Our reservation staff are available Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 5.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
59 Nights | Departing Darwin 30 October 2021 | Arriving Darwin
Sailing aboard Coral Adventurer, our voyage will commence from Darwin on the 30th October 2021 and undertake a full circumnavigation of the Australian Coastline over 60 days (59 nights). With only 60 staterooms available for this voyage, this is an intimate and personal journey of discovery. We have designed a voyage that will be a celebration of history, culture, nature and Australian Maritime history.
With our unique Xplorer tenders, explore hard-to-reach locations of historic significance or natural beauty. Visit famous places and share stories of historic maritime events that shaped our nation from ancient times to early explorers and more modern wartime. Be immersed in the arts and cultures of the people and communities of Australia on your travels. Whether it be coastal walks, snorkelling the reef, sharing amazing wildlife encounters or just taking in the scenery, you will enjoy a unique perspective of the greatest coastline in the world. Our experienced Expedition Team, along with guest lecturers and special guests, accompany and guide our voyage. Their commentary and skill at storytelling will immerse you in the culture, history and nature of the Australian coastline.
- Winemaker’s Dinner at Leeuwin Estate winery, Margaret River, Western Australia
- Visit the James Craig, a three-masted, iron-hulled barque and learn of its restoration to its former glory
- Sound of Silence Dinner under the stars at Uluru – with private jet transfers
|CORAL ADVENTURER||TWIN SHARE PER PERSON||SOLE USE*|
|Bridge Deck Balcony Suite||$66,860||n/a|
|Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom||$54,860||n/a|
|Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom||$48,860||$73,290|
|Promenade Deck Stateroom||$39,860||$59,790|
|Coral Deck Stateroom||$38,860||$58,290|
Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available.
Embark: Board at Fort Hill Wharf, Darwin at 3 pm for a 4 pm departure
Disembark: Arrive at Fort Hill Wharf, Darwin and disembark at 1 pm
Your 60 day voyage encompasses the entire coastline of Australia.
Welcome to the Coral Expeditions 35th Anniversary Expedition. Our voyage is set to commence from Darwin on the 30th October 2021 and will undertake a full circumnavigation of the Australian Coastline over 60 days (59 nights). This is a once in a lifetime and never to be repeated expedition of discovery and we would love for you to join us.
We have designed a voyage that will be a celebration of the history, culture and nature and of Australian Maritime history.
35 Years of Pioneering History
35 Places that shaped Australia
Our guests lecturers will take you ashore and share the story and then onto a beach landing at nearby Tranquil Bay to enjoy a coastal walk and see the stunning escarpment cliffs and waterfall of the Kimberley coast.
Traditional custodians: Kwini people
Historic Careening Bay is a regular stop on our annual Kimberley Expeditions. It is a site famed for the visit of an early explorer, Philip Parker King and his vessel the HMC Mermaid. History tells us that this bay was what King had been searching for to careen the leaking Mermaid to improve her seaworthiness. As work proceeded on the beached vessel the main problem was not, as suspected, stern-post damage but the discovery that under the copper sheeting the hull was holed with spaces formed by completely rusted nails. These were filled with the small supply of copper nails they carried as well as thin wooden pegs. By the time the high spring tides returned and the makeshift repairs completed, the ship refloated but their worst fears were realised as the ship continued to require regular pumping. During the visit, the crew carved the ship’s name and date into a boab tree and this, rather than a message punched on a copper sheet and nailed to another tree, remains clearly visible on the large twin-trunked tree to this day. During the visit, the crew carved the ships name into a young Boab Tree and this remains clearly visible on the large mature tree to this day.
2020 was the 200th Anniversary of the event and voyages of Sir Philip Parker King.
Traditional custodians: Wunambal people
Often forgotten in Australian history, 70 years prior to Cook was buccaneer explorer William Dampier who commanded the first scientific expedition to Australia aboard his ship the Cygnet. The ship was careened at the now named Cygnet bay in 1688. During the maintenance, Dampier learned and documented local flora, fauna and local indigenous people to add to his historical novel about his first world circumnavigation.
The stretches of flat white sands, sparkling clear turquoise waters and contrasting red rock pindin cliff dunes of Cygnet Bay and surrounding bays on the Dampier Peninsula are beautiful and guests will enjoy exploring with a coastal walk and a cooling swim.
Dampier Peninsula also has a long history of pearling and some local pearl farms remain in the region. Some of the world’s finest quality pearls are cultured in Kimberley waters.
Traditional custodians: Bardi people
After a relaxing day at sea and activities including specialist guest lectures, the Coral Adventurer will arrive into Depuch Island. Often referred to as the “Uluru At Sea”, this dolerite structure rises from the deep turquoise ocean, presenting a unique 530 ft high dome island unlike any of the surrounding low-lying sandy islands in the archipelago. The rock’s iron oxide coating gives the island a deep reddish-brown colour. From the distance, the Island has a deceptive regular and even smooth contour despite the whole island consisting of a jumbled mass of great angular blocks of dolerite.
But this unique island terrain isn’t the only attraction of this island. The islands boulders are covered in thousands of Aboriginal engravings and rock art. These rare historic engravings depict an array of scenes and motifs, holding great artistic, anthropological, scientific and cultural value.
The H.M.S. Beagle led by Captain Wickham was the second ship reported to explore the island. Landing in 1842, the crew left their mark with an engraving naming the vessel in the rock which remains today. These inscriptions are important today because they clearly show how little weathered the engravings of 177 years have become and thus, by comparison, give some measure of the age of the Aboriginal carvings.
Traditional custodians: Ngaluma people
Coral Adventurer will sail through the evening and arrive shortly after sunrise Tryal Rocks. The Tryal is the first known shipwreck in the history of Australia 1622. It ran aground on the rocks after attempting a new faster route on its voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to Batavia.
We will then make a short 2 hour voyage to enter the Montebello Islands where nature and history await.
The Montebello Islands are an archipelago of around 174 small islands lying off the Pilbara coast of north-western Australia. Montebello is Italian for “beautiful mountain”. The islands form a conservation park, soon to become a marine conservation reserve. The area is a globally renowned sanctuary for rare seabird colonies because they support over 1% of the world populations of fairy and roseate terns. Other birds breeding on the islands include ospreys, white-bellied sea eagles, pied oystercatchers, Caspian terns and bridled terns. The islands are also home to endangered mammal species including rufous hare-wallabies and Shark Bay mice.
The islands have a unique and interesting past as they were the site of three nuclear weapons tests by the British military in the 1950s.
Guests will enjoy time in the islands to walk deserted beaches, birdwatch and swim.
The Coral Adventurer will sail through the night and day to visit the site of the wrecks of the HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran for an evening ceremony and guest lecture to commemorate this significant event in history.
On 19 November 1941, the HMAS Sydney [II] was sunk in combat alongside the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran. None of the Sydney’s 645 personnel survived, making this the most devastating loss ever experienced by the Royal Australian Navy. The Sydney was a modified Leander class light cruiser, built in 1935 in Portsmouth, England. Almost immediately after departing Portsmouth she was instructed to join the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet at Gibraltar to help enforce sanctions against Italy relating to the Abyssinian Crisis. After arriving in Australia in 1936, Sydney spent most of her time on training exercises, until the Second World War began. Following the declaration of war, Sydney began patrol and escort duties in Australian waters, before heading to the Mediterranean to join the 7th Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet. Sydney’s most important action in Second World War was her involvement in the Battle of Cape Spada in July 1940, where she was crucial in the defeat of the Italian cruisers Bartolomeo Colleoni and Giovanni delle Bande Nere. This performance against the Italian Navy made Sydney the most celebrated ship in the RAN.
After returning to Australia to be refitted, she engaged in several patrol and convoy escort duties, visiting Singapore, Noumea, Auckland and Suva in the first half of 1941. On 19 November 1941 HMAS Sydney engaged the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran, which had been disguised as the Dutch merchant Straat Malakka. Sydney was critically damaged in this engagement, sinking with all 645 crew on board. While the Kormoran was also lost in the engagement, 318 Germans were rescued. The fact that no Australian accounts exist of the battle led to many rumours, accusations and conspiracy theories, particularly due to the view that the Kormoran (a modified merchant ship) should have stood no chance against a cruiser. Some of these theories were finally put to rest when the wrecks of both ships were discovered off the coast of Shark Bay, WA, in 2008.
After a day at sea enjoying the magnificent Indian Ocean, the Coral Adventurer will arrive at Dirk Hartog Island at midday.
Surrounded by steep limestone cliffs, white sandy beaches and magnificent Indian Ocean, it was here in October 1616 that Dirk Hartog accompanied by crew, explored and conducted surveys along this region of the West Australian Coast. Sailing North from the island, he partially charted the WA coastline, quite literally putting Australia on the map. This profoundly changed 18th century European worldview of the mythical southern continent, ‘Terra Australis Incognita’. For more than 250 years after, European navigators continued to discover and expand the world’s knowledge of Australia’s coastline.
Whilst here, guests will enjoy guided nature walks of the island including beaches, lakes and the islands rock pools.
The Coral Adventurer will anchor here for the evening and guests will enjoy the “last sunset in Australia” being the most westerly point of the country.
Traditional custodians: Malgana people
We will depart Dirk Hartog Island at 0700 for a short steam to Denham. Here we anchor and take a short land transfer to Hamelin Pool and the otherworldly phenomenon of the Stromatolite fossils.
Representing the earliest signs of life on our planet, the rock-like “Living Fossils” of the salty Hamelin Pool are found within the UNESCO World Heritage listed Shark Bay. Even today you can see modern Stromatolites ‘fizzing’ underwater releasing oxygen reminiscent of how the ancient cyanobacteria did for billions of years when the air was only 1% oxygen. Once the oceans’ waters were saturated, oxygen was released into the air, allowing life to evolve. Growing only a measly 0.3mm per year, it’s hard to believe these single-cell organisms shaped the way for evolution.
While in the area we will also be visiting Monkey Mia beach Dolphins. Here, most mornings, wild dolphins come to show off and guests have the opportunity to swim with them and even feed the selected 5 dolphins that receive fish from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions rangers.
Traditional custodians: Wirriwana people
Photo Credit: David Bristow/Australian Geographic
The Abrolhos Islands and their surrounding coral reef communities form one of Western Australia’s unique marine areas. The Islands lie about 60 km west of Geraldton on the Western Australian coast, and consist of 122 islands clustered into three main groups: the Wallabi Group, Easter Group and Pelsaert Group, which extend from north to south across 100 km of ocean.
Lying in the stream of Western Australia’s warm, southward-flowing Leeuwin Current, the marine environment surrounding the Abrolhos is a meeting place for tropical and temperate sealife. Large breeding colonies of seabirds exist on many of the Abrolhos Islands and depend for their food on schools of pelagic baitfish. More than 90 species of seabird have been identified. Smaller seabirds, in turn, provide food for white breasted sea eagles which occur in unusually large numbers throughout the Abrolhos Islands. Abrolhos waters are home to charming marine mammals like the Australian Sea Lion and the bottlenose dolphin. You can watch the sea lions as they play in the waters or bask on coral beaches in the sun at Peos Island. Sampson fish are also common, and some have become so friendly you can feed these huge fish by hand. Migrating humpback whales also inhabit Abrolhos waters during their migration from around July to October.
The beautiful but treacherous reef-surrounded atolls have claimed many wrecks over the centuries. The most notable was the Batavia in 1629 which was wrecked on Morning Reef in the Wallabi group. The Dutch East Indies survivors made it to land, only to face a mutiny. Avid divers can explore the site although the dive is weather dependent and for experienced divers only.
Guests on board the Coral Adventurer will enjoy beach landings, snorkelling and wildlife experiences during our excursions in the Abrolhos Islands and we will enjoy 24 hours exploring this natural wonder and rarely seen habitat.
Photo Credit: Darren Jew/Australian Geographic
The Coral Adventurer will arrive into the historic port city of Fremantle 12pm
The port of Fremantle sits at the mouth of the Swan River and was named after Cpt Charles Fremantle, a British naval officer in charge of the HMS Challenger who established a camp on the site in 1829 and this was the beginning of the Swan River colony. Later that year Perth was established. The port at Fremantle has long been the focal point of its prosperity and it was a busy convict colony through the late 19th Century which has contributed to the abundance of heritage buildings still evident today. It traded as a busy export centre for gold, wheat and cattle during its boom time and was a key home port for allied naval ships and submarines through the 2nd World War.
Guests will have their own free time to explore the cities heritage buildings, thriving markets and great dining establishments.
Traditional custodians: Whadjuk Noongar people
Today the Coral Adventurer will steam across the Geographe Bay and back into the Indian Ocean heading South. We will make a mid-morning stop at Augusta Harbour for a visit to the striking Cape Leeuwin lighthouse.
This significant Lighthouse is situated at the tip of a spectacular peninsula where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet – the most south-westerly point of Australia. As the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is a spectacular attraction and an excellent vantage point to view the powerful ocean and sea life including dolphins and whales.
We will enjoy a guided tour and learn how this famous landmark was constructed from local limestone in 1895, and is still a vital working lighthouse for vessels navigating the treacherous cape. Climb to the top of the tower, where a vast seascape will unfold before you and be awed by the crashing waves and the wilderness of the landscape. Walk the grounds and explore spectacular surroundings at this beautifully restored heritage site.
Traditional custodians: Wardandi people
Our last stop on the Western Australian coast is the historic port town of Albany. This is the oldest colonial settlement in Western Australia, predating Perth and Fremantle by over two years. It was settled in 1826 by the British to ward off claims by the French. The history includes a period in the late 19th Century as a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields. For many years, it was the colony’s only deep-water port, having a place of eminence on shipping services between Britain and its Australian colonies. The opening of the Fremantle Inner Harbour in 1897, however, saw its importance as a port decline, after which the town’s industries turned primarily to agriculture, timber and later, whaling. The town has a role in the ANZAC legend, being the last port of call for troop ships departing with infantry and cavalry horses from Australia in the First World War.
Our visit will include an exploration stop of the historic whaling station museum before we embark on our crossing of the Great Australian Bight.
Traditional custodians: Menang Noongar people
After an early departure from Fremantle, it will be a leisurely day cruising southwards to Busselton.
Busselton is located in the sheltered Geographe Bay. The city is famed for its wooden piled jetty, the longest in the Southern Hemisphere, which stretches 1.8km out to sea and was established to service the timber trade of the region in the mid 1800’s. The area was discovered and chartered by early French expeditioner, Nicholas Baudin, whose vessels, Geographe and Naturaliste mapped the coastlines of Western Australia in 1801. The township was named after first settlers, the Bussell’s, who migrated to the area for its rich farming land suited to cattle.
The Coral Adventurer will arrive in Busselton at 10am and guests will have a chance to walk the jetty and foreshores. We will then be transferred in luxury coaches to the nearly Margaret River region for the first of our special events – a Night in the Vines experience at award-winning Leeuwin Estate.
Celebrating the combination of fine wine, food, art and music, Leeuwin features an award-winning restaurant, cellar door and art gallery. The Estate is renowned for staging spectacular events and tonights “Winemakers Expedition Dinner” will be no exception. Guests will be treated to a walk in the vines and hosted winemakers tour of the cellar and gallery. The Horgan family and their team will then present a 4-course regional degustation dinner with matching wines from the Leeuwin Estate Art Series collection with introductions from the chef and winemakers.
In early 1627, the Dutch East India Company (“VOC”) ship Gulden Zeepaerdt under the command of Francois Thijssen, and with high ranking VOC official Pieter Nuyts aboard, became separated from the remainder of her fleet on a voyage from the Netherlands to Batavia. Making a more southerly course than the other ships from the cape of Good Hope, Gulden Zeepaerdt made landfall at Cape Leeuwin, discovered by another VOC ship Leeuwin, 5 years earlier. Instead of turning north for Batavia, Thijssen continued east, and was the first European to sight the mighty 60 metre high cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. Following the coast for 1000 miles before returning, having made the first chart of this remarkable coastline.
Today, the Great Australian Bight forms the southern edge of the vast Nullarbor Plain and Coral Adventurer will make her own exploration of this rugged coast, one that is rarely seen except by the whales and seals that abound in these waters.
This is a very rarely explored area of the Australian coastline with over 1000 islands and “known obstacles to shipping” and our visit will be a tale of adventure guests will be able to tell for many moons.
There is whaling history throughout the area as well as numerous wrecks, including the second largest diveable wreck in Australia, the Sanko Harvest, which lays between 18 to 40 metres.
Photo Credit: Jiri Lochman/Australian Geographic
65 million years ago when Australia broke away from Antarctica, fossiliferous limestone was left exposed on the Australian coast. For 100km along the Great Australian Bight runs these awe inspiring 120m tall white chalky Bunda Cliffs. This 300m thick limestone slab was once part of an ancient seabed, and now forms the Nullarbor Plain, extending far inland many layers containing many fossils. Now coated in a hardened layer of windblown sand laid down approximately 1.6 million years ago.
Clocks ahead 2.5 hours
Traditional custodians: The Far West Coast native title claim combined the claims of the six different cultural groups of the region. The Mirning people, the Wirangu people, the Kokatha people, the Yalata people and the Maralinga Tjarutja people.
Image Credit: Mitch Reardon/Australian Geographic
The small city of Whyalla combines vivid nature-based experiences and views with contrasting industrial history. Starting as a tiny work camp at the base of Hummock Hill in 1901, the camp was a service point for the iron ore jetty constructed by Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP). The settlement then known as ‘Hummock Hill’, gradually expanded until 1914 when Whyalla was proclaimed a town.
HMAS Whyalla was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government’s wartime shipbuilding programme. Commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy Whyalla was built in the city in 1942. The ship steamed some 111,000 miles over 3 years in war service before being sold and renamed in 1946.
Guests will enjoy time ashore to experience the town, explore the history and a planned tour of the steel works of this major industrial port city.
Traditional custodians: Barngala people
The Coral Adventurer will steam into Port Adelaide at 1pm for some valuable free time ashore in the City of Gardens and Churches.
South Australia’s first port was declared as Port Adelaide in 1837. The industrial district is home to the South Australian Maritime Museum, South Australian Aviation Museum and National Railway Museum.
Later this afternoon we will be special guests for a private function and wine / cheese tasting at the historic clipper the City of Adelaide and we will also offer guests a hosted visit of the South Australia Museum with the facility curatorial team.
Traditional custodians: Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains
Departing Port Adelaide before sunrise, the Coral Adventurer will make her way to Kangaroo Island and the historical town of Penneshaw.
Over a third of this 155 km long Island is protected nature reserves, home to diverse terrain including soaring cliffs, dense bushland, towering sand dunes, wetlands and white beaches.
With such pristine environments and separation from the mainland comes incredible opportunities to spot thriving wildlife. In addition to Kangaroos, the island is home to sea-lions, Koalas, and one of our favourites – little Penguins. Adequately named, these Penguins are the world’s smallest.
Early explorers, Flinders and Baudin, both stopped at Hogs Bay to take on water provisions.
Whilst on the Island guests will visit the township and both the maritime and Folk museums and will also experience the wonder of little penguin colony viewing.
We will be spending a full day here.
After an early morning departure, the Coral Adventurer will make her way east for a short voyage to arrive at Victor Harbour at Sunrise.
In 1802, this was the location of friendly meeting between Captain Matthew Flinders aboard HMS Investigator and French Captain Nicolas Baudin aboard MF La Geographe. Flinders advised Baudin of Kangaroo Island as a good place to take the scurvy-stricken crew for a feed and water. The language barrier between the pair meant conversation was brief, but having not encountered another ship for 5 months, it is likely Flinders was eager for interaction.
When onshore at Victor Harbor, guests can enjoy the historic horse drawn tram across the causeway to Granite Island. Commencing operation in 1894 the service is one of two remaining in the world that operate daily. We will also explore the South Australian Whale centre and will cruise past the entry to the mighty Murray River.
Traditional custodians: Ngarrindjeri people
After a day at sea our voyage will enter Victorian waters as we cruise into Port Fairy and the infamous Shipwreck Coast.
Guests will be transferred ashore on the Xplorer tenders for town tours of this historic heritage settlement. Grand public buildings sit side by side with restored whalers cottages and Georgian styled merchant homes.
We will then cruise onwards towards the Shipwreck Coast encompasses 28 kilometres of spectacular coastline in Victoria’s south-west. This stretch of coastline is graveyard to around 700 submerged wrecks, leaving behind their fascinating stories. Captain Matthew Flinders notably said he had never seen a “more fearful section of coastline”.
Despite the name, as we cruise past you will only see 8 of the 12 apostles, with mother nature causing the other 4 to fall overtime. Constant erosion over 20 million years has resulted in the rugged limestone stacks that stand majestically tall out of the blue Southern Ocean.
Clocks ahead 30 minutes
Traditional owners: Gunditjmara people
Credit: Chrissie Goldrick/Australian Geographic
We uncover historic tales of lifeboats, fishermen, rescues and maritime heritage in the area around the “RIP” (The entrance from Bass Strait). Settled in the 1850’s, Queenscliff is characterised by historic shop fronts and encompassing three-sides of coastline that combine sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, cliffs and historic piers.
While in this area, there will be the opportunity to swim with dolphins and snorkel the unique reef.
Traditional owners: Wautharong people of the Kulin nation
The first stop of the voyage in Tasmanian waters will take us to King Island. Known these days for its agriculture of quality produce of beef and cheese, the island has significant history. It was originally part of a land bridge linking Tasmania with the mainland until submerged some 12,000 years ago. It is part of a small group of Islands called the New Year Group and is located in open waters in the Bass Strait making it subject to weather including the infamous “roaring forties” winds. It was first claimed by the British and discovered by mariner Captain Reed in 1799 whilst hunting seals. Guests will have the chance to explore the island from ashore and we will visit the historic Cape Wickham Lighthouse, built in 1861, and at 48 metres tall, Australia’s tallest lighthouse.
Weather permitting, the Coral Adventurer will make her way south around the wild and remote West Coast of Tasmania, where we will endeavour to enter the world heritage wildlife area of Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey. This is one of the most remote and naturally pristine areas of the Tasmanian coast and guests will come ashore with the chance to take a short trek to nearby lookout and take in the stunning natural vistas.
Traditional custodians: None Known
A human skeleton was discovered in a cave on the island in 1989, which was dated to approximately 14,000 years ago. However, previous examinations had revealed no “shell heaps, bones, charcoal or other remains which might indicate Aboriginal occupation”, suggesting that the area was passed through by the ancestors of Aboriginal Tasmanians but not permanently inhabited. It was uninhabited at the time of European discovery.
We will disembark on North Bay in the small fishing village of Dunalley. Abel Tasman attempted to land his ship in this bay here in 1642, however, due to rough seas the he instead swam through the surf to plant the Dutch flag in North Bay.
Next we are off to wonder the historic ruins, secluded bays and rugged cliffs of Maria Island National Park. You can expect to meet local endemic wildlife such as Forester Kangaroos, Bennetts Wallabies and Wombats.
Visit World Heritage-listed Darlington; take in the dramatic Painted and Fossil Cliffs, walk to the convict ruins of Point Lesueur at Long Point.
Welcome to historic Hobart. Guests will arrive at sunrise and enjoy the views as we cruise through the D’Entrecasteaux channel and onwards up the Derwent River. A full day in Hobart will allow guests free time to explore the city, enjoy the local markets and fabulous restaurants and bars and we will arrange a special visit to the Maritime Museum.
Traditional custodians: Muwinina people
Photo Credit: Chrissie Goldrick/Australian Geographic
Bulk carrier ship Iron Baron grounded on Hebe Reef near the mouth of the Tamar River in July 1995, causing Tasmania’s worst environmental disaster. During the night of this relatively recent oil spill, the Iron Baron fuel tanks had ruptured spilling a large quantity of fuel oil into the sea. The pollution quickly spread and large areas of the coastline were coated in oil. This incident was environmentally catastrophic. Tugs were quickly requested to help pull the bulk carrier off the reef. During the tugs attempt to refloat the Iron Baron, the fuel tanks released another large quantity of fuel oil. Booms were deployed hoping to contain the oil slick, but over 200 tonnes of heavy fuel oil had already been released. The Iron Baron was towed to the site and scuttled on July 30, 1995.
We will also be visiting Low Head Pilot Station, situated at the mouth of the Tamar River in northern Tasmania, is the oldest group of pilot buildings in Australia. While it was the first station to operate it is the third oldest pilot service after the private operations of Sydney and Hobart. The pilot service dates from 1805, with the appointment of William House as Harbour Master at Port Dalrymple, and the first building on the site was probably in 1806. The pilot service still operates from this site today.
Preservation Island was the first area south of Sydney to experience the impact of European settlement. This small island in the Furneaux Group, nestled between Cape Barren Island and Clarke Island, is home to the grave of Sydney Cove which wrecked there in 1797.
This story is a true historic tragedy. After becoming stranded on the Island, 17 brave soldiers from the ship traveled to the mainland long boats and then attempted to trek an enormous 640km from Victoria’s Gippsland Coast to Botany Bay, Sydney in seek of help for their companions. Only 3 eventually reached Botany Bay.
The Yuin people of Twofold Bay had a unique and mutually beneficial relationship with the Killer Whales in the area. The orcas would heard migrating Baleen Whales into the bay, often causing the Baleen Whales to become stranded ashore in efforts to escape the Killers. The Yuin people believed that the orcas were deliberately providing food for the tribes and that the Killers were the reincarnated spirits of tribal members.
Early European explorers documented rituals where the yuins would “call” the orcas to drive whales to shore. Whale oil played a part in tribal rituals up and down the east coast and the yuins had a fascinating use for a rotting carcase. They would climb naked into the flesh and remain encased for hours with only their head protruding. The heat of decomposition and putrid smelling oils were claimed to cure rheumatism and other maladies.
Botany Bay is of course, the place where Captain James Cook’s expedition landed on April 29, 1770. We often hear that the British settled the harsh environments of Australia merely as a “dumping ground for convicts”, a last resort, and a desperate measure. But research has shown that The Botany Bay project was in fact part of a much larger and ambitious plan, developed by the British prime minister William Pitt and his advisers, to expand British trade and strategic bases in the Pacific and Indian oceans. They envisaged Botany Bay as a naval base and port to service ships; as a pre-emptive claim on newly discovered lands, shutting out their enemies, the French, Dutch and Spanish; as a source of desperately needed naval resources such as flax and timber; and finally as a colony that could produce other valuable commodities such as cotton, sugar and spices.
Visit Cook’s Landing Place, Inscription Point, learn how local Aboriginal people encountered the crew of the Endeavour and enjoy many bush walks through Kamay Botany Bay National Park.
Traditional custodians: Gadigal people of the Eora Nation
Xplorers will first visit the historic James Craig in the morning learning about the Barque and its restoration before joining a race between 2 Tall ships, the Soren Larsen and the Southern Swan, where groups will experience the ships in racing mode in the beautiful Sydney Harbour. The race will end around 1600 and Xplorers still have time to enjoy Sydney on their own before the vessel departs at 2300 hr.
Traditional custodians: Gadigal people of the Eora Nation
Broken Bay is the mouth to the Hawkesbury River. Hawkesbury River was one of the pivotal positions of the Hawkesbury and Nepean Wars, a series of skirmishes and battles between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the resisting Indigenous clans that took place between late 1780s and late 1810s.
The Hawkesbury River was one of the major transportation routes for transporting food from the surrounding area to Sydney during the 1800s. Boats would wait in the protection of Broken Bay and Pittwater, until favourable weather allowed them to make the ocean journey to Sydney Heads.
On our visit we will take guests to the historic sites where a small group of soldiers trained and prepared the HMAS Krait for a covert and significant wartime operation; Operation Jaywick. We will share their story.
Traditional custodians: The Kuring-gai (or Guringai) people are the traditional owners of Broken Bay and the river’s mouth, while the Hawkesbury’s western reaches lie in the Dharug territory of the Cumberland Plains, and the northern bank between Wisemans Ferry and Wilberforce is Darkinjung country.
After a day at sea to relax, the Coral Adventurer will make her first stop in Queensland waters at the Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island. The island is 98 percent national park and its sandy white beaches and crystal clear waters typify our Queensland expeditions. We will anchor nearby the Tangalooma Wrecks and enjoy snorkel, dive and beach activity. These wrecks are fifteen vessels that were deliberately sunk to form a breakwall for small boats also creating an amazing wreck dive and snorkel site. Snorkelling and scuba diving at this site is an incredible adventure. The crystal clear waters provide fantastic visibility to view marine life and coral formations such as wobbegongs, trevally, kingfish yellowtail and an array of tropical fish. Whilst on the island, we will enjoy other activities including kayak, beach hikes, island exploration and a chance to feed the famous bottlenose dolphins.
Clocks back 1 hour
Traditional custodians: The region and indigenous people of Moreton Bay and its island are referred to as Quandamooka. These include the Ngugi tribe on Moreton Island and the Gorenpul and Nunukil clans on North Stradbroke Island. The Aboriginal name for Moreton Island is Moorgumpin (also known as Moolgumpin or Mulgumpin) meaning “place of sandhills”.
Our next stop is Fraser Island, which is over 123km in length and at 184,000 hectares, it is the largest sand island in the world. Fraser Island’s World Heritage listing ranks it with Australia’s Uluru, Kakadu and the Great Barrier Reef as a precious part of Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. Our visit will involve us anchoring up at the southern end of the island at Inskip Point, where we will be joined by local indigenous guides and will deploy the Xplorer tenders for a natural culture expedition along the western side of the Island and through the marine reserve of the Great Sandy Strait.
The Coral Adventurer will voyage south through the great Sandy Straits from Hervey Bay towards an anchorage at Kingfisher Bay. Guests will enjoy a full day of guided tours of the Island to visit the historic Maheno Shipwreck and rainforest.
Traditional custodians: The Butchulla people are the Traditional Owners of K’gari (Fraser Island).
After sailing through the evening, The Coral Adventurer will arrive into the historic township of 1770 at sunrise and guests will enjoy time in the village and at the famous Cooks Landing Site. The town was the first landing point in Australia of Cooks second voyage aboard the HMS Endeavour and was the first Queensland landing site of Captain James Cook.
The Percy Isles are a stunningly beautiful destination of shimmering beaches and wooded hilltops – a Robinson Crusoe island rising from the indigo depths of the Coral Sea. Some of the stories of this little known group of islands are made of legend.
First charted by Matthew Flinders, and named after the Duke of Northumberland (who later cruised the area with his courtesan, the “scandalous” Lola Montes), Middle Percy was visited by Errol Flynn and, in 1932, by the Australian writer Dora Birtles, who captures its allure in her classic, North-West by North. Until 2001, when it entered a dark period.
Middle Percy was one of the last remaining leasehold islands off the Queensland coast, bound to a tradition of providing fresh water and supplies to passing seafarers. For an interesting period, it was leased Eton-educated eccentric Andrew Martin, the self-exiled son of aristocrats who took over in 1964. Martin, who became known as “Lord Percy” transformed the island into a boaties’ magnet, offering goat meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, honey and bread and meals at the homestead. Martin had no shortage of time, and in the end, it was excessive contemplation – not of nature but Old Testament prophecy – that would lead him horribly astray.
Guests will hear this tales, enjoy the islands walking trails and relax on the pristine and remote beaches of this idyllic outpost.
Day at Scawdell Island
It was 35 years ago that the Coral Expeditions story began in Townsville, North Queensland. We started with a small submarine chaser, operating very small group expeditions along the coastline between Townsville and Cairns. A return home on our 35th anniversary aboard new vessel Coral Adventurer will be a great celebration and we look forward to setting ashore at some of these stops on this stretch of our voyage.
Traditional custodians: Traditional owners and custodians, the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People are the first people to have lived in the Townsville region.
Welcome to the home of Coral Expeditions, Cairns. We have a special day planned to celebrate. The Coral Adventurer will arrive into the Trinity Inlet with the sun at 8am where the team at Coral Expeditions will be on hand to welcome us for a champagne brunch. Then its is time to enjoy our last signature experience and a very special event, an expedition to Uluru. Enjoy refreshments and carolers on our outbound flight and on arrival we will enjoy a guided tour, share sunset drinks and entertainment overlooking Kata Tjuta followed by a dinner at the renowned “Sounds of Silence” experience. After stargazing and a nightcap, we will dim the lights for our return charter flight back to Cairns.
Traditional custodians of Cairns: The Bama – the Aboriginal rainforest people who are traditional custodians/owners of the lands that cover this region.
Traditional custodians of Uluru: Anangu people
On 10 June 1770, HMB Endeavour under the command of Captain James Cook was sailing north along the east coast of Australia. At 11 pm, it struck a reef and started taking in water. Desperate to lighten the ship, the crew heaved nearly 48 tonnes of material over the side, including ballast and cannons. Twenty-three hours later, at the next high tide, the Endeavour pulled free. Six weeks were spent repairing the ship at what became known as Endeavour River in Queensland. On our visit to this historic site we will enjoy the history and water activities before moving on the the nearby historic township of Cooktown.
Cooktown is justifiably famous as the site of the first white ‘settlement’ in Australia when Captain James Cook, having struck the Great Barrier Reef off the coast north of Cape Tribulation, struggled up the coast and beached the H.M. Barque Endeavour on the shores of the Endeavour River. Cook and his crew were to stay on the river’s edge from 17 June to 4 August, 1770. It is a charming town which wears its history – lots of statues of Captain Cook and a number of impressive buildings constructed during the gold mining boom at Palmer River in the 1880s – with ease. In recent times it has been driven by tourism and, particularly, fishing. Guests will enjoy a town visit and option to walk to the nearby lookout and soak up the history of this proud township who will welcome us with open arms.
Traditional owners: Guugu Yimithirr people
On 29 May 1789, after the famed mutiny on the Bounty, Captain Bligh and the men who remained loyal to him arrived on the island in the ship’s boat. This was the first Australian island they came to after a long voyage from Tonga, and 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. Bligh saw evidence of the local aborigines using the island (rough huts and fire places had been made). He also saw kangaroo tracks and wondered if the aborigines brought them from the mainland to breed, since they would be easier to catch later in the confined space of an island.
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. It is an idyllic coastal island with a granite and volcanic peak of 116 metres height and a beautiful shark tooth shaped beach spit where guest will enjoy water activities and explore the island.
Traditional custodians: The Kuuku Ya’u people (including the Kungkay people and Kanthanampu people) are the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Ma’alpiku Island National Park (CYPAL).
Cape York is not only the broad name of the extensive region of North Queensland, but it is also the name of the northernmost point of Australia or “The Tip”.
In local indigenous language it is called “Pajinka” and it is a beautiful spot to trek too with views over emerald waters to nearby York and Eburac islands. A trek to “the tip”, is a trip that is somewhat of a pilgrimage for many Australians each year over the dusty roads of Cape York.
The Coral Adventurer will arrive early in the morning after a short 3 hour steam from Thursday Island and guests will board our Xplorer tenders for a short cruise to our landing site and a magical moment watching the sunrise whist from rocky outcrops.
The Torres Strait Islands are a group of at least 274 small islands which lie in Torres Strait, the waterway separating far northern continental Australia’s Cape York Peninsula and the island of New Guinea. Only 14 of the islands are inhabited. The indigenous inhabitants of the Torres Strait Islands are the Torres Strait Islanders, an ethnically Melanesian people who also inhabited the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula, distinct from the Australian Aboriginals who are the Indigenous Australians in the rest of the country.
The area was formerly a land bridge spanning the area from northern Australia to New Guinea and the islands are the remaining peaks following a period of water levels rising 12,000 years ago…..The Spanish navigator Luís Vaez de Torres explored Torres Strait in 1606. Torres had joined the Queirós expedition which sailed from Peru across the Pacific Ocean in search of Terra Australis. Lieutenant James Cook first claimed British sovereignty over the eastern part of Australia at Possession Island in 1770. The region is unique in terms of its political borders. Whilst all the islands and their inhabitants are Australian, there is a maritime border which runs through the centre of the islands meaning that in practice there is an ongoing co-management of resources in this region. In 1982, Eddie Mabo and four other Torres Strait Islanders from Mer (Murray Island) started legal proceedings to establish their traditional land-ownership. Because Mabo was the first-named plaintiff, it became known as the Mabo Case. In 1992, after ten years of hearings before the Queensland Supreme Court and the High Court of Australia, the latter court found that Mer people had owned their land prior to annexation by Queensland. This ruling overturned the long-established legal doctrine of terra nullius (“no-one’s land”), which held that native title over Crown land in Australia had been extinguished at the time of annexation. The ruling thus had far-reaching significance for the land claims of both Torres Strait Islanders and Australian Aborigines.
The islands and their surrounding waters and reefs provide a highly diverse set of land and marine ecosystems, with niches for many rare or unique species. Saltwater crocodiles inhabit the islands along with neighboring areas of Queensland and Papua New Guinea. Marine animals of the islands include dugongs (an endangered species of sea mammal widely found throughout the Indian Ocean and tropical Western Pacific, including Papua-New Guinean and Australian waters), as well as green, ridley, hawksbill and flatback sea turtles.
Photo Credit: Cathy Finch/Australian Geographic
Thursday Island, colloquially known as TI, or in the native language, Waiben, is an island of the Torres Strait Islands archipelago located approximately 39 km north of Cape York Peninsula. It has an area of approx 3.5 square km. The Muralag peoples are the traditional owners of the land and seas surrounding Thursday Island. The highest point on Thursday Island, standing at 104 m above sea level, is Milman Hill, a World War II defence facility.
The island has been populated for thousands of years by the Torres Strait Islanders, though archeological evidence on Badu, further north in Torres Strait, suggests that the area has been inhabited from before the end of the last Ice Age. A lucrative pearling industry was founded on the island in 1885, attracting workers from around Asia, including Japan, Malaya and India, seeking their fortune. While the pearling industry has declined in importance, the mix of cultures is evident to this day. The pearling industry centred on the harvesting of pearl shell, which was used mainly to make shirt buttons before the industry was changed with the invention of plastic. During World War II, Thursday Island became the military headquarters for the Torres Strait and was a base for Australian and United States forces. January 1942 saw the evacuation of civilians from the island. Residents of Japanese origin or descent were interned.
The residents did not return until after the end of the war and many ethnic Japanese were forcibly repatriated. The island was spared from bombing in World War II, due, it was thought, to its being the burial place of many Japanese pearl shell divers, or possibly the Japanese thinking there were still Japanese residents on the island. However, neighbouring Horn Island was extensively bombed. There was an airbase there, used by the Allies to attack parts of New Guinea… The Coral Adventurer will spend the day on the island with guests able to explore its rich history and cultural influence. There are beautiful foreshore walks and an excellent cultural arts centre, Gab Tutui. Optional tours of the WW2 history and relics on Horn Island will be a part of our expedition.
Traditional owners: The Muralag peoples
Image Credit: Jimmy Trifyllis/Australian Geographic
Booby Island is located Northwest of the tip of Cape York Peninsula and part of the Torres Strait island group. Booby Island is also known as Ngiangu by the Kuarareg people of the western Torres Strait, its traditional owners, named for the giant Ngiangu who was forced from a neighbouring island. It has been called Booby Island by a number of European explorers, including Captain Cook, for the presence of the Booby birds.
During his first voyage of discovery, then Lieutenant James Cook sailed northwards along the east coast of Australia, landing at Botany Bay. Three months later, at about midday on 22 August 1770, he reached the northernmost tip of the coast and, without leaving the ship, named it Cape York.
Departing the east coast, Cook turned west and nursed his battered ship through the dangerously shallow waters of Torres Strait. Searching for a high vantage point, he saw a steep hill on a nearby island from the top of which he hoped to see ‘a passage into the Indian Seas’. He climbed the hill with three others, including Joseph Banks. On seeing a navigable passage, he signalled the good news down to the men on the ship, who cheered loudly. Cook later wrote that he had claimed possession of the east coast when up on that hill, and named the place ‘Possession Island’.
This region holds a little known and very significant place in the history of Australia.
It is a well taught and common belief is that it was Captain James Cook who discovered the continent of Australia in 1770, however it was in fact this remote area in the Gulf of Carpentaria that the Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon, sailing the Duyfken in 1606, first sighted, landed and met indigenous tribal peoples in Australia. They were on an exploration of Papua New Guinea and sailed south through the Arafura Sea, without seeing the Torres Strait, into the Gulf of Carpentaria. On 26 February 1606, he made landfall at the Pennefather River in what is known to be the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent. Janszoon proceeded to chart some 320 km of the coastline, which he thought was a southerly extension of New Guinea.
Whilst visiting this area of the Western Cape, guests will learn of this rich history and have the chance to visit and explore ashore this remote region including a visit to Cullen Point and further south a stop at Cape Keerweer.
Image Credit: Courtesy of the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation
After crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Coral Adventurer will arrive at Cape Arnhem in the early afternoon and will enjoy a shore excursion and then watch the stunning sunset over these ancient lands.
Arnhem Land is one of the five regions of the Northern Territory of Australia. The region was discovered by Europeans when Captain William van Colster sailed into the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape Arnhem is named after his ship, the Arnhem, which itself was named after the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands. Arnhem Land has been occupied by indigenous people for tens of thousands of years and is the location of the oldest-known stone axe, which scholars believe to be 35,500 years old. Arnhem Land is arguably one of the last areas in Australia that could be a completely separate country. Many of the region’s leaders have called and continue to call for a treaty that would allow the Yolngu to operate under their own traditional laws… At least since the 18th century (and probably earlier) Muslim traders from Makassar of Sulawesi visited Arnhem Land each year to trade, harvest, and process sea cucumbers or trepang. This marine animal is highly prized in Chinese cuisine, for folk medicine, and as an aphrodisiac. This Macassan contact with Australia is the first recorded example of interaction between the inhabitants of the Australian continent and their Asian neighbours. This contact had a major effect on local indigenous Australians. The Makassans exchanged goods such as cloth, tobacco, knives, rice, and alcohol for the right to trepang coastal waters and employ local labour. Makassar pidgin became a lingua franca along the north coast among several indigenous Australian groups who were brought into greater contact with each other by the seafaring Makassan culture.
After a short overnight passage and a night at anchor nearby, the Coral Adventurer will arrive early at the Wessel islands for a morning of shore exploration and storytelling.
The Wessel Islands is a group of islands that extend in a more or less straight line from Buckingham Bay and the Napier Peninsula of Arnhem Land, and Elcho Island, to the northeast. Marchinbar Island is the largest of the group. Other islands include Elcho Island, Rimbija Island (the most outlying island), Guluwuru, Raragala, Stevens Island, Burgunngura, Djeergaree, Yargara, Drysdale Island, Jirrgari Island, Graham Island, Alger Island, Abbott Island, and Island. The Wessel Islands constituted the homelands of the Nango or Yan-nhaŋu. The islands were mapped and named by a Dutch expedition that sailed from Banda Neira to explore the coasts of New Guinea and the South Land following up on discoveries made in 1623 by Jan Carstensz and Willem van Colster (who named Arnhem Land after his ship Arnhem). The islands were named after one of the two small vessels used on discovery voyages of the coastline, the Wesel. The unfolding archeological story of the Marchinbar Coins provides a fascinating insight into the regions past. In 1944, Australian soldier Morry Isenberg found nine coins buried in the sand one day while fishing when he was stationed on Marchinbar Island. In 1979 he sent these coins to be authenticated. Four of the coins were found to have come from the Dutch East India Company, while the other five were determined to be from the Kilwa Sultanate in Tanzania. Their re-examination has given rise to much speculation about how these medieval African coins came to Australia. Another coin, believed to be from Kilwa, turned up on Elcho Island where it was found by Past Masters amateur archaeologist Mike Hermes in 2018. Mike is a regular guest lecturer onboard Coral Expeditions and will be on hand to share his stories and knowledge.
Now we are homeward bound on the final leg of the journey across the Arafura Sea, wide around the Tiwi Islands and we then conclude our voyage in Darwin.
Our incredible adventure exploring the Australian Coast concludes in Darwin. Bid farewell to new-found friends and the Captain and crew. Post cruise transfers to CBD hotels or the airport are included.
The above itinerary is indicative. No two cruises with Coral Expeditions will be the same, with each expedition crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders. 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.
|Departure||Departure||Arrival||Arrival||Cost Per Person||Cost PP||Ship||Availability|
|30 October 2021||30 Oct 2021||28 December 2021||28 Dec 2021||$38,860 to $54,860||$38,860 to $54,860||Coral Adventurer||Available||Book|
|Departure||Departure||Arrival||Arrival||Cost Per Person||Cost PP||Ship||Availability|
|30 October 2021||30 Oct 2021||28 December 2021||28 Dec 2021||$38,860 to $54,860||$38,860 to $54,860||Coral Adventurer||Available||Book|
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Located in a prime position close to the waterfront, the Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade offers comfortable and well appointed rooms, a large outdoor pool and friendly, relaxed service. Just a short stroll from all of the attractions of the city, the restaurants of Mitchell Street and art galleries.
Overlooking Darwin Harbour, Hilton Darwin offers fabulous Esplanade views and an ideal location in the heart of the city. Enjoy contemporary features, great location and a welcoming service every time you stay. The elegant rooms and suites are loaded with thoughtful amenities and many have stunning Harbour views. We also offers Mitchell’s Grill restaurant with innovative Australian cuisine, high-floor outdoor pool, gym, flexible meeting space and more.