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

Torres Strait & Cape York

Departs Cairns & Horn Island10 nightsAll InclusiveFrom $11,450.00* PP

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, Cape York coastal walks 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.

  • Experience the vibrant art, culture and natural beauty of the Torres Strait Islands, including community visits of Badu and Moa Islands
  • Land at the northernmost tip of Australia at Pajinka on Cape York for a sunset 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

Itinerary

Coral-Expeditions_Torres-Strait-and-Cape-York_Cairns_Horn-Island_10-Nights_Map

The following itinerary shows departing Cairns and arriving Horn Island. For the opposite direction, the itinerary is in reverse. 

Cairns wharf departure port

Cairns Departures: Arrive at Trinity Wharf (berth to be advised) at 4:00pm, where there is time to settle into your stateroom before our 5:00pm departure.

Horn Island Departures: Arrive at the designated meeting area (berth to be advised) at 4:00pm ready to board Coral Discoverer at anchor for 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.

Historic-cooktown

Discover historic Cooktown, with buildings dating back to the 1870’s. 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.

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.

Osprey Reef Diving Coral Expeditions Northern Australia

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.

Day9 Stanley Island am(22)

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.

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. We also have an opportunity to go beachcombing at a nearby remote island, possibly Magra, Saunders, or Sir Charles Hardy.

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.

Today will be a truly ‘expedition style’ excursion, as we venture into the labyrinth of creeks and mangrove systems that make up the Escape River mouth. The Escape River is a wild and remote region even by Cape York standards, with an abundance of estuarine crocodiles. Steeped in history, it is where explorer Edmund Kennedy was fatally speared by local aboriginal people in 1849. We will go ashore at Turtle Head Island, where we will visit a small pearl farm and learn about the process from our hosts Rusty and Bronwyn, with a chance to purchase some beautiful jewellery made of pearls and shells (no EFTPOS facilities, bring cash).

Later, 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 at the Tip of Cape York – the northernmost point of the Australian mainland continent.

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.

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.

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.

Horn Island Arrival: As we set off on our final Xplorer ride, our incredible adventure of Australia’s North comes to an end.  At 8:00 am we arrive at Horn Island, with the option for a post-cruise tour. There are daily flights to Cairns from Horn Island Airport. These are not included in the cruise fare.

Cairns Arrival: Arrive at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal at 7:30am for disembarkation at 8:00am. Post cruise transfers to Cairns CBD and airport are available while transfers to the Northern Beaches or Port Douglas can be arranged on board with the Purser prior to disembarkation.

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.

Torres Straits Community Access: The remote island communities of the Torres Straits are special areas. Over the past decades, these communities have welcomed Coral Expeditions and guests on many occasions. We respect that from time to time, planned visits my not be possible at short notice for varied reasons and will offer alternative excursions should visitation not be possible.



Fares & Availability

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 20m2

Fully Booked

Promenade Deck (Category A)

Picture Window - 18m2

Available

Promenade Deck (Category B)

Picture Window - 15m2

Fully Booked

Main Deck (Category A)

Rectangle Windows - 18m2

Last Staterooms

Main Deck (Category B)

Porthole Windows - 18m2

Last Stateroom
Book this Departure

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 20m2

Available

Promenade Deck (Category A)

Picture Window - 18m2

Available

Promenade Deck (Category B)

Picture Window - 15m2

Available

Main Deck (Category A)

Rectangle Windows - 18m2

Available

Main Deck (Category B)

Porthole Windows - 18m2

Available
Book this Departure

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 20m2

Fully Booked

Promenade Deck (Category A)

Picture Window - 18m2

Available

Promenade Deck (Category B)

Picture Window - 15m2

Last Stateroom

Main Deck (Category A)

Rectangle Windows - 18m2

Available

Main Deck (Category B)

Porthole Windows - 18m2

Last Stateroom
Book this Departure

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 20m2

Available

Promenade Deck (Category A)

Picture Window - 18m2

Available

Promenade Deck (Category B)

Picture Window - 15m2

Available

Main Deck (Category A)

Rectangle Windows - 18m2

Available

Main Deck (Category B)

Porthole Windows - 18m2

Available
Book this Departure

Prices are per person twin share, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST.  Booking Terms & Conditions >
For solo traveller rates see our Solo Traveller Program.


Additional Information

Inclusions:

  • 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
  • Expedition diary, along with a photo and video gallery documenting the highlights of your voyage
  • Post-cruise transfers
  • Wifi Access – Standard speed connectivity enabling email, social image sharing, web browsing and messaging

Not Included:

  • Pre-cruise transfers
  • Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
  • Pre and post cruise accommodation
  • Travel Insurance
  • SCUBA Diving (view Scuba diving rates)
  • Entry visas & travel permits for the country you are travelling to/from
  • Alcoholic drinks (including beer and wine) outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Laundry service (available at a cost)
  • Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
  • Optional Extras (in some destinations)

OTHER INFORMATION

Coral Discoverer is exceptionally nimble and manoeuvrable, with a shallow draught to get up close to destinations. Much loved by loyal Xplorers for its truly intimate onboard atmosphere, Coral Discoverer carries a maximum of 72 guests. More About Coral Discoverer >

Travel Insurance is not included in your cruise fare. We highly recommend all guests to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with remote area evacuation coverage. Please refer to our Pre-Cruise Checklist page for facts that should be considered and shared when speaking with Travel Insurance suppliers regarding travel insurance.

At Coral Expeditions dining is a celebration of great food and good company enjoyed in extraordinary destinations. People and place are key to enjoyable dining experiences, where food becomes the vehicle for conversation and creating memorable occasions.

We now offer two wine selections that guests may purchase in addition to our new house selection of wines. These packages showcase contemporary choices of Australian wines and French Champagne. More About Cuisine & Wine >

  • A Taste of Australia Selection | 6 Bottles | $280.00
  • Connoisseur Selection | 6 Bottles | $400.00

Our Cruise Collection Merchandise including expedition gear is also available for purchase in our onboard gift shop. View our Cruise Collection here >

When it comes time for the exciting time of packing for your cruise, our packing lists are available to assist you. More specific information regarding weather conditions in your destination will be included in your Cruise Documentation which you will receive prior to your cruise.

Find your Cape York Arnhem Land expedition packing list here.

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 and 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.

There will be multiple swimming/snorkelling opportunities on this itinerary at Lizard Island, Osprey Reef, Davie Reef and Forbes Island (subject to weather conditions). These opportunities are a guide and not all are guaranteed.

Please note scuba diving is not offered on this itinerary.

Horn Island Post Cruise Transfer: A complimentary transfer is provided to local hotels or the airport. There are daily flights to Cairns from Horn Island airport. We recommend allowing sufficient time to arrive for your flight in the event of any delays in disembarkation.

Cairns Post Cruise Transfer: A complimentary transfer is provided to CBD hotels or the airport. We recommend allowing sufficient time to arrive for your flight in the event of any delays in disembarkation. Transfers to the Northern Beaches and Port Douglas can be arranged onboard with the purser (at a cost) if not already arranged prior to embarkation.

  • 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

We want to ensure that your journey with us is smooth and hassle-free. To help you prepare for your cruise, refer to our Pre-Cruise Checklist for more detailed information on the milestones leading up to your voyage.

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