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Cruise Destinations - South Pacific

Three South Pacific UNESCO Sites Not to Miss

UNESCO World Heritage sites around the globe are some of the most meaningful travel destinations and our voyages open the door to countless of these spectacular sites – even those in far-flung locations such as the remote South Pacific.

From architectural masterpieces to equally stunning lesser-known nature reserves and rainforests, the World Heritage list now includes more than 1,000 sites of cultural and natural significance. Here’s a short list of our Destination Specialists’ top picks for UNESCO sites in the South Pacific and Australia, plus how to experience them during your cruise to this corner of the world.

The mountainous island of Raiatea is home to both the larger cultural landscape and seascape that makes up Taputapuatea as well as Taputapuatea marae, a sacred site that’s approximately 1,000 years old and an extraordinary testament to the ma’ohi civilization. Significant cultural and religious sites, marae are open-air temples that are believed to be sacred spaces where the world of the living intersects with the world of ancestors and gods. The Taputapuatea complex is one of the largest ancient temples in French Polynesia and once served as a political, ceremonial and funerary center. Take time to explore the fascinating seven separate marae that were arranged by natives from hundreds of stones and pieces of coral.

Try our “Sacred Island by Le Truck” excursion, available from Raiatea

NEW CALEDONIA | Lagoons of New Caledonia
As if the exotic mix of cultures and mouthwatering French and Melanesian cuisines isn’t enough, the Pacific’s Cote D’Azur also offers stunning UNESCO-protected lagoons with the most diverse concentration of reef structures in the world. These lagoons are home to the world’s second longest reef and largest lagoon, plus more than 300 species of coral. They’re considered some of the most beautiful reefs in the world due to the sheer range of shapes and forms, such as double barrier, offshore reefs, coral islands, caves and arches, in a relatively small area. In fact according to UNESCO, New Caledonia’s reefs “equal or even surpass the much larger Great Barrier Reef in coral and fish diversity.”

Try our “Lagoon Snorkeling” excursion, available from Nouméa

AUSTRALIA | Sydney Opera House
No listing of UNESCO sites for the region would be complete without acknowledging Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s landmark architectural work in Sydney. Inaugurated in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is renowned as one of the great architectural masterpieces of the 20th century. The soaring white sails that have made the building a world-famous icon were also the design feature that presented engineering challenges, mounting costs and eventually contributed to Utzon leaving Australia, never to return to see his masterpiece completed. You can experience this daring urban sculpture in a multitude of ways – by water during a harbour cruise, with a guided tour for behind-the-scenes insight or of course, the most experiential – with a live performance at the famed performing arts center.

Try our “Exclusive Sydney Harbour Cruise,” “Sydney Sights, Opera House & Bondi” or “An Evening at the Opera” excursion

Start planning your adventure now!