Summary : Thundering waterfalls, plunging gorges, Aboriginal rock art, deserted beaches, wildlife encounters and fewer people per square mile than almost any other place on earth — The Kimberley is one of Australia’s hidden treasures. This vast area located in Australia’s North West is three times the size of England and three-fifths the size of Texas — and much of it is accessible only by boat. Cruise by Zodiac through an untamed wilderness, spotting extraordinary wildlife, experiencing thundering waterfalls and marveling at ancient rock paintings. Explore narrow channels, searching for eagles and ospreys in the mangroves and mud flats, and keeping an eye out for saltwater crocodiles. There are many beautiful places on Earth, but none is more beautiful than The Kimberley.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$8,150 to $20,550
Embark the ship and meet your Expedition Team. Enjoy time to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, and meet fellow travelers.
The Kimberley is famous for having the second largest tidal range in the world after the Bay of Fundy. A flexible itinerary allows you to take advantage of this natural phenomenon. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on tide, weather and sea conditions. Here are some of the places you may visit during our time in this wondrous region:
Nares Point is a long finger of sandstone protruding from the mainland alongside Koolan Island. With its convoluted photogenic rock formations, this is a superb location for Zodiac exploration and beach walks with our naturalists.
Talbot Bay (Horizontal Falls), Buccaneer Archipelago:
The British naturalist David Attenborough described Horizontal Falls as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world“. This group of over 800 islands was created millions of years ago by the erosive tidal changes. The region’s tides of close to 36 feet (or nearly 11m) create an amazing spectacle. Depending on whether the tides are ebbing or flowing, we board our Zodiacs for an exhilarating ride through the falls. Then continue deeper into the sandstone gorge of Cyclone Creek and explore geological formations that were created over the last two billion years.
At Montgomery Reef, which is over 400 square kilometers (154 square miles) in size, observe the amazing tidal changes that take place here. Timing of the tides is everything today; low tide reveals up to 13 feet (4 m) of reef exposing a river that allows access to this amazing semi-submerged world. As the tide continues to ebb, use Zodiacs to make your way to the edge of the reef surrounded by cascading waterfalls up to 10 feet high (3 m), and continue up the river to look at the abundance of reef birds and every imaginable sea creature including turtles and manta rays. A visit to Montgomery Reef is very tide-depending but truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Raft Point is home to indigenous Wandjina paintings. Zodiac ashore and set out towards the top of Raft Point. The hike takes you through the abundant Kimberley Flora including the iconic boab tree, also known by the local Aboriginals as the “upside down tree”. Upon reaching the top of Raft Point, enjoy the spectacular views of the bay in the shade of the overhanging cliff, which is home to the Wandjina Spirit and many other Dreamtime stories and images representing daily aboriginal life. Take a seat, or lie on your back and take in the Wandjina Spirit and listen to the Dreamtime stories associated with this extremely important Aboriginal spirit.
The Hunter River is home to an immense mangrove system. Be sure to look for the image of the Indian Head in the soaring red sandstone cliffs as we set out in Zodiacs to explore the narrow mangrove channels, watching for numerous bird species and keeping an eye out for the Crocodylus porosous (saltwater crocodile). For those wishing to explore some of the Kimberley’s vast interior your on-board team can arrange an optional helicopter flightseeing excursion to the famous Mitchell Falls where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the Mitchell River.
King George River & Falls:
The King George Falls is one of the Kimberley’s most magnificent natural wonders. At 260 feet (80 m), the twin cascades are among the highest in Australia. Drop anchor at the mouth of the river and ride Zodiacs up this waterway, weaving through an amazing landscape of near vertical red rock formations and a parade of wildlife — carnivorous saltwater crocodiles and amazing birdlife, including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite. Arriving at the falls, cruise quite close to the base to contemplate the immensity of this spectacle.
Wyndham is the gateway to the breathtaking Bungle Bungle mountain range in Purnululu National Park, a World Heritage Site. For more than 350 million years, nature has shaped geological formations of giant orange and black striped domes rising out of the ground, a landscape unlike anything you have ever seen. Known to the local aborigines for thousands of years, the Bungles were only discovered by the outside world in the mid-1980s.
Today take part in an inclusive overflight for an aerial view of these glorious panoramas, as well as seeing the majestic man-made Lake Argyle and Argyle Diamond Mine area from the air. Alternatively you can take a river cruise on the Ord River, looking for freshwater crocodiles, fruit-bats, short-eared rock wallabies and a variety of birds, including Mangrove Herons and Mangrove Gerygones.
A leisurely day at sea permits you to take advantage of the luxurious amenities aboard Silver Discoverer. Attend a lecture to recap the fascinating Dreamtime mythology of the Aborigines or just relax in the comfort of your suite and watch a movie on the in-suite interactive television.
Timor is the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, and while the western part belongs to Indonesia, the eastern part gained independence in 2002 as Timor Leste.
The goal today is to enjoy Jaco Island off the eastern tip of Timor. Nobody lives on the island, as it is not only part of the Nino Konis Santana National Park, but also considered sacred by the Timorese. Silver Discoverer will anchor off its shore and enjoy the island, its forest, its beaches and its reef to have water activities offered. If conditions permit, a beach BBQ will be offered.
This last leisurely day at sea will give you a chance to exchange notes with fellow travelers and to attend final lectures about the natural history, wildlife and human history of the area.
The onboard Videographer/Photographer will present the Voyage-DVD, letting you re-live the many moments of outstanding nature experiences had during this voyage through “Australia’s Hidden Treasure”.
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary (Darwin to Broome): 4/16/2017, 5/6/2017, 7/9/2018, 7/29/2018, 8/18/2018
Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee); 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Explorer and View Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Vista, Veranda, and Medallion Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; government fees and taxes; passport and visa expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Tourism Western Australia