Board the Coral Expeditions I this morning to depart on your Australian small ship cruise. Departing Darwin Harbor, cross Cambridge Gulf and sail into Western Australian waters. This afternoon join Expedition Staff for an informative introduction to the Kimberley before meeting fellow travelers and friendly crew at the Captain’s Welcome Cocktails.
Discover the first of the Kimberley’s ‘big’ rivers, the mighty King George. Aboard the Explorer, a specially designed excursion vessel, explore scenic gorges, and in inflatable zodiacs cruise close to the base of magnificent King George Falls, the tallest waterfall in Western Australia towering some 80 meters above the river below. Later, visit Tranquil Bay for beach walking and exploration.
Join the Expedition Leader on a walk across salt flats to view the wreckage of a US Air Force DC3 which crash landed on the beach during WWII. Later, visit Jar Island and discover the island’s outstanding rock art gallery. Guest Lecturers point out fine examples of the Kimberley’s mysterious Bradshaw Paintings (Gwion), dating back some 20,000 years.
After anchoring in Winyalken Bay, travel ashore aboard the Explorer to explore the maze of natural sandstone caves known as Hathaway’s Hideaway. Later, helicopters are available for optional scenic flights over the Mitchell Plateau for close up views of the mighty four-tiered Mitchell Falls. This evening, enjoy a spectacular Indian Ocean sunset as you indulge in a gourmet Aussie Beach BBQ.
Discover the rock art gallery on Bigge Island, featuring fine examples of both Wandjina and Bradshaw art. Then, explore Careening Bay which was named by Phillip Parker King after his ship ‘HMC Mermaid’ was careened during his second voyage of discovery in the Kimberley. Lecturers lead to the site of a large boab tree bearing the inscription “HMC Mermaid – 1820”, still clearly visible almost 200 years later.
Cruise the mighty Prince Regent River aboard Explorer to breathtaking King Cascades, an unusual and picturesque waterfall cascading over terraced rock formations. Enjoy a picnic lunch at beautiful Camp Creek, where there is time for a leisurely swim in the freshwater pools.
Savor a truly unforgettable moment as Montgomery Reef ‘rises’ out of the ocean as the tide ebbs. Join Expedition Staff aboard the Explorer and zodiacs to experience this natural phenomenon up close and discover the reef’s diverse marine life including turtles, manta rays and reef sharks. Later, cruise through scenic Doubtful Bay.
Cruising through Kuri Bay, home of the south sea pearl industry, travel ashore at Raft Point and visit a secluded and very interesting Aboriginal rock art gallery to view Wandjina art and the mysterious Bradshaw Paintings (Gwion). Later, explore Red Cone Creek and enjoy a cooling dip at Ruby Falls.
Cruise through the Buccaneer Archipelago, home to over 800 islands. In Talbot Bay, the region’s 12 meter tides create an amazing spectacle, the unique Horizontal Falls, described by legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough as “one the greatest natural wonders in the world”. The amazing power of the falls is revealed when the region’s 12 meter tides turn, forcing millions of liters of water to rush through the narrow gaps between cliffs. Board the zodiacs for an exhilarating ride through the falls. Later, explore Silica Beach on Hidden Island with its stunning white sands and crystal clear waters.
Cruise through Pender Bay and, subject to weather and tides, visit the Lacepede Islands, a series of low islands consisting of coarse sand and coral rubble lying atop a platform reef. This nature reserve has been identified by Bird Life International as an Important Bird Area as it supports up to 18,000 breeding pairs of Brown Boobies and Roseate Terns, possibly the largest such population in the world. Board the zodiacs and explore the island’s lagoon, keeping an eye out for many species of marine birdlife including Australian Pelicans, frigatebirds, egrets, gulls and terns. The islands are also renowned as Western Australia’s most significant breeding grounds for the Green Turtle, often seen nesting on the islands. This evening say farewell to new-found friends as while enjoying the Captain’s Farewell Cocktails.
This unforgettable cruise along the Kimberley Coast concludes in Broome this morning.