True North

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!)

Exploring Papua by cruise ship

Papua New Guinea is often in our news, yet how many of us have visited? We hear about the Kokoda Trail because it is an essential part of our history, but there is so much more. The spectacular terrain makes many parts inaccessible except by sea or by air. Coastal waters are warm because of its proximity to the equator and some of the world’s best diving and coral reefs can be found here.
The expedition ship, True North, is visiting Papua in October this year and a number of cabins on this exclusive adventure have just become available. Luxurious and comfortable, there are 20 crew to the 36 passengers and True North prides itself on its fine dining record. There are 6 expedition boats, not zodiacs, and the cruise itinerary is organised to allow passengers to do what they want, when they want.
This cruise departs from Sorong, however guests will arrive in Darwin and be escorted to Sorong on a chartered flight. Highlights of the cruise will involve a quest for the rare and beautiful Wilson’s Bird of Paradise, snorkeling and diving in out of the way reefs and lagoons, helicopter rides over the islands and visits to island villages to learn about the local way of life. If an adventure featuring underwater exploration, fabulous scenery, an exotic and little-visited culture, spectacular scenery and fine food is what you are looking for… then contact me today. This trip may not happen again and it may truly be a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
You can phone me 02 9968 1600 – or email martin@travelchoice.com.au

Starting with a special

This is the year for travel specials! We have lots of choices in the run up to Christmas – but they will probably all go within a week so make a quick decision and contact me on 02 9968 1600!
Many international ships come to cruise Australia/New Zealand waters for the southern summer.
Check these rates and then calculate what you are paying per day for full board, resort amenities, and travel. Yes, you pay for optional extras such as bar drinks and shore excursions, but cruising is a most economical way to holiday. And you unpack just once.
Diamond Princess
Sydney to Auckland (and vice versa*) – departing Jan 5, 17*, 29, Feb 10*
12 nights from $995 per person twin-share (ppts) inside cabin; or $1,395 ocean view
Aurora – P&O Worldwide cruise ship
14th Feb 2009 – Singapore to Sydney via Darwin, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays.
16 nights from $1,995.00 interior, $2,560 Ocean View, $4,145 Balcony – all ppts.
True North – luxury Australian expedition ship
10th January – Southern Explorer
8 nights of luxury including award-winning cuisine, and daily shore excursions, while you explore from Adelaide to Ceduna visiting Cape Jervis, the Gambier Islands, Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay, and return by light plane to Adelaide at the end of your cruise.. (it’s now almost booked out) fare is $5748.00 ppts (and that’s half-price!).
And there’s even a Cocktail Cruise on Sydney Harbour, departing nightly at 5:00 pm, returns 7:00 pm and includes a cocktail and canapés – try it as an alternative to the pre-Christmas pub get-together!

Martin

You can email martin@travelchoice.com.au if you would like any more info on these offers!