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Best Cruises (River)


The Cruises (River) category showcases those cruises that depart from civilisation hubs to explore some of the inner waterways and canal systems that carve their way through the landscape. Sightseeing - or being conveyed to sightseeing destinations - is the focal point of this category, with top operators residing in both major cities as well as more distant, regional locations.

Climb aboard these operators' vessels, and you'll be able to kick back, relax, and soak in both natural and man-made highlights all in a comfortable, water-borne environment.

Award Winner Profiles


Meet the award-winning operators and their signature experiences in the Attractions (Unique) category.

AAT Kings Murray River Paddlesteamer Cruise - Adelaide, SA

AAT Kings is one of the largest, longest-running, and most reputable coach tour companies in Australia. For over 100 years they've been sending millions of intrepid travellers on both long and short journeys to witness some of our country's signature highlights. Their Murray River cruise experience takes participants on a relaxing, vintage-style voyage on the waters of Australia's mightiest river aboard the authentic paddlewheeler the "Proud Mary" for a journey to soak in its wildlife and surrounding scenery. Accompanied by lunch on board, guests can gain insight into this complex river system while soaking in and snapping pictures of this unique Australian landscape.

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Captain Cook Cruises Ferry & Dining Cruises - Sydney, NSW

Beginning in Sydney in the 1970's, Captain Cook Cruises has swiftly become an Australian market leader in the river cruise industry and now operates a fleet of restaurant, sightseeing, ferry and sailing vessels that cater from anywhere between 2 and 2,000 guests. By day or by night, Captain Cook Cruises has a lot to offer. During the day their transfer service from Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour to visit the highly-popular Taronga Zoo has long been one of the most popular experiences in all of Australia, providing not only direct ferry access to Taronga Zoo but also extended, 2-day passes to visit a number of other key Sydney highlights such as Manly, Darling Harbour, Luna Park and more. By night, dine on Sydney Harbour’s premier fleet and experience all the colours of Sydney’s world famous sunsets, starting with a glass of sparkling wine and a mezze plate to share, followed a choice of mains and desserts, with drinks included.

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Gordon River Cruises - Strahan, TAS

The acclaimed Gordon River Cruises provides a wondrous waterway cruise through the UNESCO Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area that departs from Strahan on Tasmania's west coast. The crew at Gordon River Cruises know the secrets of the majestic river as well as Macquarie Harbour, and they delight in sharing their knowledge of the land, river and local history with guests. Participants will be given an amazing opportunity to explore the wilderness of the West Coast as we cruise up the Gordon River and take a walk through the untamed temperate rainforest of the Franklin - Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

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Melbourne River Cruises Sightseeing Cruise - Melbourne, VIC

Discover the beautiful city of Melbourne from a unique perspective with one of the most experienced companies on the Yarra River. Operator Melbourne River Cruises has been showcasing this city and its important Yarra river landmarks to locals and visitors alike for over 30 years. Guests can cruise past Melbourne’s major attractions including the Botanical Gardens, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and sporting precinct, Federation Square, Southbank, Docklands and also further to Williamstown. Their fleet of vessels offer benefits such as large windows and an outside deck area for viewing the Yarra River and its surrounding scenery, as well as on-board amenities and staff to assist passengers along their river cruise; for sightseeing itineraries, guests can visit different areas such as Williamstown, the Docklands, and more from the water.

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Mirimar Cruises Brisbane River & Lone Pine Cruise - Brisbane, QLD

Mirimar Cruises of Brisbane are a family-run small business that between them offers a wealth of experience. Owned by the same family for over 14 years, they are very proud that they offer personalised, friendly and skilled service with an aim to be helpful and informative to all customers. They offer a very iconic Australian experience, starting with the boat journey on the Brisbane River which is regarded as "the most relaxed, interesting and enjoyable way to the largest Koala sanctuary in the world" - Brisbane's popular Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. As the Sanctuary lies outside of Brisbane proper, the cruise offers a leisurely and scenic way to access the attraction while absorbing some of the key highlights of Queensland's capital from the water.

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Discovery Group Noosa Everglades Discovery Cruise - Sunshine Coast, QLD

The Discovery Group is a multi award winning market leader in eco-tourism tours, based in Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Offering unique tours to Fraser Island and around the Sunshine Coast region, the company specialises in serene, nature-oriented cruising with a minimal impact on the environment. Their Noosa Everglades cruise is a highly popular way to soak on the "other" side of the Sunshine Coast, with a trip through an environment that showcases the diversity of the Great Sandy National Park's Cooloola section. The region is renowned for its calm waters and dense array of varied scenery, highlighted by numerous forms of water birds and other avian life.

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Sydney Showboats Sydney Harbour Cruise - Sydney, NSW

Cruising Sydney Harbour since 1987, Sydney Showboats took the concept of waterfront dining and catapulted it into a league of its own by blending in high-end on-board entertainment with the proceedings. Rekindling the romance of the 1800s when paddlewheelers were the backbone of commerce and industry, the Sydney Showboat vessel is purpose-built with a theatre-style layout and all the trappings of stage, light and sound requirements to host live entertainment. Their luxury dinner cruises provide a unique viewing gallery from which to take in not only these shows of impressive talent, but also the iconic highlights of Sydney Harbour illuminated at night. Since its inception, the Sydney Showboat dinner cruise experience has delighted over 5 million guests and counting.

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Tamar River Cruises Cataract Gorge Cruise - Launceston, TAS

Operator Tamar River Cruises offers various cruises on Tasmania's picturesque Tamar River, Australia's longest tidal estuary that's navigable to the public. These include the 4hr Batman Bridge Luncheon Cruise, 2.5hr Morning orAfternoon Discovery Cruises or the 50 minute Cataract Gorge Cruises. All Cruises showcase the natural beauty of Cataract Gorge, with the skippers giving lively commentary about the history and folklore of the areas. The beauty of the areas cruised, coupled with the different products incorporated in the longer cruises combined with friendly and efficient staff make Tamar River Cruises an experience not to be missed.

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Vagabond Cruises Vivid Lights Cruise - Sydney, NSW

The popular Vagabond Cruises is one of Sydney Harbour's longest established cruise companies. With 30 years of excellence, it offers private chartered tours, harbour transfers and a wide range of all-inclusive packages for social and corporate affairs across three of its vessels. The team operate like a small army of professionals dedicated to service and delivering enjoyment and customer satisfaction to its passengers and guests. During Sydney's iconic Vivid light festival each year, Vagabond offered one of the most reasonably-priced options for taking in the Southern Hemisphere's most impressive visual spectacular, with a 60 minute sightseeing cruise itinerary to witness Sydney's landmarks transformed by Vivid's amazing lighting.

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Wyndham Cruises Gold Coast Sightseeing Cruise - Gold Coast, QLD

One of the Gold Coast’s longest-running cruise companies, Wyndham Cruises features a comfortable, spacious boat with a professional and fun crew who pride themselves on giving informative, insightful commentaries. They ensure guests are kept in only the utmost safety and comfort while on board, and their friendly, experienced captain has vast experience in both the British Navy and British Australian Merchant Navy for over 15 years and knows the waterways of the Gold Coast inside-out. Their newly-renovated, multi-million dollar vessel - the “Spirit of Elston” - provides the Gold Coast’s premier river cruise experience. Featuring a host of modern technological inclusions as well as hand-crafted design touches designed to make your cruise more comfortable and enjoyable, the boat is known for it’s signature glowing “W” that can be seen making its way across the city’s waterways.

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