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Expedition Cruises on the outer Great Barrier Reef

We pioneered extended expedition cruises on the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef 36 years ago and have forged a reputation for excellence in that time as a member of Ecotourism Australia and an accredited and award-winning ecotourism operator. The Great Barrier Reef is in our DNA and we ensure the most immersive and educational experience possible. On these voyages, you will explore rainforest shores, uninhabited sand cays, remote islands and pristine reef systems.  Along the way find freedom and sanctuary amidst this iconic seascape. Our expert guides will share their knowledge with you above and below the water, bringing you close to the natural wonders and wildlife, and giving you a deep understanding of this precious destination.  Our purpose-designed small ships are built for expedition cruising, with refined steering capabilities, shallow draught and nimble Xplorer tenders. Onboard, enjoy fresh seasonal cuisine and boutique Australian wines and brews. With an intimate atmosphere and our renowned warm Australian hospitality, you will quickly feel at home.


Our Great Barrier Reef Cruises:

Outerknown Adventures on the Great Barrier Reef | Cairns to Cairns | 7 Nights

Sudbury Cay Northern Australia Coral Expeditions

Aboard our expedition vessel, embark on an immersive 7-day adventure to the remote and untouched Northern reefs. Explore the hidden corners, uninhabited sand cays, small islands and pristine reef systems. Share the journey with soaring seabirds and swim, dive and snorkel at far-flung Osprey and Ribbon Reefs. Learn about indigenous culture and Australian heritage at Cooktown, hike to the summit of “Cooks Look” Lizard Island, and enjoy a sundowner with the sand beneath your toes.

> Departures in November 2022, 2023 & 2024
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Citizen Science On The Great Barrier Reef | Cairns to Cairns | 14 Nights


Join us on a hands-on journey of science and conservation on a Citizen Science Great Barrier Reef expedition in partnership with Australian Geographic. Learn about marine conservation and research facilities in the company of guest lecturers, scientists and like-minded fellow travelers. Contribute to species surveys, wildlife rehabilitation and coral science while enjoying snorkelling and diving in the pristine outer reefs and atolls of the Coral Sea.

> Departs 23 October 2023

TORRES STRAIT & CAPE YORK | Departs Cairns & Horn Island | 10 NIGHTS

Torres Strait Coral Expeditions

With almost 300 islands dotted across the narrow stretch of water between Cape York and Papua New Guinea, the people of the Torres Strait Islands have a distinct and vibrant culture. An expedition by small ship is the ideal way to access these remote regions and guests will be rewarded with the chances to meet these island communities and share their culture in a low impact and sustainable environment. With decades of experience and deep respect for the communities of the region, Coral Expeditions will facilitate an enriching journey with shore excursions accompanied and hosted by local elders who will share the customs and stories of this ancient country.

> Departs October 2024

Stretching over 2,300 kilometres and encompassing over 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure. Home to an abundant and thriving array of marine and birdlife species, it holds pride of place as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage area.

What Are The Ribbon Reefs

Around 50 to 100 km’s off the northern Queensland shore, and forming the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching over 100 miles to the north of Cairns, the “Ribbons” are a string of 10 magical coral reefs. They are no wider than 450m, and generally quite shallow, coming up to as high as 5 metres below the surface from a sandy bottom. A veritable marine wonderland, these long thin strips of reef hold beautiful coral gardens and isolated bommies topped with corals and anemones, surrounded by a rainbow of reef fish. Snorkelers and divers on the Ribbon Reefs might encounter huge giant clams, moray eels, reef sharks and giant Napoleon Wrasse. You might also meet Pelagic fish and see gorgonian fans. If you prefer not to get your feet wet, our glass bottom boat still allows you to get up close and personal to these beautiful species.

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