Kimberley Expedition: Australia’s Wild Northwest Cruise

Darrin Bennett
The dramatic landscape of Kimberly
Darrin Bennett
Take a zodiac to get closer to wildlife
Darrin Bennett
Take a zodiac past the dramatic landscape of Australia
Tony Karasconi
Admire the rock art found in the caves of Kimberly
Bob Fowler
Appreciate the beauty of Kimberly's falls
Jan Butchofsky Houser
The National Geographic Orion is sleek and at your service
Bob Fowler
The lovely National Geographic Orion
Explore Australia's Wild Northwest on this 11-day Australian cruise. Visit the King George River and Falls, Vansittart Bay, and walk to see the aboriginal cave paintings of the region. Beautiful scenery and rich wildlife makes this cruise a must-do!

Day 1

Darwin, Australia / Embark

Arrive in Darwin, a frontier town of crocodile and buffalo shooters and pioneer cattlemen. Retaining much of this flavor today, Darwin is also Australia's tropical capital and the starting point for your voyage. Transfer to the National Geographic Orion. Spend the night at sea.

Days 2-3

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Com / At Sea

Settle into your cabin and prepare for amazing photographic opportunities in the Kimberley with talks and hands-on instruction by an onboard National Geographic photographer and Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor. The ship makes a brief technical stop at Com before continuing into the heart of the Kimberley.

Day 4

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Wyndham & The Bungle Bungle

Wyndham is the perfect staging point to discover Purnululu National Park, home of the breathtaking Bungle Bungle Range. These ancient hills resemble giant beehives forming deep chasms with palm trees and long gorges. This strange landscape is even more remarkable from your included charter flight.

Alternatively, you can enjoy an Ord River Cruise to Lake Argyle. The Ord River is one of the most stunning river systems in Australia. Navigate a massive stretch of river between Kununurra and Lake Argyle (Ord River Dam), view the Lake from a scenic lookout, and have a visit to the historical Durack homestead.

Day 5

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

King George River & Falls

The Orion drops anchor here and zodiacs take you up the spectacular King George River. Featuring dramatic, vertical sheer canyon walls, the river drains into the highest single-drop falls in the Kimberley. Early in the season, it is best to hang back in the thundering mist. Later in the year, you may have the chance to get right up close - even under - the cool fresh waterfalls. For guests looking for even more adventure, there is a challenging walk to the top where you can cool off with a swim in one of the freshwater rock pools.

Day 6

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Vansittart Bay

Join the naturalists on an exploration of an outdoor Gwion Gwion Aboriginal art gallery. The rock images, thought to be up to 40,000 years old, were discovered by Joseph Bradshaw in 1891. There is also the wreck of a DC-3 aircraft nearby, which became lost and crashed during WWII. If time allows, explore the crash site and the remains of the plane.

Day 7

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hunter River (and optional helicopter to Mitchell Falls)

Sail for one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast: Hunter River. The area is lined with green rainforest, mangroves, and soaring red cliffs. The Orion drops anchor near Wunumpurramarra, or Naturalists Island, a stunning backdrop for the day. Many crocodiles live in the the Hunter River and you may see them on a zodiac trip through the mangroves. For those wishing to explore some of the Kimberley’s vast interior, today presents a wonderful opportunity. The distance from Naturalists Island to the famous Mitchell Falls is about 30 miles, which you may choose to visit via an optional helicopter excursion.

Day 8

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Montgomery Reef & Raft Point

Arrive at Montgomery Reef at high tide and, if conditions are right, the tide may drop rapidly enough for a raging torrent of water to erupt. This phenomenon allows miles of surrounding reef to rise out of the ocean. Take a zodiac into the reef to watch cormorants, egrets, and sandpipers forage for sea life trapped on the surface of the reef.

Next, land at Raft Point and take a guided climb up to rock saddle which forms an outdoor Aboriginal art gallery. The art is an account of the Wandjina clan on the ‘Great Fish Chase.’ View the images of the Wandjina spirits with their distinctive haloes, plus dugong, crocodiles, fish and snakes.

Day 9

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Talbot Bay / Horizontal Waterfalls

The Horizontal Waterfalls in the Buccaneer Archipelago are created by the rapid tidal fall on the ocean side of the cliffs. When conditions are right, a ‘waterfall’ up to ten feet high may form as the trapped landward waters cascade out through the narrow gap to the ocean side. Zodiacs take you for an exhilarating trip to witness this extraordinary phenomenon. Later in the day, you can join the naturalists on an excursion to Cyclone Bay to explore the twisted geological folds of the ancient seabed.

Day 10

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Nares Point & Crocodile Creek

Just off Koolan Island, this geological finger of sandstone protruding into the ocean provides great opportunities for Zodiac safaris and guided beach walks. Nearby Crocodile Creek defies its name, with several vertical embankments keeping it ‘crocodile free’ allowing you to take advantage of the cool freshwater natural swimming pool to relax and beat the Kimberley heat.

Day 11

  • Breakfast

Broome, Australia

Arrive in Broome and disembark the National Geographic Orion. Transfer to the airport for your connecting flights onward.

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available, but is subject to availability.

Aboard ship:
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
- Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
- 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand
- Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
- Fitness center or exercise equipment
- Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
- The guidance and company of expedition staff

- Hotels ashore as indicated in itinerary
- Meals on land, as indicated in itinerary
- Sightseeing & entrance fees
- Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
- Transfers to and from group flights
- The expertise of expedition staff

- All excursions
- Zodiac & kayak explorations
- Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge

- International and internal airfare

Pre- and post-expedition:
- Additional hotel nights
- Private transfers
- Travel Protection Plan
- Passport, visa, and immigration fees
- Expedition extensions
- Gratuities

Aboard ship
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spa treatments
- Gratuities
- Scuba diving
- Laundry
- Internet and phone
- Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature