This is branded content for Silversea Cruises.
For those of us who love cruising, being on the ocean, gazing back at the land with a tingle of excitement as you embark on your next salty-aired adventure, is a feeling like no other.
Living in Australia, the good news is you don't have to venture far to experience some of the most spectacular cruising adventures that are high on the bucket lists of travellers around the world. There's so much to discover in our own backyard and a little further beyond, to New Zealand and Indonesia.
From sophisticated cities to ancient places sacred to the world's oldest living civilisation, to diverse landscapes and wildlife, natural wonders, and taste-bud-tickling food and wine, there are incredible experiences to be had.
Voyage along the rugged Kimberley coastline, cruise the waterways of Kakadu, be amazed by the ancient river valleys and forested hills of Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand, or soak up the culture of Bali.
With its special reputation for combining thrilling travel experiences with sumptuous luxury, global cruise operator Silversea is a leader in awe-inspiring close-to-home voyages that take its guests to some of the most beautiful places in our region.
Designed for travellers with a passion for discovery but also a love of indulgence, Silversea's small luxury ships all feature ocean-view suites with butler service. Most also include private verandas where you can sip your perfectly-chilled champagne while taking in spectacular views. And with its staff-to-guest ratio of nearly 1:1, Silversea offers the ultimate in personalised service.
And, after a day on shore - perhaps racing across turquoise waters in a Zodiac to witness the rise of the mysterious Montgomery Reef, or getting up close and personal with a barnacle-covered whale - you'll return to a sumptuous smorgasbord of dining venues serving unforgettable food and wine.
The most difficult thing is deciding which cruise destination to embark on first. Here's a taste of Silversea's journeys to some of the most spectacular destinations on the planet, on your doorstep.
Some of us forget we have one of the most diverse and stunning destinations across the Tasman Sea, just 4144 kilometres away. New Zealand has long been a favourite destination for Australians, but its starring role in The Lord of the Rings movies boosted awareness of its incredible natural sights.
But its not just about scenery. Our neighbour has a proud Maori heritage, thriving wine and food scenes and a collection of diverse laid-back towns and cities to explore.
Auckland, where New Zealand cruises usually begin and end, is one of the world's most walkable cities, with shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums easily accessible when you arrive at the dock. A 40-minute ferry trip whisks you away to Waiheke Island, a haven of vineyards, cellar doors and olive groves, while energetic walkers can hike the trails surrounding the city.
Along with cities like Auckland and Wellington, Silversea cruises call at picturesque ports like Tauranga on the North Island and Picton, Akaroa and Dunedin on the South.
Breathe in the peace and tranquility kayaking on Queen Charlotte Sound out of Picton, one of the best ways to take in the scenic splendour of the Marlborough Sounds, or taste your way around the renowned Marlborough wine region nearby.
Experience some joie de vivre stepping ashore at Akaroa, the only place in New Zealand settled by the French, indulging in some mouth-watering patisserie, and then swimming with rare Hector's dolphins.
On the Otago Peninsula, discover Dunedin's Scottish heritage, washing down haggis with traditional whisky, and exploring the Southern Hemisphere's best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture.
Don't miss a wildlife tour of the rugged peninsula, home to rare birds like the Northern Royal Albatross, the world's smallest penguins, Little Blue Penguins, plus Yellow-Eyed Penguins. You'Il bring home fond memories from a wet and wild off-road trip in a six-wheel amphibious vehicle, another of Silversea's excellent expeditions.
The vastness of the remote wilderness of Australia's Kimberley region is at first hard to grasp. It's twice the size of Victoria and surrounded by some 12,000 kilometres of coastline. It's an ancient land with a scale that conjures up a deep sense of wonder for visitors lucky enough to experience it.
On a Silversea's cruise you'll voyage from Perth along the spectacular West Australian coastline, dipping in and out of bays and archipelagos formed billions of years ago. The region is an escape that's about as far from city life as you can get within Australia. You'll be awed by towering red cliffs, sandstone gorges, impressive waterfalls and Aboriginal rock art dating back thousands of years.
In the Buccaneer Archipelago, a collection of more than 800 islands, you'll witness extraordinary natural phenomena caused by giant tides. Hop aboard a Zodiac for a trip to Montgomery Reef which appears to rise up out of the sea as the tide drops rapidly. Feel the exhilarating spray from cascading waterfalls that reveal green turtles, reef sharks and sometimes dugongs.
From the outback town of Wyndham, take a flight over the world-heritage-listed Bungle Bungles, the distinctive striped beehive-like rock formations in Purnululu National Park, or enjoy a leisurely cruise along the meandering Ord River.
As the chill hits, it's time to head to warmer climes. What could be more inviting than cruising north to Queensland ports and then on to another near neighbour - Indonesia.
It's a chance to experience one of our own natural world wonders, the Great Barrier Reef. In Cairns, hop aboard a luxury catamaran for the 90-minute ride to the reef, where you'll anchor at a private mooring and then snorkel or scuba dive to see the magical world of coral and marine life just below.
From Darwin, explore Kakadu National Park, first by airboat, flying low above the mist-laced wilderness, and then up close on a cruise to see the stunning waterways and abundant wildlife.
On the lush island of Bali, you can select from a myriad of excursions to delve into the culture, visiting some of the countries estimated 10,000 Buddhist-Hindu temples, and Balinese arts and crafts villages. Don't miss seeing some traditional dance, especially if accompanied by local gamelan music.
And then there's the food. With so much to see and taste you may just want to extend your stay and fly home later!
To find out more visit silversea.com