An 11 night exploration of the unique and remote Northern Australian coastline that few have experienced.
Your expedition voyage of discovery begins from either Cairns - gateway to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, Cape York Peninsular and the fascinating islands of the Tomes Strait, or Darwin - gateway to the remote and mysterious Arnhem Land and the famous National Parks of Kakadu and Cobourg Peninsula, areas affectionately known as the "Top End".
Experienced and informative Expedition Leaders and Guest Lecturers will accompany you on all excursions. They will point out and interpret the myriad of wildlife you encounter and augment your experiences with on-board discussions and informal lectures. From our informative Guides you will discover the mysteries of the fascinating reef life and habitat.
There are few roads in this remote part of Northern Australia. Your access to this area is aboard the expedition cruise vessels Coral Expeditions. Shallow draft and manoeuvrability makes this ship ideal to safely navigate the often uncharted waters of the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Arafura Sea.
Select from four types of accommodation - all spacious and elegantly appointed. The choice of accommodation on board the Coral Expeditions I includes Staterooms, Upper Deck Staterooms and Deluxe Staterooms, while the more budget conscious may select a Cabin.
All Cabins Feature: Air-conditioning, Private ensuite, Hairdryer
Cabin: Size is 10-13m² (108-140sqft). Bedding is 2 Single Beds. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
Stateroom: Size is 13m² (140sqft). Bedding is 2 Single Beds OR 1 Double Bed. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
Upper Deck Stateroom: Size is 14m² (151sqft). Bedding is 2 Single Beds OR 1 Double Bed. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
Deluxe Stateroom: Size is 17m² (183sqft). Bedding is 2 Single Beds OR 1 Double Bed. Maximum room capacity is 2 Adults.
All meals during the cruise are included. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are usually served the Dining Room located on the Main Deck and are buffet-style. Coffee and tea is available 24 hours. Meal times will be advised in the onboard daily bulletins.
Day 1: Board Coral Expeditions I at Trinity Wharf, Cairns from 10.00am for a 11.00am departure. After departing Cairns we make our way across Trinity Bay before mooring on the Great Barrier Reef. Spend the rest of the day snorkelling and exploring the tropical reef and marine life. This evening meet your fellow travellers and friendly crew as you enjoy the Captain's Welcome Cocktails and sit down to the first of many delicious dinners.
Day 2: Explore secluded Lizard Island, one of the most beautiful islands on the Queensland Coast. Enjoy swimming, snorkelling and a walk along the white sand beach. Learn about the research being undertaken to preserve the Great Barrier Reef at the Lizard Island Research Station.
Day 3: 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 you enjoy swimming and snorkelling and observe the large seabird rookery.
Day 4: Enjoy the day exploring historic Forbes Island, its reef provides some fantastic swimming and snorkelling opportunities. This afternoon, visit Magra Island for beachcombing, bird watching and to enjoy the tropical sunset.
Day 5: This morning, 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. Have the opportunity to observe the distinctly different cultures of the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginals whilst enjoying a tour of the island. Following lunch, visit the Gab Titui Cultural Centre where the children perform traditional dances. Continuing on to Horn Island, discover the significance of the Torres Strait during World War II. Tonight, travel ashore on Horn Island and stay overnight at the Gateway Torres Strait Resort.
Day 6: This morning board a short charter flight across the Gulf of Carpentaria to Nhulunbuy (Gove). Upon arrival, visit the Yirrkala Art Centre. Following a light lunch, enjoy time to discover this frontier town before visiting Nambarra Art Centre to see some fine examples of local artwork. This evening enjoy a relaxing stay at the Walkabout Lodge in Gove.
Day 7: Rejoining Coral Expeditions I, cruise through the narrow 'Hole in the Wall'. The expert guides and lecturers will share with you the fascinating history of the Macassan traders and early discoverers of the Arnhem Land coast. This evening enjoy a gourmet Aussie Beach BBQ as the sun spectacularly sets over the Arafura Sea.
Day 8: The friendly locals of Elcho Island proudly welcome you 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: 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 the small ship.
Day 10: Enjoy a full day to discover the Cobourg Peninsula. Port Essington is famous for its failed Victoria Settlement, and you will be joined by local guides who help explore and understand the ruins. Also visit the Ranger's Interpretation Centre at Black Point.
Day 11: Enjoy a true highlight, visiting remote Bathurst and Melville Islands. With traditional Tiwi people as you guides, learn of the unique cultures and visit their fascinating art centre. The Tiwi hosts will welcome you with a cultural performance and basket-weaving exhibition before you join them for a traditional Australian afternoon tea of damper and billy tea. Tonight you farewell new-found friends as we enjoy the Captain's Farewell Cocktails.
Day 12: Arrive in Darwin at 8.00am.
**This itinerary is an indication of the destinations that Coral Expeditions I cruises visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition they may make chages 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.**
Darwin to Cairns: Reverse 12 Night itinerary boarding in Darwin is also available. Boarding is 5.00pm for 6.00pm departure.
Coral Expeditions I is custom-made vessel and is 35 metres in length and carries just 44 passengers.
Details: Length 35 metres, Beam 13 metres, Speed 13 knots, Draught 2.5 metres, Tonnes 730, Cabins 27, Passengers 44, Crew 12
Facilities: Air-conditioned public areas, Sundeck, Comprehensive reference library, Modern dining room, Phone and fax facilities, Lecture lounge, Limited laundry facilities, 2x fully stocked cocktail bars, Gift shop, WiFi (limits and fees apply).
Expeditions: The "Explorer" 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 "Explorer" is used for landings and for extensive exploration of rivers and tributaries. For your added convenience and comfort, the "Explorer" is equipped with an awning and toilet.
The Coral Expeditions I also carries 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 boat is damaged. The flat bottom design permits these crafts to land directly onto the beaches. Expect none-the-less to wade through shallow water to reach the shore.
Cairns to Darwin
2017: 19 March
2018: 18 March
Darwin to Cairns
2017: 05 October
2018: 24 September
Children: Under 12 years of age are not recommended
Excludes: Pre and Post flights and transfers; personal items such as telephone, facsimile charges, laundry, bar 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