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The untouched outer Great Barrier Reef

NOTE: From 23 October to 24 November, Coral Expeditions I will be taking the Great Barrier Reef cruises while Coral Expeditions II undergoes refurbishment.  Cruises will run as normal.          See the Coral Expeditions I profile here.

Coral Expeditions knows the UNESCO World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef better than most, having pioneered overnight cruises on the outer reef more than 30 years ago. Sailing from our home port of cosmopolitan Cairns, Queensland, our bespoke expedition vessel, Coral Expeditions II takes a maximum of just 44 guests in relaxed comfort on year-round 3, 4 or 7 night expeditions.

The tailor-made itineraries venturing to the pristine outer reef, and exclusive mooring destinations, allow us to offer a unique and unmatched experience of the Reef. Our expedition voyages are truly immersive, venturing far beyond the day-trips to the underwater wonderland that you’ve long imagined. Out here, your only companions might be a Loggerhead Turtle or Giant Clam.

Resident Marine Biologists help you encounter the wild, with “touch and learn” displays onboard and in the water.  Divers and snorkelers will delight in some of the world’s finest untouched coral gardens. All guests on board will be rendered speechless by the pure azure of the waters on this UNESCO World Heritage wonderland.

We live and breathe the reef, with our headquarters just minutes from the start of this natural wonder. That’s why its important to us that our guests and operations ensure the long term preservation and conservation of the Reef. Coral Expeditions is a leader in Reef conservation, a member of Ecotourism Australia, and an accredited ecotourism operator. We guarantee that by choosing Coral Expeditions for your Great Barrier Reef experience, you are choosing to travel with a company that prioritises the long term conservation of the Reef and it’s ecosystem.

Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the natural world, and can only be experienced to be understood. Let this wonderland move you. And let Coral Expeditions, the experts in this unique ecosystem, show you why it’s worth conserving.

There’s been a lot of conversation recently about the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Our resident Marine Biologists recently offered their expert perspective. Read the full interview here.

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CHOOSE YOUR EXPEDITION

SOUTHERN REEF (CAIRNS - HINCHINBROOK ISLAND - CAIRNS), 3 NIGHTS

The 3 night Southern Reef Expedition itinerary takes guests to some of the Southern Great Barrier Reef’s most biologically significant areas.

From the mangrove channel at Hinchinbrook Island to the ancient rainforest of Dunk Island, and the pristine remoteness of Sudbury Cay, guests onboard will experience a myriad habitats, both on land and at sea. Spend time exploring the underwater world’s of Coates and Nathan Reefs, and visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island – you may even be able to swim with a Sea Turtle just off the beach!

Enjoy presentations by our Marine Biologist detailing area’s the eco system and marine biodiversity when cruising through the Hinchinbrook Channel, where we are the only commercial vessel that can fit through this area.
For a Great Barrier Reef experience that offers a sample of rainforest, mangrove and reef, the 3 night itinerary is an excellent choice.

> Departs Cairns every Friday.

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NORTHERN REEF (CAIRNS - LIZARD ISLAND - CAIRNS), 4 NIGHTS

Our 4-night Northern Reef itinerary takes guests to some of the most pristine available locations on the Reef. Exclusive mooring sites at nine locations, including Ribbon Reefs #3 and #9 offer unmatched diving and snorkelling, and the opportunity to see wildlife such as Christmas Tree Worms & Giant Clam Gardens.

A full day on Lizard Island rounds out the remote reef experience, before heading to historic Cooktown, for a taste of the history of the area.

For a Great Barrier Reef experience that focuses on the remote and untouched reef, ideal for divers, snorkellers or marine enthusiasts, the 4 night itinerary is an ideal choice.

> Departs Cairns every Monday.

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IMMERSIVE REEF (CAIRNS - HINCHINBROOK ISLAND - LIZARD ISLAND - CAIRNS), 7 NIGHTS

The 7-night Immersive Reef itinerary is the ideal way to experience the finest of the Northern and Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Created by combining the 3-night and 4 night itineraries – first cruising to the Southern Reef, then continuing to the Northern reef – highlights of this expedition include the Ribbon Reefs, Lizard Island, Hinchinbrook Island and Sudbury Cay. Visiting nine private mooring sites, this is the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience where you can see it all – reef, rainforests and islands.
Guests also have the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary excursion to Tjapukai when this ship is in Cairns mid-cruise during turnaround.

Please note that this voyage runs in both directions – starting either Northbound or Southbound. The opposite direction is listed below.

> Departs Cairns every Friday.

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IMMERSIVE REEF (CAIRNS - LIZARD ISLAND - HINCHINBROOK ISLAND - CAIRNS), 7 NIGHTS

This itinerary is a reverse itinerary of our 7 night cruise detailed above. On the Immersive Reef Expedition, you’ll experience the opportunity to snorkel or dive at nine private mooring sites, including the Ribbon Reef’s #3 and #9, Thetford Reef, Steve’s Boomie and Escape Reef. Swim with turtles at Fitzroy Island, walk the Haven Track at Hinchinbrook Island, and enjoy sunset drinks on private Sudbury Cay. An opportunity to become immersed in the very best of the Great Barrier Reef.

Please note that this voyage runs in both directions – starting either Northbound or Southbound. The opposite direction is listed above.

> Departs Cairns every Monday.

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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 thing strips of reef hold beautiful coral gardens and isolated bommies topped with corals and anemones, surrounded by a rainbow of reef fish.

Snorkellers 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