Summary : From Broome to Darwin, embark aboard Le Laperouse for an 11-day expedition cruise. 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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Transfer from Pearl Luggers, located in the city center of Broome, to the ship to embark the vessel in the afternoon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bonaparte Archipelago, is a stunningly rugged maze of islands stretching along Western Australia's remote Kimberley coast. Its color and scale conspire to take ones’ breath away. Its distant location has meant it has remained an unspoiled and remarkably pristine location to explore and experience. Phillip Parker King named “Swift's Bay" after Jonathon Swift (1667-1745) the author of Gulliver’s travels. The ‘T’ shaped bay is composed of heavily fractured sandstone providing an abundance of rock shelters. On the walls of these shelters are examples of both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style rock art. Join your expedition team ashore for a guided walk to a number of rock art galleries depicting these unique rock art styles.
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.
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.
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the ship's photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Disembark the vessel in the morning after breakfast.
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.
Transfer from Broome's city center Pearl Luggers to ship; 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