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Duration 13 Nights

Great Barrier Reef Ultimate

Cairns to Gold Coast
Great Barrier Reef Cruise to Cairns
Gold Fish at Gold Coast - True North

Great Barrier Reef Cruises From Cairns 2023

Start your adventure in Cairns.

Visit iconic destinations such as Whitehaven Beach, the Whitsundays and Fraser Island. Drink-in some of Australia’s most treasured tropical island scenery and snorkel the revered Great Barrier Reef. Try your hand at catching a monster mud crab or something even more delectable for the dining salon! Sample the chef’s beach-cooked delights and indulge with a glass of champagne as the sun sets on beautiful Rainbow Beach. Take a dive on a WWII wreck, squeeze-in a hike to spectacular vantage or be the first to the top in the ship’s helicopter. Not to be missed nature-based adventure!

This is a sample itinerary only. Prevailing conditions, local arrangements and indeed, what we discover on the day, may cause variation. Helicopter flights can be purchased additional to the indicated tariff as a package or individually. Please refer to the sailing schedule to determine if this itinerary is available on the TRUE NORTH or TRUE NORTH II.

night 01
Welcome Aboard

Welcome Aboard

Your “welcome aboard” the TRUE NORTH is in Cairns, the gateway to some of the best rainforest areas in Australia and, the Great Barrier Reef! Embarkation is 1700 hours – time for a cocktail with your fellow adventurers before departure at approximately 1800. Dinner is served shortly after leaving port and then it’s an overnight steam to Hinchinbrook Island.

day 01
Hinchinbrook Island

Hinchinbrook Island

Wake in the backdrop of the tropical island of Hinchinbrook, fringed by mangroves, reef and seagrass beds.

Our qualified and experienced crew will be on-hand to personally introduce everyone to the delights of this pristine environment. Join the hunt for game fish or crabs. Lace up the hiking boots to discover a local waterfall, or take a scenic tender ride with the naturalist. Spot dolphins, turtles and crocodiles from the adventure boats, and the helicopter will add a popular dimension to the adventure!

Enjoy lunch as we weigh anchor and set Sail for Bramble Reef. Don a mask and snorkel to enjoy the lagoon-like waters over Bramble Reef. The adventure boats will also be standing-by for guests who would like to don a mask.

day 02
Cape Bowling Green

Cape Bowling Green

Cape Bowling Green is the longest spit in Australia visited by all manner of wildlife including dingoes. At the base of the spit, Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse guides seafarers around the rocky coastline.

Spend the morning in the adventure boats sightseeing, fishing and crabbing in the waters surrounding this sandy beach.

Divers will be in for a treat! Considered one of the world’s top dive sites, the shipwreck of SS Yongala has become an artificial reef, teeming with fish and coral species. Larger marine life such as turtles, rays and schools of giant trevally circle the mostly intact wreck.

The helicopter will offer more spectacular views and there will be more fishing, snorkelling and diving action at Old Reef before we re-join the TRUE NORTH for another perfect night in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

day 03
The Whitsundays

The Whitsundays

Today we visit one of North Queensland’s iconic destinations – the Whitsundays! In the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, these group of 70-odd tropical islands are highly sort after holiday hot spots – yet TRUE NORTH can access those less- explored sites.

An untouched paradise to explore by foot, snorkel and aquatic toy! Join crew ashore to try your hand at paddling a kayak or stand up board. Take a morning stroll along the white silica sands of Whitehaven Beach or, enjoy a more strenuous endeavour to see the lookout.

Those in the helicopter will witness the naturally forming artwork as the tides swirl a myriad of colour in the shallow waters of the picturesque cove.

The region is renowned for its extraordinary diversity of underwater life and highly regarded for both snorkelling and diving. A bucket list activity not to be missed.

When you’re not on excursion, relax onboard TRUE NORTH and indulge in our renowned cuisine – the alfresco bar and lounge will definitely be the spot to admire this destinations unblemished beauty at sunset.

day 04
Percy Islands

Percy Islands

This morning we wake in the Percy Islands. These pristine islands off the coast between Mackay and Rockhampton are uninhabited and their unspoilt environment protected within national and conservation parks.

There is numerous snorkelling and dive sites in this area and the avid angler has the opportunity to target pelagic species such as Spanish mackerel and giant trevally.

The naturalist will be taking the sightseeing tender to explore the islands numerous coves and fringing reefs and the helicopter will take to the skies to put it all into perspective!

By sunset, the TRUE NORTH chefs will be preparing a sumptuous goat stew on the secluded beach while guests indulge in a refreshing drink and soak up the setting sun!

day 05
Tropical Paradise

Tropical Paradise

Another day in tropical paradise as we explore both above and below the water!

The tidal waters of Island Head Creek are popular mating grounds for green turtle and, they are also home to arguably the biggest mud crabs in Australia! Join the adventure boats and drop a net in the mangroves. If lady luck is on your side, you might just add a hand- sized claw of delectable crab to tonight’s sunset fare!

Other day five highlights will include snorkelling and diving over pristine reefs, catching a monster tuna or a leisurely wonder along an endless sandy beach.

And, as you’ve seen it every other manner, you can’t miss seeing this coastline from the air! The Hinterland runs along the Eastern Coastline - crystal blue water on one side and World Heritage listed rainforest on the other. The picturesque Great Dividing Range is the distinct mountainous range stretching as far as the eye can see and overgrown with Gondwana rainforest.

day 06
The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef

By now you will be addicted to snorkelling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef and your wish is our command!

We will spend the day exploring the Swain Reef island group, a remote and untouched wilderness. The sandy cays are also important breeding grounds for the roseate terns and the surrounding waters produce some of the best sports fishing on the Queensland coast.

day 07
The Tropic of Capricorn

The Tropic of Capricorn

We’re reaching the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, straddling the Tropic of Capricorn.

Start the day with an early morning stroll on your ‘very own’ beach. Before re-joining the tender for more adventure, be sure to keep an eye out for turtle tracks as nesting season has started! Divers and snorkelers will marvel at the underwater paradise that is the reefs of the Capricorn and Bunker Group. Perhaps even give a wave to the local manta rays or turtles that frequent these warm waters.

day 08
The Tropic of Capricorn

The Tropic of Capricorn

Lady Elliot Island is beckoning us, laying in the highly protected “Green Zone”. A heli flight will guarantee spotting any one of the 700 species of manta rays. Divers and snorkellers will be spoilt for choice as the Island’s reefs support over 1,200 species of marine life. A walking tour will delight: Lady Elliot has been a conservation success for over 50 years. Two days in this stunning region is never enough!

day 09
Fraser Island

Fraser Island

Sample the fruit platter and maybe indulge in a cooked breakfast before discovering Rooney Point in the tranquil waters of Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. The local Butchella people call Fraser Island “K’Gari, meaning “Paradise” and they’re not wrong.

You’re spoilt for choice of activities today - snorkelers and divers will marvel at the crystal clear waters teaming with life, take a walk on the beach, go on a sightseeing expedition to see native wildlife or maybe even drop a line. Highlights include diving on the HMAS Donnybook, swimming with the shy dugong and taking a flight over the largest sand island in the world!

day 10
Great Sandy Straight

Great Sandy Straight

Further explore the Fraser Coastline and discover the crystal clear waters of the Great Sandy Straight. Fishing, crabbing and sightseeing boats will explore the lagoons and outer reef. Take a tour of the islands to visit some of the 200 freshwater lakes and river systems, and the rainforest pockets throughout. And, as the sun sets on another spectacular day on the Great Barrier Reef, join us for our pearl and diamond party! Enjoy a glass of bubbly whilst trying on exquisite pieces created by the artistes at Allure, Jewels of the Kimberley and Kimberley Fine Diamonds.

day 11
Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach

The divers onboard will be up early for a highlight: Double Island Point boasts some of the best diving in Australia! Although a challenge from inland, enjoy easy access onboard the TRUE NORTH!

Schools of shark and playful manta and eagle rays will surely entertain, whilst humpback whales could also prove to be showstoppers!

The surfers onboard can head off to catch a wave while others stretch their legs with an easy stroll around Carlo Sandblow. The sheer enormity and splendour of the Carlo Sandblow landscape will take your breath away.

Time to get out of the water, brush the sand off, and hit the skies to round up today’s adventure with a heli flight over the spectacular Sunshine Coast.

Then, marvel at the multi-coloured sands of Rainbow Beach as the setting sun puts on a colourful show of its own!

day 12
Moreton Island

Moreton Island

It’s your last day onboard so squeeze in as much as you can! Around Moreton Island, 15 ships were deliberately sunk to create a break water for the smaller vessels and, an amazing man-made reef structure for snorkelers and divers to delight! The naturalist will lead a sightsee exploration in the adventure boats and the crew will join you for a walk to the local lighthouse. The boards will be out to ride the waves and the shore party will be set up.

Divers will don masks and BCD’s to explore the HMAS Brisbane wreck and, the helicopter will provide more opportunity for splendour from above!

Finish the adventure with stunning sunset drinks and a farewell dinner to remember!

day 13
Transfer to the Gold Coast

Transfer to the Gold Coast

The TRUE NORTH will make its way into the Gold Coast for 0800hrs disembarkation.

True North II

Ocean Class $20,995
River Class $26,595
Explorer Class $29,595
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True North Tales

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Adding another dimension to the adventure, most cruise options on the TRUE NORTH feature an on-board helicopter! Carrying guests in air conditioned comfort, the ship’s helicopter provides unique opportunity to witness grandeur; unique opportunity to fish billabongs that have never been fished; unique opportunity to discover your very own wilderness!

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A commonly asked question is “When is the best time to see the Kimberley?” And the answer is “The Kimberley is always at its best!” However certain times of the year can make it easier to satisfy particular interest. For example, if you would like to see plenty of whale action then departures in August and September are definitely for you! From late July humpback and southern right whales reach the Kimberley after swimming-up the west coast to reach breeding grounds in the north and it’s very common for guests to get great views of whales breaching and basking on the surface.

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The True North Experience

We curate activity-based itineraries that are designed to satisfy the world’s most discerning travellers. We specifically exclude sea-days and feature unparalleled access to stunning coastal environments and, unequalled opportunity to truly experience the destination.

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