Summary : Fly via helicopter to explore the dramatic gorges of Mitchell Plateau and swim in the crystal-clear pools above photogenic Mitchell Falls. Discover Australia's unique wildlife—rock wallabies, turtles, and mighty saltwater crocodiles. Take a guided bush walk that reveals Aboriginal cultural traditions and view well-preserved rock art at Raft Point and Bigge Island. View the amazing spectacle of the Horizontal Falls, created by massive tidal currents. Join an optional pre-extension to Kununurra, Bungle Bungle, and Arnhem Land.
Activities : Birding, Culture
$14,980 to $23,780
Board your independent flight to Darwin, Australia, losing a day as you cross the International Date Line. Arrive in Darwin on April 23 and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight at the Hilton Darwin.
Today explore historic Darwin with a visit to the George Brown Botanic Gardens, the Darwin Military Museum, and the impressive Darwin Museum and Art Gallery which celebrates Aboriginal art and the history of the region. This afternoon board the Coral Discoverer and set sail.
Permission pending, go ashore on the Tiwis and join local Aboriginal guides for a tour of the small community of Nguiu, its museum, and the old Mission Precinct. You will also have an opportunity to visit the local arts center, to view (and purchase if you wish) high-quality Tiwi crafts and screen-printed fabric.
Cruise through a spectacular canyon where vertical cliffs, gorges, and mangroves line the shores of the mighty King George River. The final destination is King George Falls, a supremely photogenic area of 325-foot cliffs of rust-colored sandstone rising from the tidal waters.
View fine examples of ancient Bradshaw or Gwion Gwion art—thought to be around 15,000-20,000 years old—on rocky uninhabited Jar Island, endowed with lovely white-sand beaches. Tides permitting, step ashore on Woku-Woku Island to search for the remnants of old Macassan trepang stoves that were used to boil sea cucumbers collected on their journeys through the Kimberley hundreds of years ago.
A unique experience awaits you on Bigge Island, sacred to Aborigines for thousands of years. Well-preserved Aboriginal paintings grace the walls of caves, depicting mythical figures and offering visual evidence of the European entrance into the Aboriginal way of life. Keep an eye out for Monjon (the smallest of the wallabies), they can often be seen sprinting from one rock ledge to another. In the afternoon step ashore Sterna Island to search for a variety of seabirds, including four species of terns, pied cormorants, white-bellied sea eagles, and osprey.
From Hunter River, fly via helicopter to the Mitchell Plateau to visit Mitchell Falls, a series of waterfalls and pools culminating in a deep gorge carving its way through the Outback. Explore the surrounding area on foot and enjoy a refreshing swim in the rushing freshwater pools. In the vicinity of your anchorage, you may explore the small tributaries by Zodiac, searching the mangroves and tidal mud flats for crocodiles, mudskippers, and fiddler crabs, as well as the many bird species that make their home within the dense vegetation.
At Montgomery Reef, view the amazing array of marine life exposed at low tide. The 150-square-mile reef is home to an incredible number of green sea turtles and sharks are sometimes spotted in the surrounding waters. The fish that are trapped by the falling tide attract a plethora of birds including reef egrets and sea eagles.
At Talbot Bay visit the Horizontal Waterfalls, one of the most unusual regional attractions. The falls, created by a phenomenon resulting from the mammoth tides, actually reverse as the tide turns.
Join a bush walk at Raft Point to learn the traditions of the Worrorra people and view ancient Aboriginal cave paintings of outstanding quality, depicting the significance of the marine world to the Aboriginal way of life.
The Buccaneer Archipelago consists of more than 800 islands. The shorelines of these rarely visited isles are among the most photogenic in the world, and include mangrove estuaries, secluded bays, untouched beaches, cliffs, reefs, rugged gorges, and whirlpools.
The Lacepede Islands are a group of four low, sandy islands lying on a coral reef. The islands are an important nesting site for green sea turtles and several species of seabirds including frigatebirds, brown boobies, crested terns, sandpipers, and ruddy turnstones. Cruise the area by Zodiac for a closer look at the seabird colonies. Be on deck this evening as the sun sets and the night sky comes alive—far from the city lights, stargazing in the Kimberley is simply spectacular.
Disembark in Broome with time for a bit of sightseeing. Transfer to the airport for your independent flight to Sydney with dinner and overnight at the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel. Board your independent flight on May 5, arriving in the USA the same day.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends coverage which includes cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Arrival and departure transfers on group dates; land and shipboard accommodations as per itinerary; $80 gear certificate; meals onboard ship; soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner onboard ship; gratuities; limited emergency medical and evacuation coverage*. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; excess baggage charges; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, spa, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), Internet/fax/telephone charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.
Photos ©: Zegrahm Expeditions