River Cruise

Mulgrave River Cruise

From the rainforest to the reef

Nestled in the heart of Far North Queensland, the Mulgrave River system stretches 70 kilometres in land and is the departure point for cruises out to the Coral Sea and the pristine Frankland Islands. 

Our short, 6km river journey begins and ends at our private jetty located just opposite the small community of Deeral. After the check-in process is complete, you can enjoy morning tea onboard the Turtle Islander with tea, coffee and biscuits. After casting off, enjoy a relaxing journey through the tranquil waterways towards the river mouth and then out to the Frankland Group National Park.

The Mulgrave River’s lush ecosystem supports a diverse range of creatures, both above and below the water’s surface. You are likely to see Kingfisher birds darting around the water’s edge and many other wading birds who feed along the river bank. 

Australasian Figbird-male Frankland Island Cruise
Mulgrave River Cruise

Keep your eyes peeled for the more camouflaged and formidable river residents such as the saltwater crocodile. These apex predators blend in perfectly with their dark grey colour making them almost invisible when resting along the river bank. Crocodiles inhabit the waterways throughout Far North Queensland including rivers, creeks, swamps and lagoons.  

Enjoy the river view from the Turtle Islander’s panoramic windows as you sit inside in air-conditioned comfort, or step out onto the shaded outdoor decks for a closer look. The Frankland Islands Reef Cruises crew will be on hand to help point out any interesting flora and fauna and share any fun facts about the journey along the way.

During the return journey, an afternoon tea of tea, coffee, and cakes, served with a side of croc-spotting!


Enjoy the river cruise experience as part of our All-Inclusive day tour

Adult (17+)

Child (16 and under)

Family Pass (2AD and 2CH)
second child travels free!

Prices quoted are in $AUD and include all taxes and any applicable levies. Valid until 31 March 2025 or until superseded.

Flora and Fauna of the Mulgrave River

Learn more about the wildlife and plants that you can see from the Turtle Islander

Mulgrave River’s Marine ecosystem

The Mulgrave River is home to both Grey and Red Mangroves, which protect the coral reef by absorbing pollutants and trapping fine sediments. The unique smell of the mangroves comes from hydrogen sulphide, which is created as bacteria in the mud breaks down surrounding leaf litter.

Saltwater Crocodiles

Tropical North Queensland is known as crocodile country – and the Mulgrave River is a great place to spot them from. Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to six metres long and can hold their breath underwater for up to an hour and a half!

Wading Birds

There are a number of rare or threatened birds that reside within the Mulgrave River drainage sub-basin, including the Black-necked Stork (pictured), a large wading bird with a pronounced black bill, and unique white wings with a central black panel underneath.

Cameron, Sept 2023 (Google Reviews)

Could not have been happier with our day. Great guides, easy down river trip and across to the island with stunning views. The island itself was beautiful and incredibly isolated, it was a small personal tour that was highly enjoyable. You should definitely do the guided snorkel tour if you do the day trip

Briony, August 2023 (Google Reviews)

Perfection! Having the option of semi sub tour, sup, snorkelling on your own, snorkel safari in group, island tour, beautiful lunch and an ideallic island setting is superb for a family wanting to explore Great Barrier reef and not be stuck on a boat the whole day. Swimming above coral, colourful marine life, fish and swam with turtles! Would love to go again! Thank you crew we have wonderful memories.

Farima, July 2023 (Google Reviews)

It was am amazing experience! I got picked up by a coach in the morning, the coach was well ventilated, drove for about an hour in that until we hour to the ferry. The boat trip was about an hour long too where I saw beautiful sights of nature! They provided free drinks and snacks both ways in the ferry and lunch was also included in the island! They can provide something for every dietary requirement, including vegan.

Andree, August 2023 (Google Reviews)

What a hidden gem this tour was. Beautiful island, river cruise and great reef. Nice small group. Had the island to ourselves. Knowledgeable, friendly crew. Fabulous value. Will definitely be recommending this trip.

Eleanor, August 2023 (Google Reviews)

Highlight of the holiday!! Can’t recommend enough: we were picked up outside our hotel in the morning, drove to the boat where we had a great trip down the Mulgrave river before another 30 min on the sea and we arrived at the island. Variety of activities available from free snorkelling in a watched boundary and a snorkel tour a bit further out, to a semi-submersible and rainforest island tour where you can see in rock pools. The semi-sub was a little murky so if you enjoyed the snorkelling tour, I’d carry on on your own, as it’s what you saw before, but less clear, but if you’re not comfortable snorkeling, then it’s a great alternative to see the corals.

Kate, August 2023 (Google Reviews)

Excellent day tour to a great little island. Crew were wonderful and provided an overall fabulous experience. Suitable for most all ages/abilities and can do as much or as little as you like. Highly recommend.

Natalie, June 2023 (Google Reviews)
We had a fantastic day out. Both snorkeling off the beach or through snorkeling safari are amazing. Lots of fish and good to see many healthy vibrant corals. The whole crew has been very helpful. It is a perfect trip for the whole family even for little kids.
Cindy, Oct 2023 (Tripadvisor)

Very well organized. Staff was amazing!! Something for everyone. You had your choice of snorkeling, glass bottom boat, kayaks, sup, guided nature walk ( totally amazing and interesting!) and there was even a treasure hunt for young kids. Food and snacks were great as well! Highly recommend!

Lorna, Aug 2023 (Google Reviews)

Had a great day out on Frankland Island Reef Cruises. You can do as much or as little as you want on the island so perfect if you want to snorkel and spend lots of time in the water or just sit on the beach in the sun listening to the birds. The boat trip over is pretty short so good if boat travel isn’t your thing. Semi-sub trip is great if you are not a confident swimmer or fan of snorkeling. The information is interesting and while not crystal clear its a good reminder the reef can survive & flourish but we can do lots to help in our everyday life. Loads of food for lunch and afternoon cheese & biscuits was a great way to finish off the day. Highly recommend this trip

Karen, Sept 2023 (Tripadvisor)

We can throughly recommend this small, relaxed all-inclusive reef tour.
The crew were amazing, the snorkel safari the best we’ve ever been on in clear, calm waters seeing beautiful corals, fish and turtles close up. Semi sub tour of the island, guided walk, use of paddle boards and kayaks and amazing food all included. A really great day out.
Thanks to all the crew. You worked so hard all day and were fun, helpful, friendly and very informative.
Thank you

Alison, Aug 2023 (Tripadvisor)

What an amazing day out in frankland Island.
Would highly recommended this trip – one of the best snorkelling I’ve done and its guided. if your not the best swimmer you can just walk straight into the crystal clear water and still see lots of amazing stuff.
The submarine was brilliant, got to see loads.
The island walk was very educational and saw some very unique things.
Great staff, great food. Overall amazing day out would highly recommend 🙂

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