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Destination Immersion

Azamara Ashore Land Experiences: Asia, Australia, and New Zealand Highlights

Thursday, February 17, 2022
By Azamara

Azamara Ashore Land Experiences combine land and sea travel in a way that promises authentic, enriching experiences for explorers across the globe. Going beyond the beautiful ports of the world, our Land Experiences immerse you in the cultures and traditions of cities, countries, and continents — forging deep connections with locals and embracing all the thrills of travel along the way. We cannot wait to share these new moments with you. 

Today, we’re showcasing some of our favorite Azamara Ashore Land Experiences in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. These experiences will take you off the beaten path and onto the road (and waters) less traveled when you explore the world with us. Let’s start exploring. 

Alluring Asia 

There’s a juxtaposition that comes with traveling through Asia — a continent where you’ll find cities seemingly conjured up from science fiction alongside the reality of millennia of traditions. It’s East meets West, old meets new, skyscrapers and ancient temples blending together amongst some of the most thrilling natural beauty you’ll ever see. And it’s all waiting for you.

Join us in Asia, and here are a few of the highlights you can expect.

Exploring History (and Hot Springs) in Japan 

Cherry blossom season in Tokyo at Meguro river

Tokyo has a well-earned reputation as one of the world’s most fascinating cities. Bustling and brilliant, it’s also a city of incredible juxtaposition. On the surface, it’s awash in the glow of neon light and futuristic fantasy, but look a little deeper, and ancient traditions and history can be seen all around you. And it’s this history that you’ll be exploring when you join us on the Historic Tokyo and Hot Spring in Hakone Land Experience

This four-night pre-cruise/three-night post-cruise journey kicks off with a trip through shitamachi (old Tokyo), beginning in Asakusa. This district in Taitō, Tokyo, is the center of Edo culture — a period of Japanese history (1603 - 1867) associated with the Tokugawa shogunate. Here, you’ll hop aboard a rickshaw for a tour of the district’s iconic landmarks, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. 

From here, it’s off to a taiko drum shop, where you’ll learn more about the vital role this instrument has played throughout Japanese history. The taiko drum has been interwoven with Japanese history since at least the 6th Century CE. The instrument has been used for everything from religious ceremonies to military action through the years. Even today, it is an essential instrument for social movements throughout the country. Of course, you’ll also have a chance to play a taiko drum for yourself and learn how its rhythms connect you to Shinto deities. 

After an evening spent at your leisure, the following day, you’ll move beyond Tokyo for a glimpse at another side of Japanese life. First, in Ginza, you’ll enjoy a lesson on Japanese swordsmanship — complete with an authentic katana sword. And yes, this is a hands-on demonstration, meaning you’ll learn basic postures of the samurai, as well as forms of batto (the act of pulling your sword from its hilt). Next, we’ll hop aboard the Shinkansen bullet train and make the journey to Odawara. After that, it’s only a short drive to your next destination, Hakone, where hot springs and pure relaxation await. 

Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi with Hakone Temple

Hakone is home to the iconic Hakone Shrine, highlighted by its famous red torii gate facing Lake Ashi. We’ll take you there, followed by lunch and a visit to a yosegizaiku shop. Here, you’ll learn about parquetry. A blend of woodworking and art, parquetry combines various types of wood into magical mosaic works of art. Then, it’s off to the Shinkansen bullet train, which will whisk you back to Tokyo. Once again in Japan’s capital city, you’ll visit the Imperial Palace Plaza, built on the grounds of Edo Castle. Remenants of the castle still stand today, and you can catch a glimpse of the remnants, as well as the Nijubashi Bridge. Before setting off, you’ll also visit Hamarikyu Villa, where the tranquil garden offers the perfect surroundings for reflection on an unforgettable journey. 

Two Nights in the City of Gold

Dubai Marina from a high view showing the boats, sea, and the city scape

Dubai is a city of extravagance. Everywhere you look, it’s the tallest, the biggest, the first of its kind, the best. Not bad for a destination that was a simple fishing village a mere 200 years ago. On your two-night stay in Dubai, you’ll discover just how much this desert oasis has evolved over the years. There will be time to explore some of its most opulent offerings, while also getting a taste of traditional life in the Emirates. 

Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates

Throughout a half-day tour of Dubai, you’ll have the opportunity to take in the incredible Jumeirah Mosque. Established in 1979, the mosque was constructed entirely of white stone in the medieval Fatimid tradition. The exterior is highlighted by two towering minarets that frame a large central dome. Inside, the mosque can hold more than 1200 worshippers, and it welcomes visitors of all faiths. In fact, the mosque has adopted an “open doors, open minds” policy, with frequent outreach to teach visitors about the Emirati way of life and the important role religion plays in the region.  

You’ll also make your way to Bastakiya to admire the wind-towered houses and the 150-year-old Al Fahidi Fort (home to the Dubai Museum) before continuing your journey by abra. What is an abra? Great question! An abra is a traditional wooden boat essential for the next part of your journey — crossing the Dubai Creek to make your way to the Gold & Spice Souq in Deira.

Desert safari

As the morning becomes the afternoon, you’ll venture into the desert for a thrilling four-wheel-drive escapade across towering sand dunes. Then, as the sun sets, enjoy an amazing Arabian celebration under the night sky at Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. You’ll experience traditional dancing and customs, as well as an absolutely delicious Arabic Bedouins BBQ dinner. 

It’s no lie; Dubai really does have the best of everything. 

Come Face to Face With the Wildlife of Borneo 

Baby orangutan playing in the trees.

The third-largest island in the world, Borneo is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. But, of course, humans aren’t the only ones to call Borneo home, something you’ll discover when you join us on the In Search of Orangutans in Borneo Land Experience.

This four-night adventure begins with your arrival in Kota Kinabalu, a bustling modern city that continues to cling tightly to the old-world charm that makes it so unique. While here, you can explore the history of Borneo’s indigenous cultures on a Mari Mari culture excursion. During the tour, locals will share their knowledge of the traditions of Borneo with you, as well as a delicious authentic dinner. 

Young Orangutan sitting on the tree

The next morning, you’ll trek even further into Borneo for a special visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. First opened in 1964, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center rescues Orangutans from dangerous situations and trains them to survive again in the wild. It may surprise you to learn that a baby orangutan will typically stay with its mother for seven to 10 years. During this time, the mother teaches her babies how to find food, build nests, and climb — all tools essential to their survival. For baby orangutans who have lost their mother, the keepers at the Center take on that role, helping them grow, develop, and thrive. You’ll have an inside look at the entire process when you visit them with us. The Center boasts over an 80% success rate in teaching orangutans to be self-reliant in the rainforest, and today, approximately 80 orangutans call it home. 

Sun Bear is resting on the rock

Neighboring the Rehabilitation Center is the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Center. This wildlife conservation and research center’s mission is to raise awareness and protect the welfare of the vulnerable Malayan sun bear. These are the smallest bears in the world, with full-grown adults typically weighing between 60 and 170 pounds. Since 2008, more than 60 sun bears have been rescued and brought to the Center, with 10 successfully re-released into the wild. Today, 44 rescued bears and one born in captivity call the Center home — where they roam large forest enclosures learning the skills they need to survive. When you catch a glimpse of these bears on their journey, it’s sure to leave a lasting impression on you. 

From the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Center, a speedboat will take you up the Kinabatangan River to the Sukau Rainforest Lodge. Here you’ll venture out on misty morning jungle tours, embark on river cruises in search of local wildlife, and learn about the region from expert guides on walkabouts. 

Learn about even more of our Azamara Ashore Land Experiences across Asia.

Authentic Australia

Australian man looks into the Outback on a warm day

As wild and rugged as it is charming and inviting, Australia is a continent that is sure to stir any adventurous soul. From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef, the iconic Sydney Opera House to the beautiful beaches and deep blue waters, there’s enough waiting for you in Australia to ensure each day is a g’day. And we can’t wait to show you everything we love about the Land Down Under. 

Gold warm sun light over Perth as seen from Kings park

You can enjoy extended stays in several Australian cities, including Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne. During your two-night city stay in Perth, you can explore all the charms of Western Australia’s capital city. We’ll take you to the Perth Mint for a private tour and an up-close look at the making of Australian coins. While you’re here, you’ll also see the world’s largest coin — the one-tonne Australian kangaroo gold coin! Wine lovers will adore a journey through Western Australia’s oldest wine region, as well as stops at Sandalford Wines and Lancaster Winery. Along the way, you’ll learn more about Western Australia’s history, explore bustling neighborhoods, and even take some time to stop and watch the surfers at Cottesloe Beach.

Looking across the Yarra river from Southbank to the city of Melbourne

Staying Local in the eclectic city of Melbourne means plenty of opportunities to indulge in Australia’s culinary capital. This is a reputation that has been well-earned over the years, with a dining scene shaped by immigrants from around the world — each bringing their own unique flavors to this bustling foodie metropolis. From cheap eats to restaurants recognized the world over, you’re sure to find a meal that satisfies here. And, of course, where food is, wine is never far behind. Your stay in Melbourne will also bring you to the Yarra Valley, a wine country famous for award-winning wineries and breathtaking beauty. And if your heart is set on seeing another side of Australia, you’ll love exploring You Yangs National Park, where an expert nature guide will join you in the bushlands to see koalas, eastern grey kangaroos, and more Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Sydney, Australia with Harbour Bridge and skyline during sunset.

For many, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Australia is Sydney’s iconic skyline — highlighted by the legendary Opera House. You’ll have an opportunity to see this legendary building up close during your two-night city stay in Sydney. In fact, you’ll enjoy a private guided tour of the Opera House, where you’ll learn about the building’s design and fascinating history. You’ll also make your way to Sydney Tower for a 360-degree bird’s-eye-view of the city, and visit the Royal Botanic Gardens for an Aboriginal Heritage Tour. Hosted by an Indigenous guide, this tour explores Indigenous Australian culture, as well as the native plants Aboriginals use in their everyday lives. Along the way, you’ll also have time to sample Sydney’s culinary scene, and to get your toes in the sand at Bondi Beach. 

Australia outback landscape with blue sky.

If you’ve always wanted to experience the thrill of Australia’s Outback, the Luminous Ayers Rock Land Experience is for you. The expedition starts with an evening in Sydney before setting off to “The Red Centre”, where you’ll enjoy the guided Mala Walk to Kantju Gorge. As you make your way to the gorge, you’ll see ancient rock art and sacred Anangu (Indigenous Australian) sites. You’ll also learn all about traditional bush tucker (and maybe even sample some!). Later, you’ll dine under the stars at Uluru’s Field of Light, where 50,000 bulbs of colored lights paint a breathtaking picture you’ll remember forever. You’ll also ride camels across red sand dunes, visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and explore the lands surrounding Uluru — the majestic monolith towering above Australia’s Red Centre. 

Learn about even more of our Azamara Ashore Land Experiences across Australia.

The Zest of New Zealand 

Panoramic view nature landscape in south island New Zealand

Not far from Australia is New Zealand (though, if you ask any locals, they’ll be quick to say it’s a world away). Thanks to the Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand has developed a reputation for being almost otherworldly in its beauty — and we’re inclined to agree. In fact, spend a little time here, and you may just decide to trade in the ship for the shire! 

Early sunlight over Waimakariri River

On New Zealand’s South Island, join the Alpine Rail & Mount Cook Land Experience, where you’ll spend four nights exploring the country’s momentous natural beauty by rail and helicopter. Not only does this journey take you off the beaten path, it allows you to forge one of your very own. You’ll travel 139 miles from Christchurch to Greymouth aboard the South Island Train, taking in the Southern Alps and the shores of the Waimakariri River as you dine on traditional cuisine. 

Tasman Glacier Aoraki Mount Cook National ParkFrom the train, you’ll take to the skies to fly over Tasman Glacier — New Zealand’s longest glacier — as well as the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. And in perhaps the most thrilling experience of all, your helicopter will land in the snow-covered heart of Mount Cook National Park. So take it all in — and take a few photos while you’re at it — because this truly is the middle of nowhere else like it. 

Auckland city skyline before sunset

Prefer an adventure that’s a little more laid back? Join us for a two-night city stay in Auckland, where you can explore the largest Polynesian city on Earth. Rugged and lush, this journey will take you along the Waitakere Ranges for a stunning coastal tour and an opportunity to explore a rainforest full of 1000-year-old Kauri trees. Then, hop a ferry to Waiheke Island to tour the region’s renowned wineries. After, it’s back to the heart of the city, where you’ll tour Cornwall Park, One Tree Hill, Holy Trinity Church, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and more before arriving at Bastion Point to take in beautiful panoramic views of this extraordinary city.

Discover all of our New Zealand Azamara Ashore Land Experiences.

Join Us Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Now more than ever, you can check those bucket list experiences off with us. Learn more about our Azamara Ashore Land Experiences here, and find the perfect adventure for you today.

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