With almost 300 islands dotted across the narrow stretch of water between Cape York and Papua New Guinea, the people of the Torres Strait Islands have a distinct and vibrant culture. An expedition by small ship is the ideal way to access these remote regions, visiting uninhabited sand cays, remote islands and pristine reef systems. Our expert guides will share their knowledge both above and below the water. With decades of experience and a deep respect for the communities of the region, Coral Expeditions will facilitate an enriching journey accompanied and hosted by local elders who will share the customs and stories of this ancient country.
Experience the natural beauty of the Torres Strait Islands
Board Coral Discoverer at Cairns Trinity Wharf. Enjoy afternoon tea onboard and a chance to meet your fellow travellers as you set sail northwards. This evening join guests and the friendly crew as you enjoy the Captain’s welcome drinks and sit down to the first of many delicious dinners.
Discover historic Cooktown, with buildings dating back to the 1870’s. Here you will have the choice of a guided indigenous cultural tour, or a guided Cooktown historic tour. You will also have the opportunity for time at leisure to explore Cooktown’s attractions which include art galleries, the botanic gardens, James Cook Museum (with original artefacts from the HMB Endeavour), lookouts, and a walk to the top of Grassy Hill.
Enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty of Lizard Island. Join an optional hike to Cook’s Look and be rewarded with exceptional views over the Great Barrier Reef. Learn about the tragic fate of Mary Watson on a walk to her cottage. Snorkel from the beach over giant clam gardens and colourful coral and visit the Lizard Island Research Station.
Osprey Reef is the summit of an undersea 2,000m 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 your visit is subject to appropriate weather conditions.
Visit Stanley Island in the Flinders Island Group and take a walk to view the isolated Endaen Aboriginal rock art guided by a traditional owner who will offer an interpretation. The art here depicts the first sailing ships to visit Queensland shores. At Davie Reef enjoy swimming, scuba, snorkelling or glass-bottom boat tours and see Brown Boobie bird colonies at Davie Cay.
Enjoy a day exploring Forbes Island, an excellent spot for swimming, scuba, snorkelling or glass-bottom boat tours from the pristine sandy beaches. Hear the story of beche-de-mer fisherman Frederick Lancaster who inhabited this island and visit his gravesite. You also have an opportunity to go beachcombing at a nearby remote island, possibly Magra, Saunders, or Sir Charles Hardy.
Visit Restoration Island or Resto, as the locals call it. Here Captain Bligh, of the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty, made his first landfall after a long ocean crossing from Tonga, in May 1789. 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.
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, and has done so for over 2 decades. It is an idyllic coastal island with a granite and volcanic peak 116 metres in height and a beautiful shark tooth-shaped beach spit where guest will enjoy water activities and time to explore the island.
This morning explore historical sites at Possession Island, Albany Island and Somerset.
Surrounded by glistening sea and bathed in the glow of twilight, enjoy sundowner drinks and the company of like-minded explorers as you relax and watch the sun gently sink below the horizon at the Tip of Cape York – the northernmost point of the Australian mainland continent.
In the morning, visit the indigenous art centre to watch printmakers at work, with the opportunity to purchase prints that catch your eye.
Enjoy traditional kai kai (Traditional Lunch) prepared by the local community – a feast of locally caught fresh fish, curried fish and crayfish. Spend the afternoon swimming at a local beach, hosted by traditional owners.
Join an informative tour of Thursday Island to learn about its interesting pearling history and multicultural influences. At Thursday Island you also have free time to explore all the island has to offer, including Gab Titui Cultural Centre and local shopping.
Day 11: Horn Island | Disembark
As you set off on your final Xplorer ride, your incredible adventure of Australia’s North comes to an end.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!