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Transportation: Getting around by water

Other transportation pages are here:

More information on travel to and in specific parts of Australia is given on these pages:
    Cape York, Queensland
    The Kimberley, Western Australia
    Perth area, Western Australia – choose the link for “Transport”

We will be adding more details to this page as we find them.

Getting around by water

Your choices for transportation by water are:

Cruise ships

In addition to the cruise ships from Singapore or other ports that visit a limited number of Australian ports, several cruises are available in the Great Barrier Reef and along the tropical Kimberley coast of Australia. Here are three. Your travel agent may have information about others.

Coral Princess Cruises have an 11-day “Across the top of Australia” cruise from Thursday to Darwin, and a 10-day Kimberley cruise.

Kimberley Quest offers 4-14 day Kimberley cruises. Contact

Red Sky Cruises offer exclusive cruises along the Kimberley coast.

Rent a boat

In popular holiday areas, you can rent boats ranging from dinghies to multi-berth sailing yachts to motor cruisers to houseboats. You can either sail the boat yourself or rent one with one or more people aboard as crew.

In most cases, you’ll need to return the boat to the place where you picked it up, although you may be able to arrange a one-way charter, especially if the boat is crewed.

Take ferries or water taxis

Sydney Harbour ferry information and timetables are here:

From mainland Australia, you can fly or take a ferry to the state of Tasmania. If you want to take a car with you, you’ll definitely want to take the ferry. (Rental car companies don’t generally allow this; you’ll need to drop off one car on the mainland and pick up another one in Tasmania.) The ferry to Tasmania has sleeping compartments as well as cheaper seats (staying in your car or camper is not allowed).

Spirit of Tasmania ferry details are given at Choose from the links in the top frame: Sailing Schedule, Fares, and so on.

From Urangan, Mary River Heads or Rainbow Beach (all generally in the Brisbane area), you can take a barge to Fraser Island, a popular camping and touring spot, famous for its sand dunes. This ferry takes motor vehicles, too. More about Fraser Island:

On the Whitsunday coast of Queensland, a ferry service operates through the Whitsunday Islands. This ferry does not take motor vehicles. Water taxis are also available.

In South Australia, a motor-vehicle ferry operates to Kangaroo Island.

In Western Australia, a ferry goes from Fremantle (the port of Perth) to Rottnest Island.

River travel

Paddle steamers operate on the Murray River, or you can rent a houseboat.

Page last updated 5 February 2006