Asmat and The Kimberley

South Pacific Cruise

  • Silver Discoverer
  • Expedition Ship
  • 120 Capacity
  • 17 Days
  • View Departure>
  • Price from
  • $999,999,999

Summary : Visit the Asmat region, known as the home to some of the most vibrant traditional communities in the Pacific. Witness the spectacular biodiversity of marine life at Ashmore Reef Nature Reserve. Discover the Kimberley region’s ancient and mysterious Bradshaw rock art. View King George’s towering twin falls plunging over 551 feet (180 m).  Learn about the culture and people of the Larrakia, the Aborigines of Australia. Discover the megalithic remains of Tanimbar Island. Photograph amazing creatures like the saltwater crocodiles of Adelaide River. Enjoy numerous nature walks and Zodiac tours, which reveal stunning scenery, pristine beaches, and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking

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Itinerary
Day 1
Cairns, Australia

Embark the ship in the afternoon and meet your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Enjoy time to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, and meet fellow travelers.

Day 2
Coral Sea

Enjoy a day at your leisure exchanging notes with fellow travelers and taking advantage of the luxurious amenities aboard the ship. Spot seabirds flying miles from their nesting grounds. Hear a lecture, relax into an interesting book, or find tranquility in the comfort of your suite and watch a movie.

Day 3
Ashmore Reef, Australia

Cruise by Zodiac for a close-up look at the Ashmore Reef Nature Reserve. It is composed of several marine habitats, including sea grass meadows, intertidal sand flats, coral reef flats, and lagoons. An important and diverse range of species, including 14 kinds of sea snakes, a population of Dugong (that may be genetically distinct), diverse marine invertebrate fauna, mollusks, and many endemic wildlife are supported here. This area also serves as a feeding and nesting site for Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Green Turtles. An important nesting area, the reserve is home to 50,000 breeding pairs of various species of seabirds.

Day 4
York Island / Thursday Island

Torres Strait and Thursday Island have a diversity of activities not present on many tropical islands in Australia. The island’s rich heritage can be explored through cultural and educational walks accompanied by knowledgeable expedition staff. Listen to and observe the living history of the indigenous people, learn about the pearling industry, and visit historical and scenic locations that have interwoven themselves into the fabric of the community. Journey to the original township buildings and take in the spectacular views at Green Hill Fort.

Day 5 – 6
Arafura Sea

A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields.

Day 7 – 8
Agats, West Papua

The Asmat region, a 5 square mile area (14 sq. km) of rainforest, has long sheltered the Asmat tribe from outsiders. Zodiacs take us through this remote riverine, cruising along narrow waterways lined with entwined branches of thick mangrove forests, and home to dozens of species of parrots, lorikeets and other birds including the spectacular Bird of Paradise. Observe as Asmat villagers—whooping and chanting in elaborate warrior gear and war paint—paddle vigorously in dozens of intricately carved canoes. The Asmat have one of the most renowned and vibrant woodcarving traditions in the Pacific. Arrive at the village of Agats, the capital of the Asmat region, where enthusiastic welcomes await. A walk along elevated wooden boardwalks leads to a Catholic cathedral with superb carvings, and also a museum with elaborate displays of ancestor poles, drums, body masks, shields, daggers, and skulls—headhunting and cannibalism were practiced here until the early 70’s. Visit Ewer, its 1,000 hospitable residents invite you to explore their colorful market and men’s longhouse; as well as view their homes and prolific gardens.

Asmat culture is noted for its remarkable ritual objects. The people believe that humanity began with Fumeripitsj the Creator, who carved humanlike figures and brought them to life by beating on a drum. Villagers honor this belief by carving many of their everyday items—bowls, spears, paddles, ornate wooden sculptures, and shields. The artistic themes are based on an intriguing interpretation of life and death, and many of the carvings resemble relatives who are recently deceased. Asmat woodcarvings are known for their powerful lines and coarse, expressive motifs, and are widely considered to be among the world’s finest. Enjoy the company of the ship’s anthropologist to help with communication.

Day 9
Wamar Island / Aru Islands

Dobo, on the little island of Wamar, is the chief port of the Aru archipelago. According to early accounts, most of the islanders lived under the rule of elders in villages of ten to twelve houses. They fished with iron-tipped arrows, and cultivated corn, yams, sugar cane, vegetables and rice. The Aru islanders lightened their hair with lime, and wore armbands of shells and brass wire and a variety of gold and silver jewelry. Arrive at the small, traditional fishing village of Durjela where villagers welcome you with a traditional ceremony of song and dance.

Day 10
Tanimbar Island, Indonesia

Located in the Maluku Province of Indonesia are the Tanimbar Islands, of which Yamdena is the largest.
Enjoy a traditional welcoming ceremony and local dance to start your day. Visit Sangliat Dol village on the east coast of Yamdena to view amazing megalithic remains such as a monumental stone staircase that extends from the beach to the village, and a large stone ship. In the past, ritual offerings were made here to Ubila'a, the supreme deity, before war raids occurred.

Day 11
At Sea

Enjoy your day at sea at your leisure. Join new friends and reflect on travels thus far, or spend the day relaxing with a well-deserved massage. Once done, you might find yourself sipping on afternoon tea or taking in a little shopping.

Day 12
Darwin, Australia

Today explore Darwin, a modern and multicultural Australian city. Darwin is also known as the ancestral home of the Aboriginal Larrakia people, and even to this day Darwin has the highest proportional population of Aborigines of any Australian capital city. Visit Aboriginal art galleries, the Adelaide River (known for its high concentration of saltwater crocodiles), and Litchfield National Park.

Day 13 – 16
Kimberley, Western Australia

The Kimberley is famous for having the second largest tidal range in the world, after the Bay of Fundy. A flexible itinerary allows us 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 your time in this stunning region:

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, amazing birdlife including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite. Arrive at the falls, and cruise quite close to the base to contemplate the immensity of this thundering spectacle. It is truly a humbling experience.

Jar Island, Vansittart Bay
After landing on Jar Island by Zodiac, take a ramble to the outdoor gallery of Bradshaw Art a.k.a. Gwion Art, one of the three distinctive styles of rock art in the Kimberley region. Bradshaw Art has raised more questions than answers such as who painted these figures. Listen to theories and interpretations of the ship’s experts as you admire these very delicate and intricate pictographs.

Bigge Island
Bigge Island is famous for its amazing galleries of Aboriginal rock art. Both Gwion Gwion (also known as Bradshaw art) art and Wadjina art is in evidence in the coastal caves of the island. Thought to be over 50,000 years ago, the Gwion Gwion images are possibly the oldest known to man.

Raft Point
At the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the world saw an enormous Wandjina spirit rising out of the ground. It was a breathtaking moment, and for most people, their very first encounter with Aboriginal mythology. The image was actually that of a 114-foot sculpture (35 m) created by an artist who lives at Raft Point, home to indigenous Wandjina paintings. Zodiac ashore and set out towards the top of Raft Point. Hike through abundant Kimberley flora including the iconic Baobab Tree, also known by the local Aboriginals as the “upside down tree.” Upon reaching the top of Raft Point, enjoy spectacular views of the bay in the shade of an overhanging cliff, which is home to the Wadjina Spirit and many other Dreamtime stories and images representing daily aboriginal life. Rest your feet and lie on your back and take in the Wadjina Spirit while listening to the dreamtime stories associated with this extremely important Aboriginal spirit.

Day 17
Broome, Western Australia

Following breakfast, disembark the vessel.

Notes

This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Included:
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).

Not Included:
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; park entrance fees; government fees and taxes; passport 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.