Cape York and the Great Barrier Reef Expedition

Save up to $3,000* per couple

Visit remote islands of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea en route to Thursday Island and Cape York on an expedition cruise. Stand on the tip of Australia and see marine and birdlife species while snorkelling and swimming on the reef.

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From $9,495* per person, twin share

9 days Cairns Return 


  • 8-night expedition cruise aboard the MS Caledonian Sky
  • Experiences in 9 destinations
  • Expert APT Expedition Leader and expedition team
  • Locally inspired dining - 23 meals and a wide range of onboard beverages
  • Visit remote islands on the Great Barrier Reef, including Lizard Island
  • Stand on the northernmost tip of Australia during sunset at Cape York
  • Learn of the WWII history and trading importance of Thursday Island
  • Visit Cooktown and see where Captain Cook beached the HMB Endeavour

Departures: 23 April & 12 October 2021

Trip Code: GOCYC9


Day 1: Arrive Cairns, Embark Ship

Welcome to Cairns, where we’ll meet and transfer you to the MS Caledonian Sky. Tonight gather for a welcome reception and dinner as you begin your cruise bound for remote Willis Island.

Stay: Eight Nights, MS Caledonian Sky

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Willis Island

After a morning at sea, arrive at Willis Island, where you have chance to snorkel and swim. This tiny island beyond the Great Barrier Reef is the only permanently inhabited island in the Coral Sea Islands Territory. It is an important nesting ground for turtles and the home to birdlife including Masked, Brown and Red-Footed boobies.

Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: South Direction Island

Lizard Island Cruise overnight to South Direction Island. Here board the Zodiacs and go ashore to walk the sandy beaches, swim or snorkel on the reefs. After a short walking tour enjoy a drink as you watch the sunset. The ship will then head for Lizard Island.

Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Lizard Island

Signature Experience: Enjoy a full day to explore private Lizard Island, with the chance to be active or simply to relax on the beach.

For the fittest walkers, an early start for Cook’s Look Walk. After about 90 minutes’ walking to reach 350 metres above sea level, enjoy the view Captain Cook had when he was searching for a way through the maze of reefs.

Alternatively, visit the Australian Research Museum, a world-renowned marine research station working on reef recovery efforts. There are other walks to choose from: an easy two-hour birders walk with an ornithologist on sandy beaches and through the rainforest, or a medium-grade nature and history walk led by expedition staff. Snorkelling and scuba diving options are also offered, with the possibility of seeing green turtles which feed along the beaches at low tide.

After a day filled with Signature Experiences, sit back and enjoy sunset drinks.

Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: Restoration

Piper islands Jump aboard Zodiacs to visit Restoration Island, named by Captain William Bligh when he landed here in 1789 aboard his 17-foot boat during his epic journey following the famous mutiny on the Bounty. Bligh and his men spent time here to recover from their exertions.

The food they found restored their spirits before they set sail to Timor. Then cruise to the Piper Islands, a group of vegetated cays home to the largest breeding population of the Black Noddy in Queensland, as well as an important nesting area for the vulnerable hawksbill turtle and a known area for dugongs.

Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: Thursday Island

Cape York At Thursday Island learn of the history and culture of the Torres Strait people and the pearling industry. Visit the Gab Titui Cultural Centre and mix with the locals. Thursday Island played a major part during WWII, and you will see remnants of that period. You will then cruise to the tip of Australia, setting foot on its northernmost point, Cape York. Here is the perfect place to watch the sunset with a glass of bubbly in hand.

 Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: Davie Reef

Davie Cay Spend time on Davie Reef and enjoy the coral reef while swimming and snorkelling off Davie Cay, a small spit on the northern edge of the reef. Here you can spot barracuda swimming around the reef’s edges. You’ll also feast your eyes on the technicolour wonderland of the coral sites, where colourful parrot fish, blue and yellow fusiliers, neon wrasses and clownfish swim.

Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Cooktown

Discover historic Cooktown which dates to the 1870s. Walk in the steps of Captain Cook as you walk through the main street and visit the Botanical Gardens and James Cook Museum. Here you will find original artefacts from the HMB Endeavour and learn of the story of Cook’s landing from an Indigenous perspective.

Afterwards, head up to Grassy Hill with a local guide, and take in the view of the Coral Sea and Endeavour River, where Cook and ship naturalist Joseph Banks first saw a Kangaroo. Tonight is our farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: Depart Cairns

After breakfast, disembark in Cairns and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

*Terms and Conditions: Valid until 31 March 2021 or until sold out. Offers available for booking from 22 January 2021 until 4 February 2021 or until sold out. Save $3000 per couple/$1500 per person when booking GOCYC9 on select dates. A non-refundable deposit of $1000 per person is due within 7 days of booking. Offers are available for travellers departing from Australia. All pricing and save amounts are in Australian Dollars. Information correct as at 5 February 2021 but may fluctuate due to changes in surcharges, taxes or currency. A strictly limited number of offers are available on selected itineraries and departure dates in selected suites/staterooms/cabins/room categories. Offers are subject to availability, not combinable unless specified, available on new bookings only and may be withdrawn at any time. For more information, contact your travel agent. SUPPLIER: APT