Discover 40,000-year-old rock art and ride Zodiacs through an extraordinary horizontal waterfall on this magnificent Kimberley cruise.
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Arrive in Darwin and enjoy two days relaxing by the pool and exploring before joining your ten day cruise.
Stay: Two nights at the Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin.
Today you’ll board your Coral Expeditions vessel in Darwin. Your first day at sea will be spent crossing the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf into the waters of Western Australia, giving you plenty of leisure time to settle into your cabin, join the Expedition Team for an informative introduction and meet your fellow travellers at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.
Today, cruising through scenic steep-sided gorges, you’ll come upon the highest twin falls in Western Australia. Fed by the mighty King George River, the 80m tall King George Falls are among the Kimberley’s most impressive natural phenomena. Inaccessible by car, Zodiac excursions allow you to get close enough to feel the spray at the base of King George, as well as the river’s honeycomb-patterned sandstone cliffs.
Arrive at Vansittart Bay and Jar Island, so-named after the pot shards found here by Admiral Phillip Parker King who first charted the Kimberley coastline some 200 years ago. Here you’ll discover a remarkable rock art gallery including fine examples of the Kimberley’s Bradshaw Paintings (Gwion Gwion) which are thought to date back more than 20,000 years. You’ll also join your Expedition Leader to view the wreckage of a US C-53 Skytrooper which crash landed on the nearby Anjo Peninsula in 1942.
A majestic four-tiered waterfall tumbling into emerald green rock pools, Mitchell Falls is one of the most photographed sites in all of the Kimberley. Get up close on foot or enjoy a scenic helicopter flight to admire the beauty of the falls from above. Alternatively, you can explore the natural sandstone caves of Hathaway’s Hideaway and the rock art galleries at Swift Bay. Finishing with a delicious gourmet BBQ and sensational Indian Ocean sunset.
Backed by an ochre-hued escarpment at the southern end of York Sound, Prince Frederick Harbour is studded with islands fringed by lush mangroves and rainforests. As well as visits to striking rock
formations, you’ll be able to spot white-bellied sea eagles and, at low tide, mudskippers and mangrove crabs.
Cruise along the remarkably straight Prince Regent River in custom-built Xplorer vessels to reach the stunning King Cascades. This magnificent terraced waterfall is known for its picturesque beauty, whilst the surrounding national park claims half of the known bird and animal species in the Kimberley.
Later you’ll explore Careening Bay, named by Phillip Parker King after his ship was careened here during his second Kimberley voyage. 200 years later, the baobab tree where “HMC Mermaid 1820” was inscribed by the ship’s carpenter is now listed on the National Register of Big Trees.
Today a truly unforgettable experience awaits. As the Kimberley’s mammoth tides recede, you’ll be able to witness Australia’s largest inshore reef ‘rise’ dramatically from the ocean. You’ll board Zodiacs for a closer look at this natural spectacle with its exposed rock pools, rushing channels and myriad marine life. Birds are poised and ready to catch their next meal, with turtles, dolphins and dugongs also drawn to the reef’s feeding opportunities. As the tide comes back in, the reef once again disappears below sea level.
You now reach the imposing bluff of Raft Point, standing guard at the entrance of Doubtful Bay in the heart of Worrora country. Southeast of Montgomery Reef, this huge body of water shelters multiple river systems, rocky outcrops, fresh waterholes and ancient Wandjina rock art sites revealing the stories and traditions of the Worrorra people. Enjoy visits to the mighty Sale River and Steep Island.
Today you’ll cruise through the Buccaneer Archipelago, home to over 800 islands whose rocks are over two billion years old. Described by David Attenborough as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’, the Horizontal Falls are the region’s most iconic attraction. Resulting from the Kimberley’s extreme tidal movements, the falls are formed as the currents forcibly squeeze through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Ranges. Riding the rapids of this rushing horizontal waterfall in a Zodiac is an exhilarating experience.
Later, you’ll explore the massive geological forces at work at Cyclone Creek and cruise through the Iron Islands before stopping for sunset drinks at Nares Point.
A protected nature reserve and Important Bird Area, the Lapcedes are your final port of call on your Kimberley cruise. These low-lying cay islands are a major nesting site for brown boobies and roseate terns, but you should also keep your eyes peeled for Australian pelicans, frigate birds, egrets and gulls. The Lapcedes are also known as Western Australia’s most significant green sea turtle breeding grounds. Subject to weather and tide conditions, you’ll explore the lagoons by Zodiac and Xplorer vessels, before ending your last evening on board with the Captain’s farewell drinks.