East Coast Discovery with Melbourne Cup

Save up to $2,000 per couple

Aboard a private small ship, discover the beauty of Australia’s East Coast as you sail from Cairns to Melbourne. Get up close to far-off wonders of the Coral Sea as you snorkel at Willis Island and island-hop through the Whitsundays. Hit walking trails across Great Keppel Island and enjoy the beauty of Fraser Island. Explore the Hunter Valley, venture into Wilsons Promontory and enjoy a VIP experience at the Melbourne Cup on a laid-back yet adventurous cruise you’ll never forget.

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From $16,395* per person, twin share

15 days Cairns to Melbourne 


  • Experiences in 13 destinations
  • 14 nights aboard MS Caledonian Sky with daily excursions on Zodiac vessels
  • Locally inspired dining - a total of 41 meals and a wide range of onboard beverages
  • Hike through the Whitsundays with a naturalist guide and snorkel in the warm waters
  • Be guided around World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, including iconic Lake McKenzie
  • Take a Zodiac to Trial Bay for a hike through Arakoon National Park
  • Taste some of the Hunter Valley’s finest wines on day trip to the renowned wine region
  • Enjoy a VIP experience at the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Departure: 20 October 2021

Trip Code: XPCECC15


Day 1: Arrive Cairns, Embark Ship

Be met on arrival at Cairns airport and transfer to your expedition ship. This evening, get to know your fellow guests at a welcome dinner and briefing with your Expedition Team.

Stay: 14 Nights, MS Caledonian Sky

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Willis Island

After a morning at sea, arrive at Willis Island, located just beyond the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the chance to swim or snorkel amid the only permanently inhabited island in the Coral Sea Islands territory. It is an important nesting ground for turtles, so keep your eyes peeled.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Whitsundays

If island hopping is your thing, today will be one to remember. You have a full day to explore the spectacular Whitsundays in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Drag yourself away from secluded beaches and warm turquoise water to go hiking on the islands with your naturalist guides.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Great Keppel Island

After lunch, you’ll dock at Great Keppel Island, one of the 18 islands of the Keppel group. Fringed by turquoise waters, hard coral reefs and beaches, the island is perfect for snorkelling. And with 90% of the island covered in native bushland, you might like to hit the winding walking trails with a guide to look for wildlife. Scan the trees for kookaburras, ospreys, beach curlews and rainbow lorikeets. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: Fraser Island

Voyage along the secluded shores of the world’s largest sand island, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Anchored in Kingfisher Bay, you have the day to explore this natural wonder on an island tour.  Wriggle your toes in the sand and head out to explore a patchwork of freshwater lakes, crystal-clear creeks, rainforest and immense dunes of coloured sands. Come face-to-face with wildlife, including the dingo, take a dip at Lake McKenzie, and look to the ocean for dugongs and dolphins.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: Brisbane, Springbrook National Park

Arrive in Brisbane and disembark for a visit to Springbrook National Park. Head deep into the lush rainforest to view spectacular waterfalls, cascades and creeks. Marvel at Natural Bridge, Twin Falls and an astonishing collection of ancient trees.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: At Sea

Enjoy a restful day at sea as your ship skirts the coast of New South Wales. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Trial Bay

As the journey along the New South Wales coast continues, the captain and Expedition Leader will look for a suitable landing and use Zodiacs to access the beach at Trial Bay. Exploring the Trial Bay Gaol, built in 1886, your thoughts drift between the haunting narrative and stunning coastal views. Afterwards, you might like to walk through Arakoon National Park hoping to spot kangaroos.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: Newcastle, Hunter Valley

Arrive in Newcastle, gateway to the Hunter Valley. Watch the city fade into lush vineyards as you head for one of Australia’s oldest wine producing areas. All will be revealed during an afternoon at a renowned cellar door, tasting the fruits of a fine Hunter Valley harvest.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10: Newcastle

Freedom of Choice™ - Sightseeing: Embark on a guided tour around Newcastle, taking in the Christ Church Cathedral, the Newcastle Civic Centre and more. Alternatively, walk to Nobby’s Headland and lighthouse, which has been in use for over 150 years.

A second day in Newcastle presents the chance to choose from a range of included activities.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11: Batemans Bay

Enjoy cruising the Clyde River into Batemans Bay, one of Australia’s best-loved holiday towns, located in the centre of the Oyster Coast. Visit the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens, where all eyes are on the fascinating collection of regional plants. Also look for local wildlife amid the forest.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12: Eden

Arrive into the port of Eden, situated in magnificent Twofold Bay. A morning excursion leads you into Ben Boyd National Park where you have a choice of walks through the coastal landscape. A number of the park’s lookouts boast views over the Pacific Ocean where, at this time of year, you might be lucky enough to see migrating humpback whales. With some free time in the town of Eden, perhaps visit the Killer Whale Museum or try some of the region’s famous oysters.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13: Wilsons Promontory

Reach the Gippsland region of Victoria today. Wilsons Promontory, affectionately known as ‘the Prom’, is mainland Australia’s southernmost national park, an isolated area of granite headlands, unique vegetation and geology. Jump aboard a Zodiac to land on one of the beaches where onboard naturalists will lead a series of nature walks.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14: Melbourne, Melbourne Cup Carnival

Signature Experience: Don your finery for a day at the races. We’ve pulled out all the stops so you can experience the Lexus Melbourne Cup in VIP style, with reserved seats and included drinks.

It’s Lexus Melbourne Cup day and the atmosphere throughout the city is electric. Discover Melbourne’s iconic sights on a guided tour before experiencing Australia’s most famous race on a special Signature Experience.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 15: Disembark Ship, Depart Melbourne

Disembark your ship for the final time and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals: Breakfast


*Terms and Conditions: Valid until 31 March 2021 or until sold out. Offer valid when booking Tour Code(s) XPCSAH12, XPXSAA12, XPCGBA15, XPCWCP15, XPCWCB15, XPCECC15 departing January to December 2022. A non-refundable deposit of $1000 per person is due within 7 days of booking. Final payment is due 100 days prior to the tours departure date. Offers are available for travellers departing from Australia. All pricing and save amounts are in Australian Dollars. Information correct as at 7 December 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