Kimberley Coast

Days

11

Style

Cruise

Ex

Broome – Kununurra

Kununurra – Broome

 

From

AUD$7,990.00 – 2017

AUD$8,990.00 – 2018

turtleHighlights

  • Trip leader, Mike Cusack, of Australian, Geographic’s ‘Year in the
    Wilderness’
  • Wandjina & Gwion Gwion rock art
  • Lacepede Islands
  • Horizontal Falls of Talbot Bay
  • Prince Regent Nature Reserve
  • Camden Sound Whale Sanctuary
  • King George Falls
  • King Cascade Montgomery Reef
  • Optional Heliflight to Mitchell Falls

The Kimberley coast lying north of Broome is one of the most stunning and isolated in the world.

Come and explore one of the last wilderness coastlines on Earth. You’ll share the sea with humpback whales and calves, dugongs, crocodiles, sharks and dolphins. Frigate-birds, boobies and pelicans nest on offshore islands, while “hard rock” country and spinifex grasslands are rich in reptiles and wallabies.

Voyages along the Kimberley’s spectacular coast are unpredictable, itineraries are at the mercy of powerful tides, yet its treasures are profound. Explore and enjoy the natural beauty and spectacular scenery of the awesome gorges, rivers and waterfalls found along the coast.

Whilst onshore experience the birdlife, reptiles and other wildlife along with Aboriginal art sites, culture and European history. You’ll enjoy the relaxed, casual atmosphere you’ll on board, and you’ll be getting out amongst it at every opportunity.

 

Broome to Darwin


Day                 Activity

1                         Explore Broome, board Coral Princess

This afternoon, the Captain and his crew will welcome you aboard Coral Expeditions I prior to setting sail into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Boarding time is 16:00 from Broome wharf. Our expedition staff will be waiting to greet you on the wharf and the crew will assist you with your luggage and escort you to your cabin.

2                         Lacepede Islands

By about noon we hope to reach the remote Lacepede Islands Nature Reserve and, weather permitting, we will explore the area in our excursion boat. The islands are an important nesting site for green turtles, and home to large colonies of lesser frigate birds and Brown Boobies. These islands were named by the French explorer Baudin in 1801 to commemorate his naturalist compatriot, Count Lacepede. They have often been visited by Macassan fishing boats and the white sands of the islands shine like beacons in an electric blue sea. The waters around are alive with fish and the air is swimming with frigate birds and boobies.

3 – 4                   Buccaneer Archipelago, Crocodile Creek, Talbot Bay, Horizontal Waterfalls, Montgomery Reef

Overnight, we hope to cruise across the mouth of King Sound into the famous Buccaneer Archipelago, where the iron rich stumps of the Wyndham and McLarty Ranges meet the sea, creating a spectacular maze of more than 800 red islands. With our skilled Captain and shallow draft vessel we cruise the narrow channels between the islands, through whirlpools and strong currents which are driven by the massive 12 metre tides. We visit Talbot Bay’s spectacular Horizontal Waterfalls, a phenomenon caused by a combination of geology and tides. With favourable tides, we may be able to pass right through the falls in our Zodiacs and if time permits, we’ll try to explore some of the enticing narrow waterways around the fringes of Talbot Bay.

We plan to explore Montgomery Reef – home to a startling array of corals, clams and sponges, and part of an Aboriginal reserve. The reef is an extraordinary and bizarre area of several hundred square kilometres, which appears from the sea at low tide. The rapid daily ritual of immersion under water means that the flanks of the reef are like waterfalls as the tide drops. Green turtles often play or swim in the narrow corridors of coral around the edge of the reef.

5 – 6                   Camden Sound Whale Sanctuary, Raft Point, Kunmunya Mission, Prince Regent River, King Cascade

We will head to Kuri Bay – site of the Southern Hemisphere’s  largest pearl farm. We’ll learn about the pearl industry along the way, but for security reasons visitors are not permitted to land. As we cruise past the failed sheep farming settlement of Camden Harbour, we gain a deeper understanding of the harsh conditions faced in the 1860’s by the pioneering inhabitants of this beautiful, remote area. Passing downstream from the home of Australian Geographic’s first ‘wilderness couple’, Mike and Susan Cusack, are the ruins of Kunmunya Mission. If time and weather allows we may try to walk from ‘The Gutter’, up to Mike and Susan’s house site. It is a vigorous 9.5 km walk, requiring a good level of fitness, so is not necessarily for everyone.

Today’s activities will be dictated by the tide. We plan to leave the ship after breakfast and take the excursion boat to explore the magnificent Prince Regent River, which follows a 100km long fracture in King Leopold Sandstone. We hope to stop at King Cascade, a magnificent waterfall that tumbles over terraced rock formations, and perhaps disembark at Camp Creek for a long walk and a climb through rocky overhangs, waterfalls and pandanus palms to a beautiful freshwater swimming spot.

7                         Prince Regent Nature Reserve, Careening Bay, Mermaid Tree

The coastal fringe of Prince Regent River Nature Reserve is home to crocodiles, half of the region’s mammal and bird species, and some 500 plant species. Slightly to the north we’ll follow in the wake of Lieutenant Phillip Parker King and put ashore at Careening Bay. King and his crew spent time here repairing their ship after her rough trot along the Kimberley coast (Mermaid was actually damaged off Port Bowen, Far North Queensland). The inscription “HMC Mermaid 1820” is still clearly visible on a large boab tree.

8                         Bigge Island

Early this morning we plan to head offshore to Bigge Island to see the famous Wandjina (Kaiara – Sea Wandjina) spirit paintings whose origins remain shrouded in mystery and controversy. Time and weather permitting, we may well walk to the far side of the island to view graceful Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) paintings. Bigge Island is a haunting place of great silence, rich with wildlife. It is a wonderful place to get a true sense of the antiquity of our land. We have only explored a tiny fragment of the island to date so the convoluted bays and rocky headlands are enticing. Turning south in the evening we head for the northern Collier Bay area overnight.

9                         Vansittart Bay, King George River, King George Falls

Overnight we will cruised northwards past Cassini Island and Cape Bougainville. Heading for the mouth of the King George River is without a doubt one of the Kimberley’s most amazing attractions. Enormous cliff-faces tower above us as we make our way up the tranquil waters of huge gorges, the haunt of Brahminy kites, egrets and kingfishers. The famous 90-metre plunge of King George Falls is a highlight and favourable tides may enhance our opportunity to explore the river gorge. This is probably our last stop before motoring across Joseph Bonaparte Gulf towards Darwin.

10                       Joseph Bonaparte Gulf

Time pending, we may pull in at Anson Bay and explore the lower reaches of the Daly River. Alternatively, we may have tracked further north where there are opportunities for wonderful wildlife encounters in places like Tapa Bay. Then in the warm glow of one of the Top End’s ubiquitous smoke-stained sunsets, we’ll enjoy a  farewell drink or two!

11                       Darwin

We will dock in Darwin and disembark at approximately 8.15am – 8.30am. Complimentary transfers will take passengers to their hotel or Darwin airport. In any event it will be time to say farewell to newfound friends – all of us having shared the delights of a remote and beautiful coast where the stumps of an old land meet the sea.

We recommend any onward flights be booked after 11am.


Broome to Darwin

Day                 Activity

1                         Board Coral Princess, Joseph Bonaparte Gulf

This morning make your way to the Darwin wharf to board the Coral Expeditions 1 at 8.00am.

2                         Joseph Bonaparte Gulf

Our first leg takes us across Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1644 and named by French explorer  Nicolas Baudin in 1803. The Gulf is a relatively shallow inlet of the  Timor Sea. We may also explore the serpentine creek system below  Cox Peninsula.

3                         King George River, King George Falls, Vansittart Bay

Heading for the mouth of the King George River is without a doubt one of the Kimberley’s most amazing attractions. Enormous cliff-faces tower above us as we make our way up the tranquil waters of huge gorges, the haunt of Brahminy kites, egrets and kingfishers. The famous 90-metre plunge of King George Falls is a highlight and favourable tides may enhance our opportunity to explore the river gorge.

4                         Bigge Island

We plan to head offshore to Bigge Island to see the famous Wandjina (Kaiara – Sea Wandjina) spirit paintings whose origins remain shrouded in mystery and controversy. Time and weather permitting, we may well walk to the far side of the island to view graceful Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) paintings. Bigge Island is a haunting place of great silence, rich with wildlife. It is a wonderful place to get a true sense of the antiquity of our land. We have only explored a tiny fragment of the island to date so the convoluted bays and rocky headlands are enticing.

5                         Careening Bay, Mermaid Tree, Prince Regent Nature Reserve

The coastal fringe of Prince Regent River Nature Reserve is home to crocodiles, half of the region’s mammal and bird species, and some 500 plant species. We track southward, following in the wake of Lieutenant Phillip Parker King and come ashore at Careening Bay. King and his crew spent time here repairing their ship after her rough trot along the Kimberley coast (Mermaid was actually damaged off Port Bowen, Far North Queensland). The inscription “HMC Mermaid 1820” is still clearly visible on a large boab tree. During these days we will attempt to rendezvous with helicopters on the coast to fly up to Mitchell Plateau. More details will be provided onboard. Price for flights start from approximately $450 per person.

6 – 7                   Prince Regent River, King Cascade, Camden Sound Whale Sanctuary, Kunmunya Mission

Today’s activities will be dictated by the tide. We will take the excursion boat to explore the magnificent Prince Regent River, which follows a 100km long fracture in King Leopold Sandstone. We hope to stop at King Cascade, a magnificent waterfall that tumbles over terraced rock formations, and maybe disembark at Camp Creek for a long walk and a climb through rocky overhangs, waterfalls and pandanus palms to a beautiful freshwater swimming spot.

Kuri Bay – site of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest pearl farm. We will learn about the pearl industry along the way, but for security reasons visitors are not permitted to land. As we cruise past the failed sheep farming settlement of Camden Harbour, we gain a deeper understanding of the harsh conditions faced in the 1860’s by the pioneering inhabitants of this beautiful, remote area. We’ll pass downstream from the home of Australian Geographic’s first ‘wilderness couple’, Mike and Susan Cusack, near the ruins of Kunmunya Mission. If time and weather allows we may try to walk from ‘The Gutter’, up to Mike and Susan’s house site. It is a vigorous 9.5 km walk, requiring a good level of fitness, so is not necessarily for everyone. We may well launch the excursion boat for a night-time crocodile cruise.

8 – 9                   Talbot Bay, Montgomery Reef, Buccaneer Archipelago, Crocodile Creek, Horizontal Waterfalls

We plan to explore Montgomery Reef – home to a startling array of corals, clams and sponges, and part of an Aboriginal reserve. The reef is an extraordinary and bizarre area of several hundred square kilometres, which appears from the sea at low tide. The rapid daily ritual of immersion under water means that the flanks of the reef are like waterfalls as the tide drops. Green turtles often play or swim in the narrow corridors of coral around the edge of the reef.

We plan to visit Talbot Bay’s spectacular Horizontal Waterfalls, a phenomenon caused by a combination of geology and tides. With favourable tides, we may be able to pass right through the falls in our Zodiacs and if time permits, we hope to explore some of the enticing narrow waterways around the fringes of Talbot Bay.

10                       Lacepede Islands, Dampier Peninsula

We should reach the remote Lacepede Islands Nature Reserve and, weather permitting, we will explore the area in our excursion boat. The islands are an important nesting site for green turtles, and home to large colonies of Lesser Frigate Birds and Brown Boobies. These islands were named by the French explorer Baudin in 1801 to commemorate his naturalist compatriot, Count Lacepede. They have often been visited by Macassan fishing boats and the white sands of the islands shine like beacons in the electric blue sea. The waters around are alive with fish and the air is swimming with frigate birds and boobies.

11                       Broome

During the morning we will dock in Broome and disembark approximately 8.15am – 8.30am. Complimentary transfers will take passengers to their hotel or Broome airport.

NB: The above itineraries may be varied according to conditions and advice

Broome – Darwin

2nd – 22th June 2017
3rd – 13th July 2017
11th – 21st June 2018

Darwin – Broome

2nd – 12th June 2017
23rd June – 3rd July 2017
1st – 11th June 2018
22nd June – 2nd July 2018

  • Transfer from ship to airport or hotel after the
    cruise
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily cabin
    service
  • All shipboard meals and snacks, including tea
    and coffee
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac outings
  • Guiding services by Aurora’s expert team,
    including lecture program
  • Basic medical services, if required
  • Transfer from ship to hotel or airport after voyage
  • Port taxes, charges and landing fees
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Professionally produced electronic voyage journal from images taken during your voyage
  •  All landings aboard Explorer, are easy access excursion vessel
  • Optional Kunmunya Wilderness Walk
  • Artist workshops with our onboard artist
  • Optional Mitchell Falls Helicopter Flight
  • Water bottle

“We had a fabulous time and took lots of photos. One poor lady broke her leg at Prince Regent’s River, which provided us all with a lot of interest, unfortunately for the lady and her husband who were planning to drive round Australia in a caravan. It was very illuminating seeing the powers that be running around and how hard they worked. It is such a remote place as well. The staff were marvellous and we all put on several pounds with all the delicious food. Me especially with all the yummy gluten free food that I never normally make for myself. The staff were EXTREMELY hard working.”
Maureen Gardiner

To make a booking download a booking form and return it to us via email/post or by clicking here to fill out the form online.