Australia's Kimberley: A Voyage to the Outback

Australia's Kimberley
April 22, 2016
15 Days
Small-Ship Cruise
65 Guests
From $13,580

Itinerary

Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

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.

Australia's Kimberley
Pre-Trip Extension
Arnhem Land, Kununurra & Bungle Bungle
April 16April 25, 2016

Depart USA

April 16April 17

Board your independent flight to Australia, crossing the International Date Line en route.

Brisbane, Australia / Darwin

April 18

Arrive in Brisbane and connect with your flight to Darwin—a land of paper barks, gum trees, wallabies, and crocodiles. Gather at the Hilton Darwin this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight. 

Darwin / Arnhem Land

April 19

This morning board your flight to Davidson’s Arnhemland Safari Lodge, nestled against the dramatic Arnhem Land Escarpment, your home for three nights. Spend the afternoon exploring this landscape of rugged ranges fringed by billabongs, flood plains, paper bark swamps, and monsoonal rainforests. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Arnhem Land

April 20April 21

Spend two full days in this fascinating region. Cruise along billibongs and through wetlands to view waterbirds, tropical plants, and crocodiles basking on the riverbank. Hike through the pristine wilderness of Mt. Borradaile to discover Aboriginal rock art depicting thousands of years of inhabitance, and more recent contact with other cultures. Meals and overnights at our comfortable lodge.

Arnhem Land / Darwin / Kununurra

April 22

Depart early this morning for our flight to Darwin and connect with our short flight to Kununurra. After lunch at a local restaurant continue to Mirima (Hidden Valley) National Park located on the outskirts of town. This park features 300-million-year-old sandstone cliffs and is home to a large variety of birds, reptiles, wallabies, bats, dingoes, and echidnas. Check in to the Lake Argyle Resort for dinner and overnight. 

Kununurra

April 23

This morning drive to the Ord River for a cruise through isolated wilderness to view freshwater crocodiles, flying foxes, prolific birdlife, and spectacular scenery. In the afternoon visit the Parry Lagoons Nature Reserve. An important breeding ground for waterbirds, large numbers of egrets, spoonbills, herons, ibis, magpie geese, and stilts can be found here. This evening check in to the Kununurra Country Club for dinner and overnight.

Kununurra

April 24

Early this morning transfer to the Kununurra airport to board planes for a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle (Purnulu National Park), Ord River, Lake Argyle, and Carr Boyd Ranges. All seats are roomy and have windows for ultimate viewing and photography. Bungle Bungle is an 1,800-square-mile park which is one of Australia’s greatest natural wonders. An area of awe-inspiring beauty, the Bungle Bungle is characterized by its beehive-shaped, sandstone domes featuring spectacular horizontal orange and gray bands. Although these strange domes have always been known locally, they only came to the attention of the general public in 1983, and the area was declared a national park in 1987. Land at a remote airstrip and board 4x4 vehicles for a scenic drive to the park entrance. A short hike among the region’s iconic beehives and deep gorges, brings you to Cathedral Gorge, a huge amphitheater of red rock with a freshwater pool in the middle. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then retrace your steps and board our plane for the flight back to Kununurra. Return to the Kununurra Country Club for dinner and overnight.

Kununurra / Broome / Embark Oceanic Discoverer

April 25

This morning board our flight for Broome, arriving in time for lunch. Join the main group and board the Oceanic Discoverer this afternoon.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Depart USA / Broome, Australia

April 22April 24

Board your independent flight to Broome, Australia, losing a day as you cross the International Date Line. Arrive in Broome on Sunday and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight at the Cable Beach Club Resort.

Broome / Embark Oceanic Discoverer

April 25
Broome

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 Oceanic Discoverer and set sail.

Lacepede Islands

April 26
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.

Buccaneer Archipelago / Talbot Bay / Montgomery Reef / Raft Point

April 27April 28
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. 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 sharks are sometimes spotted in the surrounding waters. At Raft Point, join a bush walk to learn the traditions of Worrorra people and view ancient Aboriginal cave paintings of outstanding quality depicting the significance of the marine world to the Aboriginal way of life. 

Prince Regent Nature Reserve / Camp Creek / Careening Bay

April 29April 30
Camp Creek

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 visit 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. 

Hunter River / Mitchell Falls

May 1
Hunter River

From 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.

Bigge Island / Low Rocks

May 2
Bigge Island

A unique experience awaits us on Bigge Island, sacred to Aborigines for more than 20,000 years. Well-preserved Aboriginal paintings grace the walls of caves, depicting mythical figures and offering visual evidence of the European entrance into the Aboriginal way of life. Warabis, or rock wallaby (the smallest of the wallabies), are numerous on this island and can often be seen sprinting from one rock ledge to another. 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 thousands upon thousands 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, often seen patrolling the waters around the island.

King George River / King George Falls

May 3
King George Falls

Cruise through a 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.

Tiwi Islands

May 4

Permission pending, go ashore on the Tiwis and join local Aboriginal guides for a tour of 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. 

Darwin / Disembark / Sydney / USA

May 5May 6

Disembark in Darwin with time for a bit of sightseeing. Transfer to the airport for your independent flight to Sydney with dinner and overnight at the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel. Board your independent flight to the USA on Friday, arriving the same day.