Bay, Wellington, New Zealand
The stunning southern coastline of New Zealand’s North Island welcomes you into Wellington, as you cruise past Palliser Bay and through Fitzroy Bay before arriving at Wellington Harbour. Snugly nestled between two of New Zealand’s best wine regions, the capital city of Wellington is also regarded as the country’s creative and culinary capital. This is where Sir Peter Jackson produced The Lord of The Rings trilogy, where you can visit Te Papa – the must-see Museum of New Zealand, where you sample some of New Zealand’s best coffee, craft beer and cuisine, and where you can soak up the breathtaking 360-degree views from Mount Victoria Lookout.
Choose Your Cruise
There are a wide range of cruise lines that will take you to all of the above bays and beyond. For example, you could discover Wineglass Bay on a 5-night Tasmania cruise out of Melbourne with Princess Cruises, explore Mare and New Caledonia with P&O or soak up the scenic beauty of New Zealand with Royal Caribbean International – just to name a few.
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