Just Add Land

A plethora of ex­pe­ri­ences are wait­ing for you be­fore and after your cruise from Aus­tralia or New Zealand.

Porthole Cruise Magazine - - What’s Inside - BY NATALIE KES­SELL

Be­fore or after set­ting sail, ex­tend your stay in the lands down un­der.

THE IDYL­LIC LANDS DOWN

un­der are more ac­ces­si­ble than ever with a bevy of cruise ships sail­ing south for the sum­mer each year. The neigh­bor­ing is­land na­tions of Aus­tralia and New Zealand are as alike as they are dif­fer­ent and, while you may not be able to ex­plore the coun­tries in their en­tirety be­fore or after your cruise va­ca­tion, there are some key ci­ties that de­serve pride of place on your bucket list.

SYD­NEY: THE HAR­BOUR CITY

_ Per­haps best known for its eye- catch­ing land­marks and idyl­lic beaches, there is a lot more to this jewel in Aus­tralia’s crown than meets the eye. Pop your walk­ing shoes on, grab a cam­era, and ex­plore. A vast city it may be, but many of Syd­ney’s gems are within walk­ing dis­tance of each other.

Start at Cir­cu­lar Quay, home of some of the world’s most fa­mous land­marks. Weave your way through the steel arches to the top of the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge with Bridge­Climb and soak in the sun­set. Climb the fa­mous steps of the UNESCO World Her­itage–listed Syd­ney Opera House, ven­ture in­side for a be­hind-the-scenes tour, or take in one of the hun­dreds of per­for­mances to grace its stages each year.

Wind your way through the charm­ing cob­ble­stoned alleys of The Rocks, and im- merse your­self in the his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture, vi­brant pub scene, and ar­ti­sanal shop­ping.

Stroll from Cir­cu­lar Quay along the piers of Walsh Bay to Syd­ney’s new­est har­bor-side play­ground, Baranga­roo. Dip your toes in the wa­ter at the 22-hectare (54-acre) area that em­braces its in­dige­nous her­itage with a tree-lined re­serve and spec­tac­u­lar sand­stone for­ma­tions that throw back to a time be­fore Euro­pean set­tle­ment.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions in Syd­ney are many and var­ied. The bud­get con­scious should veer away from har­bor views, but those wish­ing to splash out have an ar­ray of choices with stun­ning landmark-pep­pered vis­tas.

A SNAP­SHOT: AUS­TRALIA’ S WISHLIST– WOR­THY CI­TIES

_ Aus­tralia is home to many ci­ties wor­thy of a spot on your des­ti­na­tion wish list. Ex­plore the many graf­fiti art–filled laneways of Mel­bourne and dis­cover some of Aus­tralia’s most edgy fash­ion de­sign­ers, cof­fee nooks, and funky rooftop bars. Soak up one of the many shows, fes­ti­vals, or sport­ing events on of­fer in the city some claim to be the events cap­i­tal of Aus­tralia.

Fur­ther north, Bris­bane melds sub­trop­i­cal nat­u­ral beauty with the vi­brancy of a modern city. Ven­ture via a short ferry ride to Strad­broke or More­ton is­lands and watch dol­phins dance in the waves, walk along un­touched beaches, or take in a bit of ad­ven­ture and to­bog­gan down the sand dunes.

It may be known as the city of churches, but Ade­laide also boasts some of Aus­tralia’s best winer­ies. There are more than 60 cel­lar doors in the Ade­laide Hills, a mere 20 min­utes drive from the city and a host of award-win­ning pro­duce op­tions to pair with your glass of vino.

Per­haps best known for its eye-catch­ing land­marks and idyl­lic beaches, there is a lot more to this jewel in Aus­tralia’s crown than meets the eye.

Dis­cover Aus­tralia’s west coast with a visit to the beau­ti­ful city of Perth. Af­fec­tion­ately dubbed the park­land oa­sis, the city is home to 16 ma­jor park­land ar­eas in­clud­ing one of the world’s largest city parks, the 400-hectare ( 988-acre) Kings Park. Larger than New York City’s Cen­tral Park, Kings Park of­fers prime photo op­por­tu­ni­ties with sculpted gar­dens, glis­ten­ing lakes, and sweep­ing views of the Swan River and city sky­line.

AUCK­LAND: THE CITY OF SAIL S

_ The City of Sails, Auck­land is nes­tled on New Zealand’s North Is­land and of­fers a plethora of ex­pe­ri­ences for vis­i­tors. Sam­ple first-hand how Auck­land got its nick­name and take the helm on an ac­tual Amer­ica’s Cup yacht on Waitem­ata Har­bour. En­joy a two-hour sail or com­pete in a three- hour match race to see just how it would feel to win the world’s old­est and most pres­ti­gious tro­phy in in­ter­na­tional sport. A play­ground for ad­ven­ture- seek­ers, Auck­land and thrills go hand- in- hand. Plum­met 192 me­tres (630 feet) off the iconic Sky Tower be­fore bungee jump­ing off the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge, or ven­ture two- and-a-half hours out of Auck­land to slide down vol­canic rock chutes at Sleep­ing God Canyon or rap­pel into the glow­worm caves at Wait­omo.

Those faint of heart can de­light in Auck­land’s more gas­tro­nomic of ad­ven­tures. Stroll through one of the many farmer’s mar­kets to tan­ta­lize your taste buds, or ven­ture on a 30-minute ferry ride to Wai­heke Is­land, the is­land of wine, which of­fers an ar­ray of award-win­ning winer­ies and eater­ies, most with a stun­ning har­bor back­drop.

Work off those calo­ries con­sumed dur­ing your trav­els and im­merse your­self in the coun­try’s Maori his­tory with a guided walk to the top of Mount Eden ( Maun­gawhau), the high­est dor­mant vol­cano on the main­land. Join a mem­ber of the Ngati Whatua tribe, the guardian of the moun­tain, as they bring the vol­cano’s sto­ries to life.

Whatipu, on the west coast of the Auck­land re­gion

Coun­ter­clock­wise from top: Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge, Climb­ing the Story Bridge in Bris­bane, dol­phin feed­ing at More­ton Is­land, The Rocks area, Syd­ney

Coun­ter­clock­wise from top: Bungee jump­ing at the Sky Tower, Wai­heke Is­land, Amer­ica’s Cup yacht rac­ing in Auck­land, pic­nick­ing on “the is­land of wine”

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