Cape York and Arnhem Land (Cairns to Darwin)

Cape York and Arnhem Land (Cairns to Darwin)

From AUD $8,690


Our Cape York and Arnhem Land expedition is a fascinating voyage combining the very best of Australia’s northern coastline, exploring the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the ‘Tip of Australia’ at Cape York, the Arnhem Land Coast and the rarely visited Tiwi Islands. Join us aboard Coral Expeditions I in Cairns for a remarkable 11-night voyage of discovery to Darwin, visiting otherwise inaccessible locations and meeting the friendly indigenous people of the Torres Strait and the Top End.

Here, nature is an all powerful force; monsoon rains rejuvenate the rivers and floodplains, bringing wealth to the cattle ranchers of the savannah lands and providing the lifeblood to the inhabitants of the sleepy coastal frontier towns. The mighty estuarine or saltwater crocodile is indeed King of the Wild and the waters of the Arafura Sea are alive with a profusion of marine and bird life.

Enjoy the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the pristine coral gardens of 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 interesting World War II history of the Torres Strait Islands.

Venture ashore to meet fabulous artisans in some of the most remote villages in Australia, and meet the artists who have their paintings exhibited in the famous galleries of the world, including the Louvre in Paris. Learn of the fascinating Macassan traders of the 17th century as we cruise the Arnhem Land coast before experiencing the friendly welcome and warm hospitality of the rarely-visited Tiwi Islanders as they share with us their ancient culture and traditional lifestyles.

Join us on this incredible adventure and experience the very best that the Australian Outback has to offer.

Trip Name
Cape York and Arnhem Land (Cairns to Darwin)
Vessel Type: Motor Catamaran Length: 35 metres Passenger Capacity: 44/46 (25 cabins) Built: refurbished 2016 Coral Expeditions I is fully equipped for the ultimate expedition cruising experience in Australian coastal waters. Australian flagged, registered and staffed, the ship was purpose-built for cruising in the region and is the ideal size to access the very best parts of Western Australia’s remarkable Kimberley region, the northern coastlines of Cape York and Arnhem Land and the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. The 25 onboard rooms are bathed in natural light, with a fresh and modern decor creating a breezy feel. You can choose between double and twin bedded rooms, each fully equipped with a spacious private ensuite, air conditioning and ample storage space. The ship’s forward lounge is a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery in air-conditioned comfort, and features a comprehensive reference library and plasma screens. The Sun Deck at the rear with a new bar outdoor area added in 2016 is another popular place to relax and take in the panoramic views. Meals are served in the modern dining room, and with space for all guests to dine during one sitting and no assigned seating, meal times are a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers. Coral Expeditions I operates an open bridge policy, allowing you to spend time with the Captain and his maritime crew as we cruise. Follow our progression on the ship’s charts and chat with Captain, or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Coral Expeditions I is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment, and wireless internet facilities. FACILITIES ON BOARD Limited wireless internet available. Service quality may vary on location and weather Sun Deck with sun lounges Fully stocked cocktail bars Spacious, modern dining room Forward lounge Reference library Gift shop Open bridge Limited laundry facilities available SCUBA diving department (selected itineraries) STATEROOM ACCOMMODATION Choose from four grades of well-appointed rooms, each tastefully decorated with comfortable furnishings and original artworks. Enjoy the comforts of an en suite bathroom, featuring hairdryer and international power outlets. Rooms also feature picture windows for expansive ocean views (except some Cabin category rooms featuring portholes), ample storage space and air-conditioning. All rooms are serviced daily and feature Australian toiletries.


Day 1 - Day 1: Depart Cairns
Board Coral Expeditions I at Trinity Wharf, Cairns at 10.00am for an 11:00am departure > 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
Day 2 - Day 2: 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 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 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
Day 3 - Day 3: Stanley Island and Davey Reef
Visit Stanley Island in the Flinders Group > view the Endaen Aboriginal rock art gallery that depicts sailing ships of the last century; this is a unique art site seldom visited due to its isolated location > at Davey Reef and Cay we enjoy swimming and snorkelling and observe the large seabird rookery
Day 4 - Day 4: Forbes Island and Magra Island
Enjoy the day exploring historic Forbes Island, its reef provides some fantastic swimming and snorkelling opportunities > visit Magra Island for beachcombing and bird watching > enjoy the tropical sunset
Day 5 - Day 5: Cape York and Thursday Island
Venture ashore at Cape York as the sun rises over the ‘Tip’ on Australia’s northernmost point > sip champagne and welcome the new day > anchoring at Thursday Island, learn of the history of European settlement and the large pearling fleets > take the opportunity to observe the distinctly different cultures of the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginals whilst we tour the island > visit the Gab Titui Cultural Centre where the children perform traditional dances > at Horn Island we discover the significance of the Torres Strait during World War II > tonight, regain land legs as we stay overnight at the Gateway Torres Strait Resort on Horn Island
Day 6 - Day 6: Nhulunbuy (Gove)
Board our short charter flight across the Gulf of Carpentaria to Nhulunbuy (Gove) > upon arrival, visit the Yirrkala Art Centre > take time this afternoon to discover this frontier town before visiting Nambarra Art Centre to see some fine examples of local artwork > this evening we enjoy a relaxing stay at the Walkabout Lodge in Gove
Day 7 - Day 7: Hole in the Wall and Beach BBQ
Rejoining our ship, we cruise through the narrow ‘Hole in the Wall’ > our expert Expedition Team will share with you the fascinating history of the Macassan traders and early discoverers of the Arnhem Land coast > tonight, enjoy a gourmet Aussie beach BBQ as the sun spectacularly sets over the Arafura Sea
Day 8 - Day 8: Elcho Island Artists
The friendly locals of Elcho Island proudly welcome us to their community this morning > gain insight into their culture and meet some of the local artists who have their unique art exhibited in the famous art galleries of the world, including the Louvre > consider attending the local church service to share in the local culture
Day 9 - Day 9: Liverpool River and Maningrida
Anchor in the mighty Liverpool River > travel ashore to explore the Maningrida Art Centre, Museum and local ’boutique’, where hand painted clothing and fabrics are offered for sale > join the Expedition Team on an Xplorer tour of the river before rejoining our small ship
Day 10 - Day 10: Cobourg Peninsula
Discover the Cobourg Peninsula today > join local guides in Port Essington, famous for its failed Victoria Settlement > explore and learn about the ruins > visit the Ranger’s Interpretation Centre at Black Point
Day 11 - Day 11: Bathurst and Melville Islands
Visit remote Bathurst and Melville Islands > with traditional Tiwi people as our guides, we learn of the unique cultures and visit their fascinating art centre > our Tiwi hosts welcome us with a cultural performance and basket-weaving exhibition before we join them for a traditional Australian afternoon tea of damper and billy tea > tonight farewell new-found friends as we enjoy the Captain’s farewell drinks
Day 12 - Day 12: Arrive in Darwin
Arrive into Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory and gateway to the ‘Top End’ > disembark at 8.00am > post cruise transfers are included
Day 13 - 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 affect the operation of the vessel.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
17-03-201928-03-2019AUD $0Cabin
17-03-201928-03-2019AUD $0Stateroom
17-03-201928-03-2019AUD $0Upper Deck Stateroom
17-03-201928-03-2019AUD $0Deluxe Stateroom
17-03-201928-03-2019AUD $0Cabin Sole


    • Explore Lizard Island and the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef
    • Stand on Australia’s northern most tip at Cape York
    • Visit Thursday Island; learn about the cultures of the Torres Strait Islanders
    • View indigenous art at the Nhulunbuy art centres and on Echo Island
    • Discover the Arnhem Land coast, once the trading ground of the Macassan people from Sulawesi
    • Enjoy a gourmet Aussie Beach BBQ as the sun sets over the Arafura Sea
    • Take in the Cobourg Peninsular during a full day of exploration
    • Visit remote Bathurst and Melville Islands and learn of traditional Tiwi culture