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Outerknown Adventures on the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns to Cairns7 nightsAll InclusiveFrom $6,300.00* PP

We pioneered extended expedition cruises on the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef over 40 years ago and have forged a reputation for excellence and expertise in that time. Aboard our expedition vessel Coral Discoverer, join us as we embark on an immersive 7-night 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.

  • 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

Itinerary

Coral-Expeditions_Outerknown-Adventures-GBR_Cairns_Cairns_7-Nights-Map

Cairns wharf departure port

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. Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard before joining your fellow explorers on the Sun Deck for Captain’s Welcome Drinks.

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 to lend 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 Northern Australia Coral Expeditions Cruise

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.

Mackay

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.

Cooktown-Coral-Expeditions-Cruise

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 >

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.

Mackay-Reef-Coral-Expeditions-Cruise

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.

Learn More about the Ribbon Reefs >

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.

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.

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

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


Fares & Availability

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 20m2

Fully Booked

Promenade Deck (Category A)

Picture Window - 18m2

Fully Booked

Promenade Deck (Category B)

Picture Window - 15m2

Fully Booked

Main Deck (Category A)

Rectangle Windows - 18m2

Fully Booked

Main Deck (Category B)

Porthole Windows - 18m2

Fully Booked
Join the Waitlist

Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 20m2

Last Stateroom

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 Stateroom

Main Deck (Category B)

Porthole Windows - 18m2

Fully Booked
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

Last Stateroom

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

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

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

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

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 Great Barrier Reef expedition packing list here.

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 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 Fitzroy Island, Sudbury Cay, Mackay Reef and Cay, Lizard Island, Osprey Reef and the Ribbon Reefs (subject to weather conditions). These opportunities are a guide and not all are guaranteed.

Scuba diving is offered on this itinerary - For more information view our Snorkel & Dive Information page.

  • 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

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.

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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Pullman Cairns International

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