New-to-the-reef vessel with Cairns departures from June 2021

Yacht-like Coral Discoverer to journey beyond to remote northern reefs and islands

Cruises focus on marine wildlife encounters and Indigenous connections

Australia’s pioneer of expedition cruising, Coral Expeditions, has launched a completely re-imagined program of Great Barrier Reef expeditions from June 2021. 

Capitalising on 35 years of expertise and for the first time locally deploying the Coral Discoverer, these new sailings focus on the extraordinary marine life, cultural and natural heritage of Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage icons, the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

As Coral Expeditions moves to an all-new blue-water expedition fleet by 2021, Jeff Gillies, Commercial Director of Coral Expeditions, says the business has redesigned its ever-popular Great Barrier Reef expeditions creating longer, more immersive experiences.

“Coral Expeditions pioneered expedition cruising on the Great Barrier Reef in 1985. We have gone back to the drawing board to redesign our program reflecting on how our guest expectations, and the geography of the Reef itself, have evolved over three decades.” 

Coral Expeditions Nature walks at Cooktown and to the summit of Lizard Island
Nature walks at Cooktown and to the summit of Lizard Island

“Our new 7-night expeditions, Outerknown Adventures on the Great Barrier Reef, focus on the lesser seen outer reefs and islands of the northern region and will offer guests from across the globe, an authentic and immersive experience like no other available on the reef. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is in our DNA and we aim to create experiences beyond imagination in this new era.”

New destinations include the Daintree Rainforest, Hope Island and remote Osprey Reef, described by Sir David Attenborough as ‘an oasis for living creatures of all kind’. Osprey Reef lies beyond the continental shelf and is an isolated sea mount rising 2,000m above the seabed within the outer limits of the Coral Sea Marine Park.

“On all voyages, guests will share encounters with iconic species of the Great Barrier Reef including snorkelling with sea turtles, finding nemo nestled amongst the coral gardens and sighting rare seabirds on remote outposts of the reef. Seasonal humpback whale migrations and coral spawning events promise more inspiring moments in nature across the year,” Jeff adds.

Highlights on the new expeditions include;

  • Immerse yourself in one of the world’s great seascapes with the Great Barrier Reef experts
  • Step ashore and enjoy educational and nature walks at Cooktown, to the summit of Lizard Island and in the Daintree Rainforest
  • Make a connection with indigenous culture and Australian heritage at historic Cooktown
  • Swim, snorkel, dive or simply view the iconic marine species of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Observe the vibrant colours of the untouched outer Great Barrier Reef
  • Enjoy the solitude of seven magical Queensland sunsets
  • Sip sundowners and feel the sand beneath your feet on isolated sand cays and uninhabited islands
  • Visit a turtle rehabilitation centre and participate in efforts to conserve the Great Barrier Reef
  • Relax in the yacht-like comfort of the 72 passenger Coral Discoverer with all-inclusive excursions and fine Australian cuisine and wine

Coral Discoverer, which carries up to 72 guests in comfort, is purpose-built for expedition cruising with a shallow draft allowing access to remote locations that larger vessels cannot reach. A signature Xplorer tender vessel, glass bottom boat and Zodiac tenders enable guests to explore the Great Barrier Reef up close.

Two outdoor bars including the much loved Xplorer Bar with 300-degree views on the sundeck allow guests to take in spectacular Reef sunsets.  An expert expedition team and resident specialists, including a Master Reef Guide and Marine Biologists, provide insightful commentary while Coral Expeditions’ renowned warm Australian hospitality remains a drawcard for repeat guest loyalty.

For more information, visit or call 1800 079 545.