Summary : From Darwin to Broome, embark aboard Le Laperouse for an 11-day expedition cruise with a special stop in Wyndham, the northernmost town in Western Australia. At around two-thirds the size of France, the Kimberley is one of the last unspoiled regions on the planet. In one of the most picturesque parts of the region, the Hunter River, you will see wild mangrove forests where saltwater crocodiles live along with many species of birds. Discovery the King George River and the majestic Twin Falls, the highest falls in Western Australia. Visit Collier Bay, where you will be able to admire the Montgomery Reef, home to vast expanses of lagoons and immense coral reefs. Le Laperouse will take you along one of the most spectacular coasts in the entire region. With its lovely falls, jagged gorges, calm waters and desolate mountain chains, the wild lands of the Kimberley promise an exceptional adventure.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$10,030 to $29,490
Embark the vessel in the afternoon.
Wyndham is the northernmost town in Western Australia and in many ways is the gateway to the Kimberley. It is surrounded by some of the most spectacular landforms, rivers and wetlands in the Kimberley, including the spectacular Ord River, the man-made Argyle Dam, and Purnululu National Park, home to the Bungle Bungle ranges. The wildlife is very rich, offering a great opportunity for bird-watching and spotting freshwater crocodiles.
During this stop, you will have the choice between one of three complimentary excursions (subject to availability, on a first come first served basis in chronological order of booking, please contact ExpeditionTrips):
Option 1: Navigate the Ord River between Kununurra and Lake Argyle. You will have the opportunity to enjoy remarkable wildlife and stunning landscapes. The tour includes a simple buffet lunch served on a riverside camp.
Option 2: Bungle Bungle scenic flight onboard a Cessna airplane from Kununurra to the Bungle Bungle massif. You will fly over Diversion Dam, Carr Boyd Range or Purnululu National Park.
Option 3: El Questro experience guided by an El Questro ranger, the tour includes an all-encompassing journey through Emma Gorge and Zebedee Thermal Springs. Take a mid-day break for lunch and end the day with the Chamberlain River Cruise.
The journey up the King George River is nothing short of breathtaking. The high sides of the gorge display varying degrees of weathering of the ancient Warton sandstone. The colors and textures of the gorge change with the light as you travel further up the river creating a continual changing scenery that is simply stunning. The journey culminates at the King George twin falls; the highest single-drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley (80m or 260ft). Fed by wet season run-off the level of water cascading over the falls varies from year to year. Your Expedition Team will escort you in either the Zodiacs or ships tenders to the foot of the twin falls, and explain all about the stunning geological formations of the canyon.
Jar Island contains ancient rock art galleries depicting the Gwion Gwion style unique to the Kimberley region. Mainly neglected by, or unknown to, the early European researchers of Aboriginal culture in the Kimberley in favor of the dominant & more dramatic Wandjina art, Gwion Gwion art has in recent years gained world prominence. It is generally thought that this art may extend back to over 30,000 years & represent the first wave of seagoing colonizers of the Australian continent. As it is, these are the oldest detailed depiction of human figures in the world. Join your Expedition Team ashore for a short walk, past some fascinating rock formations, to the site of the Gwion Gwion art galleries.
Arguably one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast, Prince Frederick Harbour ad the Hunter River are lined with ancient rainforest pockets, pristine mangroves and mosaic sandstone cliffs. They are considered to be some of the most pristine mangrove forests in the world, containing up to 18 different species, supporting a rich and diverse fauna. The sandstone escarpment at the river mouth, known as “Kampamantiya” rises high before giving way to extensive mud banks and mangrove forests home to numerous bird species and the iconic saltwater crocodile. Your expert Expedition Team will share their knowledge with you as you explore this pristine mangrove environment by Zodiac keeping a constant lookout for wildlife.
Raft Point or ‘Ngumbri’ and its high bluff, juts out into Doubtful Bay's entrance off the Kimberley, is the site of the most spectacular outdoor Aboriginal Wandjina art gallery on the Kimberley coast. The Worrorra, Wunambal, and Ngarinyin people say that the Wandjina are the creator beings of the Dreaming, and that they made their world and all that it contains. Wandjina ceremonies, to ensure the timely beginning of the monsoon wet season and sufficient rainfall are held during December and January. Join your Expedition Team for a challenging guided walk to visit this spectacular rock art gallery.
The tidal movements in the Kimberley are nothing short of massive, in fact the Kimberley has the third largest tidal range of anywhere on the planet. Montgomery Reef is a spectacular example of the impact of these tides as the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean. As the tide drops a raging torrent of water cascades off the top of the reef. It is Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals. Your Zodiac expedition today will take you to the exposed reef system with its cascading mini-waterfalls to witness the amazing tide induced phenomena first hand. The actual scale of the phenomena is strictly governed by the tides on the day.
Wijingarra Bard Bard (Freshwater Cove) is a special place to the Worrorra people and provides a unique opportunity for visitors to hear the stories of the Lalai (creation) and gain an understanding of how country and culture intertwine in this beautiful landscape. Worrorra are saltwater people, and along with the Ngarinyin and Wunambal tribes, they are part of the shared Wandjina culture and belief system. The Wandjina is their supreme spiritual being who created the landscape during Lalai (creation time). Today guests have the opportunity to hear stories of the Lalai and join a guided walk with the traditional custodians and members of the expedition team to view the significant sites of Wijingarra Bard Bard.
Described by Sir David Attenborough as “One of the greatest wonders of the natural world” the “Horizontal Waterfalls” are an iconic location and one of the premier tourist attractions of the West Kimberley. They are a pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range. With massive tidal differences of up to 10.8m on a spring tide, the “Horizontal Waterfalls” are created as seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, creating a waterfall up to 4 meters (12 feet) high on a King tide. Today’s Zodiac excursion will be timed, where possible, to coincide with the day's greatest tidal movement of through the gaps. The amount of actual flow in the “falls” will vary depending on the tide movement on the day and seasonal fluctuations.
The Lacepede Islands are Western Australia’s most important breeding habitat for Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas), and have been named by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The breeding colony of Brown Boobies is possibly the largest in the world. Up to 20,000 Roseate Terns have also been recorded here. Other birds breeding on the islands include Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Lesser Frigatebirds, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Crested, Bridled and Lesser Crested Terns, Common Noddies, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers. Join your expedition team for a guided Zodiac tour to view the prolific wildlife. Due to the sensitive nature of the environment, landings are prohibited on the Lacepede Islands.
Disembark the vessel in the morning after breakfast and transfer as a group to the airport or hotel in Broome.
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.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departures: All departures are French/English.
Group transfer in Broome from ship to airport or hotel; shipboard accommodations; Wi-Fi onboard ship; all meals onboard ship; 24-hour room service; most beverages onboard ship; gratuities onboard ship. Butler service for guests staying in the Owner's Suite, Grand Deluxe Suites, Privilege Suites, and Deck 6 Prestige Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones included; passport and visa fees; travel and medical insurances; personal expenses such as onboard medical consultations and drug prescriptions, spa, laundry and hair salon; premium alcohol; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Michael Corbett, Mick Fogg, and Nathalie Michel