cruise ship in Sydney harbour

Life working on a cruise ship - visiting Australia and New Zealand

When it comes to natural wonder, Australasia has its fair share of breath-taking sights. From the Great Barrier Reef on Australia’s northern coast to the stunning mountainous landscape of Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South Island, this area of the world is widely considered to be the most glorious on the face of the earth.

Now imagine being able to explore this remarkable region whilst performing the job you love. As a doctor, nurse or paramedic, you could add some unforgettable experiences to your travel portfolio, and be paid for the privilege.

Working on a cruise ship

Working on a cruise ship is an unmissable opportunity. Not only does the role come with a degree of mystery, as you can never be sure of where your next job will take you, but the knowledge you can potentially pick up during your time at sea may be priceless.

In addition to improving your practice, there’s even ample opportunity to explore the various ports in which your cruise ship docks – just call it one of the perks of the job. On an Australia and New Zealand cruise, there are plenty of incredible places to visit and experiences in which to indulge. So, how can you make the most of your time working aboard an Australia and New Zealand cruise?

Where do Australia and New Zealand cruises go?

The majority of Australia and New Zealand cruises aim to visit some of the continent’s most beautiful and diverse areas, meaning that there is plenty to look forward to during your time on land and at sea. Popular cruise destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart and Auckland.

Some cruises even include excursions to spectacular natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef and Milford Sound, while others take in iconic feats of human engineering like Sydney Opera House and Melbourne’s dramatic skyline.

Whilst Australia and New Zealand are the prime focus, some cruise ships do venture further afield. The South Pacific’s island nations are very popular destinations with cruise-goers who are eager to sample a far more exotic way of living. Fiji and New Caledonia offer visitors an incredible mix of local culture, dramatic waterfalls and deep blue lagoons.

Best places to visit on an Australia and New Zealand cruise

Australia and New Zealand play host to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Each destination offers a truly unique experience that is certain to prove unforgettable.

As a cruise ship medic, you may be entitled to participate in excursions during your downtime. These can generally be booked at a discounted price through the ship’s events team. This means that you can join the ship’s guests on guided tours and other activities during your time on land.

Of course, with so many places to see during your time as a cruise ship medic, it can be tough deciding which places to visit. So, here are just a few of the best places to visit during your time in Australia and New Zealand.


Often described as Australia’s most beautiful city, Sydney offers a fine blend of modern architecture and stunning natural splendour. Throw in its rich and diverse heritage and an eclectic mix of fine eateries and it’s clear to see why Sydney attracts more than 14 million tourists every year.

The magnificent Sydney Opera House dominates the harbour front. As arguably the country’s most famous landmark, this multi-venue performing arts centre certainly draws in the crowds who come to marvel one of the 20th century’s most iconic buildings.

During your time around the harbour, why not scale the heights of Sydney Harbour Bridge, the world’s sixth-longest spanning-arch bridge. Standing at a height of 134 metres (440 feet), the bridge is an ideal place to gain spectacular views of the harbour and enjoy a bracing coastal breeze.

Away from the Harbour, Sydney is also a haven for nature lovers. Taronga Zoo and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium are ideal year-round destinations if want to catch a glimpse of Australia’s indigenous species, while the city park and beach areas are excellent places to stroll and unwind.


Widely considered to be the cultural and sporting capital of Australia, Melbourne boasts a diverse heritage that earmarks it as one of the country’s top cities to visit. Amazingly, more than 200 different nationalities call Melbourne home, making the region a multicultural metropolis.

Sitting on the banks of the Yarra River, a waterway lined with eateries, shops and meandering footpaths, the city offers something for everyone. From beautiful beaches and spectacular rooftops that house a myriad of wonders to the incredible mix of restaurants and cafés which stock and sell locally sourced cuisine and some of the best coffee on the continent.

Melbourne is also an incredible destination for those looking to indulge in the arts. Music, film and literary festivals are commonplace, whilst food and wine gatherings are also very popular amongst locals and visitors alike.


Rated as one of the most liveable cities on the globe and home to over a third of New Zealand’s population, Auckland is a multi-cultural melting pot, offering delicious cuisine and a thriving arts and music scene.

This vibrant, sophisticated city is a shopper’s paradise, while its range of upmarket eateries is sure to please any food lover. The region is also famed for its natural beauty which will delight outdoor enthusiasts.

In terms of attractions, the Sky Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in Auckland. Standing at 328 metres, this telecommunications tower dominates the skyline and provides unrivalled views of the city below, particularly from the revolving restaurant.


Located on the Australian island of Tasmania, Hobart is a compact city which is rapidly becoming more and more popular amongst tourists hoping to sample a different aspect of Australia.

Home to a thriving contemporary art scene, Hobart is a gallery-lovers dream. MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) is a largely subterranean art museum with a playful vibe, while art studios, vibrant markets and eclectic music venues are never too far away.

The city is also home to some stunning scenery. The natural harbour setting is an ideal place to catch a glimpse of a luxury yacht or two, while the looming Mount Wellington provides a stunning backdrop to what is an incredible city.

Milford Sound

Sitting on New Zealand’s west coast, Milford Sound is one of the most naturally beautiful destinations on the planet. The narrow inlet, which was created by glacial erosion over the course of thousands of years, stretches for 15 kilometres and sits beneath snow-topped peaks measuring over 1,500 metres in height.

Occasionally referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, the sound (which is technically a fjord) sits at the heart of New Zealand’s largest national park, Fiordland. This area of outstanding natural splendour is home to a landscape comprising of sheer rock faces, cascading waterfalls and majestic mountains.

What is the weather like in Australia and New Zealand?

The weather in Australia and New Zealand can vary depending on your location and the time of year.

If your cruise ship job runs through the spring and summer months (September to February), the temperatures will be warmer, while cruises during autumn and winter (March to August) may prove cooler, so it’s important to pack appropriately.

Generally, Australia enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year, though the weather can vary due to the sheer size of the country. Northern territories typically benefit from warm weather throughout the year, while more southerly regions are prone to cooler winters.

Temperatures in New Zealand tend to fluctuate slightly more. While the North and South islands do enjoy mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and plenty of sunshine, cold fronts can move in quickly, especially as you move further south. It’s advisable to pack a light waterproof in spring and summer, while layers are advisable for autumn and winter.

Once you have been assigned to a cruise ship, it is recommended that you research the climate of each destination you will be visiting.

What currencies will I need for an Australia and New Zealand cruise?

Both Australia and New Zealand use the dollar, however, each nation has its own currency.

Be aware that you cannot use Australian dollars in New Zealand and vice versa. Despite the two countries being close in proximity, each uses its own currency. This means that you must use Australian dollars in Australia and New Zealand dollars in New Zealand. Currencies also differ in other South Pacific nations.

You can obtain both Australian and New Zealand dollars before you travel with rates varying amongst providers. Alternatively, you can exchange money during your time in Australia or New Zealand.

Interested in working on a cruise ship?

If the prospect of performing the job you love around the world sounds appealing, why not discover more about the wide range of cruise ship jobs we have to offer? Simply visit our cruise ship jobs section or register your interest

Eager to learn more about different cruise destinations? Read about Mediterranean cruises and Caribbean cruises.

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