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North & South Great Barrier Reef Cruise (Northbound from Cairns)

8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,497

Combine two fabulous journeys of the northern and southern Great Barrier Reefs for an incredible eight days. Enjoy the beauty that abounds here and discover the local wildlife.

If you haven’t explored the Great Barrier Reef on the water, you really haven’t explored it at all. This journey pairs two of our best cruises, departing Cairns for picturesque Lizard Island, before returning along the outer edges of the Reef, bound for Pelorus Island.

Cruise by Double Island and Palm Cove to Cooktown, the northernmost town of Australia’s east coast. Explorer James Cook beached his vessel here in 1770. His crew made numerous discoveries while the ship was repaired, including what is believed to be the first sighting by Europeans of a kangaroo. Today however, visitors need only visit Cooktown’s Botanic Garden to see kangaroos, wallabies and other native animals. A marine biologist joins you for a glass bottom boat tour.

Save some energy for Lizard Island, where your guide will take you on a walk to ‘Cook’s Look’ for spectacular views out over the surrounding islands. You’ll have the opportunity to try snorkeling or SCUBA diving before going on to spectacular Ribbon Reefs. The coral gardens here showcase the Great Barrier Reef at its most spectacular. The fish are joined by sea turtles, giant clams, rays, and over 200 distinct species of birds, for the ultimate underwater wildlife experience. Return to Cairns to commence the southbound component of your voyage.

After a delicious lunch at Trinity Bay, a marine biologist will prepare you for the chance to feed some of the Reef’s tropical fish. This unique environment is home to over 1200 species of fish and 500 species of coral. Close to the Queensland shore, cruise through Hinchinbrook Channel, keeping an eye out for its spectacular sea life including crocodiles, dolphins, turtles and dugongs.

At Pelorus Island, enjoy a gourmet beach BBQ and guided nature walk. Spectacular fringing reefs surround this lesser known paradise. Strap on your snorkel, join our dive instructor or climb aboard a glass bottom boat to explore. Or just enjoy the unspoiled beaches and crystal blue waters for the ultimate in Reef-style relaxation. Join your guide for a walk through the Dunk Island rainforest, then journey through the coral gardens of nearby Nathan Reef. One last stop takes you to beautiful Fitzroy Island before returning to Cairns.


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8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,497

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Depart Cairns

Board Coral Discoverer at 4:00pm where there is time to settle into your cabin before our 5:00pm departure. Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard as the cruise heads northwards from Cairns toward Cooktown. At days end join fellow explorers and crew for the Captain's Welcome Drinks.

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration7 Nights

Coral Discoverer

More Info

  • Coral Discoverer

    Built for comfort and safety, the Coral Discoverer provides the luxury and convenience of larger cruise ships, yet with just 72 passengers, is small enough access sites beyond the reach of larger vessels. The Coral Discoverer features plenty of open deck space and air-conditioned lounge …

    Built for comfort and safety, the Coral Discoverer provides the luxury and convenience of larger cruise ships, yet with just 72 passengers, is small enough access sites beyond the reach of larger vessels. The Coral Discoverer features plenty of open deck space and air-conditioned lounge areas for guest comfort. There are outdoor and indoor bars and single-seating dining indoors. Its 2016 refurbishment has brought on board amenities to an even higher level -- the Sun Deck is a new social space and hub of on board community, underneath of which is a covered deck area complete with round bar, a sundeck with lounges and an area for outdoor exercise equipment. Our captain welcomes you on the bridge to observe ship operations and have a friendly chat. Coral Discoverer excursions are made on board the specially-designed excursion vessel 'Xplorer', and a fleet of inflatable Zodiacs.


    • Air Conditioning
    • Bar
    • Gift Shop
    • Laundry Facilities (Surcharge)
    • Library
    • Lounge
    • Scuba Diving
    • Spa/Jacuzzi
    • Sundeck
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 2


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, we 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 exhibition off the aft deck.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

Lizard Island

We 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 from the beach at Watson's Bay, relax on the white-sand beach 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.

(Note: Tours of the Lizard Island Research Station are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed due to operational considerations.)

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

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.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Ribbon Reef #9 and Hope Island

Due to their location far offshore from the Australian coast, the Ribbon Reefs offer excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities, with Ribbon Reef #9 a favourite 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Daintree River and Ribbon Reef #3

With an expert guide onboard, we look for the region's famed wildlife such as saltwater crocodiles, rare and endangered cassowaries and the prolific bird species that inhabit the forest and mangrove-lined river banks. We step ashore at a Daintree wilderness centre 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. Cruising southwards along the Ribbon Reefs, there are more spectacular diving and snorkeling opportunities at Ribbon Reef #3 where we look for iconic species as well as the vibrantly coloured coral gardens the Ribbon Reefs are renowned for.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Fitzroy Island and Sudbury Cay

At Fitzroy Island enjoy a walk through the Secret Garden rainforest or for the more adventurous, a walk to the de-commissioned lighthouse rewards hikers with panoramic views of Coral Sea, islands and mainland mountain ranges. Snorkel over the fringing reef, relax on the beach and lend a hand to the volunteers as you learn about the turtles at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where sick and injured turtles are cared for before being returned to the wild.

Late in the afternoon, we arrive at Sudbury Cay, a tiny sand cay that barely rises above the Coral Sea. Far removed from the bustle of civilization, slip off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes as the tropical waters of the Coral Sea lap gently against the shoreline. 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, enjoying the Captain's Farewell Drinks at sunset on our own private sand island.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Arrive Cairns

Our Great Barrier Reef adventure concludes in Cairns this morning as we bid farewell to new-found friends, the Master and crew, disembarking at 8:00am.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


Departs Cairns every Monday at 5.00pm and ending in Cairns on Monday at 1.30pm


  • Accommodation for 7 nights on board the Coral Princess or Coral Princess II
  • Presentations by a marine biologist
  • An introductory scuba experience for first time divers
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Glass bottom boat
  • Access to the marine and national parks
  • All meals including morning and afternoon tea, 24 hour tea, coffee and soda fountain


  • Visas
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • International and Domestic airfare and airfare taxes unless specified
  • Travel insurance.
  • Costs associated with scuba diving are not included.


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seats/space and all pricing subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request.


13 Oct 2021
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