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

Explore the Outer Great Barrier Reef

7 Nights | Departing Cairns | Arriving Cairns | Go To Fares

SAILING SOON – 20 Jan 2022:  View Flyer

2022: 20 Jan, 2 Nov, 9 Nov, 16 Nov & 23 Nov   |  2023: 7 Nov, 14 Nov, 21 Nov & 28 Nov

Stretching more than 2300 kilometres along Queensland’s coastline, and encompassing over 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef is the worlds largest living structure and home to an abundant and thriving array of marine and birdlife species. It holds pride of place as one of the 7 natural worlds wonders of the world and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage area. We pioneered extended expedition cruises on the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef over 35 years ago and have forged a reputation for excellence and expertise in that time.

Aboard our expedition vessel, join us as we embark on an immersive 7-day adventure to the remote and untouched Northern reefs. We explore the hidden corners, uninhabited sand cays, small islands and pristine reef systems. Along the way find freedom and solitude amidst this iconic seascape. Share the journey with soaring seabirds and swim, dive and snorkel at far-flung Osprey and Ribbon Reefs. Learn about ancient indigenous culture and Australian heritage at historic Cooktown. Stretch your legs with a hike to the summit of “Cooks Look”. Enjoy a sundowner with the sand beneath your toes and the setting sun at deserted Sudbury Cay. Onboard, you will be accompanied by expert guides including a Marine Biologist, and our purpose designed small ships are custom built for expedition cruising. With refined steering capabilities, shallow draught and nimble explorer tenders we will bring you closer to remote sites and natural habitats. You will enjoy freshly prepared small-batch cuisine featuring the best local ingredients and relax and enjoy quality local beers and wines. With an intimate atmosphere and our renowned warm Australian hospitality, you will quickly feel at home and make new connections with new friends.

Citizen Science Voyage –  Coral Spawning on the Great Barrier Reef: Join us on our 9 Nov 2022 departure for a special citizen science expedition, over the period of the annual coral spawning event.

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Expedition Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in one of the world’s great seascapes with the Great Barrier Reef experts
  • Learn about ancient indigenous culture and Australian heritage at historic Cooktown
  • Swim, snorkel, dive or simply view the iconic marine species of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Observe the vibrant underwater world of the untouched outer Great Barrier Reef
  • Enjoy solitude and seven magical Queensland sunsets
  • Sip sundowners and feel the sand beneath your feet on isolated sand cays and uninhabited islands
  • Participate in efforts to conserve the Great Barrier Reef, and possibly visit the turtle rehabilitation centre



SAILING SOON 20 Jan 2022:  View Flyer

Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $10,643 n/a
Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom $7,920 $7,920
Promenade Deck Stateroom $5,940 $5,940
Coral Deck Stateroom $4,950 $4,950


Nov 2022:

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $6,650 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category A) $6,175 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category B) n/a $8,550
Main Deck (Category A) $5,225 n/a
Main Deck (Category B) $4,750 n/a


Nov 2023:

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $7,970 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category A) $6,420 n/a
Promenade Deck (Category B) n/a $8,625
Main Deck (Category A) $5,530 n/a
Main Deck (Category B) $5,090 n/a

Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. Children under the age of 14 travel at 25% off the adult fares listed above. Subject to availability. *Limited sole use occupancy available. 

View Brochure  MAKE A BOOKING  Submit a Booking Enquiry

Travel Update - Covid Page

“My husband and I have just returned from a 7 day expedition cruise aboard Coral Discoverer sailing to different spots on the Great Barrier Reef. We snorkelled in crystal clear tropical waters in a range of reef structures – fringe reefs, ribbon reefs, outer reefs and saw such amazing marine life. We also had the opportunity to hike to Cook’s Lookout, Lizard Island and the lookout on Fitzroy for stunning views. The 7 days was a fantastic way to see the GBR and there was an activity for everyone. The stand out for us was the excellent way the team looked after us whether it was out on an activity or in the dining room. We were impressed with the strong team relationships and how happy the staff were. The food was delicious. Our cabin was spacious, very comfortable and well serviced. We thoroughly recommend this cruise.”

– Reviewed by DebbieBest1955 on Trip Advisor, November 2020


Embark: Check in at 2:00 pm at the Pullman International,  before boarding at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal at 4:00pm for a 5:00pm departure
Disembark: Arrive in Cairns at 7:30am and disembark at 8:00am

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.

Note: *Tours of the Lizard Island Research Station are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed due to operational considerations.

Depart Cairns

Cairns wharf departure port

Arrive at Cairns Pullman International Hotel at 2:00 pm for  SailSAFE Check-in. A transfer from here to the ship is provided. Board at 4:00pm where there is time to settle into your stateroom before our 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.

Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island Coral Expeditions Cruise

At Fitzroy Island enjoy a walk through the Secret Garden rainforest or for the more adventurous, a walk to the de-commissioned lighthouse rewards hikers with panoramic views of Coral Sea, islands and mainland mountain ranges.

Snorkel over the fringing reef, relax on the beach and there may be an opportunity tolend a hand to the volunteers at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where sick and injured turtles are cared for before being returned to the wild.

Sudbury Cay

Sudbury Cay Northern Australia Coral Expeditions

Late in the afternoon, we arrive at Sudbury Cay, a tiny sand cay that barely rises above the Coral Sea. Far removed from the bustle of civilisation, we slip off our shoes and feel the sand between our toes as the tropical waters of the Coral Sea lap gently against the shoreline. 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.

*Sudbury Cay only accessible on Coral Discoverer departures.

Mackay Reef & Cay


Relax on picturesque Mackay Cay and enjoy snorkelling the pristine reef that surrounds it. Mackay Reef is a mid-shelf platform reef, with vibrant hard and soft corals abound. The northern side enjoys additional protection from the cay, making it the perfect playground for turtles. A giant clam garden also resides in the area, with some clams growing as big as 1.2m, all with their own unique colours and patterns.

On a clear day, from the cay you can look back at the mainland to see tall mountains covered in UNESCO world heritage Daintree rainforest. You can see Cape Tribulation and Mount Sorrow as named by Captain Cook during his eventful sail through the Great Barrier Reef. The Kuku Yalangi tribe are the traditional owners of this region and have lived in harmony with the environment for over 50,000 years. Dream time stories explain the unique shape of Mount Peter Bot.

*Mackay Cay only accessible on Coral Discoverer departures.



Come ashore in historic Cooktown and learn the history of the Guugu Yimithirr, the first people of this ancient country. Discover recent European history with a visit to the site where Lt. James Cook beached HMB Endeavour to effect repairs in 1770. Wander through the rare flora collection at the Botanic Gardens and visit James Cook Museum, where the story of Cook’s landing is told from an Aboriginal perspective and where artefacts are on display.

Later, we cruise towards Lizard Island, arriving in time for sunset.

Lizard Island

We spend a whole day at Lizard Island where there is time to hike to the summit of Cook’s Look and enjoy the same view Lt. James Cook did when searching for safe passage through the maze of coral reefs. Snorkel over giant clam gardens from the beach at Watson’s Bay, relax on the white-sand beach beneath shady she oak trees and learn about the tragic story surrounding Mary Watson.

There may be an opportunity to visit Lizard Island Research Station, operated by the Australian Museum to facilitate coral reef research and education on the Great Barrier Reef.

Learn more about Lizard Island >

Stanley Island (Yindayin)

Stanley Island Coral Expeditions northern Australia

Go ashore at Stanley Island and walk to an aboriginal rock art gallery. This is a unique art site seldom visited due to its isolated location, and shows unique examples of contact period rock art. Later depending on tides, we will go ashore at Cape Melville, a remote national park characterised by the massive, tumbled boulders of the Melville range. This area is known as Othawa to the aboriginal traditional owners.

*Stanley Island only available on Coral Geographer departures.

Osprey Reef

Osprey Reef Diving

One of the world’s best dive sites, Osprey Reef is a submerged atoll in the Coral Sea. The top of a mountain which rises from the seafloor, surrounded by a vast ocean, it draws many beautiful and rare marine creatures to its plummeting walls.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.  The vibrant corals and crystal-clear waters make it an unforgettable place to discover.  Here we will spend time in the water exploring the 30m deep lagoon and drift diving the walls, where you may see large pelagic fish, rays, and sharks drawn in from the surrounding deep blue to enjoy the richness of this ocean oasis.

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

Ribbon Reefs


The Ribbon Reefs are a narrow line of outer coral reefs on the edge of the continental shelf and are renowned for their prolific marine life and extensive coral species. Enjoy the rare opportunity to snorkel and dive on the Ribbon Reefs which sit on the edge of the continental shelf.

Due to their location far offshore from the Australian coast, the Ribbon Reefs offer excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities with Ribbon Reef #9 a favourite for its wide variety of marine life and pinnacles cloaked in coral. Join a guided snorkel tour led by our expert Expedition Team and witness this extraordinary ecosystem up close. These northern reefs are renowned for spotting iconic marine species such as potato cod, wrasse, sharks and turtles.

Visit Ribbon Reefs #9 & #10 onboard Coral Discoverer, and #3 & #5 on Coral Geographer.

> Learn More about the Ribbon Reefs

Arrive Cairns

Cairns wharf departure port

Our Great Barrier Reef adventure concludes in Cairns this morning as we bid farewell to new-found friends, the Master and crew, disembarking at 8:00am.

January 2022

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
20 January 2022 20 Jan 2022 27 January 2022 27 Jan 2022 $4,950 to $10,643 $4,950 to $10,643 Coral Geographer Available Book

November 2022

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
02 November 2022 02 Nov 2022 09 November 2022 09 Nov 2022 $4,750 to $6,650 $4,750 to $6,650 Coral Discoverer Available Book
09 November 2022 09 Nov 2022 16 November 2022 16 Nov 2022 $4,750 to $6,650 $4,750 to $6,650 Coral Discoverer Available Book
16 November 2022 16 Nov 2022 23 November 2022 23 Nov 2022 $4,750 to $6,650 $4,750 to $6,650 Coral Discoverer Available Book
23 November 2022 23 Nov 2022 30 November 2022 30 Nov 2022 $4,750 to $6,650 $4,750 to $6,650 Coral Discoverer Available Book

November 2023

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
07 November 2023 07 Nov 2023 14 November 2023 14 Nov 2023 $5,090 to $7,970 $5,090 to $7,970 Coral Discoverer Available Book
14 November 2023 14 Nov 2023 21 November 2023 21 Nov 2023 $5,090 to $7,970 $5,090 to $7,970 Coral Discoverer Available Book
21 November 2023 21 Nov 2023 28 November 2023 28 Nov 2023 $5,090 to $7,970 $5,090 to $7,970 Coral Discoverer Available Book
28 November 2023 28 Nov 2023 05 December 2023 05 Dec 2023 $5,090 to $7,970 $5,090 to $7,970 Coral Discoverer Available Book

December 2023

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
28 November 2023 28 Nov 2023 05 December 2023 05 Dec 2023 $5,090 to $7,970 $5,090 to $7,970 Coral Discoverer Available Book

Your cruise price includes:

  • All excursions and sightseeing with our Expedition Team, including a Great Barrier Reef expert Marine Biologist
  • Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and kayaks
  • Snorkelling & Scuba equipment
  • Daily lectures and briefings
  • Your expedition photos captured throughout the voyage
  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access with the Captain
  • 24 hour Coffee and selection of teas
  • All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
  • Tips and gratuities

What’s not included:

  • Travel insurance
  • Scuba diving rates
  • Alcoholic drinks including beer and wine outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Internet services (available at a cost)
  • Laundry service (Due to COVID procedures, laundry is not available on this voyage)
  • Australian entry visas or travel permits
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry charges, souvenir purchases, phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of included drinks package)

Tipping not required:

Other cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your account and service charges to your bar invoices. Our crew has no other agenda than your delight

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


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.


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:

  • Fitzroy Island Lighthouse or Summit Walk
  • 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.

Getting to & from the wharf

Post-Cruise: A complimentary transfer is provided to CBD hotels or the airport. Transfers to the Northern Beaches or Port Douglas can be arranged on board with the Purser (at cost), if not already arranged prior to embarkation.

Weather in Tropical North Queensland

North Queensland is home to some of the best weather year-round that Australia has to offer. Its sunny days, warm waters, cool ocean breezes and generally comfortable climate are part of what makes it such a popular holiday destination. During our expedition voyages from October to December, the average daily temperature will be around 27 to 32 C, with water temperatures around a comfortable 28 C. October to December is possibly the best time of year to travel on the Great Barrier Reef. Generally, 10-15 knot south-easterly 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

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