Torres Strait and Cape York
Discover remote parts of Australia's north! See the real Australia that most tourists don't...long stretches of sand on deserted beaches, untouched reefs teeming with marine life and the magic and mystery of the Torres Strait Islands. Feel the powdery sand beneath your toes, breathe in the sweet scent of the rainforest, listen to the calls of the Brown Boobie bird colonies, soak up the history of Cooktown and Restoration Island, where Captain Bligh of the infamous Mutiny of the Bounty first made landfall, and marvel at the intricate indigenous artworks.
This cruise from Cairns will take you on an adventure with plenty of opportunity to swim and snorkel as well as coastal walks, glass bottom boat trips, bird watching and island discoveries. You'll meet local communities and watch them at work while they produce printed arts, experience dance performances and enjoy traditional "kai kai" (traditional lunch). You'll be able to unwind and relax on the endless stretches of perfect beaches, or sit in the shade of the palm trees. It's a perfect cruise to appreciate the natural beauty of Australia as well as enhance your knowledge of history and culture.
On-board, you'll travel with just 72 guests so there are no crowds here - just a small group of fellow passengers soaking up the ambiance and enjoying one perfect day after another!
Launched in 2005, Coral Discoverer set a new benchmark standard for small ship cruising in Australia. Refurbished in November 2016, she continues to raise the bar to new levels of sophistication in expedition cruising in the Southern Hemisphere.
The 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer took cruising with Coral Expeditions to a new level. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. Her tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat all 72 passengers for excursions to beaches and rivers. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities.
Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications in Cairns, Australia, with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience. Australian flagged, and staffed entirely by an Australian and New Zealand crew, your experience aboard Coral Discoverer will be unique.
Your package includes:
- 10 night Expedition Voyage aboard Coral Discoverer
- Expert Expedition Team and Guest Lecturer
- Daily guided excursions on the Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels, and kayaks where conditions allow
- Small batch local dining, prepared fresh onboard: buffet breakfasts, buffet lunches and table d’hote dinners
- Showcase wines, selected beers and soft drinks with lunch and dinner service
- 24 hour coffee and selection of teas
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access with the Captain
- Comprehensive and fully guided sightseeing in each destination
- All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
PLUS! Ultimate Cruising guests also receive chauffeur driven luxury car transfers from your home to the airport and return (within 35km).
Ask us about Coral Expeditions' on-board health and safety policy.
Highlights & Ports of Call
- Experience the vibrant art, culture and natural beauty of the Torres Strait Islands, including community visits of Badu and Moa Islands
- Land at the northernmost tip of Australia at Pajinka on Cape York for a sunset or sunrise champagne toast
- Snorkel remote reefs and bird-watch at Davie Cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef
- Explore Lizard Island’s reefs and beaches and hike to historic Cook’s Look
- Share time with local artists and purchase from the source in community art centres
- View rock art at Stanley Island, with interpretation by a traditional owner guide
- Learn about Indigenous culture and maritime history at Cooktown and Restoration Island
No two cruises with Coral Expeditions will be the same, with each expedition crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling.
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.
REMOTE OSPREY REEF
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 our visit is subject to appropriate weather conditions.
STANLEY REEF & DAVIE REEF
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.
FORBES ISLAND & RESTORATION ISLAND
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. We 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, we enjoy sundowner drinks and the company of like-minded explorers as we 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, we 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.
Visit the art centre and join in print, weaving and jewellery making workshops with local artists. Watch a traditional dance performance and listen to the gorgeous harmonies of the local singers.
Join an informative tour of Thursday Island to learn about its interesting pearling history and multicultural influences. At Thursday Island we also have free time to explore all the island has to offer, including Gab Titui Cultural Centre and local shopping.
As we set off on our final Xplorer ride, our incredible adventure of Australia’s North comes to an end. At 8:00 am we arrive at Horn Island, with the option for a post-cruise tour.
There are daily flights to Cairns from Horn Island Airport. These are not included in the cruise fare.
Departure Dates & Pricing
Departs Cairns 03 November 2021 or 12 October 2022.
Pricing starts from A$10,900 per person share twin. All pricing is in Australian Dollars and subject to change at any time. Please ask us for best available pricing at time of booking.
NOTE: Itinerary also operates in reverse.
- Luxury Expedition
- Meals + Wine
- On-Board Lecturer
- Shore Excursions
- Solo Traveller Friendly
- Tonnage 1779
- Crew 24
- Capacity 72
- Length 63M
- Luxury Expeditions
- Soft Adventures
Fully equipped with latest technology active stabilizers, modern safety and navigation equipment, tender vessel that can seat all 72 passengers, an Australian and New Zealand crew, Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications in Cairns, Australia, with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience. Images courtesy of Coral Expeditions
Solo Traveller Friendly