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

8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,438

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 fascinating Pelorus Island, before returning along the outer edges of the Reef, bound for Lizard Island.

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 to commence the northbound component of your voyage.

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.


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8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,438

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Depart Cairns

10:30am: Board your Coral Expeditions small ship for an 11:00am departure from Cairns. As we depart Cairns and cruise Trinity Bay there is time meet your fellow travellers, settle in and explore your home for the next seven nights. After a delicious lunch we arrive at our exclusive Great Barrier Reef mooring at Thetford Reef and Sudbury Cay.

Join the Marine Biologist aboard the glass bottom boat for your first encounter with the reef before gathering on the snorkel deck to participate in a fish feed. Discover some of the 1500 species of fish that live on the reef, including Spangled Emperor, Giant Trevally and the Hump-Headed Maori Wrasse as they are hand fed by the Marine Biologist.

Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon to snorkel in the shallow waters for up-close views of the hundreds of varieties of colourful corals and tropical fish. Our experienced crew will be on hand to provide assistance, advice and guided snorkeling tours for less experienced swimmers. In the evening, join our crew and travelling companions in the top deck lounge as the sun spectacularly sets over the reef before sitting down to a memorable dinner.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration7 Nights

Coral Expeditions II

More Info

Location View map
  • Coral Expeditions II

    At just 35 metres in length, Coral Expeditions II is the ideal small ship for discovering the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Small enough to allow snorkelling directly from the ship, yet equipped with the facilities of a much larger vessel, your cruise aboard Coral …

    At just 35 metres in length, Coral Expeditions II is the ideal small ship for discovering the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Small enough to allow snorkelling directly from the ship, yet equipped with the facilities of a much larger vessel, your cruise aboard Coral Princess II will be truly memorable. Refurbished during early 2015, Coral Expeditions II is fully equipped for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef cruising experience. Australian flagged, registered and staffed, Coral Expeditions II was purpose-built for cruising in this region and is the ideal size to access the very best parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Expeditions II operates an open bridge policy, allowing you to spend time with the Captain and his maritime crew as you cruise.


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

    More Details

Day 2

Hinchinbrook Channel

Awaken this morning as we cruise the spectacular Hinchinbrook Channel, discovering Hinchinbrook Island's towering cliffs and mangrove eco-systems. Subject to tides, we will cruise the length of the channel, separating the Australian mainland and the island, one of the most diverse marine environments on the Australian coast.

Keep an eye out for myriad marine life including crocodiles, dolphins, turtles and dugongs, all of which feed on the region's plentiful sea grasses and can often be seen frolicking in these waters. Next, enjoy the afternoon to discover your very own tropical island paradise. We invite you to join us on the beach for a gourmet beach BBQ, freshly prepared by the Captain.

Then, explore the surrounding rainforest on a guided nature walk. The islands fringing reef, in the shallow waters just metres off the beach, offers some fantastic snorkelling opportunities. Admire the colourful corals from the glass bottom boat with the Marine Biologist, accompany our Dive Instructor on a guided SCUBA dive or simply relax on the long stretch of golden beach, the choice is yours!

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

Dunk Island and Reef

This morning join our naturalist guides on a fascinating rainforest walk discovering Dunk Island's unique flora and fauna. We may be lucky enough to see the brightly coloured bluewinged Ulysses Butterfly, impossible to miss against the ancient rainforest background. Keen birdwatchers should keep an eye out for many of the up to 100 species of native birds recorded on the island, including the Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Emerald Dove and Orange-footed Scrubfowl.

Following lunch, discover Nathan Reef at your own pace. From our exclusive mooring experience some of the most colourful coral gardens found anywhere along the entire length of the reef. View many of the 400 different species of coral living in this World Heritage-listed wonderland. Venture in to the warm tropical waters to explore the corals and marine life on a guided snorkelling tour and join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour. For the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, take the plunge in the company of our Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive.

Later, discover some of the amazing creatures living on the reef at the on-board display tank. Enjoy the rare opportunity for a close up look at sea cucumbers, brightly coloured starfish and other marine life. Laze away the late afternoon on the sun deck, enjoying the comfortable onboard facilities.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Fitzroy Island and Cairns

Travel ashore to explore beautiful Fitzroy Island. Surrounded by a reef system that forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Fitzroy Island offers wonderful bush walking opportunities and idyllic white sandy beaches. Relax on the beach or perhaps enjoy a swim in the sheltered waters or a snorkel over the island's fringing reefs. This afternoon enjoy time to explore Cairns at your own or join an included visit to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park for a taste of indigenous culture before reboarding Coral Expeditions II. Cruise past the pretty coastal village of Palm Cove as the sun sets over the Macalister Range.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5


You have the morning to discover historic Cooktown. It was here that the famous explorer Captain James Cook took refuge during his voyage of discovery after claiming Australia as a British colony in 1770. You have the option to visit Cooktown's fascinating historical museum, featuring artifacts from Cook's ship - Endeavour. See the original anchor and cannon, jettisoned overboard after Endeavour struck a reef and began taking on water. Cooktown is steeped in history with most stone buildings dating back almost a century. Enjoy time to discover Cooktown at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Botanic Gardens, where you may catch a glimpse of native Australian wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies. This afternoon we visit one of the remote uninhabited islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Lizard Island

This morning we awaken moored beside beautiful Lizard Island. The energetic may join our guides on a walk to 'Cook's Look' on the island's peak. 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 metres off the beach, offers some fantastic snorkelling opportunities. Discover giant clams and a profusion of fish. Enjoy the remainder of the morning at your leisure.

You may wish to simply relax on the golden beach soaking up the sun, join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour, or for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, accompany our Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive. The choice is yours! This afternoon we cruise to Ribbon Reef No. 9, a spectacular and seldom visited part of the reef where our activities will include more snorkelling opportunities and glass bottom boat tours with the Marine Biologist.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is not actually one continuous reef, but a series of thousands of individual coral cays stretching over 3,000 kilometres between the town of Bundaberg and the tip of Australia at Cape York. We spend today visiting two of the most pristine sections of the reef, Ribbon Reef No. 3 and Rachel Carson Reef. Explore the coral gardens and marine life with guided snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours. Our Marine Biologist will explain the natural history and evolution of the reef and help you discover the local wildlife, which includes sea turtles, giant clams, rays and over 200 different species of native birds.

Today will also be your last opportunity to experience the reef through SCUBA diving, so allow our Dive Instructor to guide you on the experience of a lifetime. This evening, we enjoy our final memorable night cruising the Great Barrier Reef.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Arrive Cairns

Farewell our Captain, crew and new-found friends before disembarking at Trinity Wharf in Cairns.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


Departs Cairns every Friday at 11.00am and ending in Cairns on Friday at 8.00am


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


Items of a personal nature such as telephone, facsimile charges, laundry, bar charges, travel insurance.Flights are not included.Costs associated with scuba diving are not included.


Prices are "from", per person, based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates will apply, Limited seats/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability.  Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request – please inquire.

5 Mar 2021
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