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Australia: Great Barrier Reef Cruise

Join us for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience on this 7-night cruise. Enjoy snorkeling and scuba, glass-bottom boat excursions, rainforest walks, and tropical beaches, with many wildlife viewing opportunities.

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Overview

  • Explore the Great Barrier Reef's best marine habitats from above and below the surface, while guided by an onboard marine biologist.
  • Enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving, glass-bottom boat excursions, rainforest walks, and tropical beaches, with many wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Cruise comfortably aboard the Coral Princess II motor catamaran.
  • Available on many dates in 2016-2017—contact us for information.

Join us on a 7-night cruise to explore the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, home to a vast array of marine life that makes for an unforgettable experience with nature. As we head south from Cairns to Pelorus Island and north to Lizard Island, we visit the best parts of the reef, hike spectacular rainforest trails, and enjoy beautiful tropical islands.

Highlights along our route include the pristine Ribbon Reefs, the colorful coral gardens of Thetford and Nathan reefs, and a cruise through the mangrove-lined Hinchinbrook Channel where dugongs and dolphins are often found feeding on abundant seagrasses. The onboard marine biologist assists with wildlife sightings and identification, and provides interpretive information to enhance your experience.

We stop along our cruise route to explore rainforest-covered Dunk Island on a guided hike, and to visit historic Cooktown where you will have time to stroll through botanic gardens where wild kangaroos and wallabies are often spotted, and to visit the fascinating James Cook Museum for an insight into the importance of the town in the early days of Australian settlement. We will also visit private Pelorus Island where you will have a half day to explore the rainforest, relax on the beach, snorkel and scuba dive, and even enjoy a traditional Aussie beach BBQ.

This is the best way to explore the Great Barrier Reef!

Wildlife Highlights

Our focus will be to observe and learn about the marine wildlife and habitats that make the Great Barrier Reef so special. The reef is home to 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, 134 species of sharks and rays, over 200 bird species, 6 sea turtle species, dugongs, and more than 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. On land, we can see wild kangaroos and wallabies, rainforest birds like the Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Emerald Dove and Orange-footed Scrubfowl, colorful butterflies, lizards, and more.

Trip Dates & Cost

This expedition is offered on many dates in 2016 and 2017. Contact us to discuss availability. From $2,795 / person.*

* Trip price does not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.

Photos
Naturalist

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Cairns
Arrive in Cairns, Australia, overnight in hotel.

Days 2-7: Cruising the Great Barrier Reef
Board the Coral Princess II and embark on your journey. The next five days are spent exploring marine habitats and small islands in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site both above and below the surface. Highlights along our route include: Hinchinbrook Channel, Pelorus Island, Dunk Island, Nathan Reef, Thetford Reef, Ribbon Reefs, Lizard Island, Historic Cooktown, and Fitzroy Island.

Daily activities include options to snorkel and scuba dive, enjoy glass-bottom boat rides, go on guided rainforest walks, relax on tropical beaches, and view wildlife from the ship's deck.

Day 8: Disembark in Cairns
The ship arrives to Cairns in time to disembark at 8:00 AM.

Accommodations

Coral Princess II sundeck

The vessel we have selected for this expedition is the small ship Coral Princess II, a 115-foot (35-meter), Australian-flagged, registered, and staffed motor catamaran that is small enough to allow snorkeling directly from the ship, yet outfitted with the comforts of a much larger vessel.

The ship features 22 well-appointed rooms in 4 categories, and holds a maximum of 46 passengers. All cabins are air conditioned and equipped with en suite bath, wardrobe, and large windows (some cabin categories have port holes). The expansive sun deck features deck chairs and a spa pool for relaxing on board, and the ship has a spacious lounge with a reference library.

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