Darwin / EmbarkArrive in Darwin and transfer to the National Geographic Orion. Spend the night at sea.
Com / At SeaArrive at Com for the National Geographic Orion to clear customs and immigration. While the ship is docked, you are able to briefly go ashore before the ship departs. Spend the remainder of the day at sea and settle in to the ship, visit the library or the bridge, and attend staff lecture.
Wyndham & The Bungle BungleJourney to Wyndham and Purnululu National Park, home of the breathtaking Bungle Bungle range. These ancient hills resemble giant beehives and form deep chasms with palm trees and long gorges. Board an included charter plane to view the landscape from the air. Alternatively, enjoy an Ord River Cruise to Lake Argyle. Navigate a massive stretch of river between Kununurra and Lake Argyle (Ord River Dam) before viewing the Lake from a scenic lookout.
King George River & FallsThe National Geographic Orion will drop anchor and zodiacs will take you up King George River. Featuring dramatic, vertical sheer canyon walls, the river drains into the highest single-drop falls in the Kimberley. There is an optional challenging hike to the top of the falls where you will have the opportunity to cool off with a swim in one of the freshwater rock pools.
Vansittart BayJoin 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.
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 National Geographic Orion will drop 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. 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.
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.
Talbot Bay / Horizontal WaterfallsVisit the Horizontal Waterfalls, which were created by the rapid tidal fall on the ocean side of the cliffs. When the conditions are right, a ‘waterfall’ may form as the trapped landward waters cascade out through the narrow gap to the ocean side. Take a zodiac for an exhilarating trip to witness this extraordinary phenomenon. Later in the day, join the naturalist team on an excursion to Cyclone Bay and to explore the twisted geological folds of the ancient seabed.
Nares Point & Crocodile CreekIn the morning, sail for Nares Point, a geological finger of sandstone protruding into the ocean. This area provides great opportunities for zodiac safaris and guided beach walks. The nearby Crocodile Creek defies its name, as its vertical embankments keep it crocodile free.
BroomeArrive in Broome and disembark the National Geographic Orion. Transfer to the airport for your connecting flights onward.