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OUTERKNOWN ADVENTURES ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
Cairns to Cairns
We pioneered extended expedition cruises on the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef over 35 years ago and have forged a reputation for excellence and expertise in that time. Aboard our expedition vessel Coral Discoverer, join us as we embark on an immersive 7-day adventure to the remote and untouched Northern reefs. We explore the hidden corners, uninhabited sand cays, small islands and pristine reef systems. Along the way find freedom and solitude amidst this iconic seascape. Share the journey with soaring seabirds and swim, dive and snorkel at far-flung Osprey and Ribbon Reefs. Learn about ancient indigenous culture and Australian heritage at historic Cooktown. Stretch your legs with a hike to the summit of “Cooks Look”. Enjoy a sundowner with the sand beneath your toes and the setting sun at deserted Sudbury Cay. Onboard, you will be accompanied by expert guides including a Marine Biologist, and our purpose designed small ships are custom built for expedition cruising. With refined steering capabilities, shallow draught and nimble explorer tenders we will bring you closer to remote sites and natural habitats. You will enjoy freshly prepared small-batch cuisine featuring the best local ingredients and relax and enjoy quality local beers and wines. With an intimate atmosphere and our renowned warm Australian hospitality, you will quickly feel at home and make new connections with new friends.
Immerse yourself in one of the world’s great seascapes with the Great Barrier Reef experts
Learn about ancient indigenous culture and Australian heritage at historic Cooktown
Swim, snorkel, dive or simply view the iconic marine species of the Great Barrier Reef
Observe the vibrant underwater world of the untouched outer Great Barrier Reef
Enjoy solitude and seven magical Queensland sunsets
Sip sundowners and feel the sand beneath your feet on isolated sand cays and uninhabited islands
Participate in efforts to conserve the Great Barrier Reef, and possibly visit the turtle rehabilitation centre
(order of the daily visits depends your departure destination)
DAY 1: DEPART CAIRNS
Arrive at Cairns Pullman International Hotel at 3:00pm for SailSAFE check-in. A transfer from here to the ship is provided. Board at 4:00pm where there is time to settle into your stateroom before our 5:00pm departure. Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard before joining your fellow explorers on the Sun Deck for Captains Welcome Drinks.
At Fitzroy Island enjoy a walk through the Secret Garden rainforest or for the more adventurous, a walk to the de-commissioned lighthouse rewards hikers with panoramic views of Coral Sea, islands and mainland mountain ranges.
Snorkel over the fringing reef, relax on the beach and there may be an opportunity to lend a hand to the volunteers at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where sick and injured turtles are cared for before being returned to the wild.
Late in the afternoon, we arrive at Sudbury Cay, a tiny sand cay that barely rises above the Coral Sea. Far removed from the bustle of civilisation, we slip off our shoes and feel the sand between our toes as the tropical waters of the Coral Sea lap gently against the shoreline. Surrounded by glistening sea and bathed in the glow of twilight, we enjoy sundowner drinks and the company of like-minded explorers as we relax and watch the sun gently sink below the horizon.
MACKAY REEF & CAY
Relax on picturesque Mackay Cay and enjoy snorkelling the pristine reef that surrounds it. Mackay Reef is a mid-shelf platform reef, with vibrant hard and soft corals abound. The northern side enjoys additional protection from the cay, making it the perfect playground for turtles. A giant clam garden also resides in the area, with some clams growing as big as 1.2m, all with their own unique colours and patterns.
On a clear day, from the cay you can look back at the mainland to see tall mountains covered in UNESCO world heritage Daintree rainforest. You can see Cape Tribulation and Mount Sorrow as named by Captain Cook during his eventful sail through the Great Barrier Reef. The Kuku Yalangi tribe are the traditional owners of this region and have lived in harmony with the environment for over 50,000 years. Dream time stories explain the unique shape of Mount Peter Bot.
Come ashore in historic Cooktown and learn the history of the Guugu Yimithirr, the first people of this ancient country. Discover recent European history with a visit to the site where Lt. James Cook beached HMB Endeavour to effect repairs in 1770. Wander through the rare flora collection at the Botanic Gardens and visit James Cook Museum, where the story of Cook’s landing is told from an Aboriginal perspective and where artefacts are on display.
Later, we cruise towards Lizard Island, arriving in time for sunset.
We spend a whole day at Lizard Island where there is time to hike to the summit of Cook’s Look and enjoy the same view Lt. James Cook did when searching for safe passage through the maze of coral reefs. Snorkel over giant clam gardens from the beach at Watson’s Bay, relax on the white-sand beach beneath shady she oak trees and learn about the tragic story surrounding Mary Watson.
There may be an opportunity to visit Lizard Island Research Station, operated by the Australian Museum to facilitate coral reef research and education on the Great Barrier Reef.
One of the world’s best dive sites, Osprey Reef is a submerged atoll in the Coral Sea. The top of a mountain which rises from the seafloor, surrounded by a vast ocean, it draws many beautiful and rare marine creatures to its plummeting walls.Osprey Reef is a highly prized tropical dive location amongst scuba divers, called an ‘oasis for living creatures of all kinds’ by Sir David Attenborough. The vibrant corals and crystal-clear waters make it an unforgettable place to discover. Here we will spend time in the water exploring the 30m deep lagoon and drift diving the walls, where you may see large pelagic fish, rays, and sharks drawn in from the surrounding deep blue to enjoy the richness of this ocean oasis.
Osprey Reef is a true expedition-style destination and our visit is subject to appropriate weather conditions.
RIBBON REEFS #9 & #10
The Ribbon Reefs are a narrow line of outer coral reefs on the edge of the continental shelf and are renowned for their prolific marine life and extensive coral species. Enjoy the rare opportunity to snorkel and dive on the Ribbon Reefs which sit on the edge of the continental shelf.
Due to their location far offshore from the Australian coast, the Ribbon Reefs offer excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities with Ribbon Reef #9 a favourite for its wide variety of marine life and pinnacles cloaked in coral. Join a guided snorkel tour led by our expert Expedition Team and witness this extraordinary ecosystem up close. These northern reefs are renowned for spotting iconic marine species such as potato cod, wrasse, sharks and turtles.
DAY 8: ARRIVE CAIRNS
Our Great Barrier Reef adventure concludes in Cairns this morning as we bid farewell to new-found friends, the Master and crew, disembarking at 8:00am.
A complimentary transfer is provided to CBD hotels or the airport. Transfers to the Northern Beaches or Port Douglas can be arranged on board with the Purser (at cost), if not already arranged prior to embarkation.
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we 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. Note: *Tours of the Lizard Island Research Station are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed due to operational considerations.
From AUD 5.240.00 per person (twin / double share)
2023: 07 Nov, 14 Nov, 21 Nov
2024: 11 Nov, 18 Nov
All excursions with our Expedition Team
Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and Kayaks
Snorkelling & SCUBA equipment (SCUBA diving at an additional cost)
Daily lectures and briefings with Guest Lecturers
All meals, chef-prepared on board
Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
24-hour barista-style coffee and tea station
All entrance fees to National Parks, ports, traditional owner fees and charges imposed by governing authorities
Tips and gratuities
Use of all onboard facilities, incl. a reference library
Your expedition photos captured during the voyage
Post-cruise transfers (in most destinations)
Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
Pre and post cruise accommodation
SCUBA Diving (view Scuba diving rates)
Entry visas & travel permits for the country you are traveling to/from
Alcoholic drinks (including beer and wine) outside of lunch and dinner service
Internet services (available at a cost)
Laundry service (available at a cost)
Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
Optional Extras (in some destinations)
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