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The Great Barrier Reef: Cairns to Cairns

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Coral Discoverer
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This 8-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 : Cairns, Australia | Embark
Days 2-7 : Great Barrier Reef
Day 8 : Cairns | Disembark

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
  • Walk amongst the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest

Ship

Coral Discoverer

Places Visited

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 Cairns, Australia | Embark

Board the Coral Discoverer 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 beachside 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 2-7 Great Barrier Reef

  • Ship
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
This Great Barrier Reef itinerary is flexible, to take advantage of changing weather and reef conditions. Below is a selection of the key destinations we visit.

COOKTOWN
Come ashore in historic Cooktown and experience a traditional welcome to country ceremony. Share a spiritual connection through storytelling and the traditional smoking ceremony with 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 artifacts are on display.

Later, cruise towards Lizard Island, arriving in time for sunset drinks at Turtle Beach. After dinner, look for giant trevally and tawny nurse sharks during a fish feeding off the aft deck.

LIZARD ISLAND
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 at Watson’s Bay, relax on the white-sand beaches 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.

OSPREY REEF
Osprey Reef is the summit of a 2,000m undersea mountain located beyond the continental shelf with no landmass visible. Enjoy amazing underwater visibility here, and observe magnificent corals, plummeting drop-offs and many fish in the crystalline waters. 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. Osprey Reef is a true expedition-style destination and our visit is subject to appropriate weather conditions.

RIBBON REEF #9 & HOPE ISLAND
The Ribbon Reefs are a 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 over these excellent reefs, with Ribbon Reef #9 a favorite 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. In the late afternoon, we stretch our legs on remote Hope Island before joining fellow explorers and crew for sunset drinks on the beach as the sun sinks below the horizon.

DAINTREE RIVER & ESCAPE OR RIBBON REEF #3
Explore the Daintree River which cuts through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. With an expert guide on board, we look for the region’s famed wildlife such as saltwater crocodiles, rare and endangered cassowaries and the prolific birdlife that inhabits the forest and mangrove-lined river banks. Step ashore at a Daintree wilderness center on the banks of the river and walk on forest trails overhung with lush vegetation. Immersed in the rainforest, we learn more about the diverse Wet Tropics ecosystem which contains the largest habitat of flora and fauna in the world. This afternoon, enjoy more spectacular diving and snorkeling opportunities at Ribbon Reef #3 or Escape Reef, where we look for iconic species as well as the vibrantly colored coral gardens the outer reefs are renowned for.

FITZROY ISLAND & SUDBURY CAY
At Fitzroy Island enjoy a walk through the Secret Garden rainforest or a hike to the lighthouse to enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding islands and mainland mountain ranges. Snorkel over the fringing reef, relax on the beach and learn about the life cycle of turtles at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre where sick and injured turtles are cared for before being returned to the wild. Later, arrive at secluded Sudbury Cay and enjoy the Captain’s farewell drinks at sunset on the tiny sand island.

Day 8 Cairns | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Farewell the Captain, crew and new-found friends before disembarking at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal at 8:00am.

Coral Discoverer

Deals

Save $250 AUD
First Time Guest Savings - Book until December 31, 2020 and save $250 AUD per new guest. Select departures only. Valid for all cabin types. For new bookings after January 16, 2020. Contact us for details.

Please Note: Promotion rate is posted off of current exchange rates from the Australian Dollar. Please contact us for current exchange rates.
Applies to all departures

Flexible New Booking Policy
For all new bookings made between March 12-June 30, 2020, in the event that you are unable to travel on the cruise originally booked due to Covid-19 related restrictions, you will be able to transfer your deposit to another future cruise at no additional fee. Some restrictions may apply. Contact us for more details.
Applies to 2020 departures

Per person starting at
$3,260
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Main Deck B
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Three cabins located on the Main Deck, equipped with twin portholes, desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Main Deck A
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Six cabins located on the Main Deck, equipped with twin porthole windows, desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Promenade Deck B
Averaging 160 sq. ft. Four cabins located on the Promenade Deck, equipped with picture windows, desk, telephone and Junior King bedding.
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Promenade Deck A
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Eighteen cabins located on the Promenade Deck, equipped with picture windows, sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Bridge Deck
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Five cabins located on the Bridge Deck, equipped with picture windows, sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.

Notes

Solo Travelers:
Solo cabin occupancy is limited and based on availability in Promenade Deck B cabins only. Single supplement is an additional 50%.

Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian or New Zealand 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 (Australian GST at 10%)
 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 AUD19.50 per person (payable on board)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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