A Voyage to the Outback aboard the Coral Discoverer

Overview

The fabled Kimberley is one of the most remote and captivating regions on earth, a land of towering cliffs, plunging waterfalls, ancient cultures, and exotic wildlife. By boat, Zodiac, and helicopter, you’ll explore the region’s treasures, from the dramatic gorges and pools of Mitchell Falls and the astonishing wildlife of Prince Regent Nature Reserve to austere desertscapes dotted with baobab trees and the sublimely beautiful isles of the Buccaneer Archipelago.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Days 1-3
Depart USA / Darwin, Australia

Board your independent flight to Darwin, Australia, losing a day as you cross the International Date Line. Arrive in Darwin on Thursday and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 4
Darwin / Embark Coral Discoverer

Today explore Darwin—a popular holiday destination graced with beautiful beaches and a laid-back atmosphere. Join a city tour to discover innovative museums and browse galleries that showcase the region’s rich indigenous art. This afternoon board the Coral Discoverer and set sail.

Day 5
Tiwi Islands

Permission pending, go ashore on the Tiwis and join local Aboriginal guides for a tour of the small community of Nguiu, its museum, and the old Mission Precinct. You will also have an opportunity to visit the local arts center, to view and purchase high-quality Tiwi crafts, as well as screen-printed fabric.

Day 6
King George River / King George Falls

Cruise through a spectacular canyon where vertical cliffs, gorges, and mangroves line the shores of the mighty King George River. The final destination is King George Falls, a supremely photogenic area of 325-foot cliffs of rust-colored sandstone rising from the tidal waters.

Day 7
Bigge Island / Low Rocks

A unique experience awaits you on Bigge Island, sacred to Aborigines for more than 20,000 years. Well-preserved Aboriginal paintings grace the walls of caves, depicting mythical figures and offering visual evidence of the European entrance into the Aboriginal way of life. Rock wallaby (the smallest of the wallabies), are numerous on this island and can often be seen sprinting from one rock ledge to another. In the afternoon step ashore on a tiny island atoll known as Low Rocks. As Zodiacs approach, the skies fill with the movements and sounds of thousands upon thousands of seabirds, including four species of terns, pied cormorants, white-bellied sea eagles, and osprey. The island is also a nesting site for green and flatback turtles, and has its own resident saltwater crocodile, often seen patrolling the waters around the island.

Day 8
Hunter River / Mitchell Falls

From Hunter River, fly via helicopter to the Mitchell Plateau to visit Mitchell Falls, a series of waterfalls and pools culminating in a deep gorge carving its way through the Outback. Explore the surrounding area on foot and enjoy a refreshing swim in the rushing freshwater pools. In the vicinity of your anchorage, you may explore the small tributaries by Zodiac, searching the mangroves and tidal mud flats for crocodiles, mud skippers, and fiddler crabs, as well as the many bird species that make their home within the dense vegetation.

Days 9-10
Prince Regent Nature Reserve / Camp Creek / Careening Bay

The Prince Regent Nature Reserve is one of Australia’s most remote areas, and the rugged sandstone and volcanic landscape helps to protect its scenic grandeur. This is pure wilderness, accessible only by air or boat, and you can truly say that you have been to a place seen by few others. The area boasts more than half of the mammal and bird species found in the entire Kimberley region and more than 500 species of plants. With the ship at anchor in St. George Basin, board Zodiacs to cruise up the Prince Regent River. With near-vertical cliffs on either side, make your way to the face of King Cascade, an unusual and picturesque waterfall cascading over terraced rock formations. Tidal conditions permitting, you will also explore nearby Camp Creek in search of local fauna such as estuarine crocodiles, red-tailed black cockatoos, and galahs. At Careening Bay visit a large boab tree with the inscription “H.M.C. Mermaid – 1820” still clearly visible. The Mermaid was a British Navy hydrographic survey ship under the command of Lt. Philip Parke King, who stayed at the bay for six weeks while repairing his ship.

Days 11-12
Buccaneer Archipelago / Talbot Bay / Montgomery Reef / Raft Point

The Buccaneer Archipelago consists of more than 800 islands. The shorelines of these rarely visited isles are among the most photogenic in the world, and include mangrove estuaries, secluded bays, untouched beaches, cliffs, headlands, reefs, rugged gorges, and whirlpools. This area is known for its extreme tidal conditions—ranging up to 30 feet in places. Your daily activities are planned around the tides—a way of life in the Kimberley. At Talbot Bay visit the Horizontal Waterfalls, one of the most unusual regional attractions. The falls, created by a phenomenon resulting from the mammoth tides, actually reverse as the tide turns. At Montgomery Reef, view the amazing array of marine life exposed at low tide. The reef is home to an incredible number of green sea turtles and sharks are sometimes spotted in the surrounding waters. At Raft Point, join a bush walk to learn the traditions of the Worrorra people and view ancient Aboriginal cave paintings of outstanding quality, depicting the significance of the marine world to the Aboriginal way of life.

Day 13
Lacepede Islands

The Lacepede Islands are a group of four low, sandy islands lying on a coral reef. The islands are an important nesting site for green sea turtles and several species of seabirds including frigatebirds, brown boobies, crested terns, sandpipers, and ruddy turnstones. Join your naturalists on nature walks along the long, white-sand beaches. Be on deck this evening as the sun sets and the night sky comes alive—far from the city lights, stargazing in the Kimberley is simply spectacular.

Days 14-15
Broome / Disembark / Sydney / USA

Disembark in Broome with time for a bit of sightseeing. Transfer to the airport for your independent flight to Sydney with dinner and overnight at the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel. Board your independent flight to the USA on Tuesday, arriving the same day.

Highlights

Highlights

Fly via helicopter to explore the dramatic gorges of Mitchell Plateau and swim in the crystal-clear pools above photogenic Mitchell Falls
Discover Australia’s unique wildlife—rock wallabies, turtles, and mighty saltwater crocodiles
Step ashore on the Tiwi Islands for a guided bush walk that reveals the cultural traditions of the Tiwi people, and view well-preserved Aboriginal paintings at Raft Point and Bigge Island
View the amazing spectacle of the Horizontal Falls, created by massive tidal currents
Join an optional pre-voyage extension to Arnhem Land, Kununurra, and Bungle Bungle

Details

Length: 15 days
Cost From: $13,580  
Arrive: Darwin, Australia
Depart: Broome, Australia
Lodging: 10 nights aboard 65-passenger expedition vessel, 1 night hotel, 3 travel days
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

11-day cruise, nature walks, cultural explorations
Cruise collection 2018 brochure

2018 Cruise Collection

We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships with the most intriguing cruising itineraries, from Greenland to New Zealand to the great rivers of Europe.

Download our online digital brochure to view on your computer or mobile device, or as a PDF! Or request a printed copy to be sent by mail, or by calling 800-368-2794.