Travel to Australia
Flying to Australia
A large number of international airlines offer flights to Australia, including British Airways (BA) (www.ba.com) and Singapore Airlines (SQ) (www.singaporeair.com). The national airline is Qantas (QF) (www.qantas.com.au). The cheapest time of year to fly is generally in the window between the end of Easter and the beginning of July, which coincides with the onset of winter in Australia. Bear in mind that if travelling from Europe or the UK, it will be mandatory for the plane to stop somewhere en route – Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Dubai are all commonly used.
Budget airlines such as Tiger Airways (TR) (www.tigerairways.com) offer flights to Australia from South East Asia.
South Pacific Air Pass: allows travel to 35 destinations in 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand and several Pacific nations using Star Alliance airlines (www.staralliance.com). You can buy between three and 10 coupons, with fares varying according to mileage.
Visit Australia and New Zealand Pass: allows travel to over 60 destinations in Australia and New Zealand on Qantas, LAN and affiliated airlines. Fares vary according to the number of zones covered (between one and five zones). Available through any oneworld airline (www.oneworld.com).
Getting to Australia by boat
Cruise liners dock at Sydney (www.sydneyports.com.au), Melbourne (www.portofmelbourne.com), Hobart (www.tasports.com.au), Perth (Port of Fremantle) (www.fremantleports.com.au), Adelaide (www.flindersports.com.au), Brisbane (www.portbris.com.au) and Darwin (www.darwinport.nt.gov.au).
It is often possible to arrange passage to Australia from the UK or other parts of Europe on cargo freighters, travelling via the Suez Canal. A journey of this type takes between 30 and 40 days. There are fairly low limits on the number of passengers that can be accommodated on a freighter – usually somewhere around 12 or 15. Meals are often taken with the ship officers, and passengers should (unsurprisingly) expect fewer leisure facilities than would be found on a standard cruise vessel. A good company to contact for further information on travelling by freighter is Strand Voyages in London (www.strandtravelltd.co.uk).
For those travellers already in Asia and looking to arrive by sea, spaces occasionally become available on freighters travelling from Singapore, Indonesia or Malaysia. These sailings are, however, infrequent and notoriously difficult to confirm in advance.
The season that draws the most cruise ships is the November to February period, which ties in with the Australian summer.
A good number of established international cruise lines offer cruises that incorporate Australia. These voyages tend to be pricy and would usually involve sailing from a destination such as Hawaii or Singapore, if not even further afield. There are also various shorter pleasure cruises on offer which begin and end in Australia, popular with those who like the idea of seeing the country from the water without committing to weeks on board.