Best Departure Ports for Cruises from Australia


Why travel far to get to your departure port when you have some of the most beautiful harbours right around the corner? Embarking on a cruise in Australia has many benefits.

Having ports like Sydney, Melbourne, or even Adelaide relatively close by, there’s no need for you to travel to other countries. It may be more advantageous to start close to home because your travel time to and from your port of choice will be shorter. These harbours not only give you the choice of where to depart but also give you many options for different itineraries and destinations. One of the most important benefits, however, is the overall ease with which to travel to your starting point. Not only is getting there likely to be faster, but travel comfort is better than flying somewhere.

When travelling to the port of departure you could either go by car or train. When it comes to driving, you would need to park your car close to the terminal of departure. Although many harbours themselves do not offer parking, most harbours have carparks close by.

No restriction for your baggage

Not flying to the city of departure allows you to be more flexible when it comes to your baggage. When going on a cruise, you want to maximise the room in your luggage. Why not just bring more?

In general, choosing a cruise that starts close to home is convenient. There is no language barrier when checking in, and there is no need to exchange any money for buying snacks or paying the taxi driver in a different currency.

Of course, in some cases, you may prefer to fly to your city of departure, which is fine as well. If you decide to do so, just remember to pack accordingly. Not sure how to? Check out our Top Ten Invaluable Cruise Packing Tips or 8 Things Not to Bother Packing for a Cruise Holiday to get more information on how to pack more efficiently. If you seek to get the most out of your holiday, be sure to look for flights that are as short as possible.

Cruises from Australia

Australia Cruise Ship Depart Set SailAs you may imagine, the peak times for Australian cruises is from January to March. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth going on a cruise any other time. It just tells you that during this time frame, most shipping companies offer cruises. World cruises are always special and even more so when they are roundtrip.

Another reason you should start your cruise in Australia is the beauty of the ports. Five ports are especially wonderful to depart from. Be it the view or the rich history – these ports are all worth considering. To help you in the decision process, we have put together a list of Australia’s top ports.

Port Jackson in Sydney

Sydney Beach Harbour Bridge Opera Bondi Beach Water Downtown Port Jackson

Being one of Australia’s most famous cities, it will not surprise you that Sydney has one of the most appealing harbours. Both the iconic Opera House and the Harbour Bridge never fail to astonish the outgoing cruise ship passengers. However, this is not the only reason Port Jackson is unique: It is the only harbour with two dedicated passenger terminals. Both the overseas terminal and the white bay cruise terminal are located here and can be easily accessed by taxi, train, ferry, and car using the drop-off zone.

You should be aware that there are no carparks on site. Nonetheless, there are carparks nearby. Remember: Coming by car makes it easier for you and may also be more cost-efficient. If you have time to explore the city, there are many beautiful spots to visit, such as Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains, and the Hunter Valley Wine Region. If time is limited, there are also many attractions nearby. Whether you are looking for restaurants, cafes, or department stores, the area offers everything you might want. Exploring the precincts close by is a great way to get a closer look at the beautiful sights, which you will be able to see when the ship leaves the harbour.

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Station Pier in Melbourne

Melbourne Skyline Downtown Buildings Australia Station PierThe country’s second-largest city offers a great view of the nearby skyline when leaving the harbour. You will depart from Station Pier, which has a rich history. It used to be the point of arrival for those who wanted to make their fortune in the goldfields. One of the best features Station Pier offers is its location. It is not only situated just four kilometres away from the centre of Melbourne, which makes it very accessible and also right next to the beach. In either direction, you can take the 109 City Express bus and alight at the beautiful arts centre. You can also take the 109 trams to get off at Federation Square. Either way, the journey will take you approximately 30 minutes as the walk to the tram terminal is 10 minutes.

If you want to drive by car and park it close to the port, you can do that as well. However, be aware that there is no (long-term) public parking, so you will need to rely on other carparks. A further option would be to take a taxi, in which case you will need to allow at least 15 minutes from the business district in the centre of Melbourne (be aware of peak traffic times). If you want to stay up to date, make sure to grab a “cruise ship arrivals guide” at the Visitor Information Centre located in the cruise terminal.

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Port of Adelaide in Adelaide

Adelaide Wine Fields Downtown Skyline Port of Adelaide

The Port of Adelaide features some of the most beautiful colonial buildings in Australia. If you really want to experience the flair and the ambience, make sure you have extra time. Take a walk along the docks and through the old port. The Outer Harbour Railway Station is only 200 metres away from the passenger terminal to make your travel as comfortable as possible. From there on, you have the possibility to take the train into the city, which will take about 40 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, which will only take you 15 minutes. We recommend taking advantage of the culinary mecca while you can. Adelaide not only has the greatest number of restaurants per capita, but it also has a lot to offer in terms of wine. The Barossa Valley, known for Shiraz; Adelaide Hills, known for their pinot noir; and the Eden Valley, famous for its rieslings, are all near the port. If wine’s not really your thing, consider a trip to the lovely city of Adelaide, more precisely to the commercial centre of the city. It’s arranged in such a way that museums and other attractions are easily accessible. As with the other harbours, the Port Adelaide Passenger Terminal does not offer long-term parking. However, there are other carparks nearby. The harbour itself offers a pick-up/drop-off zone, as well as a limited number of parking spaces, which may be occupied for a maximum of 15 minutes. If you felt comfortable enough, you could make use of the free off-road parking, though the parking spots are not secured.

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Portside Wharf in Brisbane

Brisbane Portside Wharf Garden Downtown Skyline Australia

Both the City Cat ferry and the bus line 300 depart only 300 metres from the Portside Wharf. With both, you can get to several interesting attractions in the city centre. The city’s unique infrastructure allows you to reach the most popular spots in a very affordable way. Although all the attractions are within walking distance, the free loop bus is a great alternative. The busses are coloured in a distinctive red and pick up passengers at the red signposted bus stops. Bus stops include the Botanical Gardens, the Queen Street Mall, City Hall, Central Station, and many more. In case you want to spend some time closer to the terminal, you could visit Portside Wharf. The urban village is situated right next to the Brisbane Cruise Terminal. It offers not only shops and restaurants but also spectacular views and a relaxed atmosphere. There is plenty to see before boarding the ship. If you choose to go by car, make sure you are aware of any carparks close by. Portside Wharf itself does not offer any long-term parking, but there are several other carparks that do. Nonetheless, the centre offers free short-term parking, depending on the duration of your stay. So, if friends or family get you to the harbour, this is a great option. They can even watch from the second level as the ship sets out to the open sea and wish you a bon voyage!

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Fremantle Passenger Terminal in Perth

Perth Skyline Downtown Australia Fremantle Passenger TerminalThe Fremantle Passenger Terminal, which was built in 1962, is very special. The beautiful building is heritage-listed, which means that any work that is done, should not diminish, destroy, or conceal any of its significant elements. In other words, its beauty must be preserved. Although Fremantle Passenger Terminal is only one of nine ports in Western Australia, it is the only “tier one” port in the state. Research has shown that cruise passengers value certain attributes, such as great port infrastructure and landside destination experiences and amenities, which can be found at the Fremantle port.

The city centre of Fremantle is within walking distance (approximately ten minutes), but you could also take any of the orange CAT buses. The city of Fremantle has a rich history with many well-preserved sites. Those include beautiful streetscapes, the Western Australian Maritime Museum, and Western Australia’s earliest convict jail. However, Perth, with its beautiful parks and sights, is also worth the 30-minute car ride. Whether you decide to visit either one of the cities or even both, make sure that you have enough time to take it all in. Even though the cities are only 19 kilometres apart, you will not be able to visit both in one day. If you arrive early on the day of the cruise, you can store your luggage in the passenger terminal. Although the Fremantle Passenger Terminal offers parking, it is only reserved for short-term. The closest long-term parking possibility is the carpark that is located at Victoria Quay. As this carpark is not covered, you may feel more comfortable with a different parking space. The nearby Queensgate Carpark offers covered, long-term parking and, therefore, may be the more secure option.

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If you require any assistance in choosing the best time to book a cruise or would like more information, give our Australia-based cruise experts a call on 1300 857 345 or browse our selection of cruises from Australia.

Cruise Australasia with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Azamara



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