10 Night Cruise sailing from Cairns to Horn Island aboard Coral Discoverer.
This new itinerary onboard Coral Discoverer focuses on an immersive exploration of the remote Torres Strait Islands, where unique nature, Indigenous culture and history abound. The voyage traverses the Tropical North Queensland coastline and unique islands and reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, reaching the tip of Australia at Cape York, and extending to the cultural crossroads of the Torres Strait Islands.
The Torres Islands are unlike anywhere else on earth. Each of the almost 300 islands are unique and very few are inhabited. Few visitors come to these islands due to limited transport options and permits, but those joining us onboard will enjoy this rare opportunity hassle-free. We have been visiting these islands as part of our Cape York and Arnhem Land expeditions for over 2 decades and have developed strong friendships with locals who welcome us to this little slice of paradise.
Day 1: Depart Cairns
Board Coral Discoverer at Cairns Trinity Wharf on 21 October or 11 November 2021 at 4pm for a 5pm departure. Enjoy afternoon tea onboard and a chance to meet your fellow travellers as we set sail northwards. This evening join guests and the friendly crew as we enjoy the Captain’s welcome drinks and sit down to the first of many delicious dinners.
Day 2: Cooktown
Discover historic Cooktown, with buildings dating back to the 1870s. 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.
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 colourful coral and visit the Lizard Island Research Station.
Day 4: Stanley Island, Davie Reef & Davie 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, snorkelling or glass-bottom boat tours and see Brown Boobie Bird colonies at Davie Cay.
Day 5: Tijou Reef & Restoration Island
Enjoy snorkel, scuba and glass-bottom boat opportunities of the remote Tijou Reef.
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.
Day 6: Forbes Island & Remote Islets
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.
Day 7: Cape York & Thursday Island (Waiben)
Step ashore at the northernmost point of the Australian mainland continent as the sun rises, and sip champagne to welcome the new day.
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.
Day 8: Badu Island
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 crayfish, fresh & curried fish. Spend the afternoon swimming at a local beach, hosted by traditional owners.
Day 9: Moa Island
Visit the art centre and join in print, weaving and jewellery making workshops with local artists. Watch a traditional dance performance, listen to the gorgeous harmonies of the local singers.
Day 10: Torres Strait Island – Expedition Stop
In true expedition style, we will follow the conditions on the day to choose another Torres Strait Island to spend the day visiting, with a chance for cultural experiences and to relax in the pristine and scenic natural surrounds. Potential islands we may visit include Hammond, Prince of Wales, Mer or Erub depending on the conditions on the day.
Day 11: Horn Island
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.
Please note, while prices and inclusions are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to changes in cruise line policies and pricing and due to currency fluctuations. Currency surcharges may apply. Please check details of price and inclusions at time of booking.