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Australia's Kimberley: Voyage to the OutbackSeptember 12, 2013 - September 26, 2013
Priced from: $10,980
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
September 12 Depart USA
Depart on your independent flight to Broome, Australia via Sydney.
September 13 Day Lost Crossing the International Date Line
Day lost crossing the International Date Line.
September 14 Broome, Australia
Arrive in Broome and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight at the Cable Beach Club Resort.
September 15 Broome / Embark Caledonian Sky
Today explore Broome—a popular holiday destination graced with beautiful beaches and a laid-back atmosphere. Join a city tour that reveals Broome’s pearling history and multicultural past, or join a birding tour. This afternoon board the Caledonian Sky and set sail.
September 16 Lacepede Islands
The Lacepede Islands are a group of four low, sandy islands lying on a coral reef. The islands are an important nesting site for green sea turtles and several species of seabirds including frigatebirds, brown boobies, crested terns, sandpipers, and ruddy turnstones. Join our naturalists on nature walks along the long, white-sand beaches. Be on deck this evening as the sun sets and the night sky comes alive—far from the city lights, stargazing in the Kimberley is simply spectacular.
Sep 17 - Sep 18 Buccaneer Archipelago / Talbot Bay / Montgomery Reef / Raft Point
The Buccaneer Archipelago consists of more than 800 islands. The shorelines of these rarely visited isles are among the most photogenic in the world, and include mangrove estuaries, secluded bays, untouched beaches, cliffs, headlands, reefs, rugged gorges, and whirlpools. This area is known for its extreme tidal conditions—ranging up to 30 feet in places. Your daily activities are planned around the tides—a way of life in the Kimberley. At Talbot Bay visit the Horizontal Waterfalls, one of the most unusual regional attractions. The falls, created by a phenomenon resulting from the mammoth tides, actually reverse as the tide turns. Talbot Bay is also the prime habitat for dugongs, herbivorous marine mammals found only in tropical coastal waters of the Old World. At Montgomery Reef, view the amazing array of marine life exposed at low tide. The reef is home to an incredible number of green sea turtles and leatherback turtles and sharks are sometimes spotted in the surrounding waters. At Raft Point take a hike to view ancient Aboriginal cave paintings of outstanding quality depicting the significance of the marine world to the Aboriginal way of life.
Sep 19 - Sep 20 Prince Regent Nature Reserve / Camp Creek / Careening Bay
The Prince Regent Nature Reserve is one of Australia’s most remote areas, and the rugged sandstone and volcanic landscape helps to protect its scenic grandeur. This is pure wilderness, accessible only by air or boat, and you can truly say that you have been to a place seen by few others. The area boasts more than half of the mammal and bird species found in the entire Kimberley region and more than 500 species of plants. With the ship at anchor in St. George Basin, board Zodiacs to cruise up the Prince Regent River. With near-vertical cliffs on either side, make your way to the face of King Cascade, an unusual and picturesque waterfall cascading over terraced rock formations. Tidal conditions permitting, you will also explore nearby Camp Creek in search of local fauna such as estuarine crocodiles, red-tailed black cockatoos, and galahs. At Careening Bay our onboard lecturers lead a short walk to the site of a large boab tree with the inscription “H.M.C. Mermaid – 1820” still clearly visible. The Mermaid was a British Navy hydrographic survey ship under the command of Lt. Philip Parke King, who stayed at the bay for six weeks while repairing his ship. The boab tree, an icon of the Kimberley, is a close relative of the African and Madagascar baobabs. These iconic trees can be found growing singly and in immense forests.
September 21 Hunter River / Mitchell Falls
From the Hunter River, fly via helicopter to the Mitchell Plateau to visit Mitchell Falls, a series of waterfalls and pools culminating in a deep gorge carving its way through the Outback. Explore the surrounding area on foot and enjoy a refreshing swim in the rushing freshwater pools. In the vicinity of our anchorage, you may explore the small tributaries by Zodiac, searching the mangroves and tidal mud flats for crocodiles, mud skippers, and fiddler crabs, as well as the many bird species that make their home within the dense vegetation.
September 22 Vansittart Bay / Low Rocks
This morning visit Vansittart Bay to view an outdoor art gallery of Gwion Gwion (otherwise known as Bradshaw) Aboriginal art. It is believed these images were created at least 17,000 years ago with some theories indicating they may have been created up to over 50,000 years ago when humans first explored this continent. If this is the case, the images are possibly the oldest known to man. In the afternoon step ashore on a tiny island atoll known as Low Rocks. As Zodiacs approach, the skies fill with the movements and sounds of seabirds, including four species of terns, pied cormorants, white-bellied sea eagles, and osprey. The island is also a nesting site for green and flatback turtles, and has its own resident saltwater crocodile, which is often seen patrolling the waters around the island.
September 23 King George River / King George Falls
Cruise through this spectacular canyon where vertical cliffs, gorges, and mangroves line the shores of the mighty King George River. The final destination is King George Falls, a supremely photogenic area of 325-foot cliffs of rust-colored sandstone rising from the tidal waters.
September 24 Bathurst, Tiwi Islands
On arrival in Bathurst, meet local Aboriginal guides who show you around the small community of Nguiu, its museum, and the old Mission Precinct. You will also have an opportunity to visit the local arts center to view and purchase high-quality Tiwi crafts, as well as screen-printed fabric.
September 25 Darwin / Disembark / Brisbane
Disembark this morning in Darwin with time to do a bit of sightseeing. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Brisbane with dinner and overnight at our airport hotel.
September 26 Brisbane / USA
Depart on your independent flight to the USA, arriving the same day.