3 Night luxury Great Barrier Reef cruise: Cairns to Hinchinbrook Island

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    Cruise through the Great Barrier Reef | Travel Nation
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    See shoals of multi-coloured fish on the Great Barrier Reef | Travel Nation

    See shoals of multi-coloured fish on the Great Barrier Reef

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    Snorkel until your heart's content on the Great Barrier Reef

    Grab your snorkel and mask at the Great Barrier Reef | Photo credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

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    Eat delicious meals aboard your luxury cruise | Credit: Andrew Watson

    Eat delicious meals aboard your luxury cruise | Credit: Andrew Watson

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    Look for Great Barrier marine life on a glass-bottomed boat | Travel Nation

    Look for Great Barrier marine life on a glass-bottomed boat

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    Explore the beaches and rainforest of tropical Dunk Island | Travel Nation

    Explore the beaches and rainforest of tropical Dunk Island

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    Snorkel until your heart's content!

    Try an introductory SCUBA dive

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    Soak up the scenery of the Hitchinbrook Channel | Travel Nation

    Soak up the scenery of the Hitchinbrook Channel

Trip ideas

Duration(in days): 4

From: Cairns

To: Cairns



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing)

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    Discover rich marine life in luxury with this Great Barrier Reef cruise from Cairns. From the mangrove channel at Hinchinbrook Island to the ancient rainforest of Dunk Island, you’ll experience a myriad of habitats both on land and at sea. Discovering the underwater world of Nathan Reef will be a real highlight, so look out for turtles, clouds of fish and colourful corals. Onboard, you’ll learn about the reef’s endemic species, even seeing sea cucumbers and starfish up close during the interactive presentations. On top of that, you'll cruise the reef on a glass-bottomed boat with a Marine Biologist. Offering a combination of rainforest, mangrove and reef, this 3-night cruise is a great option for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.        

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements, so please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


    • Snorkel through the colourful coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef
    • Explore the reef from exclusive moorings, away from the crowds 
    • Learn about the ocean from the onboard Marine Biologist 
    • Wander through the rainforest on Hinchinbrook Island
    • Look for dolphins, turtles and dugongs in the turquoise water        


    Day 1: Depart Cairns     

    This morning, you'll board your Coral Expeditions small ship for an 11 am departure from Cairns. As you cruise towards Trinity Bay, you can explore the ship that will be your home for the next three nights and meet your fellow travellers. After a delicious lunch, you’ll arrive at an exclusive mooring on Thetford Reef, where you’ll take a glass-bottomed boat trip before gathering on the snorkel deck to participate in a fish-feed and snorkelling yourself. There will be hundreds of fish in the clear waters, including Spangled Emperor, Giant Trevally and the Hump-Headed Maori Wrasse.

    The crew are always on hand to help identify species fish and help inexperienced snorkellers get the best out of the trip. In the evening, you’ll enjoy dinner in the top deck lounge as the sun sets over the reef. 

    Day 2: Cruise Great Barrier Reef

    This morning, you'll cruise through the spectacular Hinchinbrook Channel, passing the towering cliffs and mangroves of the island as you sail. This channel between Hinchinbrook Island and the mainland is one of the most diverse marine environments in Australia, so you're in for a treat. Home to crocodiles, dugongs, dolphins and turtles that feed on the plentiful sea grasses, it's packed full of stunning wildlife.

    For lunch, you’ll enjoy a gourmet beach BBQ prepared by the Captain himself before exploring the island's rainforest on a guided nature walk. The fringing reef offers fantastic snorkelling, including the opportunity to view a giant clam garden. Spend the afternoon admiring colourful corals from the glass-bottomed boat, trying an introductory SCUBA lesson or relaxing on the golden beaches – the choice is yours.

    Day 3: Cruise Great Barrier Reef

    Today you’ll set off on a fascinating rainforest walk to discover the unique wildlife of Dunk Island. You might even be lucky enough to spot the blue-winged Ulysses Butterfly. There are over 100 bird species on the island, from Yellow-bellied Sunbirds to Emerald Doves, to keep your eyes peeled at all times. After lunch, you can discover Nathan Reef at your own pace, snorkelling through the kaleidoscopic corals in the warm water. Learn about the creatures beneath the water by getting up close to sea cucumbers and starfish from the onboard display tank, then laze away the afternoon on the sun deck for before a final dinner under the stars.

    Day 4: Arrive Cairns      

    This morning, you'll travel ashore to explore wild Fitzroy Island, which offers wonderful bushwalking opportunities and idyllic white beaches. Enjoy your final snorkelling experience in the fringing reefs, just a few metres from the shore, before cruising back through Trinity Bay and arriving in Cairns around lunchtime.


    There are benefits to visiting Northern Queensland at any time of year. The 'wet season' runs from December to February, bringing rain and humid conditions. However, there is very little wind during the wet season, which means excellent visibility in the water. The humidity drops from April onwards, marking the start of the ‘dry season’. Over this period, you're likely to find cooler temperatures but stronger winds. October and November are peak dive months on the reef.

    Are you looking for more Australia ideas?

    We’re experts in planning tailor-made holidays, so whether you’re looking for a luxury Australia holiday, ideas for a road trip, a Great Barrier Reef holiday or multi-stop flights to Australia with stopovers – let us help you with the planning. Our experts can tailor-make precisely the trip you’re looking for - this itinerary is purely a suggestion, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

    What's included
    • Accommodation in a twin cabin
    • Island and rainforest walks          
    • Use of snorkelling equipment      
    • Services of an onboard marine biologist        
    • All meals
    • Glass-bottomed boat tour
    • Introductory SCUBA experience
    • Post-cruise transfer to Cairns Airport or downtown hotels
    Not included
    • Environmental Management Charge (20 AUD payable locally)
    • Pre-cruise transfers         
    • Bar and shop purchases     
    • Extra costs associated with SCUBA           
    • Anything not mentioned above

    3 nights in a twin cabin on board Coral Expeditions 2.