Australia is a vast country, as you’d find out if you were to try to drive from the likes of Perth to Brisbane. This journey between two of the country’s most well-known cities is nearly 2,700 miles, much of it through barren landscape. Melbourne to Darwin is a slightly shorter journey but these distances really do illustrate the size of the country. Obviously you could fly between cities but there is a third way: an Australian cruise that could also see you take in New Zealand or even Indonesia as well.

Gold Coast

If you’re just looking for a taste of cruising, you could take a short coastal Australia cruise from Brisbane down the east coast to the country’s largest city, Sydney. Just two nights at sea will see you cruise down the Gold Coast and in to the iconic Sydney Harbour. Sail past the famous Opera House and under the Coathanger, the locals’ name for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s an amazing structure and sailing beneath it really gives you more of a sense of scale.

Sydney Bridge

For a longer experience, you could do a southern loop from Melbourne, taking in Tasmania and its capital Hobart. While not top of many people’s bucket lists, Hobart was named one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2013 by Lonely Planet. The travel guide publisher praised the city for its arts scene, its food and its stunning scenery. The city’s new Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), housing the personal collection of millionaire gambler and art enthusiast David Walsh, has also received lavish praise since opening in 2011. A further day at sea will take you north again to Sydney and that lovely old bridge.

Lombok Indonesia

If you’re happy to spend nearer three weeks at sea, not only can you take in a lot of what Australia has to offer but you could tick another country or two off your list by heading north for a stop in Indonesia or south to New Zealand. Several cruises will take you from Sydney, north to Darwin and then over to the island of Lombok, part of Indonesia. Close to Bali, it’s little bit quieter, a little bit more untouched and generally offers a gentler pace of life so the perfect place to experience a bit of Indonesian culture away from the bright lights and tourist hordes. From Lombok, you are likely to depart for Fremantle, which lies just 15 miles away from Perth, the capital of Western Australia.

Akaroa Tasmania

If New Zealand is calling you, a two-week round-trip cruise from Melbourne can take you to Auckland, Wellington and smaller settlements along the way, including Akaroa, a beautiful little coastal town that boasts English and French influences. There are a huge number of routes from and to Australia, whether you want to do a full loop round the country or use it as a starting point for a lengthier cruise round the world, there are plenty of suppliers and deals out there if you prefer the open seas to the open road.