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Expedition Cruises on the outer Great Barrier Reef

Covering an area of over 2,300 kilometres and encompassing over 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure. Home to an abundant and thriving array of marine and birdlife species, it holds pride of place as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage area.

Onboard these voyages, you will explore rainforest shores, uninhabited sand cays, remote islands and pristine reef systems.  Along the way find freedom and sanctuary amidst this iconic seascape. Our expert guides will share their knowledge with you above and below the water, bringing you close to the natural wonders and wildlife, and giving you a deep understanding of this precious destination.

We pioneered extended expedition cruises on the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef 35 years ago and have forged a reputation for excellence in that time as a member of Ecotourism Australia and an accredited and award-winning ecotourism operator.  The Great Barrier Reef is in our DNA and we ensure the most immersive and educational experience possible. Our purpose-designed small ships are built for expedition cruising, with refined steering capabilities, shallow draught and nimble Xplorer tenders. Onboard, enjoy fresh seasonal cuisine and boutique Australian wines and brews. With an intimate atmosphere and our renowned warm Australian hospitality, you will quickly feel at home.

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Our Great Barrier Reef Cruises:

Outerknown Adventures of the Great Barrier Reef | Cairns - Cairns | 7 Nights

Aboard our expedition vessel Coral Discoverer, embark on an immersive 7-day adventure to the remote and untouched Northern reefs. We take a maximum of 72 guests to explore the hidden corners, uninhabited sand cays, small islands and pristine reef systems. Share the journey with soaring seabirds and swim, dive and snorkel at far-flung Osprey and Ribbon Reefs. Learn about indigenous culture and Australian heritage at Cooktown, hike to the summit of “Cooks Look” Lizard Island, and enjoy a sundowner with the sand beneath your toes at Sudbury Cay.

> November 2021 & 2022
Please note, our 10th July departure is sold out, with a very lengthy waitlist.

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Citizen Science Expedition | CAIRNS - CAIRNS | 10 NIGHTS | Australian Geographic Partnered Voyage

Citizen Science Dive Great Barrier Reef

We have partnered with the Australian Geographic Society for a once-in-a-lifetime nature conservation experience on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  Hosted by some of Australia’s most accomplished reef experts, you will participate in real scientific research projects including a focus on the annual migration of the dwarf Minke whales – with the opportunity to swim eye to eye with these magnificent creatures – and coral surveying and identification for the world-first Living Coral Biobank project. $500 from your fare benefits GBR Legacy.

> 30 June 2021
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Torres Strait & Cape York | Cairns - Horn Island | 10 Nights

Torres Strait Coral Expeditions

Departing Cairns, traversing through the Great Barrier Reef, we will make our way towards the Torres Strait. With almost 300 islands dotted across the narrow stretch of water between Cape York and Papua New Guinea, an expedition by small ship is the ideal way to access these remote regions. Visit uninhabited sand cays, remote islands and pristine reef systems, where our expert guides will share their knowledge 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.

> Departs 3 November 2021 & 12 October 2022
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Torres Strait & Cape York | Horn Island - Cairns | 10 Nights

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, 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. Departing Horn Island, we will make our way through the Torres Strait and through the Great Barrier Reef to Cairns.

> Departs 13 November 2021 & 22 October 2022
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Travel Update - Covid Page

What Are The Ribbon Reefs

Around 50 to 100 km’s off the northern Queensland shore, and forming the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching over 100 miles to the north of Cairns, the “Ribbons” are a string of 10 magical coral reefs. They are no wider than 450m, and generally quite shallow, coming up to as high as 5 metres below the surface from a sandy bottom. A veritable marine wonderland, these long thin strips of reef hold beautiful coral gardens and isolated bommies topped with corals and anemones, surrounded by a rainbow of reef fish. Snorkelers and divers on the Ribbon Reefs might encounter huge giant clams, moray eels, reef sharks and giant Napoleon Wrasse. You might also meet Pelagic fish and see gorgonian fans. If you prefer not to get your feet wet, our glass bottom boat still allows you to get up close and personal to these beautiful species.

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