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Citizen Science on the Great Barrier Reef - Turtle and Rays

10 night Conservation Expedition of the Great Barrier Reef from $11,189 per person share twin
Flights Additional
Departs 20 Mar 25

Sale Period

Until sold out


10 night Conservation Expedition of the Great Barrier Reef from
per person share twinFlights AdditionalDeparts 20 Mar 25

Citizen Science Expedition Australian Geographic partnered Voyage

Join Coral Expeditions as we undertake our 3rd unique citizen science themed expedition along the length of the Great Barrier Reef to learn about two iconic species – Turtles and Rays. With a maximum of 70 guests and with leading research experts onboard,  in partnership with Australian Geographic, our small expedition ship Coral Discoverer will call on remote reefs, islands, and significant wildlife habitats in the Coral Sea marine zone.

Along the way get hands on experience with marine conservation at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre in Bundaberg and as you meet with resident researchers at work. Connect with the Project Manta team in the protected “green zone” sanctuary of Lady Elliot Island. Participate in species surveys on guided snorkeling sessions at the John Brewer and Ribbon Reefs. Travel with a community of conservation-minded explorers and gain access to far reaching atolls and reefs such as Orpheus, Middle Percy and Heron Islands. Contribute to conservation programs including biodiversity databases, wildlife rehabilitation and coral science throughout the voyage.

  • Visit the Mon Repos Turtle Centre and enjoy a ranger guided Turtle Tracks and Tales walk exploring the conservation park and learn about turtle conservation, research, turtle tracks and nesting sites
  • Experience the work of dedicated marine scientists in Coral Reef Studies at the oldest and largest marine research station on the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island Research Station
  • Learn about the Coral Restoration Program and how corals are planted and rejuvenated across the Great Barrier Reef
  • Snorkel and dive at John Brewer Reef, home to the largest installation of Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) sharing in a message of reef conservation and restoration
  • Lend a hand to the volunteers at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where sick and injured turtles are card for before being returned to the wild
  • Meet and learn about how you can collaborate with the Project Manta team, a multidisciplinary research collaboration focusing on the population ecology and biology of manta rays within Australian waters
  • 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

Expedition Inclusions
✔ All excursions with our Expedition Team
 Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and Kayaks
 Snorkeling & 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 (in most destinations)

Cruise Itinerary


Board Coral Discoverer at 8:00am for our 9:00am cast off from Brisbane Cruise Terminal. Settle into your stateroom and mingle with fellow guests and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.


Located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay which serves as a sanctuary for over 1,200 species of marine life. Situated in the ‘green zone’ the island is protected and hosts Project Manta – the research program run by the University of Queensland. Since 2007, Project Manta has been closely monitoring the biology and ecology of the manta rays here. Each manta ray has unique ventral markings, similar to a human fingerprint, and photo-identification of these markings are a primary method of observing the population. On our visit here, learn about Lady Elliot Island’s pivotal role in Project Manta and enjoy kayaking, snorkelling, diving and citizen science activities.


Visit Mon Repos Turtle Centre, the only ranger-guided turtle encounter opportunity on the east-coast and key researcher in turtle conservation, specifically the endangered Loggerhead turtles that frequent the Mon Repos beach. Explore the conservation park and learn all about the wildlife conservation activities that take place here. On a ranger guided excursion, you can witness an ancient life cycle of the animal kingdom as majestic sea turtles make their journey to the shore to lay their eggs and then delight at the sight of their young, hatching weeks later, and making their perilous journey to the sea.


Heron Island is one of the major sea turtle nesting sites on the Great Barrier Reef. Located 80km from Gladstone, the island has a long history, now divided into three sections: the resort, research station and National Park. Tour the marine research station – the oldest and largest on the Great Barrier Reef – where staff will provide insights into research process and the inner workings of the station. Get up close to the marine life by touch tank and enjoy kayaking, snorkelling, diving and citizen science activities here.


Middle Percy Island has a colourful history – it has seen famous visitors, including Errol Flynn, and for many years was a leasehold duty-bound to providing fresh water and supplies to passing sailors. The island still has its famous ‘A-frame’, where visitors could take shelter and find supplies.  Go ashore at West Bay beach and visit the A-Frame where Robin and Annie, the island’s caretakers, will share some of the history and stories of the island. Enjoy a guided walk, a swim at West Bay, snorkelling and, if the tide permits, a zodiac cruise through the shallow marine nursery of the lagoon.



After a cyclone impacted reefs in the Whitsundays, Reef Ecologic, in partnership with the local community and tourism industry began a reef restoration project with the creation of coral nurseries. On our visit, learn about the Coral Restoration Program projects and observe how the corals are planted and rejuvenated. We will also enjoy kayaking, snorkelling, diving and citizen science activities such as working with Reef Ecologic to assist in coral planting.



Also known as the ‘coral greenhouse’, John Brewer Reef is in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The reef is notably home to the largest Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) installation with the first underwater building created by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. The display aims to aid in the education of reef restoration and allow for a unique learning opportunity through snorkelling or diving the installation. Divers will have the opportunity to explore the display, while snorkellers will enjoy time at the lagoon and reef where turtles and rays are commonly present.



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.


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 passionate non-profit organisation 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.



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.



The Ribbon Reefs are a narrow line of outer coral reefs on the edge of the continental shelf and are renowned for their prolific marine life and extensive coral species. Enjoy the rare opportunity to snorkel and dive on the Ribbon Reefs which sit on the edge of the continental shelf.

Due to their location far offshore from the Australian coast, the Ribbon Reefs offer excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities, with Ribbon Reef #3 & #5 are a favourite for its wide variety of marine life and pinnacles cloaked in coral. Join a guided snorkel tour led by our expert Master Reef and witness this extraordinary ecosystem up close. These northern reefs are renowned for spotting iconic marine species such as potato cod, wrasse, sharks, and turtles. Get involved in the Eye on the Reef program as we conduct species surveys during a number of snorkel experiences here.

Arrive in Cairns at 8:00am this morning. Say a fond farewell to fellow guests and crew as our expedition comes to an end with enhanced knowledge and new memories to treasure from this rare expedition experience.

*Activities may be placed on different days dependent on guide and direction of cruise

10 Nights Return from Cairns onboard Coral Discoverer

Main Deck Category A from $11,748 per person
Promenade Deck Category A from $13,540 per person
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom from $16,676 per person

Departs: 20 March 2025

Tips: Book Now and deposit will not be required for 30 days

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Terms and Conditions


To make a reservation you have to pay a deposit of 20% of the fare. The balance of the fare is due ninety (90) days prior to departure. All prices are converted from Australian dollars and are subject to currency fluctuation at time of booking


Notification of cancellation must be received in writing. At the time we receive your cancellation the following penalties will apply:

  • Up to 90 days prior to departure – forfeit your deposit of 20% of the fare.
  • 60 to 89 days prior to departure – forfeit 50% of the fare.
  • No-show to 59 days prior to departure – forfeit 100% of the fare.

Transfer Fees

  • Date change fee made more than 90 days before departure – $500pp fee.
  • Date change within 90 days of departure is considered a cancellation and standard Cancellation Policy applies.
  • A name change/transfer of the booking to another person is considered a cancellation and Cancellation Penalties (as above) will apply.
  • A $200 per person fee is applicable for any amendments not requiring a date change after booking is confirmed.


We strongly recommend that all passengers purchase cruise cancellation and interruption insurance as protection against any circumstance which may force you to cancel or leave an expedition whilst it is in progress.


Accommodation on the Ship is based on twin share occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share accommodation, a room mate will be assigned to your cabin whenever possible. When pairing room mates we always pair participants of the same sex. In the event of a share partner not being found, standard twin share stateroom rate will be applied.


Upon payment of the fare for the Cruise and the confirmation of the booking by us or our authorised travel agent a Contract is concluded between us (the carrier) and you (the passenger) concerning the Cruise in terms of these Cruise Ticket Conditions. Any payment of the cruise fare implies acceptance of all Terms and Conditions.


In these Cruise Ticket Conditions:

  • “brochure” means this brochure and any other promotional material published by the Carrier with reference to the Cruise.
  • “carrier” means and includes Coral Expeditions, the Ship, the Ship’s owners, operators, managers, charterers, agents, sub-contractors and employees.
  • “Coral Expeditions” means Coral Princess Cruises (NQ) Pty Ltd (A.B.N 51 010 809 417) of Hartley Street, Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
  • “Cruise” means the passage agreed to be undertaken by the carrier in the Contract.
  • “passenger” means each person purchasing or accepting the Contract entitled to board the Ship for the Cruise.
  • “Queensland” means the State of Queensland in the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • “the Ship” means the Cruise Ship used by the carrier to conduct the Cruise.
  • “Unexpected Event” means any act, circumstance or event beyond the control of the carrier caused or arising from but not limited to acts of God, public enemies, government restraint, riots, strikes, lockouts, labour troubles, epidemic, civil disturbances, perils of the sea, harbours, rivers or other navigable waters, fuel shortages or abrupt and unexpected increases in fuel costs, collisions, stranding, fire, lightning, storm, rough and adverse sea conditions, tidal waves, cyclones, theft, barratry or any other crime by any person, faults or errors of navigation or management of the Ship or any other vessel, explosions, breakage of shafts or any defect or unseaworthiness in hull, machinery or appurtenances, equipment, furnishings or supplies of the Ship or launches or vehicles or any defect of the carrier’s premises, fault or neglect of pilots, tugs, crew, agents or independent contractors, port closures, delays in allocation and permits to berth the Ship at ports on arrival and seizure of the Vessel under legal process.


Where this brochure contains particulars of our conditions or policy about reservation procedures, bookings, cancellations, refunds of fares and itineraries for the Cruise then it forms part of these Cruise Ticket Conditions and if there is any inconsistency these Cruise Ticket Conditions shall prevail.


Passengers do not have the right to transfer their rights and obligations under these Cruise Ticket Conditions. The fare paid shall not be refundable except as permitted in these Cruise Ticket Conditions and the carrier will not be liable to make any refund to the passenger if the passenger fails to embark on the Ship for the Cruise.


The carrier will endeavour to follow the Cruise itinerary as described in the brochure and the passenger accepts that the carrier has the right to change the itinerary, the Ship or cancel the Cruise as a result of some Unexpected Event or prevailing inclement weather conditions and the passenger accepts that the passenger will not be entitled to any compensation or a refund of the fare paid should this occur. If the carrier cancels the Cruise for any other reason the carrier will refund the fare paid and if the departure of a Cruise is delayed or if the Cruise itinerary is shortened for any other reason the carrier will refund part of the fare paid on a pro rata basis to allow for the time lost. So far as these Cruise Ticket Conditions constitute a contract for the supply of services then and in no event shall the liability of the carrier to the passenger for a breach of an express or implied condition or warranty in that respect exceed, at the election of the carrier:

  • an obligation on the part of the carrier to supply the services again, or;
  • the refund or payment to the passenger of an amount equal to the fare paid by the passenger for the Cruise.


The passenger admits a full understanding of the nature and character of the Ship and the scope of the activities contemplated by the passenger during the Cruise (including those relating to off Ship activities such as excursions in the Ship’s tenders, snorkelling and diving) and assures and undertakes to the carrier:-

  • that they are in good health and well able to undertake the Cruise and the contemplated activities;
  • that they will effect travel insurance sufficient to cover any limitation of liability against them imposed by these Cruise Ticket Conditions should they wish to do so;
  • that they accept the risk that they may suffer from sea sickness;
  • that they have disclosed any physical or mental disability requiring special attention (including the use of a wheelchair) or treatment at the time when the reservation for the Cruise was made;
  • that no passenger will be permitted to embark or continue on a voyage while their mental or physical condition is, in the opinion of any representative of the carrier, such as to render them incapable of caring for themselves, or whereby they become objectionable to other passengers, or they become a hazard to themselves or others. The carrier will not be responsible for any expenses resulting in such persons being precluded from completing the cruise;
  • that the passenger accepts that a medical certificate certifying fitness for travel may be required at the carrier’s request and if any passenger has had surgery less than twelve (12) months prior to sailing that passenger must submit a letter from a qualified physician stating that he or she is fit to travel and the carrier reserves the right to deny passage if a passenger requires care and attention which the carrier cannot adequately provide and this decision may be made by the carrier in its sole discretion;
  • The carrier reserves the right to refuse or deny participation in activities or programmes either aboard the Ship or off Ship which are sponsored or promoted by the carrier to any passenger who has a past or present medical condition that may present risks if the passenger participates in those activities and any decision in this respect may be made by the carrier in its sole discretion;
  • Any charges incurred by passengers for medical reasons including but not limited to physicians, surgeons, hospitals, off Ship accommodation, medication, diagnostic facilities, air ambulance evacuation or ground ambulance shall be the sole responsibility of the passenger;
  • for the safety and comfort of passengers smoking is not permitted in the Ship except on designated open deck spaces outside all air-conditioned and sealed areas of the Ship;
  • and the passenger agrees to indemnify the carrier from and against all claims, costs, charges, fines or penalties arising as a result of any claim made against the carrier in this respect.


The liability of the carrier to the passenger is limited with respect to both personal injury and damage to loss of property to the full extent permitted by law and in terms of these Cruise Ticket Conditions. The carrier accepts no responsibility or liability to the passenger for loss, death, or delay of, or injury to any passenger or loss, damage or delay to a passenger’s baggage, personal effects or other property arising from or caused by an Unexpected Event. These Cruise Ticket Conditions remain in effect for all periods when the carrier is under any responsibility to the passenger or the passenger’s property. No variation or waiver of any term or condition of these Cruise Ticket Conditions will have any effect unless they are in writing and signed by the carrier. No undertaking, guarantee or warranty is given or shall be implied as to the seaworthiness, fitness or condition of the Ship. In addition to any other limitation of liability contained in these Cruise Ticket Conditions the carrier shall have the benefit of any statutory limitation of liability available in Queensland including but not limited to the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims Act 1989 (Cwth). Where tours and services of operators other than the carrier are engaged e.g. tour operators and hoteliers, which are not under the control of the carrier, whilst the carrier takes all reasonable care in selecting these operators it cannot accept responsibility for those operators’ conduct or the conduct of their representative employees or agents or for any ramifications of that conduct.


It is a requirement that all passengers have a valid passport and appropriate visa/travel permits for the countries to be visited. Passport must have a validity of more than six months beyond the duration of travel. The company cannot be responsible for any travel restrictions or expenses arising through passengers not having relevant documentation.


All baggage brought on board the Ship by a passenger remains in the possession and control of the passenger during the Cruise and must be stored and kept in the cabin allocated to the passenger. The carrier has made recommendations with respect to baggage in the brochure. Baggage should be prominently marked with the name and address of the passenger. The passenger must not bring on board the Ship in baggage or otherwise any dangerous or inflammable substance including any prohibited drug or non-prescribed drug. Liquor laws prohibit passengers from bringing supplies of alcohol or liquor on board the Ship. Baggage remaining unclaimed on arrival of the Ship will be stored at the passenger’s sole risk and expense. The carrier is not responsible for money, jewellery, documents and any other valuables which passengers keep on their person, in their cabins or in their baggage and the carrier strongly recommends that passengers obtain adequate insurance to cover any loss or damage in this respect. In no event will the carrier’s responsibility or liability to the passenger for loss of baggage or personal effects exceed $100 and the passenger agrees to indemnify and keep indemnified the carrier from and against any claims made against the carrier in excess of this amount in this respect.


The carrier will not be liable to passengers for any injuries or damage which occur while the passenger is participating in recreational activities aboard the Vessel or otherwise including but not limited to passenger participating in snorkelling or scuba diving programmes. By utilising these facilities passengers agree to assume all risks associated with those activities and fully release and discharge the carrier from any and all claims, demands, damages, causes of action, present or future, resulting from or arising out of the passenger’s use of or participation in those facilities. The passenger may be required to sign a release or waiver prior to undertaking these activities and the carrier will be entitled to refuse to allow the passenger to participate in those activities if the waiver or release is not signed by the passenger prior to participation in those activities.


Should any provision of these Cruise Ticket Conditions be contrary to or invalid by virtue of the laws of Queensland or the Commonwealth of Australia or for any other reason the relevant provision will be deemed to be severed from these Cruise Ticket Conditions and shall be of no effect but all remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect. These Cruise Ticket Conditions shall be governed in all respects by the laws of Queensland and the passenger agrees that any claims or disputes between the passenger and the carrier in connection with these Cruise Ticket Conditions shall be commenced, filed and litigated before a Court of proper jurisdiction in Queensland and if possible in the State of Queensland.


For most activities a relatively low level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of zodiacs and other excursion tenders for excursions ashore: there will be staff and crew members on hand to assist. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances over sometimes rough terrain. Although our new ship Coral Adventurer features a lift, it is still essential that all guests have reasonable agility to use the steep stairways between decks. Participants will most enjoy the remarkable opportunities these expeditions offer if they travel with a spirit of adventure.

Sale Period

Until sold out


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