Join us on our Across the Top of Australia cruise, a remarkable 11-night expedition combining the very best of the remote Northern Australian coastline including the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, Cape York Peninsula, Arnhem Land, the Cobourg Peninsula and Tiwi Islands. Our journey follows in the wake of Captain James Cook's voyage of discovery into the communities and cultures of the peoples of this remarkable coast over 200 years ago. Like Cook, you will be enchanted by the rugged
beauty of these landscapes and the unique ways of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Tiwi
people who call them home. Here, nature is an all-powerful force: monsoon rains rejuvenate the rivers and floodplains, bringing wealth to the cattle ranchers of the savannah lands and providing the lifeblood to the inhabitants of the sleepy coastal frontier towns. The mighty estuarine or saltwater crocodile is indeed King of the Wild and the waters of the Arafura Sea are alive with a profusion of marine and bird life.
Enjoy the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the warm tropical waters of the Great Barrier
Reef. Explore the pristine coral gardens of the northern reaches of the reef and come face
to face with an abundance of strikingly coloured fish and marine life. Savour a glass of
champagne as the sun rises over the 'Tip of Australia' on the Cape York Peninsula and
discover the interesting World War II history of the Torres Strait Islands. Venture ashore to meet fabulous artisans in some of the most remote villages in Australia and learn of the fascinating Macassan traders of the 17 century as we cruise the Arnhem Land coast before experiencing the friendly welcome and warm hospitality of the Tiwi Islanders as they share with us their ancient
culture and traditional lifestyles.
This outstanding itinerary offers the unique opportunity to discover the remarkable history, diverse natural beauty and magical cultures of these rugged frontier lands, and aboard our superb expedition small-ships you will discover it all in total comfort and unmatched style.
Across the Top of Australia itinerary:
Day 1: Depart Cairns
3:00pm: Board Oceanic Discoverer at Trinity Wharf, Cairns. This evening, settle in and relax before meeting your fellow travellers and friendly crew as we enjoy the Captain's Welcome Aboard Cocktails.
Day 2: Lizard Island
We explore secluded Lizard Island, one of the most beautiful islands on the Queensland Coast. Enjoy
swimming, snorkelling and a walk along the beautiful sandy beach. As special guests of the Lizard Island Research Station we have an opportunity to learn of the research being undertaken to help understand and preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 3: Stanley Island and Davey Reef
Visit Stanley Island in the Flinders Group to view the Endaen Aboriginal rock art gallery, depicting sailing ships of the last century. This is a unique art site seldom visited due to its isolated location. At Davey Reef and Cay we enjoy swimming and snorkelling and observe the large seabird rookery.
Day 4: Forbes Island and Magra Island
Enjoy the day exploring historic Forbes Island, its reef
provides some fantastic swimming and snorkelling
opportunities. This afternoon we visit Magra Island
for beachcombing, bird watching and to enjoy the
Day 5: Cape York and Thursday Island
This morning we venture ashore at Cape York as the sun rises over the 'Tip' on Australia's northernmost point. Enjoy champagne and welcome the new day. Anchoring at Thursday Island, learn of the history of European settlement and the large pearling fleets. We have the opportunity to observe the distinctly different cultures of the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginals whilst we enjoy a tour of the island. Following lunch we visit the Gab Titui Cultural Centre where the children perform traditional dances. Continuing on to Horn Island we discover the significance of the Torres Strait Islands during World War II.
Day 6: Cruising the Gulf of Carpentaria
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea with presentations by our Guest Lecturers, who share with you the fascinating history of the Macassan traders and early explorers of the Arnhem Land coast.
Day 7: Hole in the Wall and Wessel Islands
Today we sail through the 'Hole in the Wall' to the Wessel Islands. This evening we enjoy a gourmet
Aussie Beach BBQ as the sun spectacularly sets over the Arafura Sea.
Day 8: Elcho Island Artists
The friendly locals of Elcho Island proudly welcome us to their community this morning. Enjoy an insight into their culture and meet some of the local artists who have their unique art exhibited in the famous art galleries of the world, including the Louvre. You may wish to attend the local church service to share in the local culture.
Day 9: Liverpool River and Maningrida
We anchor in the mighty Liverpool River before travelling ashore to explore the Maningrida Art Centre,
museum and local 'boutique', where hand painted clothing and fabrics are offered for sale. Later, join the Expedition Leader and guides on an Xplorer tour of the river before rejoining our small ship.
Day 10: Cobourg Peninsula
Enjoy a full day to discover the remote Cobourg Peninsula. Port Essington is famous for its failed Victoria Settlement, and we will be joined by local guides who will guide and help us explore the ruins. We will also visit the Ranger's Interpretation Centre at Black Point.
Day 11: Bathurst and Melville Islands
Today we enjoy a true highlight, visiting remote Bathurst and Melville Islands. With traditional Tiwi
people as our guides we learn of their unique cultures and visit the fascinating art centre. Our Tiwi hosts will welcome us with a cultural performance and basketweaving demonstration before we join them for a traditional Australian afternoon tea of damper and billy tea. Tonight we farewell new-found friends as we enjoy the Captain's Farewell Cocktails.
Day 12: Arrive in Darwin
8:00am: Arrive into Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory and gateway to the 'Top End'.
Onboard accommodation comprises 36 spacious modern staterooms. You can select from Bridge, Promenade or Main Deck staterooms offering a choice of twin through to junior king-size doubles. All staterooms have an ocean view, en-suite facilities, settee, large wardrobe, desk, luggage storage, individual air-conditioning control, and are serviced daily.
What you would expect of a much larger cruise ship:
- Large sundeck
- Spa Pool
- Guest computer
- Comprehensive reference library
- Phone and fax facilities
- Lecture lounge with large plasma screen
- Limited laundry facilities
- Two fully stocked cocktail bars
- Boutique and dive shop
- Air-conditioned public areas
Oceanic Discoverer is equipped with the latest technology active stabilizers and is fitted with state-of-the-art safety and navigational equipment and is the only Australian passenger ship registered with full SOLAS compliance allowing opportunities to explore a multitude of international voyages.
All meals during the cruise are included. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Dining Room located on the Main Deck and are buffet-style while dinner is table d’hote. Coffee and tea is available 24 hours. Standard hours are breakfast from 7:00-8:30am, lunch at 12:30pm and dinner at 7:30pm however meal times may vary according to the day's activities. Meal times will be advised in the onboard daily bulletins.
Excursion Boats And Zodiacs
The "Xplorer" is a specially designed aluminium excursion vessel used for the majority of our excursions. This vessel has high horsepower engines and will accommodate all passengers at one time. The "Xplorer" will be used for landings and for extensive exploration of rivers and tributaries. For your added convenience and comfort, the "Xplorer" is equipped with an awning and toilet.
We also carry two inflatable landing craft (Zodiacs). Designed for expedition work, these large and heavy-duty inflatables are extremely safe. Separate air compartments retain a large reserve of buoyancy even if the boats damaged. The flat bottom design permits these crafts to land directly onto the beaches. Expect nonetheless to wade through shallow water to reach the shore.