North Star Cruises

True North – and Further North

Just last week, I had the pleasure of stepping aboard one of Australia’s special expedition ships, True North. I still have some way to go to sample all of North Star Cruises’ itineraries as both my True North cruises have merely been around Sydney Harbour. However after an excellent presentation on board by True North’s resident naturalist Dr. Andy Lewis, I am now keen to explore northern Australia and our near neighbours.

True North actually makes a slow, clockwise circumnavigation of Australia each year, and is most famous for her Kimberley itineraries where her shallow keel and helicopter allow unmatched access to the waterfalls and tablelands of this pristine corner of our country.
But Dr. Lewis explained the extensive exploration that True North’s PNG and West Papua cruises allow as they feature a 100 mile journey along the Sepik River where travellers see the cultural differences between the coastal fishing people, the river people and the mountain people.

One of True North’s greatest assets is its young crew, consisting mostly of friendly and polite folk from Western Australia where the ship spends most of its time.

As they lavished me with garnished Sydney rock oysters, Queensland scallops and emu carpaccio washed down with fine West Australian wines and Perth’s sublime wheat beer, Redback, it occurred to me that if you’ve ever considered a cruise aboard True North, it’s a good idea to book immediately before the legion of loyal repeat guests fill the cabins to enjoy another season of hospitality and discovery.
Richard Davey of Mosman Cruise Centre was a guest of True North.

True North is true luxury!

Yesterday it was my pleasure to go aboard True North, the expedition cruise ship from the Kimberley Coast, on her annual visit to Sydney… Not just passing through but hosting two short sailings to make the most of what Sydney does best: the Christmas – New Year festival. This is a rare opportunity for cruise-lovers to go aboard for a short stay and steal a march on landlubbers with the best view of the Harbour’s activities. There are shore excursions but it would be fair to say this is a 5-star extension of the most popular occupation, dining, with the benefits of pleasant company and 24hour service!

Now usually True North is to be found cruising from Broome to Wyndham and back, a trip she does throughout the winter season. And this must be the best way to experience that region without either wasting time relocating or enduring the heat and dust of an inland stay.
True North’s daily program can include picnics in the wilderness where everyone is flown in – and out – by the ship’s on-board helicopter. This takes your holiday right out of the ordinary and almost into the realms of imagination. Other landings and snorkelling excursions are by tender – she has 3. We all – certainly I do – at times imagine ourselves living in the Australia of the past, in that romantic time of discovery of remote regions. But as you follow in those pioneer footsteps it is true comfort to know that luxury awaits you at the end of the day when you step back on board True North!
After Sydney she journeys to South Australia finishing her sail at Ceduna then going on to Fremantle for yearly maintenance. In February she sails to Dampier before resuming her regular Kimberley couses through to September, after which the sailings are to Rowley Shoals, then West Papua in October (one sailing, almost fully booked already!) and then Papua New Guinea, 3 sailings, before she’ll be back in Sydney again for NYE 2011. And they can invite me back any time… (P.S. The dining was excellent!)