Great Barrier Reef & Islands - Food & Wine 2013
6 days with
Orion Expedition Cruises
Day 1 Cairns, Queensland
The Cairns region is internationally recognised for worldclass attractions, superb natural features and friendly north Queensland hospitality. It is the focal point for the magnificent World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is surrounded by tropical rainforests. Visitors enjoy browsing at indigeneous art galleries, shopping at the night markets and dining out on multicultural cuisine in the many restaurants along the esplanade.
Day 2 Hardy Reef
This morning Orion will anchor close by Hardy Reef’s “Reef World” floating pontoon, moored at one of the most vibrant spots on the Great Barrier Reef. The reef stretches for over 2,500km (1,550 miles), is the world’s largest ecological structure ever built by living creatures and is home to over fifteen hundred species of fish.
You’ll enjoy complimentary and exclusive access to the Reef World pontoon at the best time of day. There is an underwater viewing chamber built into the platform and snorkelling on the reef is as simple as putting on your masks and fins and slipping off the side of the platform where you will be surrounded by fish in their natural reef environment. The Reef World semi-submersible will also conduct complimentary tours throughout the morning so those who would like to see more of the reef whilst keeping their feet dry are able to do so.
An exceptional helicopter ride over the reef for a great view of all its spectacular formations is available at an additional cost, as is certified SCUBA diving for those with the appropriate experience and qualifications.
Transfer by Orion’s Zodiacs to the Hardy Reef pontoon. Orion guests will have exclusive use of the pontoon and the underwater viewing chamber. Tours on the semi-submersible are also included in today’s activities.
Day 3 Hamilton Island
One of the best known islands on the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in the Whitsunday Island group. Originally developed in the 1970’s by Keith Williams, the island has continued to grow and develop over the years and was just recently featured in the “Best Job in the World” promotion.
As with most of the Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton was formed as sea levels rose over time, “drowning” once coastal mountain ranges, turning them into islands. After a short Zodiac transfer to the Hamilton Island Marina you are free to explore the island. Take advantage of the shuttle bus to move around the island, you can easily access Cat’s Eye Beach for swimming and snorkelling, or access the island resort centre with its swimming pool, bars and restaurants. Take a walk down Front Street for some shopping, drop into the art gallery or prop yourself at one of the cafes or bars, or take one of the island trails for some more energetic walking (maps of the island trails will be available to you).
Access to the island resort centre and its swimming pool, along with access to Cat’s Eye Beach, the walking trails and the public areas of Hamilton Island are included for all Orion guests today.
A shuttle service around the island is also available during your visit today.
Day 4 Percy Island
The explorer Matthew Flinders visited the Percy Isles in September 1802 and described one of the coves as "one of the prettiest little places imaginable". Middle Percy, the largest of the three islands in the group, is a favourite stop for cruising yachtsmen en route between the tropical north and southern seas. An A-frame hut on the beach is decorated with memorabilia and souvenirs from these yachts. Middle Percy was first settled in 1870 and the homestead dating from that time is today occupied by the island caretakers.
What more perfect way to spend your day than to while it away in the shade or in the shallows with a glass of wine in your hand? A sumptuous beach BBQ is provided today, our fleet of sea kayaks will be available for you to explore the coast and estuaries of Middle Percy (tide and weather permitting) and the island has a series of walking trails where you may come across resident population of Emu and other native and introduced wildlife.
Access to the beach, the famous A-Frame Hut and island walking tracks are included today. A beach BBQ will be provided.
Our sea kayaks will be available, tide and weather permitting, and swimming from the beach is available throughout the day.
Day 5 Lady Elliot Island
In addition to swimming and snorkeling on the idyllic beach, Orion guests are offered an included glass bottom boat and snorkel tour around the island. There are also optional scuba tours for certified divers and beginners who wish to experience scuba diving. The diving and snorkelling environment on Lady Elliott Island is second to none.
Day 6 Brisbane, Queensland
Situated midway up the east coast of Australia is Brisbane, capital city of Queensland. With the Gold Coast beaches to the south and the Sunshine Coast to the north, Brisbane is well situated to end your Orion journey and it is well worth staying a few days after to enjoy the city and surrounds.
All This Included
Exploring Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on board Orion
is like having access to the most beautiful parts of this World Heritage area on a five or six night cruise aboard your own private mega-yacht. The reef is the world’s largest ecological structure and home to over 1,500 species of fish. Orion’s
Zodiac safaris allow guests to snorkel and swim over pristine and seldom-visited sections of the reef, alive with corals and teeming with tropical fish. Orion
guests will have complimentary access to many of the facilities offered by five star Hamilton Island – including access to the snorkelling heaven of Hardy Reef. We sail on to Percy Island to enjoy kayaking in this idyllic setting whilst our crew prepares a fresh seafood beach barbecue. What more perfect way to spend your day than in the shade or in the shallows with a glass of wine in your hand? Make sure you spend some time at either end of your journey in sub-tropical cosmopolitan Brisbane and Cairns with all its natural attractions and World Heritage listed rainforests.
Accommodations as booked, cruise transportation
All meals onboard, 24-hour room service
Entertainment and educational programme
Use of ship's sporting equipment and facilities
Port & handling charges
Zodiac excursions and tender transfers
Access to the ship's library
Govt. Fees & Taxes
Services of 75 experienced crew
Category B stateroom onboard Orion
Cabin upgrades are available.
Itinerary is subject to change.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
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The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.