Planning to Cruise Australia? Here Are The Best Months

By Josh •  Updated: 08/28/23 •  9 min read

Australia is an amazing cruise destination for those of you who are looking to get away to pleasant temperatures and warm weather. There’s so much to see and do that it can be hard to decide when the best time of year is! You’ll want to consider factors like weather, crowds, festivals, and even cruise prices before making your decision. Luckily we have all the information you need right here in this blog post!

Traveling from October through April is the most amazing for getting the full experience of your cruise ship travel. This period is known as “wave season” and it’s when Aussies go overboard with their cruise madness, but it also means that you’ll get the greatest selection of departures, ships, and itineraries.

Now that you know the best time of year to cruise Australia, it’s time to consider some important factors to an enjoyable trip, we can dig into why these months may help you have a better time on your vacation!

I can tell you about the costs but if you want to find the best ways to cruise overall my friend Emma has an amazingly well-constructed course to teach you ways to save money on cruising anytime and anyplace!

Cheapest Times to Visit Australia for Lower Costs

With the way life has been the amount of free excess money we all have has been drastically limited, this is why I am always looking for the best way to take a trip on a more limited budget trying to stretch my dollar as far as possible while getting the amazing experiences I want to have.

Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere many travelers plan their trips thinking that the summer months are the same time as ours in the US, but they are actually the opposite, which is why the costs are typically less for us to visit in the US summer which would be winter months and cooler climates there.

So when looking to cruise you need to look into the time of year and their weather as the cruise could end up being very cold out at sea, especially if you planned it believing you were heading into a summer cruise!

Best Months to Visit Australia for Ideal Weather

Now that we understand that the seasons are flipped for the southern hemisphere we can explore when is the best time to cruise in Australia when you are looking for perfect weather and an abundance of other activities.

The best months to cruise in Australia are from October to April, which is when the weather is near perfect from Spring into Summer. These warmer conditions are ideal for exploring beaches, snorkeling, surfing, and much more! With the variety of cruises available, you can enjoy everything Australia has to offer.

It is also important to keep in mind that the Australian cyclone season starts on November 1 and ends on April 30, so if you choose a cruise during these months, you need to be flexible and expect your itineraries to be altered if a storm occurs.

This travel time will provide you with near-perfect conditions at the major ports of call in Australia, places like Sydney, Perth, and Adelaide among others. One additional thing to keep in mind is that the Aussies will often also be taking their vacations between late December and late January so there will be larger crowds and ports may be slow-moving.

A consideration for any traveler is that when you’re cruising during the Australian summer season, from December to February, you must expect it to get hot. This will typically be mid to high 90’s even while out on the water, so pack appropriately!

Amazing Ports of Call for Australian Cruises

There is a tremendous range of ports and popular destinations depending on the cruise company you choose, some of the below may be places you will want to go which will help you choose what cruise line to book with.

Broome, Western Australia

Shore excursions include camel rides, visits to ancient aboriginal petroglyphs, trike tours, and much more depending on your interests and time at port.

Melbourne, Victoria

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Victoria. It is located on the south-eastern coast of Australia.

There are many excursions that can take you into the city on electric bikes, cruises on the Yarra river, along many other attractions based on the time at port.

Brisbane, Queensland

Exploring Brisbane is easy. The city has a great network of buses, ferries, and trains that make it simple to get around. There are also plenty of taxis available should you need them.

The best way to explore Brisbane is on foot, as the CBD (Central Business District) is very compact and most attractions are within walking distance of each other.

Shore excursions can include visits to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the largest such sanctuary in the world, and a great opportunity to get up close with these cuddly creatures along with the Gold Coast which has the most amazing beaches anywhere! 

Sydney, New South Wales

There are many popular shore excursions that depart from Sydney, including the world-famous Blue Mountains, a cruise on Sydney Harbour, and a trip to Hunter Valley wine country.

No visit to Sydney is complete without climbing to the top of the iconic Sydney Opera House for amazing views over the city and harbor.

Then there is Bondi Beach and the Royal National Park which is the oldest national park in Australia.

Adelaide, South Australia

When you land in Adelaide you can choose to see the many sites from the comfort of a bus or coach, take your own car if you have one, and visit the local wineries.

The city is also home to many historic buildings such as Victoria Square which has been transformed into an outdoor events space that can accommodate up to 5000 people. There are also plenty of street cafes in this area for dining alfresco.

If you’re looking for a more active shore excursion, then head to Glenelg Beach which is only a 20-minute tram ride from the city centre. This beautiful beach offers plenty of activities such as swimming, surfing, and windsurfing.

Willis Island, Queensland

The island of Willis is one of Australia’s external territories and the only permanently inhabited island in the entire Coral Sea Islands Territory. Willis Island is notable for its colorful birds as well as its historical weather station. Take nice photographs of the gorgeous animals and lush vegetation while you’re here.

Busselton, Western Australia

When you visit Busselton, you’ll immediately understand why it’s known as the “City by the Sea.” Miles of white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters make it a popular destination for swimming, surfing, fishing, and boating.

The town is also home to the longest timber-piled jetty in Australia, the Busselton Jetty, which stretches almost 1.14 miles out into Geographe Bay.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

This large island off the coast of South Australia is a nature lover’s paradise, with stunning coastal scenery, dramatic cliffs, and pristine national parks.

The island is home to an abundance of native wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, koalas, and many species of birds.

You can explore the island on foot or by bicycle, taking in the scenery as you go.

Hobart, Tasmania

Tasmania’s capital city is located on the Derwent River estuary. The downtown district has a laid-back, artsy vibe with plenty of cafes, boutiques, and galleries.

One popular attraction here is MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art), which houses one of Australia’s largest collections of modern art by international artists such as Picasso and Matisse.

Lizard Island and Ribbon Reefs, Queensland

Another amazing place to see the Great Barrier Reef is off of Lizard Island and the Ribbon Reefs. These are both located in Queensland, Australia.

The colors here are just as vibrant, if not more so than any other part of the reef. The water is crystal clear and you can easily spot marine life swimming around.

Airlie Beach, Queensland

Take a moment and check out Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. This is a great place to relax and unwind, enjoy the fresh air and crystal clear waters in this tropical paradise!

This area has so much to offer including sightseeing cruises where you can see dolphins, turtles, or perhaps even a pod of whales – it’s all possible here when cruising around Airlie Beach

Port Douglas, Queensland

Port Douglas is known for its stunning beaches and world-class scuba diving. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or enjoy a scenic helicopter ride over it and enjoy an afternoon of shopping at local boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and galleries in Port Douglas’ charming downtown area.

Moreton Island, Queensland

Everyone should look into a cruise that visits Moreton Island as it is one of the most beautiful and unique in all of Australia. The island is located just off the coast of Brisbane and offers plenty of activities for visitors, including swimming, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and more.

Final Thoughts on the Best Times to Cruise Australia

Cruising during the Australian summer season, from December to February, will typically be mid to high 90’s even while out on the water but skirts the bad weather and typhoon season.

Cruise lines like P&O and Royal Caribbean offer cruises to popular cruise destinations in and around Australia as well as departures that allow for a cruise of New Zealand on nearly any vacation schedule.

Regardless of what you’re looking for in your next vacation – big city lights or an island getaway with wildlife safaris – these are just some reasons why cruising is one of our favorite ways to travel!


Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!

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