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Cape York and Arnhem Land Art Themed Darwin to Cairns Coral Expeditions

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Torres Strait & Cape York | Horn Island - Cairns | 10 Nights

Explore Australia’s Remote North

10 Nights | Departing Horn Island 13 November 2021 | Arriving Cairns 23 November 2021

Join Coral Expeditions on a small ship adventure to explore the mystical Torres Strait Islands and the remote coastlines to the tip of Cape York. Share an intimate expedition onboard Coral Discoverer with a maximum of 72 guests that takes in small islands and reefs of the northern Great Barrier Reef, coastal walks along Cape York and the magic and mystery of our rarely seen Torres Strait Islands.

With almost 300 islands dotted across the narrow stretch of water between Cape York and Papua New Guinea, the people of the Torres Strait Islands have a distinct and vibrant culture. An expedition by small ship is the ideal way to access these remote regions, visiting uninhabited sand cays, remote islands and pristine reef systems. Our expert guides will share their knowledge both above and below the water. With decades of experience and deep respect for the communities of the region, Coral Expeditions will facilitate an enriching journey accompanied and hosted by local elders who will share the customs and stories of this ancient country.

This itinerary is also available in the reverse direction (Northbound) HERE
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Expedition highlights:

  • Experience the vibrant art, culture and natural beauty of the Torres Strait Islands, including community visits to Badu and Moa Islands
  • Land at the northernmost tip of Australia at Pajinka on Cape York for a sunset or sunrise champagne toast
  • Experience remote Osprey Reef, called an ‘oasis for living creatures of all kinds’ by Sir David Attenborough
  • Snorkel remote reefs and bird-watch at Davie Cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef
  • Explore Lizard Island’s reefs and beaches and hike to historic Cook’s Look
  • Share time with local artists and purchase from the source in community art centres
  • View rock art at Stanley Island, with interpretation by a traditional owner guide
  • Learn about Indigenous culture and maritime history at Cooktown and Restoration Island

 

Fares

CORAL DISCOVERER TWIN SHARE PER PERSON SOLE USE*
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $15,750 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category A) $13,650 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category B)  n/a $18,900
Main Deck (Category A) $11,550 n/a
Main Deck (Category B) $10,900 n/a

Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available.

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Itinerary

Embark: Board at Horn Island 4pm for 5pm departure.
Disembark: Arrive at Cairns at 8am.

The below itinerary is indicative. No two cruises with Coral Expeditions will be the same, with each expedition crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders. 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.

Day 1: Depart Horn Island

Option for a pre-cruise tour of Horn Island.

Board Coral Discoverer at Horn Island at 4pm for 5pm departure.  Enjoy afternoon tea onboard and a chance to meet your fellow travellers as we set sail southwards. This evening join guests and the friendly crew as we enjoy the Captain’s welcome drinks and sit down to the first of many delicious dinners.

There are daily flights to Horn Island Airport from Cairns. These are not included in the cruise fare.

Day 2: Thursday Island (Waiben)

Join an informative tour of Thursday Island to learn about its interesting pearling history and multicultural influences. At Thursday Island we also have free time to explore all the island has to offer, including Gab Titui Cultural Centre and local shopping.

Day 3: Moa Island

Visit the art centre and join in print, weaving and jewellery making workshops with local artists. Watch a traditional dance performance and listen to the gorgeous harmonies of the local singers.

Day 4: Badu Island

In the morning, we visit the indigenous art centre to watch printmakers at work, with the opportunity to purchase prints that catch your eye.

Enjoy traditional kai kai (Traditional Lunch) prepared by the local community – a feast of locally caught fresh fish, curried fish and crayfish. Spend the afternoon swimming at a local beach, hosted by traditional owners.

Day 5: Tip of Cape York

Step ashore at the northernmost point of the Australian mainland continent as the sun rises, and sip champagne to welcome the new day.

Later explore historical sites at Possession Island, Albany Island and Somerset.

Day 6: Forbes Island & Restoration Island

Glass Bottom Boat Coral Viewing

Enjoy a day exploring Forbes Island, an excellent spot for swimming, scuba, snorkelling or glass-bottom boat tours from the pristine sandy beaches. Hear the story of beche-de-mer fisherman Frederick Lancaster who inhabited this island and visit his gravesite.

Visit Restoration Island or Resto, as the locals call it.  Here Captain Bligh, of the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty, made his first landfall after a long ocean crossing from Tonga, in May 1789. He named it Restoration Island because the food they found (oysters and native fruits) greatly restored their spirits and because that date was Oak Apple Day, the anniversary of the restoration of King Charles II.

Today Restoration Island is not just a National Park; one-third of the island is leased to David Glasheen, a former mining tycoon, who, after losing his fortune in the Black Friday market crash, decided to live a solitary existence on the island, and has done so for over 2 decades. It is an idyllic coastal island with a granite and volcanic peak 116 metres in height and a beautiful shark tooth-shaped beach spit where guest will enjoy water activities and time to explore the island.

Day 7: Stanley Island, Davie Reef & Cay

Visit Stanley Island in the Flinders Island Group and take a walk to view the isolated Endaen Aboriginal rock art guided by a traditional owner who will offer an interpretation. The art here depicts the first sailing ships to visit Queensland shores. At Davie Reef enjoy swimming, scuba, snorkelling or glass-bottom boat tours and see Brown Boobie bird colonies at Davie Cay.

Day 8: Remote Osprey Reef

Osprey Reef Darren Jew Photography 1

Osprey Reef is the summit of an undersea 2,000m mountain located beyond the continental shelf with no landmass visible. Enjoy amazing underwater visibility here, and observe magnificent corals, plummeting drop-offs and many fish in the crystalline waters. 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.

Osprey Reef is a true expedition-style destination and our visit is subject to appropriate weather conditions.

Day 9: Lizard Island

Enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty of Lizard Island. Join an optional hike to Cook’s Look and be rewarded with exceptional views over the Great Barrier Reef. Learn about the tragic fate of Mary Watson on a walk to her cottage. Snorkel from the beach over giant clam gardens and colourful coral and visit the Lizard Island Research Station.

Day 10: Cooktown

Historic-cooktown

Discover historic Cooktown, with buildings dating back to the 1870s. Here you will have the choice of a guided indigenous cultural tour, or a guided Cooktown historic tour. You will also have the opportunity for time at leisure to explore Cooktown’s attractions which include art galleries, the botanic gardens, James Cook Museum (with original artefacts from the HMB Endeavour), lookouts, and a walk to the top of Grassy Hill.

Farewell drinks this evening on a remote island.

Day 11: Arrive Cairns

Our incredible adventure of Australia’s North comes to an end. Arrive at Cairns at 8am.

November 2021

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
13 November 2021 13 Nov 2021 23 November 2021 23 Nov 2021 $10,900 to $15,750 $10,900 to $15,750 Coral Discoverer Available Book

Our friendly reservations specialists are on hand to assist with your booking arrangements to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible. Contact our team on 1800 079 545 during business hours in Australia or email explore@coralexpeditions.com

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Comprehensive Travel Insurance is strongly recommended for all travellers. Please refer to our Pre-Departure page for facts that should be considered and shared when speaking with Travel Insurance suppliers.

SailSAFE

As always, it is our priority to keep our guests and crew safe while travelling with us. We want our guests and crew to have the greatest confidence that their safety and wellbeing have been thoroughly considered. Please read our SailSAFE plan for the requirements of each passenger prior to joining us.

Photos From Your Expedition

Following your expedition, you will receive a link by email to free download the images taken throughout your voyage by our Expedition Team. Please make sure that you have provided our reservations team with your relevant email address.

Hikes On This Expedition

Most walks are leisurely strolls along beaches, however, there are some more strenuous walks on offer:

  • Walk to Endaen Rock Art site at Stanley Island
  • Hike over the saddle of Forbes Island
  • Cook’s Look on Lizard Island
  • Grassy Hill Light, Cooktown

An alternative excursion will always be offered in place of higher impact walks. The Expedition Team will advise walking conditions and requirements prior to each excursion.

Should you have any physical limitations or mobility issues, please notify our reservations team in advance prior to your departure.

Weather in North Queensland

This expedition is set in November. Its sunny days, warm waters, cool ocean breezes. The average daily temperature will be around 30 – 34 C, with water temperatures around a comfortable 28 C. Generally, 10-15 knot winds and glass outs are common.

Additional Information

Packing Tips

Due to the warm, tropical climate of this region, guests should pack lightweight clothing which can be layered. Wet-landings are common and pants which can be rolled up, shorts or a cotton skirt/dress are ideal. A lightweight long-sleeved shirt will help provide protection from the sun or any mosquitoes. Comfortable walking shoes and wet landing shoes such as reef walkers, Tevas or old sneakers are recommended. A packing checklist will be provided in your pre-departure documentation from our Reservations team after booking.

Recommended Readings

  • Cairns: Reef to Rainforest – Peter Jarver
  • The Great Barrier Reef – James Bowen & Margarita Bowen
  • The Great Barrier Reef – Len Zell
  • Endeavour: The Ship and the attitude that changed the world – Peter Moore
  • A Life Underwater – Charlie Veron