a cove with white sand turquoise water, greenery and small ships anchored next to lizard island australia
australia small ship cruise passengers relax on chairs at the beach during sunset with a calm ocean in front of them
a small ship sits anchored in an australian cove with rough ground in the foreground and puffy clouds in the background
a pristine sea shell in the foreground with the ocean of cape york and arnhem land australia at sunset in the background
travelers explore a rocky shoreline at sunset on the Cape York and Arnhem Land small ship cruise
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Asia / Pacific Australia Cruise

Cape York & Arnhem Land

On this 11- or 12-day Cape York-based expedition of the remote Northern Australian coastline, cruise between Cairns and either Horn Island or Darwin to experience traditions unchanged for centuries, sacred rock art and remote lands only permitted accessible by a fortunate few. Become immersed in the ancient indigenous cultures and prehistoric landscapes found along the northern reaches of Australia’s coastline. Land at the northernmost tip of Australia at Pajinka on Cape York for a champagne toast. Learn and understand the song-lines and lore that shaped this ancient culture, and allow your expert guide to interpret ancient rock art. This journey follows in the wake of Captain James Cook’s voyage of discovery into the communities and cultures of the people of this remarkable coast almost 250 years ago.

The 12-day Cape York & Arnhem Land itinerary (operating east- and westbound) features both northeastern and northern Australian coastline, visiting sites in both Queensland and the Northern Territories. This voyage of discovery takes you far off the beaten track with unique visits to Arnhem Land. An anthropologic journey, this Australian small ship cruise explores the rich cultures of the Tiwi and the Torres Strait, where guests are warmly welcomed to the country. Journey into traditional lands from Cape York and into Yolngu territory in Arnhem Land. See how generations have passed on artistic traditions and how this important cultural legacy is being kept alive today at world renowned art centers.

The 11-day Torres Strait and Cape York itinerary (operating north- and southbound) focuses on northeastern Australia’s Queensland coastline. Experience the vibrant art, culture and natural beauty of the Torres Strait Islands, including community visits of Badu and Moa Islands. Experience remote Osprey Reef, called an “oasis for living creatures of all kinds” by Sir David Attenborough. 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 centers. And learn about Indigenous culture and maritime history at Cooktown and Restoration Island. Every 11-day departure offers the opportunity to SCUBA dive (additional cost) with highly qualified, experienced and popular Dive Instructors who provide an outstanding service to all guests. Dive Instructors patiently guide those who have never dived before through a resort dive program and expertly guide certified open-water divers to quality dive sites. A comprehensive range of dive equipment, including wetsuits, is provided.

Passage is aboard either the 120-guest Coral Adventurer or the 72-guest Coral Discoverer. Both expedition ships feature a uniquely Australian onboard atmosphere with stylish furnishings, considerable deck space and modern facilities. While exploring Australia’s northernmost territory, appreciate either ship’s glass-bottom boat and Xplorer tender with a water-activity platform for easy entry into the water.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Australia cruises and Australia trips.



Itinerary

Cape York & Arnhem Land: Westbound Itinerary

The 12-day westbound Cape York & Arnhem Land cruise begins in Cairns, travels north to Cape York then west to Darwin, Australia. 

Route map of westbound Cape York & Arnhem Land cruise in Australia, operating between Darwin and Cairns with visits to Tiwi Islands, Cobourg Peninsula, Maningrida, Nhulunbuy (Gove) & the islands of Elcho, Wessel, Thursday, Badu, Moa, Magra, Forbes, Stanley & Lizard.
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Day 1
Embark Cairns, Australia

Board for a 5:00pm departure. Meet and mingle with fellow guests and crew at the captain’s welcome drinks party.

Accommodations

Coral Adventurer, Coral Discoverer

Meals

dinner

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Days 2 - 11
Exploration of Cape York & Arnhem Land

No two Cape York & Arnhem Land cruises are the same. Each expedition is crafted by experienced captains and expedition leaders around weather and community requirements. Below is a selection of the key destinations visited.

Lizard Island

Explore secluded Lizard Island, one of the most beautiful islands on the Queensland coast. Venture into the crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling or take a walk along the sparkling white beach. An energetic guided walk leads to Cook’s Look—from this peak, Captain James Cook was able to sight a navigable passage through the treacherous reef after repairing the HMS Endeavour near Cooktown over 250 years ago. A photographer’s delight, the views from the lookout over the World Heritage-listed reef and surrounding tropical islands are magnificent.

Flinders Group & Davie Reef

Visit Stanley Island in the Flinders Group and view the isolated Endaen Aboriginal rock art depicting the first sailing ships to visit Queensland shores. At Davie Reef, enjoy swimming and snorkeling and observe the large seabird rookery.

Forbes Island

Enjoy a day exploring Forbes Island, an excellent spot for swimming or snorkeling from the pristine sandy beaches. Take a walk to the grave of beche-de-mer fisherman Frederick Lancaster.

Northernmost Point of Cape York

Go ashore at the northernmost point of the Australian continent and sip champagne to celebrate this special moment while the sun rises.

Thursday Island, Torres Strait Islands

Anchoring at Thursday Island, learn about the historic pearling fleet and the cultural differences between the Torres Strait and Aboriginal peoples. Possibly also visit other Torres Strait islands, such as Badu or Moa.

Cruising the Gulf of Carpentaria

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea with time to attend informative presentations by guest lecturers.

Nhulunbuy (Gove)  

Join the expedition leader to discover this frontier town of Nhulunbuy and experience local culture, industry and history. After lunch, visit the renowned Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Center at Yirrkala. 

Hole in the Wall & Wessel Islands

The ship travels through the narrow channel between Raragala and Guluwuru Islands, known as the “Hole in the Wall.”

Elcho Island: Galiwin’ku & Gawa

The friendly locals of Elcho Island proudly welcome all to their community. Meet some of the local artists who have their unique art exhibited in the famous art galleries of the world including the Louvre. Then visit the community and school of Gawa.

Liverpool River & Maningrida

Anchor in the mighty Liverpool River and travel ashore to explore the Maningrida Art Center, museum, and the local boutique, where hand-painted textiles can be purchased.

Cobourg Peninsula

Discover Garig Gunak Barlu National Park on the Cobourg Peninsula. Join Park Rangers in Port Essington, famous for the failed Victoria Settlement, and explore the ruins while learning about the fascinating history of this early colonial outpost.

Tiwi Islands

Visit remote Bathurst Island. With local Tiwi guides, learn about the unique culture and visit the art center. Be welcomed with a cultural performance and basket-weaving exhibition before enjoying a traditional Australian afternoon tea of damper and billy tea.

Accommodations

Coral Adventurer, Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 12
Disembark Darwin, Australia

Arrive into Darwin (the capital of the Northern Territory and gateway to the Top End) and disembark at 8:30am.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations as booked; cruise transportation; all meals onboard; 24-hour coffee and tea; showcase wines and selected beers with lunch and dinner service; excursions and sightseeing, daily lectures and briefings, use of Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels; use of all onboard facilities, including comprehensive range of library and video resources; use of snorkeling equipment such as masks, fins, flotation vests and wetsuits.

Exclusions

Pre- and post-flights and transfers; personal items such as telephone, internet charges, laundry, bar charges, travel insurance.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. A name change/transfer of the booking to another person is considered a cancellation and cancellation penalties will apply. A $200(AUD) per person fee may be charged for any amendments not requiring a date change after booking is confirmed. There is a $500(AUD) per person fee if a date change is made more than 90 days before departure. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The westbound Cape York & Arnhem Land cruise begins in Cairns, Queensland Australia (CNS), and ends in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia (DRW). Plan flights to arrive to Cairns in time for a 4:00pm boarding and 5:00pm departure on day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Darwin following the 8:30am disembarkation on day 12.

We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Arrival and departure times vary for alternative itineraries; inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

For Coral Expeditions I departures, a mid-itinerary charter flight between Gove and Horn Island is included in the trip price, as well as two hotel nights ashore. There is a strict luggage limit of 15 lbs (7 kg) for a small overnight bag on the charter flight; main luggage will remain on board while the ship relocates between Gove and Horn Island. There is no option to pay for additional luggage. Hotel nights ashore are at the Walkabout Lodge in Gove and the Gateway Torres Strait Resort on Horn Island.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include land treks, historical visits, swimming, snorkeling, wildlife observation, beachcombing, cultural visits and Xplorer tours.

Room Configuration

Limited double occupancy cabins for solo use may be available at a sole use rate in the Promenade Deck B category. Bookings made via the sole use rate are confirmed, with the option to request a cabin share; share requests made without a solo use rate booking are not guaranteed unless a match is found, accepted by both travelers and confirmed by the reservations team.

If you would like to share accommodation with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to take your details and try to connect you with a suitable match. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate if a match is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Kids 12 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates; exceptions for children 11 years and under may be allowed with special pre-approval.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

As a condition of travel, guests must provide evidence of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR complete a credit card authorization form for expenses incurred during a medical evacuation. Proof of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR a completed authorization form must be provided prior to boarding.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Cape York & Arnhem Land: Eastbound Itinerary

The 12-day eastbound Cape York & Arnhem Land cruise begins in Darwin, travels east to Cape York then south to Cairns, Australia. 

Route map of eastbound Cape York & Arnhem Land cruise in Australia, operating between Cairns and Darwin with visits to Cooktown, Lizard Island, Magra Islet, Piper Island Group, Bremer Island, Hole in the Wall & Cobourg Peninsula.
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Day 1
Embark Darwin, Australia

Board for a 5:00pm departure. Meet and mingle with fellow guests and crew at the captain’s welcome drinks party.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

dinner

Read More
Days 2 - 11
Exploration of Cape York & Arnhem Land

No two Cape York & Arnhem Land cruises are the same. Each expedition is crafted by experienced captains and expedition leaders around weather and community requirements. Below is a selection of the key destinations visited.

Tiwi Islands

Visit Bathurst Island in the Tiwi Islands, known as the “Island of the Smiles.” With local Tiwi guides, explore the Early Mission Precinct and unique Tiwi-style Catholic Church, visit Tiwi ladies as they work on weaving on painting, and experience a totem dance and traditional smoking ceremony before enjoying some homemade damper at morning tea and visiting the local Arts and Crafts center.

Cobourg Peninsula

Discover Garig Gunak Barlu National Park on the Cobourg Peninsula. Join Park Rangers in Port Essington, famous for the failed Victoria Settlement, and explore the ruins while learning about the fascinating history of this early colonial outpost.

Cruising Arafura Sea & The Hole in The Wall

After a relaxing day cruising the Arafura sea, arrive to Gugari Rip. Otherwise known as the “Hole in the Wall,” this narrow gap marks where one island was split in two after the last ice age. Cruise through the narrow gap on Xplorer tenders.

Bremer Island (Dhambaliya)

Go ashore to Bremer Island, or Dhambaliya as it is known to the traditional owners of the area. This island is home to an eco-sensitive beach retreat built in partnership with the Yolgnu people of the region. Spend the day beachcombing, swimming, bird watching and taking in the scenic surrounds.

Cruising The Gulf of Carpentaria

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea, attend presentations and mingle with fellow guests while cruising east towards Cape York.

The Tip of Cape York (Pajinka)

Spend the day exploring the Tip of Cape York and its surrounding islands and rivers. Depending on tides, visit the ruins of the settlement at Somerset, which was once home to the infamous Jardine family, for which the mighty Jardine River is named. Or visit Albany Island, final resting place of members of the ill-fated Kennedy expedition. Finish the day going ashore at Pajinka—the most northerly point of mainland Australia—to enjoy sunset sippers while watching the sunset.

Remote Islands of Cape York

Depending on tides, visit Magra Islet or the Piper Islands National Group for beachcombing. Or perhaps Restoration Island, known as Ma’alpiku to the Kuuku Y’au people: in May 1789 it was where Captain Bligh, after the mutiny on the Bounty, first set foot on Australian soil. It is now the home to millionaire castaway David Glasheen.

Stanley Island (Yindayin)

Go ashore at Stanley Island and walk to an aboriginal rock art gallery. This is a unique art site seldom visited due to its isolated location, and shows unique examples of contact period rock art. Depending on tides, go ashore at Flinders Island (Wurriima) or perhaps land on the beach at Cape Melville, a remote national park characterized by the massive tumbled boulders of the Melville range. This area is known as Othawa to the aboriginal traditional owners.

Lizard Island (Jiigurru)

Experience an unforgettable day at one of the most beautiful islands on the Queensland coast, Lizard Island (Jiigurru). Climb to Cook’s Look summit, where Lieutenant James Cook looked for a safe passage for his ship Endeavour in 1770. Walk to Mary Watson’s cottage and hear the tragic story of her time here. Swim and snorkel in the lagoon over the fringing reef and giant clam garden. Jiigurru is a sacred place for the Dingaal aboriginal people. It was here that young boys were brought for initiation and that important meetings between Elders of neighboring clans were held. These islands also provided a base for collecting shellfish, fish, turtles and dugong.

Cooktown

Visit historic Cooktown where Captain Cook took refuge during his voyage of discovery.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 12
Disembark Cairns, Australia

Arrive in Cairns and disembark at 8:30am.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations as booked; cruise transportation; all meals onboard; 24-hour coffee and tea; showcase wines and selected beers with lunch and dinner service; excursions and sightseeing, daily lectures and briefings, use of Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels; use of all onboard facilities, including comprehensive range of library and video resources; use of snorkeling equipment such as masks, fins, flotation vests and wetsuits.

Exclusions

Pre- and post-flights and transfers; personal items such as telephone, internet charges, laundry, bar charges, travel insurance.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. A name change/transfer of the booking to another person is considered a cancellation and cancellation penalties will apply. A $200(AUD) per person fee may be charged for any amendments not requiring a date change after booking is confirmed. There is a $500(AUD) per person fee if a date change is made more than 90 days before departure. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The eastbound Cape York & Arnhem Land cruise begins in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia (DRW), and ends in Cairns, Queensland Australia (CNS). Plan flights to arrive to Darwin in time for a 7:00am boarding and 8:00am departure on day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Cairns following the 8:00am disembarkation on day 12.

We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Arrival and departure times vary for alternative itineraries; inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include land treks, historical visits, swimming, snorkeling, wildlife observation, beachcombing, cultural visits and Xplorer tours.

Room Configuration

Limited double occupancy cabins for solo use may be available at a sole use rate in the Promenade Deck B category (Coral Discoverer) or the Coral, Promenade and Explorer Deck categories (Coral Adventurer). Bookings made via the sole use rate are confirmed, with the option to request a cabin share; share requests made without a solo use rate booking are not guaranteed unless a match is found, accepted by both travelers and confirmed by the reservations team.

If you would like to share accommodation with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to take your details and try to connect you with a suitable match. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate if a match is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Kids 12 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates; exceptions for children 11 years and under may be allowed with special pre-approval.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

As a condition of travel, guests must provide evidence of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR complete a credit card authorization form for expenses incurred during a medical evacuation. Proof of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR a completed authorization form must be provided prior to boarding.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Torres Strait & Cape York: Northbound Itinerary

The 11-day northbound Torres Strait & Cape York cruise begins in Cairns and travels north to Cape York and Horn Island, Australia. 

Route map of Torres Strait & Cape York cruise in Australia, operating between Cairns and Horn Island with visits to Cooktown, Lizard Island, Stanley Island, Osprey Reef & the islands of Restoration, Forbes, Moa, Badu & Thursday.
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Day 1
Embark Cairns, Australia

Board for a 5:00pm departure. Enjoy afternoon tea on board and a chance to meet fellow travelers as the ship sets sail northwards. This evening join guests and the friendly crew at the captain’s welcome drinks and sit down to the first of many delicious dinners.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Cooktown

Discover historic Cooktown, with buildings dating back to the 1870’s. Choose a guided indigenous cultural tour or a guided Cooktown historic tour. Also take 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.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Lizard Island

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 colorful coral and visit the Lizard Island Research Station.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Remote Osprey Reef

Osprey Reef is the summit of an undersea mountain that’s over 6,500 feet below, 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 this visit is subject to appropriate weather conditions.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Stanley Island & 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, snorkeling or glass-bottom boat tours and see brown boobie bird colonies at Davie Cay.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Forbes Island & Restoration Island

Enjoy a day exploring Forbes Island, an excellent spot for swimming, scuba, snorkeling 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. Also visit the beach at a nearby remote islandpossibly 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 roughly 380 feet in height and a beautiful shark-tooth-shaped beach spit where all can enjoy water activities and time to explore the island.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
The Tip of Cape York

This morning explore historical sites at Albany Island or Somerset. Later, surrounded by glistening sea and bathed in the glow of twilight, enjoy sundowner drinks and the company of like-minded explorers while relaxing and watching the sun gently sink below the horizon at the Tip of Cape York—the northernmost point of the Australian mainland continent.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Badu Island

In the morning, visit the indigenous art center to watch printmakers at work, with the opportunity to purchase prints. 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.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Moa Island

Visit the art center and join in print, weaving and jewelry-making workshops with local artists. Watch a traditional dance performance and listen to the gorgeous harmonies of the local singers.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Thursday Island (Waiben)

Join an informative tour of Thursday Island to learn about its interesting pearling history and multicultural influences. Also enjoy free time to explore all the island has to offer, including the Gab Titui Cultural Center and local shopping.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
Disembark Horn Island, Australia

Set off on the final Xplorer tender ride as this incredible adventure of Australia’s North comes to an end. At 8:00am, 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.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations as booked; cruise transportation; all meals onboard; 24-hour coffee and tea; showcase wines and selected beers with lunch and dinner service; excursions and sightseeing, daily lectures and briefings, use of Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels; use of all onboard facilities, including comprehensive range of library and video resources; use of snorkeling equipment such as masks, fins, flotation vests and wetsuits plus a free scuba skills lesson.

Exclusions

Pre- and post-flights and transfers; personal items such as telephone, internet charges, laundry, bar charges, travel insurance; scuba diving.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. A name change/transfer of the booking to another person is considered a cancellation and cancellation penalties will apply. A $200(AUD) per person fee may be charged for any amendments not requiring a date change after booking is confirmed. There is a $500(AUD) per person fee if a date change is made more than 90 days before departure. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The northbound Torres Strait & Cape York cruise begins in Cairns, Queensland Australia (CNS), and ends on Horn Island, Queensland Australia (HID). Plan flights to arrive to Cairns in time for a 4:00pm boarding and 5:00pm departure on Day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Horn Island following the 8:30am disembarkation on Day 11.

We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Arrival and departure times vary for alternative itineraries; inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include land treks, historical visits, swimming, snorkeling, wildlife observation, beachcombing, cultural visits and Xplorer tours. Scuba diving is offered at an additional cost.

Room Configuration

Limited double occupancy cabins for solo use may be available at a sole use rate in the Promenade Deck B category. Bookings made via the sole use rate are confirmed, with the option to request a cabin share; share requests made without a solo use rate booking are not guaranteed unless a match is found, accepted by both travelers and confirmed by the reservations team.

If you would like to share accommodation with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to take your details and try to connect you with a suitable match. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate if a match is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Kids 12 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates; exceptions for children 11 years and under may be allowed with special pre-approval.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

As a condition of travel, guests must provide evidence of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR complete a credit card authorization form for expenses incurred during a medical evacuation. Proof of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR a completed authorization form must be provided prior to boarding.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Torres Strait & Cape York: Southbound Itinerary

The 11-day southbound Torres Strait & Cape York cruise begins on Horn Island, visits Cape York and then travels south to Cairns, Australia. 

Route map of Torres Strait & Cape York cruise in Australia, operating between Cairns and Horn Island with visits to Cooktown, Lizard Island, Stanley Island, Osprey Reef & the islands of Restoration, Forbes, Moa, Badu & Thursday.
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Day 1
Embark Horn Island, Australia

There are daily flights to Horn Island Airport from Cairns. These are not included in the cruise fare.

Consider an optional pre-cruise tour of Horn Island. Board for a 5:00pm departure. Enjoy afternoon tea on board and a chance to meet fellow travelers as the ship sets sail northwards. This evening join guests and the friendly crew at the captain’s welcome drinks and sit down to the first of many delicious dinners.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Thursday Island (Waiben)

Join an informative tour of Thursday Island to learn about its interesting pearling history and multicultural influences. Also enjoy free time to explore all the island has to offer, including the Gab Titui Cultural Center and local shopping.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Moa Island

Visit the art center and join in print, weaving and jewelry-making workshops with local artists. Watch a traditional dance performance and listen to the gorgeous harmonies of the local singers.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Badu Island

This morning explore historical sites at Albany Island or Somerset. Later, surrounded by glistening sea and bathed in the glow of twilight, enjoy sundowner drinks and the company of like-minded explorers while relaxing and watching the sun gently sink below the horizon at the Tip of Cape Yorkthe northernmost point of the Australian mainland continent.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Forbes Island & Restoration Island

Enjoy a day exploring Forbes Island, an excellent spot for swimming, scuba, snorkeling 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.

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 roughly 380 feet in height and a beautiful shark-tooth-shaped beach spit where all can enjoy water activities and time to explore the island.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Stanley Island, Davie Reef & Cay

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, snorkeling or glass-bottom boat tours and see brown boobie bird colonies at Davie Cay.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Remote Osprey Reef

Osprey Reef is the summit of an undersea mountain that’s over 6,500 feet below, 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 this visit is subject to appropriate weather conditions.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Lizard Island

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 colorful coral and visit the Lizard Island Research Station.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Cooktown

Discover historic Cooktown, with buildings dating back to the 1870’s. Choose a guided indigenous cultural tour or a guided Cooktown historic tour. Also take 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 farewell drinks this evening on a remote island.

Accommodations

Coral Discoverer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
Disembark Cairns, Australia

The incredible adventure of Australia’s North comes to an end. Arrive at Cairns at 8:00am.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations as booked; cruise transportation; all meals onboard; 24-hour coffee and tea; showcase wines and selected beers with lunch and dinner service; excursions and sightseeing, daily lectures and briefings, use of Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels; use of all onboard facilities, including comprehensive range of library and video resources; use of snorkeling equipment such as masks, fins, flotation vests and wetsuits plus a free scuba skills lesson.

Exclusions

Pre- and post-flights and transfers; personal items such as telephone, internet charges, laundry, bar charges, travel insurance; scuba diving.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. A name change/transfer of the booking to another person is considered a cancellation and cancellation penalties will apply. A $200(AUD) per person fee may be charged for any amendments not requiring a date change after booking is confirmed. There is a $500(AUD) per person fee if a date change is made more than 90 days before departure. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The southbound Torres Strait & Cape York cruise begins on Horn Island, Queensland Australia (HID), and ends in Cairns, Queensland Australia (CNS). Plan flights to arrive to Horn Island in time for a 4:00pm boarding and 5:00pm departure on Day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Cairns following the 8:30am disembarkation on Day 11.

We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Arrival and departure times vary for alternative itineraries; inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include land treks, historical visits, swimming, snorkeling, wildlife observation, beachcombing, cultural visits and Xplorer tours. Scuba diving is offered at an additional cost.

Room Configuration

Limited double occupancy cabins for solo use may be available at a sole use rate in the Promenade Deck B category. Bookings made via the sole use rate are confirmed, with the option to request a cabin share; share requests made without a solo use rate booking are not guaranteed unless a match is found, accepted by both travelers and confirmed by the reservations team.

If you would like to share accommodation with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to take your details and try to connect you with a suitable match. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate if a match is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Kids 12 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates; exceptions for children 11 years and under may be allowed with special pre-approval.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

As a condition of travel, guests must provide evidence of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR complete a credit card authorization form for expenses incurred during a medical evacuation. Proof of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR a completed authorization form must be provided prior to boarding.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Listed prices for this trip are based on foreign currency exchange rates and may vary. USD pricing will be calculated at the time of final payment based on the market conversion rate plus a 1% banking conversion fee of total invoiced amount. Please contact AdventureSmith for current pricing.

Oct 05 - Oct 16, 2022
Coral Adventurer • 12 days
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From $9365USD
Per Person
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Oct 12 - Oct 22, 2022
Coral Discoverer • 11 days
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From $8105USD
Per Person
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Oct 22 - Nov 01, 2022
Coral Discoverer • 11 days
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From $8105USD
Per Person
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Mar 23 - Apr 03, 2023
Coral Discoverer • 12 days
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From $9355USD
Per Person
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Oct 11 - Oct 22, 2023
Coral Discoverer • 12 days
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From $9355USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Small Ships on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Coral Discoverer

The 72-guest Coral Discoverer has set a benchmark standard for luxury small ship cruising in Australia and the South Pacific.

Expedition Ship
Coral Adventurer

Launched in 2019, the 120-guest Coral Adventurer Australian expedition ship offers a wine cellar, open galley, private balconies and efficient ship-to-shore operations.

Expert Review

Reviews From Our Experts so You Know What to Expect

Leslie Camacho • December 28th, 2019
Expert Aboard: Coral Adventurer Ship Review

An AdventureSmith cruise expert goes aboard in Australia to write this ship review of the 120-guest Coral Adventurer. Read about her favorite features and cabin insights.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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