Exploring Australia's East Coast Islands
11 days with Ponant Rating:
Day 1 – CAIRNS
Embarkation from 15H00 to 16H00. Departure at 17H00.
Washed by the Coral Sea, the harbour town of Cairns is located on Australia's north-east coast. The seafront esplanade is a popular place for locals and visitors to walk, swim and picnic under the shade of swaying palm trees. The hills surrounding Cairns form the gateway to the Queensland Rainforests, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site for their fauna and flora from the Gondwana era.
Day 2 – WILLIS ISLAND (TECHNICAL STOP)
Willis Island is a tiny speck of an island located in the Coral Sea. Other than a weather station there is very little here - and that is the charm. Surrounded by a pristine coral fringe, sitting atop an extinct volcano and measuring just 450 metres by 150 metres, this remote sand island is an important green sea turtle nesting site, with thousands of hatchlings between October and March each year.
Day 3 – AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 4 – HARDY REEF
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system, composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres along Australia’s tropical East Coast. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. Hardy Reef is home to the innovatively designed Reefworld pontoon, ideally situated in shallower waters with protection from the surrounding sea conditions. You will be transferred by Zodiac to the pontoon which provides easy access to the aquatic realm either by semi-submersible, underwater viewing chamber, snorkelling or diving. There is also undercover seating and tables, sun decks, freshwater showers and change rooms.
Day 5 – PERCY ISLAND
The explorer Matthew Flinders described the cove at West Bay on Middle Percy Island as "one of the prettiest little places imaginable". The largest of the three islands in the group, Middle Percy is a favourite stop for cruising yachtsmen en-route between the tropical north and southern seas. An A-frame hut on the beach at West Bay is decorated with memorabilia and souvenirs from these yachts. After a short Zodiac ride to the beach at West Bay you can relax on this picture postcard beach or take a refreshing swim in the clear waters. For the more energetic, there are walking trails where you may catch a glimpse of some of the native and introduced wildlife.
Day 6 – LADY MUSGRAVE ISLAND
Lady Musgrave is an uninhabited 14 hectares coral cay on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. This island is a nesting place for green turtles and loggerhead turtles. It also attracts large numbers of birds including Wedge-tailed shearwaters (Mutton Birds) which nest in burrows in the ground. Small white tip reef sharks and leopard sharks can be seen in the shallows around the island, while the coral lagoon, with its multitude of fish and coral species, is perfect for snorkelling.
Day 7 – FRASER ISLAND
Lying off the coast of Queensland just south of the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser is the world’s largest sand island. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992 for its outstanding natural universal values. Fraser Island is characterised by long uninterrupted white beaches, strikingly coloured sand cliffs, majestic tall rainforests and numerous crystal clear freshwater lakes. Called K'gari by its Aboriginal inhabitants, the island contains many sites of archaeological, social and spiritual significance dating back more than 5,000 years. After a short tender transfer ashore, Guests can enjoy a coach tour of Fraser Island taking in Lake McKenzie, the rainforest at Central Station and the giant stands of Satinay trees at Pile Valley.
Days 8-9 – AT SEA
Day 10 – SYDNEY
Nestled around one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, Sydney is both trendy and classic, urbane yet laid-back. Composed of ocean and light, of sailors and businessmen, this city alone inspires many travellers to visit the “Land Down Under”. Located between the Pacific Ocean and the elegant silhouettes of the Blue Mountains, it encapsulates the Australian way of life: surfing beaches, quiet suburbs, skyscrapers, Victorian cottages and tropical gardens. Sydney is filled with history and harmoniously blends old world charm and ultra-modern architecture, with its sail-shaped Opera House which sits alongside the historic district of The Rocks as the Harbour Bridge stretches across the bay.
Day 11 – SYDNEY
Disembarkation at 06H00.
All This Included
Allow yourself to fall under the spell of this itinerary in Australia that has been specially designed for travellers looking for unspoiled islands and turquoise lagoons. You will set sail aboard Le Lapérouse for an 11-day cruise with PONANT to discover the treasures of the Great Barrier Reef.
You will set sail from Cairns. With its many colonial buildings, its picturesque port and its exceptional panorama over the surrounding natural environment, this city in the north-east of Australia is sure to win you over.
Lying some 50 km to the north-east of the Whitsunday Islands, you will reach Hardy Reef, which boasts the unique marine biodiversity of the area.
You’ll continue your exploration of the Australian coast with the discovery of Percy Island, whose shallow waters beckon you in for a dip, and Lady Musgrave Island, which is ideal for snorkelling. Both are located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, a gigantic ecosystem of coral reefs.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. Between endless beaches, lush tropical rainforests and freshwater lakes, you will discover an area of rare beauty.
The end of your cruise will be marked by a disembarkation in the irresistible city of Sydney.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Laperouse
Terms and Conditions
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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.