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Snorkeling with clownfish.

Great Barrier Reef: Cairns - Hinchinbrook Island - Lizard Island - Cairns

Weekend Departure - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II
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For guests with more time and a great sense of adventure, our 8 days Cairns – Hinchinbrook Island – Lizard Island – Cairns cruise offers the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience! Combining both our 3 and 4-night cruises, discover everything that this memorable region has to offer: the best parts of the Reef, spectacular rainforest trails, and beautiful tropical islands including Lizard and Dunk, and the stunning Sudbury Cay.
Snorkel the clear tropical waters of the Great Barrier ReefSnorkel the clear, tropical watersExplore the underwater world on your small ship cruiseUncover the hidden secrets of the Great Barrier ReefSnorkel off of Australia's beautiful coastSnorkel the vibrant waters of the South PacificA starfish on the Great Barrier ReefSnorkeling with clownfish.
Highlights
  • Take the plunge with a dive instructor in Nathan Reefs waters
  • Explore Hinchinbrook Island's towering cliffs and mangrove ecosystems
  • View the reef's coral gardens and marine life in a glass-bottomed boat
  • Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef's pristine and crystal-clear waters
Places Visited
  • Australia
  • South Pacific
  • Cairns
  • Cooktown
  • Dunk Island
  • Fitzroy Island
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Hinchinbrook Channel
  • Lizard Island
  • Nathan Reef
  • Oceania
  • Ribbon Reef No 9
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Cairns | Embark | Sudbury Cay

Board at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal at 10:00am, and cruise Trinity Bay. Visit Sudbury Reef, and enjoy snorkeling, glass-bottomed boat tours, and optional Scuba diving. Finish the day with sunset drinks ashore on the deserted sandy cay.

Day 2: Hinchinbrook Channel and Dunk Island

Cruise the majestic Hinchinbrook Channel while enjoying a top deck breakfast in the sunshine. Look for wildlife during a mangrove tour. Stretch your legs on Dunk Island, with a hike up Mt. Kootaloo or a beach walk. With the aid of your guides, you may spot the electric blue Ulysses butterfly.

Day 3: Nathan Reef and Coates Reef

Discover Nathan Reef on a guided snorkel: this reef is teeming with abundant fish life, including clownfish and Maori Wrasse. Later, visit colorful Coates Reef – see plate corals and parrotfish during an optional SCUBA dive, or stay dry and view marine life from the comfort of the glass-bottomed boat, with expert interpretation by your on-board marine biologist.

Day 4: Fitzroy Island | Cairns

Enjoy a rainforest walk or a hike to the lighthouse. Snorkel over fringing reef and swim with Green Sea Turtles, before learning all about them during a visit to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center. Return to Cairns to at 1:30pm.  During a brief turn-around in Cairns, you may enjoy a complimentary admission to the Cairns Museum. Reboard your ship at 4:00pm on your way to enjoy the northern Reef.

Day 5: Historic Cooktown and the Reef

Discover historic Cooktown, with building dating back to the 1870s. Visit the botanic gardens and the James Cook Museum to see original artifacts from the HMB Endeavour. Enjoy an afternoon snorkel and sunset drinks at Turtle Beach on Lizard Island, and see giant trevally and tawny nurse sharks during an after-dinner fish feed off the back deck.

Day 6: Lizard Island and the Ribbon Reefs

Awaken moored beside beautiful Lizard Island. The energetic may join the 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-bottomed 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 and scuba dive opportunities and glass bottom boat tours with the Marine Biologist.

Day 7: Ribbon Reefs

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-bottomed boat tours. The Marine Biologist explains the natural history and evolution of the reef and local wildlife, which includes sea turtles, giant clams, rays, and over 200 different species of native birds.

Today is your last opportunity to experience the reef through scuba diving, so allow your dive instructor to guide you on the experience of a lifetime. This evening, enjoy a final memorable night cruising the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 8: Disembark in Cairns

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

Ship/Hotel

Coral Expeditions II

Snorkel the clear tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef
Relax and enjoy the views from the SunDeck
Soak up the stunning views from the spa

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
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Cabin
Five cabins, located on Deck C. 10.5-14 sqm, bunk beds or twin beds.
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Stateroom
Four staterooms, located on Deck C. 14 sqm, twin or double beds.
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Upper Deck Stateroom
Nine Upper Deck staterooms located on Deck B. 14 sqm, with twin or double beds.
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Deluxe Stateroom
Four Deluxe staterooms located on Deck B. 15 sqm, with twin or double beds.

Notes

Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian Dollars. Please contact us for current exchange rates.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • All gratuities
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises
  • Beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • All entrance fees to National Parks, ports, traditional owner fees and charges imposed by governing authorities
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
  • Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and kayaks
  • All excursions with our Expedition Team
  • Daily lectures and briefings with Guest Lecturers
  • Use of all onboard facilities, incl. a reference library
  • Your expedition photos captured during the voyage
  • Post-cruise transfers (in most destinations)
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Passport or Visa fees
  • Laundry Service
  • Entry visas/Travel permits
  • Alcoholic drinks including beer and wine outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Internet 
  • Pre-cruise transfers
  • Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
  • Pre and post cruise accommodation
  • Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
  • Optional Extras (in some destinations)

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