What more convenient way is there to experience the casual yet sophisticated style that is a PONANT luxury expedition cruise than by boarding Le Soleal in Sydney for an island hopping voyage to Cairns?
Then, consider a back-to-back voyage from Cairns on to Darwin and take advantage of savings for sequential voyages. These are easily accessible voyages that start and finish close to home, representing the perfect opportunity to see the Australian coast and islands in comfort and style.
Select from itineraries that offer iconic Australian island visits, remote, rarely visited destinations and never to be forgotten cultural interactions.
Sydney to Cairns / 9 nights – 13 February 2016. From $ 5,430 pp twin share.
This itinerary features Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island – no 4WD needed! – then on to the tiny coral cay, Lady Elliot Island, small enough to walk around in 45 minutes. Home of the manta ray, turtles and 1200 species of marine life, enjoy one of the best snorkelling and diving destinations on the Great Barrier Reef.
Renowned Hardy Reef follows for memorable snorkelling, diving or submersible coral reef viewing. Then Le Soleal cruises in Cook’s wake to beautiful Lizard Island, believed by the indigenous Dingaal people to have been created in the Dreamtime. Enjoy picture perfect white sand beaches for swimming, or snorkel over giant clam gardens. Hike to the lookout and marvel at how Captain Cook managed to navigate the maze of coral reefs in the Endeavour.
Cairns follows all too soon – so consider a back-to-back voyage on to Darwin. Temptingly, savings of 20% will be applied to the second voyage.
Cairns to Darwin / 11 nights – 22 February 2016. From $ 5,950 pp twin share.
Departing Cairns, this voyage features extraordinary ‘first contact’ rock art paintings at mystical Stanley Island, with depictions of ships painted in red and white ochre, rigged in the distinctive styles of European lugger and Macassan Prau. Being guided by the traditional owners to these exceptional sites adds another layer of authenticity to the visit.
Step ashore at ‘The Tip’, Cape York, the very northern point of the Australian mainland. Arduous to reach if by road this is a special experience in one of the last remaining wilderness areas on Earth. Then enjoy all Le Soleal has to offer during the cruise to Asmat in Papua, where guests will be welcomed by tribal warriors in traditional dress. Enjoy cultural performances, view inside the ‘mens house’ where many carved sculptures are displayed. A truly extraordinary experience.
Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, is an internationally acclaimed centre for indigenous art. Isolated and difficult to reach, Yirrkala is a time capsule of culture and age-old ceremonies. Meet local artists and learn useful survival techniques including making and throwing a spear! Prepare to depart with an original artwork under your arm.
Indigenous art represents important Tiwi islands culture. You will be amazed, and tempted, by the range of traditional Tiwi bird art, bark paintings, bangles, carvings, batik and painted shells produced by the talented art community. And keep an eye out for colourful ‘pukamanis’, burial poles, dotted across the islands.
Darwin awaits, and it would be a pity not to stay on and experience more of the Top End.
Enjoy French luxury and ambiance on Le Soleal and experience the difference small ship luxury expeditions offer. Intimate voyages venturing where large ships simply cannot. Guests will discover a multitude of fascinating destinations taking advantage of the ship’s compact size and manoeuvrability to get close to shore before launching Zodiac expedition craft for adventurous close-up opportunities. Throughout the voyage the expedition team, led by Australian photographer and adventurer Mick Fogg, and specialist lecturers will enhance the experience.
Fares are correct at time of announcement however are subject to change, possibly increasing as less cabins become available.