Discover castaway islands, stay in exclusive moorings and snorkel with jaw-dropping reef fish on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure exploring the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns – Hinchinbrook – Cairns
Cairns – Lizard Island – Cairns
Cairns – Hinchinbrook – Lizard Island – Cairns
Cruising the Southern Reef (3 night itinerary)
Say goodbye to the city as you begin your expedition in the beautiful Australian tropics. Cruise along Trinity Bay towards Sudbury Reef, where you’ll have the chance to go snorkelling or scuba diving over the vibrant coral gardens. This evening you’ll stop at a deserted sandy cay for sunset drinks before heading back on board for your welcome dinner. Wake the next morning to enjoy breakfast on the top deck as you cruise along the Hinchinbrook Channel. This morning you can join a guided mangrove tour – keep your eyes peeled for whales, saltwater crocodiles and dugongs – before continuing to the tropical paradise of Dunk Island. Stretch your legs with a hike up to the viewing deck at Mount Kootaloo or try and spot the electric blue Ulysses butterfly on a tropical rainforest walk. The next day you have a choice between a guided snorkel or the glass bottom boat to explore the idyllic Nathan and Coates Reefs. Your final morning will be spent exploring Fitzroy Island, an unspoilt oasis in the Great Barrier Reef. Take a walk through the rainforest to the historic lighthouse, swim with sea turtles or visit the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre to learn all about these remarkable reptiles.
Cruising the Northern Reef (4 night itinerary)
Depart Cairns in the late afternoon, and begin your cruise along Trinity Bay. Make the most of your welcome drinks as you take in passing views of Palm Cove and the beautiful Double Island. Tonight socialise with your fellow guests at the Captain’s Welcome Seafood Buffet. The next morning you’ll dock at historic Cooktown, Australia’s first non-Indigenous settlement. Discover centuries-old buildings as you stroll along the main street, and make your way to the beautiful botanic gardens to try and spot the native kangaroos and wallabies. Arrive at Lizard Island, a national park and the northernmost island resort in the Great Barrier Reef. Today is all about taking in the spectacular natural beauty of the island – snorkel the Clam Garden, an area just a short swim from the beach at Watson’s Bay, and hike up the to the island’s highest point, known as Cook’s Look, on the way watching out for resident monitor lizards and olive-backed sunbirds. Or you can just do nothing – this is an island paradise after all, so just sit back and relax on a stretch of powder-soft white sand. Spend your last full day exploring the stunning coral gardens in the remote outer Ribbon Reefs, looking out for huge giant clams, reef sharks, beautiful gorgonian fish and giant humphead wrasse.
Cruising the Great Barrier Reef (7 night itinerary)
For the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, combine the two itineraries to enjoy a seven-night expedition taking in the best of both of the Northern and Southern Reefs.
Good to know
Coral Expedition II
Relax on board the Coral Expedition II, a classic expedition ship that has been purpose built for exploring the outer reef. Refined and boutique, there are just 22 cabins on board, each comfortably furnished with a private en-suite and large picture windows. Dining is delicious, with an emphasis on local produce and modern Australian cuisine. Menus include lots of sustainably farmed and freshly caught seafood, accompanied by a fantastic selection of local wines. Stylish facilities include a spacious lounge, sundeck and two cocktail bars, as well as the use of a glass bottom boat and kayaks for offshore excursions.
Need to know
The Coral Expedition departs weekly year round: the 3-night and 7-night itineraries on Fridays, and the 4-night cruise every Monday.
Included in price
All meals on board
All excursions as per itinerary
24-hour coffee and teas
Resident marine biologist
Use of the glass bottom boat and kayaks
Post-cruise transfers to Cairns airport