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Cape York and Arnhem Land Saltwater People Darwin to Cairns Coral Expeditions

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Cape York and Arnhem Land

Cape York & Arnhem Land (Darwin to Cairns), 11 Nights - Saltwater People of Northern Australia

SOLD OUT – Speak to our reservations team to go on a waitlist, or check out our 2020 Cape York & Arnhem Land Departures. 

This expedition will be focusing on Australian art and curated by Torres Strait Island artist, David Bosun from the tribe of Wug on Moa Island. He will be taking you into some of the continent’s most acclaimed art centres. David has travelled extensively internationally with the touring exhibition Gelam my Son.  He was also part of a delegation to Cambridge University and is believed to be part of the first people from the Torres Strait to examine the Haddon Collection of Torre Strait artefacts. He is striving to record and illustrate his ancestral beliefs and traditions through the visual and performing arts.

Explore the Northern Australian coastline and immerse yourself in the diverse cultures of Indigenous Australia, with this exclusive Cape York & Arnhem Land itinerary.

Commencing in Darwin, voyage to the Tiwi Islands, and experience unique cultural performances and a tour of the history of the islands. A visit to Tiwi Designs, one of the oldest and most artistically diverse art centres in Australia, reveals the rich artistic heritage in stunning carvings, paintings, and fabric printing. Cruising on to the Cobourg Peninsula, you will experience the landscape of Arnhem Land as you visit the failed Victoria Settlement.

At Maningrida, visit the Arts Centre, the Djomi Museum, and the Babbarra Women’s Centre. The Maningrida Arts and Culture Centre is home to exquisite bark paintings and weavings that represent the 12 language areas that come together here. The Babbarra Women’s Centre is the base for Babbarra Designs, where local women design and hand-print exquisite textiles which tell the ancestral stories of Arnhem Land, and are sold around the world.

Be welcomed to remote townships on Elcho Island, and visit the Elcho Island Art Centre at Galiwin’ku. Each stop is another opportunity to experience the creative expression of one of the world’s oldest cultures and hear their stories. As your journey continues, our guest lecturers introduce you to the friends they have made in each location, and present lectures on Indigenous art and culture, as well as the natural history of this ancient country.

Visit the spectacular Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre at Yirrkala. This community-controlled art gallery and museum showcases the beautiful artwork from the North-East Arnhem region, and its artists have exhibited all over the world.

We continue on to visit the Torres Strait Islands. Here you start to experience the traditional and contemporary Torres Strait art forms. Old stories and motifs are infused with energy as present and alive as when they were first created.   You may visit the spectacular art centres on Badu or Moa Islands, and experience the warm island hospitality.

As you sail south, visit remarkable Stanley Island where you will see rock art from the contact period, and hear from Traditional Owners about the history of the island. Continue on to Lizard Island and have an opportunity to snorkel on the reef.

This expedition will be focusing on Indigenous Australian art. On board, you will create your own unique pieces during art classes.  The art classes will enrich your journey and provide insights into the skills, stories, and creative legacy of the northern Australian communities you visit.


October 2019

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $12,995 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category A) $11,995 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category B) $11.595 $17,393
Main Deck (Category A) $10,995 n/a
Main Deck (Category B) $10,695 n/a

*Limited sole use occupancy available.



Embark: Board at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 7:00am for 8:00am departure.
Disembark: Arrive and disembark at Cairn’s Cruise Liner Terminal at 08:00am.


No two Cape York & Arnhem Land cruises with Coral Expeditions will be the same, each expedition is crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders around weather and community requirements. Below is a selection of the key destinations visited.

Day 1: Depart Darwin

Board at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 7:00am ahead of our 8:00am departure. Spend time getting to know your fellow travellers and enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Drinks before the first of many delicious dinners

Tiwi Islands

Coral Expeditions tiwi islands

Visit remote Bathurst Island. With local Tiwi guides, we learn of the unique culture and visit the art centre. Be welcomed with a cultural performance and basket-weaving exhibition before enjoying a traditional Australian afternoon tea of damper and billy tea.

Cobourg Peninsula

Discover Garig Gunak Barlu National Park on the Cobourg Peninsula. Join Park Rangers in Port Essington, famous for the failed Victoria Settlement, and explore the ruins while learning about the fascinating history of this early colonial outpost.


Anchor in the mighty Liverpool River and travel ashore to explore the Maningrida Art Centre, museum, and the local boutique, where hand-painted textiles can be purchased.

Elcho Island: Galiwin'ku and Gawa

The friendly locals of Elcho Island proudly welcome us to their community this morning. Meet some of the local artists who have their unique art exhibited in the famous art galleries of the world including the Louvre.

In the afternoon, visit the community and school of Gawa.

Hole in the Wall and Wessel Islands

We travel through the narrow channel between Raragala and Guluwuru Islands, known as the ‘Hole in the Wall’.

Yirrkala Art Centre

Visit the spectacular Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre at Yirrkala, outside of Nhulunbuy.  Here, the Yirrkala Art Centre represents Yolŋu artists from around the region.

Established in 1976 as an act of self-determination, the art centre has forged a vibrant path for Yolŋu contemporary art. A museum built in 1988 houses a collection of works detailing historical artefacts and important moments, including the Message Sticks from 1935 and the Yirrkala Church Panels from 1963.

Cruising the Gulf of Carpentaria

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea with presentations by our guest lecturers. You will hear about the fascinating history of the Macassan traders and early explorers of the Arnhem Land coast.

Badu Island & Torres Strait

Have the unique opportunity to visit Badu Island.  Visit the fabulous art centre and enjoy the hospitality of the Badu islanders. We may visit additional Torres Strait Islands, such as Thursday Island and Moa Island.

Northernmost Point of Cape York


Cruise to the Tip of Cape York and enjoy champagne while the sun sets.

Forbes Island

Enjoy a day exploring Forbes Island, an excellent spot for swimming or snorkelling from the pristine sandy beaches. Visit the grave of beche-de-mer fisherman Frederick Lancaster, or enjoy a short walk to the summit and enjoy the outlook over the surrounding reef and islands.

Davie Reef and Flinders Group

Kimberley Coral Expeditions Lacepedes

Visit Stanley Island in the Flinders Group, and view the isolated Endaen Aboriginal rock art depicting the first sailing ships to visit Queensland shores. At Davie Reef, enjoy swimming and snorkelling and observe the large seabird rookery.

Lizard Island

Explore secluded Lizard Island, one of the most beautiful islands on the Queensland coast. Venture into the crystal clear waters for swimming and snorkelling or take a walk along the sparkling white beach. An energetic guided walk leads to Cook’s Look – from this peak, Captain James Cook was able to sight a navigable passage through the treacherous reef after repairing the HMB Endeavour.

Day 12: Arrive in Cairns

Arrive in Cairns and disembark at 8:00am.

October 2019

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
04 October 2019 04 Oct 2019 15 October 2019 15 Oct 2019 From $10,695 From $10,695 Coral Discoverer Call Us Contact Us

Your cruise price includes:

  • 11 night Expedition Voyage aboard your chosen ship in your chosen cabin category
  • Expert Expedition Team, including Marine Biologists and Guest Lecturers, and a local Parks & Wildlife Guide
  • Daily guided excursions on the Explorer and Zodiac tender vessels
  • All meals throughout your cruise, Australian cuisine prepared fresh in our galley
  • Showcase wines and selected beer, as well as soft drinks, with lunch and dinner service
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access with our Captain
  • 24 hour coffee and selection of teas
  • Use of all onboard facilities, including reference library
  • Comprehensive and fully guided sightseeing in each port

Your cruise price does not include:

  • Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
  • Entry visas/travel permits
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Tipping not required:
Other cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your account and service charges to your bar invoices. On our vessels, our crew has no other agenda than your delight.

Now that you’ve chosen your cruise, our reservations specialists are on hand to assist with your booking needs to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible.

To speak to our reservations specialists contact us during business hours on freecall 1800 079 545 (within Australia), or email

Don’t forget, we strongly recommend the purchase of Travel Insurance with any cruise purchase. See below for further details.


Comprehensive Travel Insurance is strongly recommended for all travellers as protection against any unforeseen events that may necessitate the cancellation or interruption of your holiday and should be purchased at the same time as you purchase your cruise. It should also include emergency evacuation and repatriation cover.

We recommend Travel Insurance by SureSave.

SureSave, is an Australian company who specialise in travel insurance designed for travellers. SureSave provides world assistance through a customer support team, a claims team and an in-house 24/7 Emergency Assistance division. Underwritten by Lloyds of London, you get peace of mind knowing your security is guaranteed.

Please note: SureSave Travel Insurance policies may only be purchased by Australian residents. For international travellers, please discuss your policy requirements with your local insurance provider.