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: 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 te 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 Expeditions I 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 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.**
Darwin to Cairns: Reverse 11 Night itinerary boarding in Darwin is also available.
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
2019: 17 March
Darwin to Cairns
2019: 13 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