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Rock formations along the coast of Kimberly

Kimberley Explorer: Expedition Cruising Australia's Iconic Kimberley Coast

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Heritage Adventurer
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Enjoy a wonderful 11-day voyage along Australia's rugged and isolated coastline and explore the magnificent King George Falls. Talbot Bay and the world's only horizontal falls, considered "one of the greatest wonders of the natural world," await you as you continue your journey. Explore the Lacepede Islands, which have been designated as a bird sanctuary. Visit Broome for a tropical beach vacation and the gateway to Western Australia's Kimberley region.
Sunset at Fremantle, West AustraliaThe unusual red color of Broome, AustraliaKing George River Gorge, Kimberley, AustraliaVibrant sunset colors over the Australian coastTake in the unusual beauty of the Australian coastDiscover the beautiful landscape of AustraliaMarvel at King George FallsRock formations along the coast of Kimberly
Highlights
  • Visit the amazing King George River
  • Explore four Australian Bays: Vansittart, Swift, Careening and Collier
  • Experience the incredible birding paradise of the Lacepede Islands
  • Enjoy spotting diverse wildlife including White-bellied Sea Eagles, etc
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Darwin | Embark

Join Heritage Adventurer this afternoon at Darwin Port, Australia’s ‘northern gateway’ famous for its glittering Harbor, World War II history, and enviable tropical outdoor lifestyle. The captain and expedition team are waiting to greet you on arrival and show you to your cabin. You can have time to settle in and familiarize yourself with the ship, take the opportunity to get introduce to the expedition team and voyage plans. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as you set sail for the Kimberley. Note: some voyages operate in reverse.

Day 2: King George River

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The approach to King George River gorge is not to be missed and best experienced out on the Observation Deck as the towering 2,000 million-year-old Warton sandstone cliffs dwarf the vessel. Navigating this scenic stretch of water by Zodiac there’s much to take in passing the ever-changing eroded rockfaces as you cruise deeper into the gorge marveling at the untouched beauty of the 1,000 tiny islands, islets, waterfalls and secluded beaches that make up the Buccaneer Archipelago as you explore one of the last true wilderness coasts. As you reach the end of the gorge nothing can prepare you for the grand scale spectacle of the Kimberley’s highest single-drop falls as the King George River plummets 80 meters over the edge of towering of ancient red sandstone cliffs into tidal waters. Undoubtedly one of Australia’s most aweinspiring natural wonders, the twin falls known as male and female Rainbow Serpents or Wunkurr by the Balanggarra people, are fed by wet season rains and rightly hold a special place in indigenous lore. While here you learn about how this natural wonder was created and enjoy a closer look.

Day 3: Vansittart Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Beautiful islands, pristine white beaches lapped by turquoise waters, secluded coves and stunning scenery abound in Vansittart Bay which is also the location of a historical World War II site and incredible ancient Aboriginal rock art. Named after the Chancellor of Exchequer by early explorer Rear Admiral Philip Parker King, this striking, naturally protected bay is framed by scattered jagged sandstone monoliths and the final resting place of the preserved skeleton of a WWII Douglas DC-3 Aircraft which crash landed onto the saltpan after running out of fuel during a mercy mission to evacuate four Dutch citizens from Java. On Jar Island, the location of ancient outdoor Aboriginal Gwion Gwion art galleries set among fascinating caves and rock formations, much of the rock art tucked under ledges and featured on cave walls is estimated to be up to 40,000 years old and remarkably preserved, protected from the elements. The island is also home to some interesting flora and fauna including the Golden-backed Tree Rat, echidnas and birdlife. Discover a bounty of anthropological and historical wonders in Vansittart Bay.

Day 4: Ashmore Reef

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Closer to Indonesia than mainland Australia, Ashmore Reef is Australia’s most remote marine park. Its three tropical islands are surrounded by coral reefs and home to more than 500 species of fish, 225 reef-building coral species and 100,000 nesting sea birds. A designated important bird area (IBA) and mostly Sanctuary Zoned, access to Ashmore Reef is strictly controlled. The visit is in compliance with Australian Government regulations, however there may be an opportunity for a Zodiac cruise near West Island.

Day 5: Bigge Island | Careening Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you explore the sites of ancient Aboriginal rock art on Bigge Island and the historic Mermaid Boab Tree, which bears the name of the HMC Mermaid which was famously carved into it while the ship was beached there undergoing emergency repairs during Philip Parker King’s third voyage of discovery of the region in 1820. Now measuring some 3 meters wide and National Heritage listed, the tree offers a glimpse into Australian colonial history, while an old Makassan Islamic prayer alcove can be found behind the tree. While here you also explore the jaw-slackening, otherworldly sandstone coastline of York Sound with its incredible sea caves and fascinating wildlife.

Day 6: Swift Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The intrepid Kimberley voyage sees you today navigating the scattered islands, known as the Bonaparte Archipelago, which stretching almost 150 kilometers along the dramatic coastline. The destination today is the remote and unspoiled inlet of T-shaped Swift Bay with its sandy beaches, ominous sea-worn caves and mangroves. A Zodiac cruise here allows a closer look at this incredible coastline where you also likely observe salt-water crocodiles. On land a number of rock art galleries display the unique Wandjina and Gwion Gwion styles on a large scale, denoting the region’s cultural importance.

Day 7: Hunter River

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the explorations of the Hunter River today it can quickly become apparent why this winding, 30-kilometer stretch of water is widely considered to be one of the highlights of the Kimberley coast. Tucked into the north-east corner of Prince Frederick Harbor, an enormous bay which puts the Kimberley’s epic scale into perspective, this scenic wonderland is dotted with islands and flanked with wildlife-filled mangrove-lined rivers, savanna woodlands and patches of lush monsoon rainforest, courtesy of receiving the lion’s share of the region’s rainfall, and soaring red cliffs. At the river’s mouth the unrestrained grandeur of 200-metre-high sandstone escarpment Kampamantiya keeps silent sentry, welcoming you into this otherworldly realm you are exploring today. Fed by two 90-meter waterfalls, the Hunter and the Donkin, Hunter River is home to one of the largest and most pristine mangrove systems in the world. Zodiac cruising the coastline could see you spotting diverse wildlife including Whitebellied Sea Eagles, Osprey, Greatbilled Heron, Eastern Reef Egrets, Red-headed Honeyeater, Bluespotted Mudskippers, Fiddler Crabs and more, as well as the iconic saltwater crocodile, of which the Hunter River boasts the Kimberley’s largest population. While here you also explore Naturaliste Island/Wunumpurramarra and its remarkable, 300-meter-long beach strewn with marine snail shells. There is also the opportunity to experience the granduer of the iconic Mitchell Falls on a thrilling scenic heli-flight (optional extra). This is the only way to experience Kimberley’s famous four-tiered falls and includes a landing on the stunning Mitchell Plateau, one of the most scenic and biologically important areas in Australia. Here you explore this incredible sandstone landscape carved by the Mitchell River.

Day 8-9: Collier Bay

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Located at the eastern end of the Buccaneer Archipelago, and only accessible by sea, have two days to explore the ancient land- and seascapes of Collier Bay and its astounding natural attractions. At Talbot Bay, you can experience the power of the region’s massive tidal movements which have shaped the landscape, most famously at the world’s only Horizontal Falls. Here you witness what David Attenborough described as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world” as trapped water in an inland bay thunders between two narrow chasms as the tide drops more than 14 meters on the other side creating spectacular falls, whirlpools and boiling white water. At nearby Cyclone Creek, you can explore the twisted geological folds of the ancient seabed and hope to see the inquisitive Tawny Nurse Sharks among the incredible marine life on display, while another tidal spectacle awaits at Montgomery Reef at the bay’s center. The world’s largest inshore reef system, you hope to capture the magic of observing this enormous reef ‘rise’ from the ocean as the tide falls creating torrents and waterfalls up to 3-meters high, and displacing marine life igniting a feeding frenzy as predators above and below the water descend. At Freshwater Cove shoreline explorations of the caves and grottos reveal a multitude of ancient rock art galleries.

Day 10: Lacepede Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, explore the incredible wildlife reserve and birding paradise of the Lacepede Islands. Designated a nature reserve in 1970 and rat-free since 1986, this collection of four unassuming islands off the north-west coast of Western Australia is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International with what is thought to be the largest breeding colony of Brown Boobies, up to 18,000 pairs, in the world. These small, low-lying spits of coarse sand and coral rubble atop a platform reef are also the state’s most important breeding grounds for Green Turtles. Other wildlife which calls these remarkable islands home includes Roseate Terns, Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Bridled, Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Common Noddies, Lesser Frigatebirds, and Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, while Grey-tailed Tattlers, Whimbrels, Bar-Tailed Godwits, Ruddy Turnstones and Great Knots are among the visiting vagrant species. While landings are not permitted, plan to explore the islands’ incredible shores by Zodiac and, if lucky, you may also see some Humpback Whales which frequent this coastline during their northern migration in winter and early spring.

Day 11: Broome | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning, arrive in Broome, a former wild frontier now relaxed tropical beach resort and gateway to the Kimberley. After breakfast, there can be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to Broome International Airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Broome, it is not recommend booking flights departing before 1300 hours. During your voyage circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader keep you fully informed. Please note: Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.

Ship/Hotel

Heritage Adventurer

Dining area
Heritage Adventurer Restaurant

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Per person starting at
$6,995
Superior Triple
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Superior Triple
Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Main deck
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Main Deck Triple
Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds, and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Deck 4 Superior
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Deck 4 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 4 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Deck 5 Superior
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Deck 5 Superior
Superior Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Main deck
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Main Deck Single
Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 is a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Adventurer - Superior Single
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Superior Single
Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Worseley Suite
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Worsley Suite
Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaise-style lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage, and a flat-screen entertainment system.
Heritage Suite
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Heritage Suite
Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table, and chairs, and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub, and shower, large writing desk, floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage and a flat-screen entertainment system.

Notes

- Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
-Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a minimum of US$100,000 per person required. Contact us for details on arranging travel insurance.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Year Built: 1991
Shipyard: Rauma, Finland
Classification: Lloyds 1AS, GL E4
Accommodation: 140 guests
Length: 124 metres
Beam: 18 metres
Draft: 4.97 metres
Gross Tonnage : 8,378gt
Engines: 3,940 horsepower (x2)
Maximum Speed: 15 knots
Cruising Speed: 12 knots
Range: 8,600 nautical miles
Zodiacs: 14
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • All expedition shore excursions
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
  • Discovery Fund / Government Landing Fees 
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Required Visas if applicable
  • Laundry 
  • Mandatory medical evacuation insurance
  • Complimentary Parka - available only for the duration of the voyage.

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When to Go

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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