Perfected over three decades, this 10 day Kimberley cruise takes you on an unforgettable journey from Broome to Darwin. Expert guides interpret 40,000-year-old rock art, and retrace the history of Phillip Parker King who first charted this spectacular coastline almost 200 years ago. Later in the season, witness the Humpback Whales on their migration.
Board a Zodiac and touch the spray from the magnificent King George River and its towering 80-metre twin falls. Join an expert guide to learn about the history of the ancient Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock paintings. Witness waterfalls cascading off Montgomery Reef as it rises out of the ocean on the ebbing tide, whilst discovering the reef’s diverse marine life.
Welcome aboard the Greg Mortimer. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners at your cruise briefing, and Captain’s Welcome Dinner. Head out on deck to soak up the rich colours of a Kimberley sunset as you depart Broome and set sail to explore the Kimberley.
Enjoy a morning at sea, and perhaps an informative talk to introduce you to the magic of the Kimberley coast. Be sure to keep an eye out for some of the estimated 40,000 humpback whales returning from Antarctica to give birth in these warmer waters, in addition to the sea snakes, dugongs, sea turtles, and dolphins that call the Kimberley home. In the afternoon – weather permitting – take your first foray off the ‘mother ship’ and delight in the thousands of brown boobies that breed on the small, offshore cays known as the Lacepede Islands. The brown booby colony is possibly the largest in the world, with an estimated 18,000 breeding pairs. Other seabirds may also be spied, including lesser frigatebirds, crested and roseate terns, eastern reef egrets, and pied oystercatchers; as well as the bobbing heads of curious green turtles or sleek shovel-nosed rays in the waters around you. While landings are not possible on this designated Class A Nature Reserve, exceptional Zodiac cruising along the island’s shores will thrill.
Over these next expedition days, the nature and timing of our outings will be dictated by the tides and tidal currents.
The striking landscape and natural wonders around Collier Bay provide a myriad of adventures. Explore a maze of jewel-like islands encircled by foaming whirlpools and rapid currents; and marvel at Mother Nature’s artistry in the contorted sculptures of a rocky landscape around Yampi Sound. Be equally thrilled and enthralled by the unique geology and massive tides that create the Horizontal Waterfalls in Talbot Bay where you have the opportunity to take a thrilling boat ride through the falls*. Quietly cruise the meandering waterways of Cyclone Creek, and remain alert for glimpses of shy rock wallabies. Discover Montgomery Reef – Australia’s largest in-shore reef, covering some 400 square kilometres – and the diversity of its lively marine life. On a falling tide, witness the extraordinary phenomenon as the reef appears to ‘rise’ from the sea as foaming water cascades off it, and seabirds arrive to forage as the reef’s tasty inhabitants are exposed.
*Please note that while Zodiacs are not permitted to pass through the Horizontal Falls, our explorations will include views from the outer waters of Talbot Bay. We plan to offer you the opportunity to pass through the falls on a fast boat with a local operator (included in expedition cost).
Careening Bay gained its name as the place where Phillip Parker King chose to careen and repair His Majesty’s Cutter Mermaid in September 1820. While there, the crew carved ‘HMC Mermaid 1820’ into a large boab tree. Visit this slice of early Australian history; look for vibrant mulla mulla, ancient cycads and spiralling pandanus in the surrounding woodland; and relax with a gentle stroll along the wide sandy beach.
Enjoy forays into the coastal fringes of the Prince Regent National Park, and discover the outstanding biodiversity that earned it ‘UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve’ status before sailing southwards into the waters of the Lalang-Garam/Camden Sounds Marine Park. Considered the most important humpback whale nursery in the southern hemisphere, it’s a seasonal sanctuary for an estimated 40,000 humpback whales returning from Antarctica to give birth in these warmer waters. Keep watch for the sea snakes, dugongs, sea turtles, and dolphins that also call it home.
Delight in the breath-taking scenery of Prince Frederick Harbour and the Hunter River – from the colossal sandstone escarpments and full palette of greens in the lush mangrove forests, to the rhythmic flitting of a friarbird, soaring flight of a white-bellied sea eagle, and flicker of a sunning saltwater crocodile’s eye. Join the expedition team to explore these dynamic waterways by Zodiac.
An optional scenic heli-flight may be on offer today (or possibly from Swift Bay), allowing for a visit to Mitchell Falls as well as spectacular bird’s eye view of the diverse colours, textures and patterns of the landscape – from the brilliant blue coastal waters to the rugged gorges of the Mitchell Plateau.
Sailing on to the remote north-western reaches of the Kimberley, we may explore either the treasures of either Swift Bay or Bigge Island. Both offer exceptional opportunities to explore rugged sandstone shelters, caves and overhangs whose surfaces are adorned with rock art of the Wunambal people, including the more recent Wandjina style.
Named by explorer Phillip Parker King due to the pottery shards he found there (likely from Macassan fishermen looking for trepang, or sea cucumber), Jar Island offers encounters with ancient rock art galleries, including the mysterious, human-like Gwion Gwion (also known as Bradshaw) figures. On the bay’s eastern side, land on a pristine white beach of the Anjo Peninsula and take a short walk across salt flats leads to the well-preserved wreck of a C-53 (a cargo variation of the DC-3) that crash landed here in World War II.
Wake to your first Kimberley dawn in Koolama Bay, and make your first foray off the ship with the expedition team as you head to the mouth of the King George River by Zodiac. Cruise this majestic waterway below towering, rust-red sandstone cliffs to its 80-metre-high twin falls, and enjoy explorations of these striking surrounds from water level.
Your adventure along the Kimberley Coast concludes in Darwin after breakfast. Post cruise transfers included.