Day 1: depart Cairns
Board your Coral Princess Cruises small ship for a 5pm departure from Cairns. As we depart Cairns and cruise Trinity Bay, there is time to settle in and explore your home for the next four nights. In the evening, join our crew and travelling companions on the top deck to enjoy a glass of champagne as we cruise northward, passing Double Island and the pretty beachside village of Palm Cove. Admire a spectacular sunset over the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Macalister Range.
Day 2: Cooktown
We have the morning to discover historical Cooktown. It was here that the famous explorer Captain James Cook took refuge during his voyage of discovery after claiming Australia as a British colony in 1770. You have the option to visit Cooktown’s fascinating historical museum, featuring original artefacts from Cook’s ship – Endeavour. See the original anchor and cannon, jettisoned overboard after Endeavour struck a reef and began taking on water. Cooktown is steeped in history with most stone buildings dating back almost a century. Enjoy time to discover Cooktown at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Botanic Gardens, where you may catch a glimpse of some native Australian wildlife including Kangaroos and Wallabies.
This afternoon we visit one of the remote uninhabited islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Join our marine biologist for a glass bottom boat tour over the colourful coral gardens and discover some of the 1500 species of tropical fish that call the reef home. You may wish to enjoy our first snorkelling opportunity for an up-close view of the hundreds of varieties of coral growing on this section of reef. Our experienced crew will be on hand to provide assistance, advice and guided snorkelling tours for less experienced swimmers.
Day 3: Lizard Island
This morning we awaken moored beside beautiful Lizard Island. The energetic may join our guides on a walk to “Cook’s Look” on the island’s peak. It was from here, the highest lookout on this part of the reef, that 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. Lizard Island’s fringing reef, in the shallow waters just metres off the beach, offers some fantastic snorkelling opportunities. Discover giant clams and a profusion of fish. Simply relax on the beach, join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour, or for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, accompany our Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive. The choice is yours! This afternoon we cruise to Ribbon Reef No 9, a spectacular and seldom visited part of the reef where our activities will include more snorkelling opportunities and glass bottom boat tours with the Marine Biologist.
Day 4: Ribbon Reef & Rachel Carson Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is not actually one continuous reef, but a series of thousands of individual coral cays stretching over 1800 miles between the town of Bundaberg and the tip of Australia at Cape York. We spend today visiting two of the most spectacular sections of the reef, Ribbon Reef No 3 and Rachel Carson Reef. Explore the coral gardens and marine life with guided snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours. Our Marine Biologist will explain the natural history and evolution of the reef and help you discover the local wildlife, which includes sea turtles, giant clams, rays and over 200 different species of native birds. Today will also be your last opportunity to experience the reef through SCUBA diving, so allow our Dive Instructor to guide you on an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. This evening, we enjoy our final memorable night cruising the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 5: arrive Cairns
Farewell our Captain, crew and new-found friends before disembarking at Trinity Wharf in Cairns early this morning.
Note: Due to weather, tides or mechanical reasons the itinerary may be subject to change without notice.