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ITINERARY

Le Soléal, Luxury Kimberley Cruise

10 Nights Iconic Kimberley

Broome to Darwin

Our Kimberley voyages are true expeditions, where each day’s activities will be determined by the Expedition Leader and Captain taking into account the tide, weather and sea conditions. All of our itineraries will visit the “must see” iconic locations of King George River and Falls, Mitchell Falls, Hunter River, Montgomery Reef, and the Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay. In addition we may visit The Lacepede Islands for its prolific birdlife, Careening Bay to view the Historic “Mermaid Boab”, Jar Island to view the mysterious and often misunderstood Gwion Gwion rock art and Swift Bay to view the exceptional Wandjina rock art galleries.

Day 1: Broome, Western Australia.

Often referred to as the pearl of North West Australia, Broome is Western Australia’s coastal gateway to the magnificent wilderness region of the Kimberley. It’s also home to the world-famous white sands of Cable Beach, making it one of the State’s most popular holiday destinations. Situated 2,240 km (1,390 mi) north of Perth, with a permanent population estimated around 14,500, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season.

Le Soleal will be alongside the wharf in Broome. Guests will be transferred by coach from downtown Broome to the wharf between 3pm and 4pm. The ship is scheduled to depart at 6pm.

Days 2 – 9: Exploring the Kimberley Coast, Western Australia.

The Ancient landscape of the Kimberley coast is continually shaped by the second largest tidal range in the world. To take advantage of this natural phenomenon we have created a flexible itinerary. Our Kimberley voyages are true expeditions, where each day’s activities will be determined by the Expedition Leader and Captain taking into account the tide, weather and sea conditions. Below you will find information on the destinations we may visit during our time in one of the world’s last great wilderness regions.

The Lacepede Islands, Kimberley, Western Australia.

The Lacepede Islands are Western Australia’s most important breeding habitat for Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas), and have been named by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The breeding colony of Brown Boobies is possibly the largest in the world. Up to 20,000 Roseate Terns have also been recorded here. Other birds breeding on the islands include Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Lesser Frigatebirds, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Crested, Bridled and Lesser Crested Terns, Common Noddies, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers. Join your expedition team for a guided zodiac tour to view the prolific wildlife. Due to the sensitive nature of the environment, landings are prohibited.

Horizontal Falls, Talbot Bay. Kimberley, Western Australia.

Described by Sir David Attenborough as “One of the greatest wonders of the natural world” the “Horizontal Waterfalls” are an iconic location and one of the premier tourist attractions of the West Kimberley. They are a pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range approximately 300m apart. With massive tidal differences of up to 10.8m on a spring tide, the “Horizontal Waterfalls” are created as seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, creating a waterfall up to 4m high on a King tide. Today’s included Zodiac excursion will be timed, where possible, to coincide with the greatest tidal movement through the gaps. The amount of actual flow in the “falls” is dependent on the tide movement of the day. Guests have the opportunity to undertake an optional ‘fast boat’ ride through the Horizontal Falls.

Montgomery Reef, Kimberley, Western Australia.

The tidal movements in the Kimberley are nothing short of massive, in fact the Kimberley has the third largest tidal range of anywhere on the planet. Montgomery Reef is a spectacular example of the impact of these tides as the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean. At just under 400km2 in size it is Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals. Today your expedition team will take you to the exposed reef system with its cascading mini-waterfalls to witness the amazing tide induced phenomena first hand. The actual scale of the phenomena is strictly governed by the tides on the day.

Swift Bay, Kimberley, Western Australia.

The Bonaparte Archipelago in WA’s remote Kimberley region, is a maze of islands, inlets, peninsulas and rivers. Its colour and scale conspire to take one’s breath away. Its distant location has meant it has remained an unspoilt and remarkably pristine location to explore and experience. Phillip Parker King originally named it “Swift’s bay” after Jonathon Swift (1667-1745) the author of Gulliver’s travels. Today it is known as Swift Bay. The ‘T’ shaped bay is composed of heavily fractured sandstone providing an abundance of rock shelters. On the walls of these shelters are examples of both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style rock art. Join your expedition team ashore for a guided walk to a number of rock art galleries depicting the Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style rock art.

Careening Bay, Kimberley, Western Australia.

Careening Bay was named by Lieutenant Phillip Parker King after his ship, HMC Mermaid, was careened there in order to repair a leak, during his third voyage of discovery in 1820. King surveyed the western coast from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Northwest Cape to complete the map that his good friend Mathew Flinders had been unable to finish 20 years earlier. The Mermaid had been leaking badly and King needed to find a shallow sandy bay where he could careen his boat to undertake repairs. At a high tide, on a warm September afternoon, he ran the Mermaid onto the sands for urgent repairs. For ten days the Mermaid crew worked hard before refloating the vessel. During those ten days the ship’s carpenter carved the name of the vessel and the year into a conspicuous boab tree. The famous boab tree is now 3 metres wide and National Heritage listed. A reminder of a by gone era of exploration and the quest for discovery.

Prince Frederick Harbour (Hunter River), Kimberley, Western Australia.

Arguably one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast, Prince Frederick Harbour and the Hunter River are lined with ancient rainforest pockets, pristine mangroves and mosaic sandstone cliffs. They are considered to be some of the most pristine mangrove forests in the world, containing up to 18 different species, supporting a rich and diverse fauna. The sandstone escarpment at the river mouth, known as “Kampamantiya” rises over 200 metres high before giving way to extensive mud banks and mangrove forests home to numerous bird species and the iconic saltwater crocodile. Our expert Expedition Team will share their knowledge with you as you explore this pristine mangrove environment by zodiac keeping a constant lookout for wildlife. Whilst Le Soleal is in the Hunter River guests can choose to take the optional Helicopter flight and landing at Mitchell Falls.

Mitchell Falls and Plateau, Kimberley, Western Australia.

The Mitchell Plateau is one of the most scenic & biologically important areas of Australia. Small patches of rainforest grow around the margins of the plateau, where they are protected from fire & receive additional moisture. The Mitchell River carves gorges and waterfalls into the underlying sandstone, particularly along the margins of the Mitchell Plateau. The most scenic of all is the four tiered Mitchell Falls that flow continuously throughout the year. The Mitchell Falls and plateau are only accessible via the optional helicopter tour.

Vansittart Bay, Kimberley, Western Australia.

Jar Island contains ancient rock art galleries depicting the Gwion Gwion style unique to the Kimberley region. Mainly neglected by, or unknown to, the early European researchers of Aboriginal culture in the Kimberley in favour of the dominant & more dramatic Wandjina art, Gwion Gwion art has in recent years gained world prominence. It is generally thought that this art may extend back to over 30,000 years BP & represent the first wave of seagoing colonisers of the Australian continent. As it is, these are the oldest detailed depiction of human figures in the world. Join your Expedition Team ashore for a short walk, past some fascinating rock formations, to the site of the Gwion Gwion art galleries.

King George River and Falls, Kimberley, Western Australia.

The journey up the King George River is nothing short of breathtaking. The 80m high sides of the gorge display varying degrees of weathering of the ancient Warton sandstone. The colours and textures of the gorge change with the light as you travel further up the river creating a continual changing wallpaper of passing scenery that is simply stunning. The journey culminates at the King George twin falls; the highest single-drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley (80m or 260ft). Your expert Expedition Team will escort you in your choice of a 2 or 3 ½ hour zodiac tour to the foot of the twin falls, during your tour you will learn all about the stunning geological formations making up the walls of the canyon.

Day 10: At Sea.

Enjoy a leisurely day at sea to reflect on your experiences, take advantage of the luxurious on board services or enjoy a cool drink at the Pool Bar. Today your expedition team will provide informative presentations about the Kimberley region. The Kimberley is one of the world’s last great wilderness areas, and one of Australia’s greatest natural assets. The 13,000km of remote isolated coastline boasts more than 2,600 islands, Australia’s largest inshore reef, the world’s largest population of Humpback whales, extensive undisturbed mangrove forests, wild rivers, and important seabird breeding colonies. It is a national biodiversity hotspot, and listed in the top 3.7% of least impacted marine environments worldwide.

Darwin, Northern Territory: Disembarkation

Darwin has evolved from its days as a laid-back frontier town and while it still retains its relaxed charm, it has become a sophisticated city. It is treasured country to its traditional owners, the Larrakia people, who are prominent and active members of the local community. Darwin is both modern and multicultural, with a population of 136,245 made up of people from more than 60 nationalities and 70 different ethnic backgrounds. The city is characterised by its many exciting cultural festivals and weekly food and craft markets.

Le Soleal will be alongside the wharf at the Darwin Cruise Ship Terminal located at Fort Hill Wharf and disembarkation will commence shortly after breakfast.

Optional Tour Information

During your Iconic Kimberley Coast voyage, we will provide included activities at each destination. To further enhance your Kimberley coastal experience, the following optional tours are available for pre-booking:

  • Mitchell Falls Scenic Helicopter Flight and Landing – Prince Frederick Harbour (Hunter River)
  • Fast Boat Ride through the Horizontal Falls – Talbot Bay

Optional tours are required to be booked a minimum of 90 days prior to departure, with limited space available on some tours. Bookings will be on a “first-in” basis. Please contact Luxury Kimberley Cruises if you would like to book an optional tour during your Iconic Kimberley coast voyage.

For bookings:  1300 550 144  |   Click to email

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