Coral Expeditions announces the next edition of the ‘Citizen Science’ series as we undertake an immersive scientific expedition exploring the outer reefs and unique marine ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef, in partnership with Australian Geographic. Departing Cairns with only 66 guests and researchers, our small expedition ship Coral Discoverer will visit remote reefs and wildlife habitats in the Coral Sea. Learn about marine conservation work at the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island and as you meet with resident scientists at work along the way. Log species of marine life on guided snorkelling surveys to assist in biodiversity monitoring databases. Travel with a community of conservation-minded explorers and special guest lecturer Adam Smith of Reef Ecologic, who will share his extensive scientific and ecological knowledge. Gain access to far reaching and rarely visited atolls and reefs such as Holmes, Tregrosse and Diamond Reefs while contributing to conservation programs including biodiversity databases, wildlife rehabilitation and coral science. Combine environmental impact and an expedition holiday on this hands-on journey of science and conservation.


• Gain valuable insights from onboard Master Reef Guide Katie Tuesley and expert host Adam Smith who will share scientific and conservation knowledge of the reef and its many species

• Learn about the important mission and work of Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island

• Meet with resident scientific researchers at Lizard Island Research Station to learn about projects that are making a difference in the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea Marine Park

• Contribute your observations of native birds to BirdLife Australia, an ever-growing collection of bird observations that track, record and share biodiversity knowledge

• Participate in scientific and conservation efforts to monitor and research marine biodiversity through programs including Eye on the Reef, GBRMPA Sightings Network, Coral Watch and Mangrove Watch

• Snorkel and dive at John Brewer Reef, home to the largest installation of Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA)

• Dive and snorkel in clear waters at remote Holmes, Tregrosse and Diamond reefs to encounter a wide variety of marine life

• Receive a Citizen Science exclusive Expedition Jacket

Arrive at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal to board Coral Discoverer at 4:00pm for a 5:00pm departure. Meet your fellow travellers at the complimentary Captain’s Welcome Drinks as we sail towards Fitzroy Island for our first day’s adventure.
At Fitzroy Island, enjoy a walk through the Secret Garden rainforest, or for the more adventurous, a walk to the de-commissioned lighthouse will reward hikers with panoramic views of Coral Sea, islands and mainland mountain ranges. Visit the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, a non-profit dedicated to the care of sick and injured turtles. Snorkel over the fringing reef, relax on the beach and lend a hand to the volunteers at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
This afternoon, enjoy more spectacular diving and snorkelling opportunities at Mackay Reef. The shallow and protected reef is home to many sea turtles, giant clams, fish and vibrant coral gardens of soft and hard varieties. Enjoy the pristine underwater conditions and wildlife sightings while participating in citizen science field programs.
Visit the Lizard Island Research Station, operated by the Australian Museum to facilitate coral reef research and education on the Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, take in the beauty of the island on a hike to the summit of Cook’s Look and enjoy the same view Lt. James Cook did when searching for safe passage through the maze of coral reefs. Snorkel over giant clam gardens from the beach at Watson’s Bay, relax on the white-sand beach beneath shady she oak trees and learn about the tragic story surrounding Mary Watson.
One of the world’s best dive sites, Osprey Reef is a submerged atoll in the Coral Sea. The top of a mountain which rises from the seafloor, surrounded by a vast ocean, it draws many beautiful and rare marine creatures to its plummeting walls. Called an ‘oasis for living creatures of all kinds’ by Sir David Attenborough, the vibrant corals and crystal-clear waters make it an unforgettable place to discover. Here we will spend time in the water exploring the 30m deep lagoon and drift diving the walls, where you may see large pelagic fish, rays and sharks drawn in from the surrounding deep blue to enjoy the richness of this ocean oasis.
Located to the west of Cairns, Holmes Reef is a remote reef home to colourful corals and diverse marine life. Jump in for a wall dive on Golden Wall, The Cathedral and The Abyss that all drop 1km deep. Snorkel to see two giant pinnacles that host a beautiful array of soft corals and reef fish, sharks, stingrays and turtles with nature interpretation from our expert team. Enjoy the pristine underwater conditions and wildlife sightings while participating in citizen science field programs.
Herald Cay is a natural paradise located some 200 nautical miles eastward into the Coral Sea from Townsville and Cairns. It featured in a scientific study conducted by the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland in 1977, which uncovered a total of 125 wildlife species. Along fringing white sand beaches, spy hermit crabs and large numbers of juvenile red-footed booby terns overhead. Dive, snorkel and nature walk to view birdlife and enjoy the serenity of this remote location while participating in citizen science field programs.
Here, the bright blue waters surround the sandy cay with its scraggy green top commonly swarming with sea birds. This wildlife haven is home to sociable hermit crabs and turtle sightings are common. On our visit here, dive, snorkel, beachcomb and climb the navigation tower for an elevated view of this wild and remote seascape.
With a unique biodiversity, bushland walks and granite boulders, Magnetic Island is a true nature lover’s paradise. Interestingly, the island earned its name from Lt James Cook in 1770 when he believed the Endeavor’s magnetic compass was affected by the island. On our visit here, enjoy beachcombing on the stretches of sandy beach, spot koala’s in the trees and enjoy nature walks.
Home to the largest installation of the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) created by artist Jason DeCaires Taylor, the reef is a unique diving opportunity. The 25 sculptures made of pH neutral materials to support coral growth shares a message of reef conservation and restoration. On our visit here, snorkel, dive and participate in citizen science field programs.
Orpheus Island is located some 125km north of Townsville and is known for its natural beauty with several National Parks and fringing reefs. The only way to access the island is by helicopter or private charter. Sightings of reef sharks and green turtles alongside manta rays and humpback whales are possible here, depending on the season. During our visit here, enjoy the serenity of this secluded location while participating in citizen science field programs.
Yamacutta Reef lies approximately 50km off the coast of Mission Beach. The isolated reef offers panoramic blue horizon views. On our visit here, explore the clear waters that teem with marine life by snorkelling, diving and kayaking while participating in citizen science field programs.
Sudbury Cay is a small sand cay that barely rises above the Coral Sea and is far removed from the bustle of civilisation. Here we slip off our shoes and feel the sand between our toes as the tropical waters of the Coral Sea lap gently against the shoreline. Surrounded by glistening sea and bathed in the glow of twilight, we enjoy sunset drinks and the company of like-minded explorers as we relax and watch the sun gently sink below the horizon.
Arrive at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal at 7:30am for disembarkation at 8:00am. Post cruise transfers to Cairns CBD and ariport are available while transfers to the Northern Beaches or Port Dougals can be arranged on board with the Purser prior to disembarkation.
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions, and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. We suggest that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling. Note: Tours of the Lizard Island Research Station are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed due to operational considerations.

Promenade B

$13,640 AUD pp
Promenade B
Located in the bow of the ship and encircled by a full-ship promenade, our two Promenade Deck (Category B) staterooms are 15sqm (160 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, telephone and Junior King bedding.

Promenade A

$15,280 AUD pp
Promenade A
Encircled by a full-ship promenade, our twenty spacious Promenade Deck (Category A) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.

Bridge Deck Balcony

$18,890 AUD pp
Bridge Deck Balcony
Located on the exclusive Bridge Deck close to the Lounge and Bridge, our five spacious Bridge Deck Balcony staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature private balconies opening out from french windows providing comfortable indoor outdoor living, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.

Main Deck B

Sold Out
Please contact Wild Earth for alternative options or to waitlist.

Main Deck A

Sold Out
Please contact Wild Earth for alternative options or to waitlist.

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition

Length: 63 metres

Passenger Capacity: 72 (in 36 rooms)

Built: 2005 / Refurbished: 2016

Launched in 2005, Coral Discoverer set a new benchmark standard for small ship cruising in Australia. Refurbished in November 2016, she continues to raise the bar to new levels of sophistication in expedition cruising in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer is the grand vision of Coral Expeditions, pioneers in expedition and adventure cruises around Australia, Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. Her tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat all 72 passengers for excursions to beaches and rivers. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities.

Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications in Cairns, Australia, with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience. Australian flagged, and staffed entirely by an Australian and New Zealand crew, your experience aboard Coral Discoverer will be unique.

After the refurbishment, the Sun Deck has evolved to become a new social space and the hub of on board community living. This area has been converted into an undercover deck area complete with round ‘Explorer Bar’ with bar stools and sun deck with lounges and an area for outdoor exercise equipment.

Guest accommodation has also received a substantial upgrade with the addition of six Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms providing coveted inside/outside living quarters. Each of our other Stateroom grades has also received a full upgrade with updated bathroom fixtures, soft furnishings and artwork making for an even more comfortable stay on board Coral Discoverer.

The Coral Discoverer offers five different grades of staterooms, ranging from Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms to Main Deck Staterooms. Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms are on the top deck and have private balconies opening out from french windows. All rooms are furnished with contemporary flair and feature original artwork, a small private en-suite, individually-controlled air-conditioning, an iPod dock, ample storage and Australian toiletries. All staterooms are serviced daily. Each stateroom is spacious, sized between 15sqm (161 square feet) to 20 sqm (215 square feet) and has either a balcony, feature picture windows or porthole windows. Most staterooms can be configured to either junior king or twin bedding.


> Sun Deck with undercover area, sun lounges and ample seating

> Three fully stocked cocktail bars, including brand new round Explorer Bar on Sun Deck

> Spacious, modern dining room, recently refurbished

> Forward lounge

> Reference library

> Gift shop

> Open bridge

> Workout Area

> Wireless internet available for laptops, mobile devices or via onboard guest computer

> Limited laundry facilities available

> SCUBA diving department (selected itineraries)

Cabin layout for Coral Discoverer


• All excursions with our Expedition Team
• Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and Kayaks
• Snorkelling & SCUBA equipment (SCUBA diving at an additional cost)
• Daily lectures and briefings with Guest Lecturers
• All meals, chef-prepared on board
• Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
• Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
• 24-hour barista-style coffee and tea station
• All entrance fees to National Parks, ports, traditional owner fees and charges imposed by governing authorities
• Tips and gratuities
• Use of all onboard facilities, incl. a reference library
• Your expedition photos captured during the voyage
• Post-cruise transfers
• Wifi Access – Standard speed connectivity enabling email, social image sharing, web browsing and messaging


• Pre-cruise transfers
• Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
• Pre and post cruise accommodation
• Travel Insurance
• SCUBA Diving (view Scuba diving rates)
• Entry visas & travel permits for the country you are travelling to/from
• Alcoholic drinks (including beer and wine) outside of lunch and dinner service
• Laundry service (available at a cost)
• Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
• Optional Extras (in some destinations)
Coral Discoverer
Great Barrier Reef  Luxury ExpeditionLuxury Expedition
15 Days from
$12,130 AUD pp

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

Get Our Latest Brochure

Featuring the latest small ship cruises to a number of destinations, our Small Ship Cruising brochure is carefully curated to include small ship cruises from expeditions to luxury cruises to the world's most fascinating destinations including Alaska, Croatia, the Galapagos and the Antarctic and Arctic.

Our Associates Include

Adventure Canada
Heritage Expeditions New Zealand
UnCruise Adventures