Thundering Waterfalls and Scenic Isles

Overview

The Kimberley, considered Australia’s last frontier, is a vast land of remote, sublime scenery outlined by rugged coastlines and crystal clear waters of the Timor Sea and the Indian Ocean. Palm-fringed gorges, desolate mountains, and Aboriginal rock paintings are the setting of this 10-day cruise that takes you from Darwin to Broome. Along with expert guides, retrace the history of Phillip Parker King who first charted these waters almost 200 years ago, interpret 40,000-year-old rock art, and feel the spray from the magnificent King George River and its towering falls. Explore by Zodiac and watch for crocodiles, tawny nurse sharks, sea turtles, whales, and rock wallabies. Cap off your days with drinks on the beach or on board your ship while admiring the ochre-colored sandstone cliffs in this wild and ancient land.

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

Day 1
Darwin / Depart

Board your ship in the morning to cross Cambridge Gulf and sail into Western Australian waters. Your expedition team will give you an informative introduction to the fascinating Kimberley region, followed by a gathering with the captain and crew for weclome drinks.

Day 2
King George River and Falls

At 276 feet above sea level, King George Falls are the highest twin falls in Western Australia. Feel humbled by nature’s awesome force as thousands of tons of water cascade over the ancient sandstone cliffs. Early in the season, you may cruise under the mist of the falls, while in later months you'll get up close to the sandstone walls to view the honeycomb erosion patterns.

Day 3
Vansittart Bay

Vansittart Bay contains many sites of cultural and historical significance. Here you have the opportunity to view the remarkable Gwion Gwion galleries and Macassan sites at Jar Island. On the Anjo Peninsula, discover the wreckage of the downed C-53 Skytrooper, well-preserved since it crashed in 1942. With your Guest Lecturers, witness fine examples of the Kimberley’s mysterious Bradshaw Paintings (Gwion Gwion), dating back some 20,000 years.

Day 4
Mitchell Falls / Winyalkan / Swift Bay

Carved through layers of sandstone, Mitchell Falls descends over four tiers, creating pools of emerald green on each level. You have the option to take a scenic helicopter flight for a breathtaking view over the falls, or alternatively you may explore the unique sandstone caves of Hathway’s Hideaway. Swift Bay reveals a series of fine Wandjina art galleries. This evening, enjoy a spectacular Indian Ocean sunset as you gather for a gourmet BBQ on the sundeck or the beach.

Day 5
Prince Frederick Harbor

At the southern end of the York Sound lies one of the most spectacular locations in the Kimberley: Prince Frederick Harbor. Home to many small islands, mangroves, and monsoon rainforests, the harbor is set against a backdrop of steep red escarpment. White-bellied sea eagles and other birds of prey are often seen here, and at low tide expansive mudflats reveal large populations of various mudskippers and mangrove crabs. Keep a look out for massive saltwater crocodiles on a cruise up Porosus Creek, visit historic art sites, and marvel at rock formations in this wild realm.

Day 6
Prince Regent River / Careening Bay

Running on a fault line, the Prince Regent River is a haven for native species. If the tide is right, there may be an opportunity for swimming at Camp Creek (subject to group size and local conditions), and here you'll visit the stunning King Cascades waterfall. You'll also visit the National Heritage Listed ‘Mermaid Tree’ at Careening Bay, that still bears the name carved by the crew of Phillip Parker King’s ship, HMS Mermaid, when the ship was careened here for repairs in 1820.

Day 7
Montgomery Reef

Montgomery Reef is a biologically diverse area covering over 300 square kilometers. Named by Phillip Parker King, this marvelous reef is home to several species of marine turtles, dolphins, dugongs, and crocodiles. As the reef emerges from the sea at low tide, you'll get up close in the Xplorer and inflatables to witness the spectacle. Your guides will share their knowledge on the formation of the reef and the rich wildlife here.

Day 8
Doubtful Bay

Raft Point, a towering cliff at over 600 feet high, guards the entrance to this iconic area, with a host of destinations such as the mighty Sale River, Steep Island, and Ruby Falls at Red Cone Creek. There may also be an opportunity to meet the Worrora people and experience the wonderous Wandjina art of Raft Point, known as an outdoor Aboriginal art gallery.

Day 9
Horizontal Falls / Buccaneer Archipelago

In one of the most remote places on the planet, the Buccaneer Archipelago, Talbot Bay is home to the natural wonder of the Horizontal Falls. Here, the changing tide thunders through narrow gorges in the McLarty Ranges, and you can experience the thrill of traversing the falls at high speed aboard inflatable tenders. At Cyclone Creek, witness evidence of massive geological forces in the impressive rock formations, or take an Xplorer cruise through the rugged Iron Islands, past Koolan Island, before enjoying sunset drinks surrounded by stunning sandstone cliffs at Nares Point.

Day 10
The Lacepede Islands

Subject to weather and tides, visit the Lacepede Islands, a series of low islands consisting of coarse sand and coral rubble lying atop a platform reef. This nature reserve has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area as it supports up to 18,000 breeding pairs of Brown Boobies and Roseate Terns, possibly the largest such population in the world. Board the Zodiacs and explore the island’s lagoon, keeping an eye out for many species of marine birdlife including Australian Pelicans, frigate birds, egrets, gulls and terns. The islands are also renowned as Western Australia’s most significant breeding grounds for the Green Turtle, often seen nesting here. This evening, enjoy the Captain’s farewell drinks.

Day 11
Broome

Disembark in Broome this morning. If time permits, spend the day visiting world-famous Cable Beach or strolling the historic streets of Chinatown in central Broome before transferring to the airport for your flight home.

Highlights

Highlights

Experience the Horizontal Falls, created by a unique tidal phenomenon
Witness waterfalls cascading off Montgomery Reef, and discover the reef’s diverse marine life
Navigate the King George River and get close up to the soaring King George Falls
Learn about Wandjina and Gwion Gwion Rock art from expert guides
Watch for crocodiles, sea turtles, whales, wallabies, and other wildlife
Take an optional scenic flight to Mitchell Falls
Cruise the Prince Regent River to King Cascades

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $10,290  
Arrive: Darwin, Australia
Depart: Broome, Australia
Lodging: 9 nights aboard an expedition vessel
Meals: All meals aboard ship included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Special Interest, Small Ship Cruising, Photography
Trip Level:

10-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, excursions by Zodiac