Day 1 Cairns, Australia
The Cairns region is internationally recognized for world class attractions, superb natural features and friendly north Queensland hospitality. It is the focal point for the magnificent World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is surrounded by tropical rainforests. Visitors enjoy browsing at indigenous art galleries, shopping at the night markets and dining out on multicultural cuisine in the many restaurants along the esplanade.
Day 2 Coonanglebah
Dunk Island was named after Lord Montague-Dunk, the Earl of Halifax by Lt James Cook in 1770, as he sailed along the Great Barrier Reef, remarking at the time that it was a “tolerable high island”. Aboriginal people had, of course, inhabited the island for a long time prior to 1770, and they called the island Coonanglebah, which loosely translates as “place of peace and plenty”.
Edmund James Banfield, easily the island’s most notable resident, settled on the island in 1897 and remained there until his death in 1923. Banfield came to the island after his doctor told him he had only months to live, believing the island lifestyle would aid his health. He lived for a further 26 years! Banfield, an author and what today we would probably call an “alternative lifestyler”, described the island as his Isle of Dreams—this unkempt, unrestrained garden where the centuries gaze upon perpetual summer. Banfield wrote several books whilst on the island, including Confessions of a Beachcomber, and he wrote regular articles for the press on Dunk Island, establishing it as a very early tourism attraction on the Queensland Coast.
By 1934 Banfield’s Cottage was being operated as a resort, with tourism taking a break during WWII as the Royal Australian Air Force occupied the island as a radar and radio station. Avis Rent-a-car built the first real resort in 1956, which eventually led to the resort that exists on the island today.
Part of the Family Island’s National Park, the beautifully landscaped resort facilities and swimming pools complement the natural beauty and lush rainforest of the island. Walking trails take you through the resort and the National Park and all the way to the top of Mt Kootaloo if desired.
Orion guests will enjoy full access to the beautifully landscaped resort facilities and swimming pools of the Dunk Island Resort. For the more energetic guests, the walking trails will take you through the resort and the National Park and all the way to the top of Mt Kootaloo.
Optional Excursions: Sea Kayak Tour ($45), Mountain Bike Tour ($40), Horse Riding ($65)
Day 3-4 Hardy Reef
This morning Orion will anchor close by Hardy Reef’s “Reef World” floating pontoon, moored at one of the most vibrant spots on the Great Barrier Reef. The reef stretches for over 2,500km (1,550 miles), is the world’s largest ecological structure ever built by living creatures and is home to over fifteen hundred species of fish.
You’ll enjoy complimentary and exclusive access to the Reef World pontoon at the best time of day. There is an underwater viewing chamber built into the platform and snorkelling on the reef is as simple as putting on your masks and fins and slipping off the side of the platform where you will be surrounded by fish in their natural reef environment. The Reef World semi-submersible will also conduct complimentary tours throughout the morning so those who would like to see more of the reef whilst keeping their feet dry are able to do so.
An exceptional helicopter ride over the reef for a great view of all its spectacular formations is available at an additional cost, as is certified SCUBA diving for those with the appropriate experience and qualifications.
Transfer by Orion’s Zodiacs to the Hardy Reef pontoon. Orion guests will have exclusive use of the pontoon and the underwater viewing chamber. Tours on the semi-submersible are also included in today’s activities.
Optional Excursions: Hardy Reef Scuba Dive ($120), Reef Appreciation Scenic Flight ($280)
Day 4 Hayman Island
Conde Nast Traveller rates Hayman Island as one of the Best Places to Stay Worldwide and it is rated by Travel + Leisure as one of The Greatest Hotels in the World. In one of the world's most peaceful settings, Hayman provides the ideal backdrop for pampering and relaxation. This afternoon Orion guests have been granted special access to this elegant, sophisticated and exclusive resort. The resort is nestled on a calm coral-encircled bay with a white sandy beach. Shady ponds and gentle waterfalls thread their way among tropical gardens, spacious walkways and open air lanais.
This afternoon take advantage of the complimentary facilities including non-motorized water sports. Why not go sailing in this most beautiful part of the world? Other activities available to Orion guests include tennis, squash and use of the magnificent resort pool and guided resort tours.
Guests will be transferred by Zodiac to the Hayman Island marina. The island’s staff will greet the boats and transport guests to the resort. Guests may make full use of Hayman’s resort facilities, the magnificent pool and non-motorized water sports. Self-guided walks are also available.
Day 5 Percy Island
The explorer Matthew Flinders visited the Percy Isles in September 1802 and described one of the coves as "one of the prettiest little places imaginable". Middle Percy, the largest of the three islands in the group, is a favorite stop for cruising yachtsmen en route between the tropical north and southern seas. An A-frame hut on the beach is decorated with memorabilia and souvenirs from these yachts. Middle Percy was first settled in 1870 and the homestead dating from that time is today occupied by the island caretakers. What more perfect way to spend your day than to while it away in the shade or in the shallows with a glass of wine in your hand? A sumptuous beach BBQ is provided today, our fleet of sea kayaks will be available for you to explore the coast and estuaries of Middle Percy (tide and weather permitting) and the island has a series of walking trails where you may come across resident population of Emu and other native and introduced wildlife.
Access to the beach, the famous A-Frame Hut and island walking tracks are included today. A beach BBQ will be provided.
Our sea kayaks will be available, tide and weather permitting, and swimming from the beach is available throughout the day.
Day 7 Brisbane, Queensland
The Cairns region is internationally recognised for worldclass attractions, superb natural features and friendly north Queensland hospitality. It is the focal point for the magnificent World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is surrounded by tropical rainforests. Visitors enjoy browsing at indigeneous art galleries, shopping at the night markets and dining out on multicultural cuisine in the many restaurants along the esplanade.