Summary : Explore the remote, spectacular Kimberley region of northwest Australia and the string of idyllic Spice Islands of Indonesia on one expedition. Discover dramatic landscapes etched with ancient human history in the Kimberley, then venture to the islands of Indonesia to be invited into remote villages where history comes alive in traditional ceremonies. Search for spectacular wildlife, from the giant saltwater crocs of the Kimberley to pre-historic Komodo dragons; see humpback whales, giant manta rays, rare birds of paradise, and more. Sail aboard National Geographic Orion while exploring dramatic landscapes, encountering traditional cultures, and learning about amazing history.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$999,999,999 to $0
Depart for Broome, cross the international date line (lose a day) and arrive on Day 3. Make your way to the National Geographic Orion and set sail.
We explore three coral atolls with crystal clear waters off the Kimberley Coast. With abundant marine life and untouched coral, Rowley Shoals is one of the world’s most pristine marine environments. National Geographic Orion will give you access to snorkeling and diving from the sand cays that make up the shoals, as well as sea kayaking, weather permitting.
A day at sea is an opportunity to sit back, relax, chat with new found friends, read or attend a lecture, or take advantage of Orion’s amenities: have a massage to unwind, a sauna for sore muscles, or enjoy a good book and a refreshment on deck. The day is yours to do as you wish.
Wandjina tour guides join you here as you stretch your legs with a scenic walk to view Wandjinas and Gwion Gwion rock art in ancient caves. There is contemporary art here too, linking the arrival of Europeans to the country. You'll also see distinctive Boab trees with carved Wandjina figures on them. Today is a fascinating walk back in time.
After a failed attempt at settlement by Victorian sheep farmers in 1864, this area is rarely visited from the sea. Nature has gradually reclaimed the ghostly ruins, leaving fragments of a hard life from long ago. Colonial history buffs will enjoy the atmosphere here and we can also visit nearby Sheep Island with its graves of the ill-fated settlers.
Land by Zodiacs on this rocky island jutting out of vividly colored aqua seas. Small monjon rock wallabies and the northern quoll thrive here free of predators found on the mainland. The island is famous as a site for some amazing rock art. Join the expedition team as they point out the Wandjina figures, distinctive for what appear to be haloes around the head of each figure. Painted by the Wunambal people, you may also see images of sailing ships and figures smoking pipes, which have been interpreted as representing seafaring European visitors in the 19th century.
Today Zodiacs will take you up the King George River, revealing spectacular scenery and a wealth of bird species. The nearly vertical sheer canyon walls have been eroded over millions of years and look like stacks of sandstone reminiscent of a child’s building blocks. The river drains the Gardner Plateau and the falls are the highest single-drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley. For guests looking for a bit more adventure, you will be able to take a steep walk to the top of the falls and have the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing swim.
Enjoy your relaxed days, cruising south as National Geographic Orion makes an operational stop at Wyndham to clear customs in Australia before proceeding north to East Timor. Listen to informal talks from your staff, preparing you for the exciting days ahead.
This small uninhabited island is considered by the traditional Timorese to be Lulic, a sacred place. Today it is part of the Nino Konis Santana National Park and is home to some of Timor’s endemic bird species, such as the dusky cuckoo-dove and the fawn breasted whistler. On arrival, receive a colorful traditional welcome from villagers from the nearby mainland. With dazzling white-sand beaches and crystal-clear blue waters, enjoy the opportunity to swim, snorkel and explore.
The capital of East Timor is now moving past its tragic history of conflict. Your visit will allow you to explore this evolving cosmopolitan seaside city with an optional full day tour exploring Alieu and Dare in the hills. Located at Dare is the memorial to Sparrow Force, the ill-fated band of Australian soldiers who fought a guerrilla war against the Japanese with the Timorese people. Visit the memorial to the Alieu massacre, where a large number of Timorese were killed by the Japanese troops during WWII. You'll also have an opportunity to visit the local craft market, where you can find the colorful local woven fabrics called tais.
In the 1600s, Flores was an important Portuguese trade center, particularly for sandalwood coming from Portuguese Timor. As Dutch influence spread throughout the 17th century, Portuguese populations from other areas, such as Malacca and Makassar, moved to Larantuka. Today Larantuka is a neat little seaside township with spectacular views. Your visit will allow you to meet the local people and learn of their history and customs, as well as swim and snorkel off the white-sand beaches.
At the world renowned Komodo National Park, go in search of the world’s largest living lizard: the Komodo dragon. These prehistoric creatures can grow up to ten feet long and weigh 300 lbs. Learn about the conservation of these giants from park rangers, who join you on a hike to spot the lizards in their natural habitat. Just a short distance away is Pink Beach, named for the red coral fragments that lend their color to the sand. Swimming, snorkeling, sea kayaking or just relaxing on the beach are all options today.
Experience the strong culture of the Pamulung villagers with an elaborate cultural display of a mock traditional wedding ceremony and a local boxing match.
Arrive this morning to the island of Bali and transfer to the airport for your flight home, arriving home the next day.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.
Scuba Diving Requirements: Scuba divers must be certified by an internationally recognized dive association prior to the voyage, and certification cards and logbooks must be shown on board. Divers must have logged 25 dives in total and made a dive within the 12 months preceding the voyage.
Accommodations as indicated; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship; all shore excursions and sightseeing; transfers to and from group flights; tips (except to ship's crew), taxes and service charges; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff, expert guides, and a ship physician; use of kayaks.
Air transportation; passport, visa and immigration expenses; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, email, laundry, etc.; gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion; scuba diving surcharge; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (King George River, Crocodiles, Ship); © Michael S Nolan (Rock Art, Whale, Dolphins)