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Travelers learning how to scuba dive.

Great Barrier Reef: Cairns & Lizard Island

Example 5 Day Cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II
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This 5-day South Pacific cruise includes a full day to discover two different sections of the rarely-visited Ribbon Reefs, considered to be the most colorful and pristine reefs found anywhere along the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the wonderful fringing reefs off Lizard Island and Two Isles. Land in Cooktown and walk to the botanic gardens where you may see kangaroos and wallabies, and enjoy water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming in the most pristine and crystal-clear waters.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Cairns
Day 2 : Cooktown | Great Barrier Reef
Day 3 : Lizard Island | Snorkel Ribbon Reefs
Day 4 : Ribbon Reefs
Day 5 : Disembark in Cairns

Highlights

  • Snorkel with some of the 1,500 species of fish at the Great Barrier Reef
  • Visit Lizard Island and swim from the beach over giant clam gardens
  • Discover the pristine Ribbon Reefs on a glass bottom boat tour

Ship

Coral Expeditions II

Places Visited

  • Australia
  • South Pacific
  • Cairns
  • Cooktown
  • Lizard Island
  • Rachel Carson Reef
  • Ribbon Reef No 3
  • Ribbon Reef No 9
  • Trinity Bay

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Travelers learning how to scuba dive. Feed the fish off of the Coral Princess II Diving in Papua New Guinea Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South Pacific Access the shore aboard the the Zodiac

Day 1 Embark in Cairns

Board the Coral Expeditions II small ship for an afternoon departure from Cairns. While departing Cairns and cruising Trinity Bay, there is time to settle in and discover “home” for the next five days. In the evening, join the crew and traveling companions on the top deck to enjoy a glass of champagne while cruising northward, passing Double Island and the pretty beach-side village of Palm Cove. Admire a spectacular sunset over the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Macalister Range. Enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Seafood Buffet.

Day 2 Cooktown | Great Barrier Reef

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take the morning to discover historical Cooktown, which is steeped in history with buildings dating back to the 1870s. It was here that the famous explorer Captain James Cook took refuge during his voyage of discovery after claiming Australia as a British colony in 1770. Visit Cooktown’s fascinating historical museum, featuring original artifacts from Cook’s ship – Endeavour. See the original anchor and cannon, jettisoned overboard after Endeavour struck a reef and began taking on water. Perhaps visit the Botanic Gardens, and catch a glimpse of some native Australian wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies.

Visit one of the remote uninhabited islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Join a marine biologist for a glass bottom boat tour over the colorful coral gardens and discover some of the 1500 species of tropical fish that call the reef home. Perhaps go snorkeling or scuba diving for an up-close view of the hundreds of varieties of coral growing on this section of reef. The experienced crew is on hand to provide assistance, advice, and guided snorkeling tours for less-experienced swimmers.

Day 3 Lizard Island | Snorkel Ribbon Reefs

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Awaken moored beside beautiful Lizard Island. The energetic may join guides on a walk to “Cook’s Look” on the island’s peak (hiking shoes or boots are recommended). It was from here, the highest lookout on this part of the reef, that Captain Cook was able to navigate a safe passage back through the treacherous waters after repairing the Endeavour near Cooktown over 200 years ago. A photographer’s delight, the views from the lookout over the World Heritage-listed reef and surrounding tropical islands are magnificent.

Lizard Island’s fringing reef, in the shallow waters just meters off the beach, offers some fantastic snorkeling opportunities. Discover giant clams and a profusion of fish. Simply relax on the beach, join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour, or for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, accompany the Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive.

Cruise to Ribbon Reef No 9, a spectacular and seldom-visited part of the reef where activities include more snorkeling opportunities and glass bottom boat tours with the Marine Biologist.

Day 4 Ribbon Reefs

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Great Barrier Reef is not actually one continuous reef, but a series of thousands of individual coral cays stretching over 1800 miles between the town of Bundaberg and the tip of Australia at Cape York. Visit two of the most spectacular sections of the reef, Ribbon Reef No. 3 and Rachel Carson Reef. Explore the coral gardens and marine life with guided snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours. A Marine Biologist explains the natural history and evolution of the reef and the local wildlife, which includes sea turtles, giant clams, rays and over 200 different species of native birds. Experience the reef through scuba diving, allowing the dive instructor to guide an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. Enjoy a final memorable night cruising the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 5 Disembark in Cairns

  • 1 Breakfast
Farewell the Captain, crew and new-found friends before disembarking at Trinity Wharf in Cairns.

Coral Expeditions II

Per person starting at
$1,630
Coral Princess II's Cabins.
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Cabin
Five cabins, located on Deck C. 10.5-14 sqm, bunk beds or twin beds.
Coral Princess II's Staterooms.
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Stateroom
Four staterooms, located on Deck C. 14 sqm, twin or double beds.
Coral Princess II's Upper Deck Staterooms.
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Upper Deck Stateroom
Nine Upper Deck staterooms located on Deck B. 14 sqm, with twin or double beds.
Coral Princess II's Deluxe Stateroom.
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Deluxe Stateroom
Four Deluxe staterooms located on Deck B. 15 sqm, with twin or double beds.

Notes

Solo Travelers:
A 50% single supplement is charged or select the “twin share” program. Book a cabin at the posted fare and the Coral Expeditions II will attempt to match you with another solo traveler of the same gender. If not possible, enjoy the sole use of the cabin at the twin share price.

Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian Dollars. Please contact us for current exchange rates.

CRUISE INCLUSIONS
  • Accommodation in selected room grade for the number of nights as listed in each itinerary
  • All meals
  • 24 hour soft drinks, tea, and barista-style coffee
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
  • Access to islands, marine, and national parks
  • Guided tours on Explorer expedition vessel, Zodiacs, glass-bottom boat, and kayaks
  • Touring as described in each itinerary
  • Services of expedition staff and lecturers including briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions
  • Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities
 EXCLUSIONS
  • Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
  • Entry visas/travel permits
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases
  • The Government Environmental Management Charge (EMC) of AUD18.00 per person (payable on board)

Included

  • 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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