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Nightcliff Jetty, Darwin, Australia

Arnhem Land & Great Barrier Reef

Darwin to Cairns - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard SH Minerva
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Succumb to the raw beauty of Eastern Australia on this 11-day Arnhem Land and Great Barrier Reef cruise. Arnhem Land is a rugged wilderness of rocky escarpments, beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and savanna woodlands. Ancient rock art sites dot the spiritual region, a stronghold of the Yolngu Aboriginal culture, where the custodians of the land introduce you to their traditional way of life. Yet, for most visitors, the magnificent Great Barrier Reef is the region’s main draw. Diving or snorkeling in this vibrant underwater garden is a bucket-list item, offering a chance to see incredible marine life in the world’s largest coral reefs and ribbon reefs. Onshore, explore the coastal sand dunes, dazzling white beaches, and mangrove-lined inlets of this remote, pristine peninsula.
Sunrise at Palm cove in CairnsExplore the wonder of coral reefsExplore the wonder of coral reefsExplore the wonder of coral reefsSnorkel the vibrant waters of the South PacificNightcliff Jetty, Darwin, Australia
Highlights
  • Observe wild Banteng buffalo roaming the Cobourg Peninsula
  • Discover historic aboriginal rock art in Cape York
  • Dive at the edge of the world’s largest coral reef
  • Watch wallabies in the wildflower-filled bushland on Flinders Island
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Darwin | Embark

The coastal port and gateway to Australia's Northern Territory, Darwin is best known for its parks and gardens. Learn to identify regional flora, tropical plants and orchids at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Discover Aboriginal Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, or take a stroll through Old Darwin, past buildings that chart the city’s history from the days when Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle first visited Darwin harbor in 1839.

Day 2: Cobourg Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
With grasslands and mangroves, swamps and coral reefs, the Cobourg Peninsula is a biodiverse hotspot known for fabulous fishing and wildlife. The remote Garig Gunak Barlu National Park carpets the entire peninsula. Here, the last wild herds of the Banteng buffalo roam free. Marine life thrives in the surrounding waters, filled with turtles, dugongs, and dolphins. Learn about the region’s history at Victoria Settlement ruins – a short-lived British settlement from the 1800s.

Day 3: Elcho Island | Wessel Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tiny, remote Elcho Island sits just off the coast of East Arnhem Land, traditionally known as Galiwin’ku and home to the Yolngu people. Art is at the very heart of this community. For generations, local Aboriginal artists have been using bush materials to create traditional works like bark paintings, woven baskets, didgeridoos, and fiber art. Browse these intricate creations at the island’s locally owned art center, Elcho Island Arts. The string of Wesell Islands in the Arafura Sea is the Northern Territory’s final frontier – wholly rugged, mostly uninhabited, and truly spectacular. Rocky escarpments rise from the sea, giving way to glorious white-sand beaches and cascading waterfalls that tumble right into the ocean. Cool off with a dip at one of the many natural rock pools and remote bays that dot the islands.

Day 4: Cape Arnhem

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the eastern tip of East Arnhem Land, overlooking the Gulf of Carpentaria, sits Cape Arnhem - or Wanuwuy. This strikingly beautiful peninsula of sandy beaches and vast dunes, some up to 60 m high. The area protects a vast biodiversity of plants, many of which play an important part in ceremonial and ritual aspects of Yolngu life. The coast is also an important nesting site for turtles including hawksbills, green turtles and Olive Ridley turtles.

Day 5: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Day 6: Thursday Island | Cape York

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Far-flung T.I in the Torres Strait offers a unique mix of culture, history, and stunning natural surroundings. At the Gab Titui Cultural Centre, browse contemporary indigenous art and learn about the ancient traditions of the Torres Strait Islanders. Learn more about the tiny island’s history at the 19th-century Green Hill fort, built to defend Australia against possible Russian invasion. Then say g’day to The Tip. At the northernmost point of mainland Australia, Cape York is a remote slice of wilderness that juts into the Torres Strait and extends its arm towards Papua New Guinea. Experience the ancient traditions of the region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In this rugged landscape of red dirt paths and dramatic waterfalls, discover historic rock art sites and wetlands inhabited by saltwater crocodiles and waterbirds.

Day 7: Flinders Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tucked in behind Cape Melville to the east with Princess Charlotte Bay to the west, the Flinders Group National Park Islands are well off the beaten track. The natural features of the Flinders Islands are connected in a rich tapestry of Aboriginal stories and significant places. The island group is part of a cultural landscape that contributes to the identity of the Aboriginal Traditional Owners. These attractive islands feature rocky shores, rugged sandstone cliffs, hills and escarpments, and sand dunes. The island group supports a variety of land and sea birds.

Day 8-9: Cooktown | Ribbon reef

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Named for Captain Cook, who came ashore in 1770 to repair the Endeavour, quiet Cooktown saw a boom of activity during the gold rush. The town’s fascinating history is recorded at the James Cook Museum – one of the many beautiful 19th-century buildings around the city. On a day at port, you could also learn about the indigenous Guugu Yimithiir people, or take in panoramic views of the city and the reef from Grassy Hill.

Day 10: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of the knowledgeable on-board experts.

Day 11: Cairns | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
With access to both the rainforest and the reef, laid-back, tropical Cairns is an outdoor playground. The magnificent Great Barrier Reef is the region’s main draw. Diving or snorkeling in this vibrant underwater garden is a bucket-list item, offering a chance to see incredible marine life in the world’s largest coral reef. Inland, the Daintree Rainforest is over 100 million years old – a vast swathe of ancient wilderness where you can trek, zipline, spot crocodiles, and learn about Aboriginal culture.

Ship/Hotel

SH Minerva

SH Minerva in Arntarctica
Minerva sundeck
Minarva Jacuzzi

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$9,589
Minerva Ocean View
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Oceanview D4
19 m2, Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Minerva Ocean View
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Oceanview M4
19 m2, Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Minerva BAlconyMinerva Balcony
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Balcony D5
28 m2, Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedrooms with a living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Minerva BalconyMinerva BAlcony
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Balcony M5
28 m2, Located at the center of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedrooms with a living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Minerva BAlconyMinerva Balcony
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Balcony D6
28 m2, Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Minerva Suite
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Suite
44 m2, Our Suites features a super king bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Minerva Premium Suite
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Premium Suite
49 m2, Our grandest suites feature a super king bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, a spacious walk-in wardrobe, and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Room Service 
  • Wifi
  • Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day.
  • Lecture programs by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
  • Onboard gratuities & port taxes
  • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions.
  • All transfers between Airport, Hotel and Ship
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
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May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
Lisa Bridge
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