An unforgettable experience that combines the best of The Top End, as it is affectionately known, The Great Barrier Reef, Cape York Peninsula, Arnhem Land and the Coburg Peninsula.
The northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef are the most remote and pristine areas of this magnificent national park. Your journey follows Captain James Cook's voyage of discovery into the communities and cultures of the peoples of this remarkable coast. Experience the diverse cultures of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Tiwi Islanders who call this remote and beautiful region 'home'.
Here, nature is an all-powerful force: monsoons rejuvenate the rivers and floodplains, bringing wealth to the cattle ranchers of the savannah lands and providing the lifeblood to the inhabitants of the sleepy coastal towns. The mighty estuarine crocodile is indeed King of the Wild and the waters of the Arafura Sea are alive with marine and birdlife.
Join an expedition that will see you encounter The Top End from the comfort and style of our superb luxury vessel!
Onboard accommodation comprises 36 spacious modern staterooms. You can select from Bridge, Promenade or Main Deck staterooms.
All Cabins Feature: Air-conditioning, Private ensuite bathroom, Wardrobe, Suitcase cupboard, Windows or Portholes, Speaker, Hairdryer
Main Deck B: Size is 17-18m² (190-200sqft). Bedding is 1 Junior King Bed OR 2 Single Beds. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
Main Deck A: Size is 18m² (195sqft). Bedding is 1 Junior King Bed OR 2 Single Beds. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
Promenade B: Size is 13m² (137sqft). Bedding is 1 Junior King Bed. Maximum room capacity is 1 Adult.
Promenade A: Size is 16-17.5m² (172-190sqft). Bedding is 1 Junior King Bed OR 2 Single Beds. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
Bridge Deck: Size is 17-18m² (180-195sqft). Bedding is 1 Junior King Bed OR 2 Single Beds. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
All meals during the cruise are included. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Dining Room located on the Main Deck and are buffet-style while dinner is table d'hote. Coffee and tea is available 24 hours. Soft drinks are complimentary. House wine and beer will be included with lunch and dinner service. Meal times will be advised in the onboard daily bulletins.
Day 1: Depart Cairns 10:00am
Board your Coral Expeditions ship at Trinity Wharf, Cairns. After departing Cairns we make our way across Trinity Bay before arriving at our exclusive mooring on the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy time to snorkel over the reef and view the many colourful corals and tropical fish that call the reef home. This evening meet your fellow travellers and friendly crew as we enjoy the Captain's Welcome Aboard Drinks.
Day 2: Lizard Island
We explore secluded Lizard Island, one of the most beautiful islands on the Queensland Coast. Enjoy swimming, snorkelling and a walk along the beautiful sandy beach. As special guests of the Lizard Island Research Station we have an opportunity to learn of the research being undertaken to help understand and preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 3: Stanley Island and Davey Reef
Visit Stanley Island in the Flinders Group to view the Endaen Aboriginal rock art gallery that depicts sailing ships of the last century. This is a unique art site seldom visited due to its isolated location. At Davey Reef and Cay we enjoy swimming and snorkelling and observe the large seabird rookery.
Day 4: Forbes Island and Magra Island
Enjoy the day exploring historic Forbes Island, its reef provides some fantastic swimming and snorkelling opportunities, This afternoon we visit Magra Island for beachcombing, bird watching and to enjoy the tropical sunset.
Day 5: Cape York and Thursday Island
This morning we venture ashore at Cape York as the sun rises over the "Tip" on Australia's northernmost point. Enjoy champagne and welcome the new day. Anchoring at Thursday Island, learn of the history of European settlement and the large pearling fleets. We have the opportunity to observe the distinctly different cultures of the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginals whilst we enjoy a tour of the island. Following lunch we visit the Gab Titui Cultural Centre where the children perform traditional dances. Continuing on to Horn Island we discover the significance of the Torres Strait Islands during World War II. Overnight at Gateway Torres Strait Resort, Horn Island.
Day 6: Nhulunbuy (Gove)
This morning we board our short charter flight across the Gulf of Carpentaria to Nhulunbuy (Gove). Upon arrival, we visit the Yirrkala Art Centre. Following a light lunch, we enjoy time to explore this frontier town before visiting Nambarra Art Centre to see some fine examples of local artwork. Overnight at Walkabout Lodge, Gove.
Day 7: Hole in the Wall and Beach BBQ
Rejoining Coral Discoverer we cruise through the narrow 'Hole in the Wall". Our expert guides and lecturers will share with you the fascinating history of the Macassan traders and early discoverers to the Arnhem Land coast. This evening we enjoy a gourmet Aussie Beach BBQ as the sun spectacularly sets over the Arafura Sea.
Day 8: Elcho Island Artists
The friendly locals of Elcho Island proudly welcome us to their community this morning. Enjoy an insight into their culture and meet some of the local artists who have their unique art exhibited in the famous art galleries of the world, including the Louvre. You may wish to attend the local church service to share in the local culture.
Day 9: Liverpool River and Maningrida
We anchor in the mighty Liverpool River before travelling ashore to explore the Maningrida Art Centre, Museum and local "boutique", where hand painted clothing and fabrics are offered for sale. Later, join the Expedition Leader and guides on an Explorer tour of the river before rejoining our small ship.
Day 10: Cobourg Peninsula
Enjoy a full day to discover the Cobourg Peninsula. Port Essington is famous for its failed Victoria Settlement, and we will be joined by the local National Park rangers who will guide and help us explore the ruins. We will also visit the Ranger's Interpretation Centre at Black Point.
Day 11: Bathurst and Melville Islands
Today we enjoy a true highlight, visiting remote Bathurst and Melville Islands. With traditional Tiwi people as our guides we learn of the unique cultures and visit their fascinating art centre. Our Tiwi hosts will welcome us with a cultural performance and basket-weaving exhibition before we join them for a traditional afternoon tea of damper and billy tea. Tonight we farewell newfound friends as we enjoy the Captain's Farewell Drinks.
Day 12: Arrive in Darwin
8:00am: Arrive into the Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory and gateway to the "Top End".
**This itinerary is an indication of the destinations that Coral Expeditions cruises visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition they may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling.**
Darwin to Cairns: Reverse 11 Night itinerary boarding in Darwin is also available.
Details: Length 63 metres, Speed 10-12 knots, Beam 13 metres, Cabins 36, Draught 3 metres, Passengers 72, Tonnes 1779, Crew 24
Facilities: Large sundeck with bar, wireless satellite internet broadband access (additional cost applies), comprehensive reference library, phone and fax facilities (additional cost applies), lecture lounge with large plasma screen, limited laundry facilities, three fully stocked cocktail bars, gift shop and air-conditioned public areas.
Expeditions: The "Xplorer" is a specially designed aluminium excursion vessel used for the majority of the excursions. This vessel has high horsepower engines and will accommodate all passengers at one time. The "Xplorer" will be used for landings and for extensive exploration of rivers and tributaries. For your added convenience and comfort, the "Xplorer" is equipped with an awning and toilet.
There are also two inflatable landing craft (Zodiacs). Designed for expedition work, these large and heavy-duty inflatables are extremely safe. Separate air compartments retain a large reserve of buoyancy even if the boats damaged. The flat bottom design permits these crafts to land directly onto the beaches.
Cairns to Darwin
2021: 4 April
Darwin to Cairns
2021: 18 June
Children: Under 14 years of age are not recommended
Excludes: Pre and Post flights and transfers; personal items such as telephone, facsimile charges, laundry, bar charges, WiFi charges, travel insurance
Environmental Management Charge (EMC): Is additional and payable on board
Cancellation Fees: Apply for cruises cancelled inside 90 days of travel. Change fees may also apply.
Operated By: Coral Expeditions