Best of the Great Barrier Reef

travel the great barrier reef
July 14, 2020
15 Days
Small-Ship Cruise
42 Guests
From $10,980

Optional Pre-Extension: Wild Queensland


Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel, we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.

Rates for the Wild Queensland extension are $5,480 per person, double occupancy and $6,980 per person, single occupancy.

AUST2001X Map
Pre-Trip Extension
Wild Queensland

Depart USA / Cairns, Australia

July 8July 10

Board your independent flight to Australia. Arrive in Cairns on July 10 and transfer to the Shangri-La Hotel Cairns for dinner and overnight.

Cairns / Crater Lakes National Park

July 11

After breakfast, depart overland across the scenic Gillies Range to the Nerada Tea Plantation, to learn about how tea is cultivated and processed. Continue to Crater Lakes National Park for lunch overlooking scenic Lake Barrine, a volcanic crater lake. In the afternoon, take a cruise on the lake to search for birds, fish, turtles, and other resident wildlife. Check in to Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge, set on the banks of Lake Eacham. Enjoy dinner at Nick’s, an award-winning restaurant in nearby Yungaburra, then return to the lodge for a nocturnal wildlife viewing excursion.

Crater Lakes National Park / Warrigal Highland Rainforest Preserve

July 12

This morning, drive into the Misty Mountains to visit a private highland rainforest preserve. After lunch at Woodleigh Station, a working cattle station, take a drive through ‘billabong’ wetlands and savanna woodland to search for wildlife. Continue to the Ravenshoe Hotel for dinner, followed by a spotlighting excursion to search for rare, nocturnal wildlife at Warrigal Highland Rainforest Preserve, the largest single tract of tropical rainforest remaining in Australia. Species frequently seen while spotlighting include Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo; lemuroid, green, common, Herbert River ringtail, coppery brushtail, striped, and long-tailed pygmy possums; rufous, masked, and lesser sooty owls; northern leaf-tailed geckos; swamp wallabies; pademelons; and bandicoots. Return to Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge for overnight.

Crater Lakes National Park / Mossman

July 13

Rise early this morning to search for wild platypus at a nearby creek, followed by breakfast in Yungaburra. Then depart overland, heading north and passing through Granite Gorge, an awesome landscape of gigantic boulders stretching for nearly a mile. Make a stop at the Mareeba Wetlands for lunch overlooking Clancy’s Lagoon. Continue to Mossman and check in to Daintree Eco Lodge. After a chance to settle in, take a walk with the traditional owners of this land, the KuKu Yalanji people, at Cooyacham Beach. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Mossman / Cape Tribulation

July 14

After breakfast, drive to Mossman Gorge for a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk with a member of the KuKu Yalanji people. Stroll along an easy trail through stunning rainforest where your guide will demonstrate traditional plant use, identify bush food sources, and provide an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and the KuKu Yalanji’s special relationship with this unique tropical environment. Then head to the Thala Beach Resort for lunch overlooking the Coral Sea. Make a short stop at a gallery in Mossman to learn about ‘boomerang art’ with Binna, a KuKu Yalanji man, then cross the Daintree River via cable ferry and travel through the lowland rainforest to Cape Tribulation. Check in to the Daintree Heritage Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Cape Tribulation

July 15

Today explore the Coopers Creek Wilderness and lowland swamp forests of the Greater Daintree National Park. After lunch, take an afternoon mangrove cruise around the Cooper Creek estuary. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Cape Tribulation / Cairns

July 16

Depart Cape Tribulation this morning and board a river boat for a cruise along the Daintree River to search for estuarine crocodiles. After lunch, return to Cairns along the scenic coast road. Check in to the Shangri-La Hotel Cairns and meet with the main group for a welcome dinner.