The Cape York and Arnhem Land expedition is a fascinating tapestry that immerses keen explorers in the very best of Australia’s northern coastline.
Guests onboard will explore some of the finest locations of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, enjoy sunrise at the very ‘Tip of Australia’ at Cape York, before venturing into the remote Arnhem Land Coast and the rarely visited Tiwi Islands. Join us aboard Coral Discoverer in Cairns for a remarkable 11-night voyage of discovery to Darwin, visiting otherwise inaccessible locations and developing a rich understanding of the culture of the traditional owners of the Torres Strait and Arnhem Land.
At the start of your expedition, choose to swim and snorkel in the clear tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the northern reef and tour the fascinating Lizard Island Research Station to learn how scientists are preserving the Reef for future generations. Savour a glass of champagne as the sun rises over the northern ‘Tip of Australia’ on the Cape York Peninsula and discover the fascinating history of the Torres Strait Islands.
As you travel West, you’ll meet artists who have exhibited in galleries around the world, and visit remote art centres. You’ll learn of the Macassan sailors of the 17th century as we cruise the Arnhem Land coast, and experience the warm hospitality of the rarely-visited Tiwi Islanders as they share their ancient culture and traditional lifestyles with us.
- Be immersed in the world’s oldest surviving culture in Arnhem Land
- Spend a full day exploring the rugged Cobourg Peninsula for historical ruins and fascinating wildlife
- With a local guide, visit the remote and culturally rich Tiwi Islands
- Learn about Indigenous art at Elcho Island and Maningrida Art Centres
- Stand on the very tip of Australia at Cape York for a champagne sunrise
- Visit Thursday Island and learn about the cultures of the Torres Strait
- Explore Lizard Island and the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef
- Discover the Arnhem Land coast, once the trading ground of the Macassan people
This itinerary is also available in reverse.
DAY 1: DEPART CAIRNS
Enjoy lunch on board 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.
Explore secluded Lizard Island, one of the most beautiful islands on the Queensland Coast, and venture into the crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkelling or take a walk along the white sand beach. The more energetic may join our guides on a walk to ‘Cook’s Look’ on the island’s peak and the highest lookout on this part of the reef. From this high point, Captain Cook was able to navigate a safe passage back through the treacherous waters after repairing the HMB 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.
FLINDERS GROUP AND 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 snorkelling and observe the large seabird rookery.
Enjoy a day exploring Forbes Island, an excellent spot for swimming or snorkelling from the pristine sandy beaches. Take a walk to the grave of beche-de-mer fisherman Frederick Lancaster.
NORTHERNMOST POINT: CAPE YORK
Go ashore at the northernmost point of the Australian continent as the sun rises, and sip champagne to welcome the new day.
THE TORRES STRAIT ISLANDS
Anchoring at Thursday Island, learn about the historic pearling fleet and the cultural differences between the Torres Strait and Aboriginal peoples. You may 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 our guest lecturers.
HOLE IN THE WALL AND WESSEL ISLANDS
We travel through the narrow channel between Raragala and Guluwuru Islands, known as the ‘Hole in the Wall’.
ELCHO ISLAND: GALIWIN’KU AND GAWA
The friendly locals of Elcho Island proudly welcome us to their community this morning. Meet some of the local artists who have their unique art exhibited in the famous art galleries of the world including the Louvre. In the afternoon, visit the community and school of Gawa.
Anchor in the mighty Liverpool River and travel ashore to explore the Maningrida Art Centre, museum, and the local boutique, where hand-painted textiles can be purchased.
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.
Visit remote Bathurst Island. With local Tiwi guides, we learn of the unique culture and visit the art centre. Be welcomed with a cultural performance and basket-weaving exhibition before enjoying a traditional Australian afternoon tea of damper and billy tea.
DAY 12: ARRIVE DARWIN
Arrive in Darwin this morning for disembarkation.
Please Note: This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may occur.