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Adventure Cruises in Western Australia
Western Australia covers the western third of the country and, although its interior is arid and often inhospitable, a Western Australia cruise will take you along the region’s fertile and picturesque coast. Absolutely teeming with life, every stop along the coast offers the opportunity for Western Australia wildlife encounters.
Cruises to Western Australia include the Ningaloo Reef, rich with marine life, the Montes, considered a fishing mecca, and the Rowley Shoals, known as a coral wonderland home to countless fish species. Each location is explored through swimming, fishing, diving, and snorkeling.
Top things to do and see in Western Australia
The best Western Australia cruises will include many or all of the locations listed below.
The Rowley Shoals are regarded as an underwater paradise, and it’s easy to see why. Divers and snorkelers can explore the area’s labyrinthine coral formations, including Clerke Reef’s enormous lagoon and the steep coral walls of Mermaid Reef, or feed the potato cod at Cod Hole, known as one of the best dive spots in the world and part of the Great Barrier Reef. Above water, anglers can fish for black marlin, sailfish and yellowfin tuna.
Ningaloo Reef is a popular stop on many Western Australia boat cruises. Given that the reef is a mere half kilometer from shore, it makes for excellent snorkeling, its jewel-like fish and candy-colored coral easily explored and enjoyed. The reef is also a migratory route for numerous cetaceans and large fish, including dolphins, dugongs, humpback whales, as well as manta rays and whale sharks.
The Abrolhos Islands are a chain of 122 islands and a reef known as an important seabird rookery. With a small seasonal population of fishermen, the area is the center of Western Australia’s Western Rock Lobster fishery. Visitors on a Western Australia small ship cruise can enjoy snorkeling and diving the many wrecks along the reef, including the infamous Batavia, victim of a disastrous mutiny.
Steep Point, located on Australia’s westernmost edge is part of the Shark Bay Heritage Area and widely known as a premiere land-based game fishing location. To the south is the South Passage, a popular spot for diving and fishing, while to the north stand the Zuytdrop Cliffs, rising 170 metres (557 feet) from the sea as the ocean waves crash at their base.
Dirk Hartog Island is the site of the first European landing on Australian shores. The island was initially discovered by the Dutch captain Dirk Hartog in 1616. Today it is better known for its gorgeous beaches and perfect conditions for snorkeling. A trip to Cape Inscription, at the island’s northern end, allows visitors to see the spot where Hartog first came ashore, as well as enjoy swimming and fishing.
The Monte Bello Islands, also known as the Montebello Islands or simply as the Montes, consist of 174 small islands scattered along the Pilbara Coast. The archipelago’s two main islands, Hermite and Trimouille, have a rather explosive history, having been the site of Britain’s first nuclear weapons test, in 1952. Today, the islands are known for fishing, snorkeling and diving, and as a birdwatching paradise home to three types of tern. The former military headquarters overseeing the tests remains on the south point of Hermite Island.
The Kimberley, located at the northern end of Western Australia, offers a variety of unique experiences. From secluded inlets, beaches and coves, to incredible gorges and spectacular waterfalls, including the King George Falls and Horizontal Waterfalls, Kimberley cruises explore a lesser known side of Western Australia. Take to small boats to explore rivers winding through lush scenery, or cruise the Montgomery Reef in the hopes of spotting dugong, sea turtles and manta rays.
Helicopter Tours of many regions on a Western Australia adventure cruise, including the Abrolhos, the Zuytdrop Cliffs, the Montes and Kimberley, are available on certain ships and typically for an extra cost.
Top Tips for visiting Western Australia on a cruise
- Though many cruises around Western Australia will include snorkel gear, you may wish to bring your own to ensure proper fit and availability.
- An underwater camera is highly recommended to capture the region’s undersea beauty.
- Helicopter tours are not available on all cruises, so availability should be confirmed before booking. Also note that helicopter tours are typically not included in the cruise package price.
- Australia is hot and bright, so sunblock and sunglasses are musts.
- Cruises of Western Australia feature a fair amount of hiking, so pack a good pair of walking shoes.
Best time to cruise Western Australia
If it were a country, Western Australia would be the tenth largest in world, with varying weather throughout, so plan ahead as it is difficult to define the best time to take a Western Australia cruise, and the best cruises cover much of this enormous region.
November to March in Western Australia is hot and dry, with long days and strong sun throughout the region. The hottest months are January to March.
Western Australia cruises in May to August tend to be rainier as these are the winter months. This, however, is the best time to do a Kimberley cruise, as the northern edge of the Western Australia coast, including Broome, has a tropical climate and is beautiful in the winter. May also begins the annual whale migration and is an excellent time to see wildlife.
September and October in Western Australia offer less intense heat with clear skies and may be, overall, the best time for a luxury cruise of the area.
Where do Western Australia cruises depart from?
Typically, Australia small ship cruises which are visiting Western Australia depart from Perth or Broome, with some adventure cruises leaving from Geraldton, just north of Perth. Both Perth and Broome have airports serving international and domestic flights. Visitors can reach either departure point from most major cities within Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Darwin.
To reach Australia, visitors from Europe and North America may require a connecting flight outside Australia, typically in Asia or the Pacific Islands (Hawaii, for example), depending on their point of origin.
Book your next adventure cruise to Western Australia today. Contact our reservations team.