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Reef Prince, Luxury Kimberley Cruise

11 Day Kimberley Coastal Expedition

Darwin to Broome

Day 1: Depart Darwin
Your Kimberley cruise from Darwin begins today from the beautiful capital of the NT, the city of Darwin. We will arrange a charter bus to pick you up between 8am & 9am and transport you to board the vessel at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Our crew will welcome you aboard and after a crew introduction we will depart. On our way out of the harbour there will be a safety briefing, morning tea and a vessel induction. After lunch your trip director will also have discussion with you about the trip’s itinerary.

For the afternoon and overnight we’ll cruise across the Joseph Boneparte Gulf and into the Kimberley

Day 2: The mighty King George River, Pangali Gove and Glycosmis Bay
In the morning and depending on the tide and our arrival time, we’ll start on a high and head across the sand bar and into the best of the Kimberley’s ‘big’ rivers – the mighty King George! While entering the King George River on the high tide and transit almost 10 miles up the river, all the while enjoying the soaring cliffs and two breath-taking King George Falls of mammoth proportions at the end.

Feel the spray mist produced from billions of litres of water falling hundreds of feet as MV Reef Prince is steered expertly to the base of the majestic falls. We then enter the tenders and go back into the falls and down the river in the smaller boats which enable us to get right up the falls, into the smaller side tributaries and stop to admire the wildlife both above and below the water. There is also a third waterfall in a smaller offshoot that is accessible at high tide and usually has a couple of crocodiles floating around.

In the afternoon we have a few options but Pangali Cove is popular earlier in the season with its WW2 history (the Koolama Incident), a waterfall and freshwater swimming holes.
If it’s low tide when we arrive in the morning then we can go fishing for pelagic species at Leseuer Island or simply swap the activities around and do the King George River in the afternoon.

Other alternate options in the area include trolling for pelagic fish, the Glycosmis Bay waterfalls (early in the season), the Lost City art site in Glycosmis Bay and Tranquil Bay with its picturesque backdrop and reflection pools.

Day 3: Vansittart Bay
By the time you wake up, we’ll have rounded Cape Londonderry overnight and will be anchored in Vansittart Bay.

The bay is a popular area filled with many things to do. The fishing is superb, particularly for spanish mackerel which cruise around the edges of the many pearl leases in the area.We will take you on an easy walk across a salt flat to witness the site of a crashed WW2 DC-3 transport plane. Well preserved in the Kimberley bush, your guide will recall the fateful day in early 1942.

It is only a short cruise across the bay to Rocky Cove, where can go ashore to a rock art site that has some fabulous examples of mysterious Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) Paintings and a special cave full of the more modern Wandjina rock art. The Bradshaw rock art is thought to be some of the world’s oldest indigenous art, dating back over 20,000 years. With time and tide permitting in the late afternoon, we might stop for a walk at Woku Woku Island. This area has a massive Boab Tree on the mainland and a large Boab Grove on the opposite shore on the island. The area is rich in Macassan history as it was a popular area for Macassan fisherman to harvest and process Sea Cucumbers. The remains of many hearths can be still seen today.

Other alternate options in the area include Jar Island with its 2 art sites & rocky headlands, the Anjo Peninsula and the Drysdale River.

Day 4: Prudhoe Island & York Sound.
Once again, when you wake up it will be in a different location. This time a continental island off the coast called Prudhoe Island.

The island has a multitude of things to do with some of the highlights being a walk to the peak at Petroglyph Point and marvel at the stone engraved petroglyphs that are estimated to be up to 60,000 years old and possibly the world’s oldest form of art. Around the corner is a beach that is full of turtle tracks and turtle nests during the laying season.

Inside the bay is a wonderful beach that is great for a walk and a shallow swim and further around into the bay is a crystal creek that is filled with large clumps of quartz crystals. This site is super popular with the ladies and was only discovered by our Tour Director Paul when has was exploring the area in his own vessel. From there we will travel back towards the mainland and into York Sound.

There are lots of options for things to do in the sound. Some of the highlights include fishing, a fantastic series of sea caves to enter at low tide, Rainforest Ravine, scenery abound with lots of unusual rock formations and overhangs, Castle Beach with its rock castle and swimming options and even a crystal cove.

In the evening we transit into Porossis Creek for our overnight stay.

Other alternate options in the area are the Osbourne Island Group that has a shipwreck, more rock art, a wall of hexagonal basalt columns, a natural stone arch, stunning views from the peaks and a working pearl lease. And there is Swifts Bay with four rock art sites to explore.

Day 5: The Hunter River, Porossis Creek and Naturalist Beach
Wake up anchored within the famous Porossis Creek (named after the scientific name for a saltwater crocodile – Crocodylus Porosus). This ecosystem and the adjoining Hunter River is a favourite for bird watchers. We have a chance to spot a Great Billed Heron, or a Chestnut Rail. On the turn of the tide fishermen can try their luck on a multitude of species that are regularly caught here. The area is visually stunning with its jagged mountain ranges and high rocky escarpments. Scenic tours in the tenders here are a highlight.

Other alternate options in the area include Dolphin island with its swim beach and Wandjina art site, Naturalist Beach & surrounding waterways and the Roe River.

**Optional Helicopter Flight to the Mitchell Plateau.

Day 6: Careening Bay, Rothsay Waters and St.George Basin
In the early morning we admire the work of an early European explorer Phillip Parker King. King explored and chartered the Kimberley in 1820-22. His detailed and accurate charts form the basis of our modern electronic plotters, allowing us to safely cruise these waters. Unfortunately his early exploits didn’t come without problems as we’ll discover. Careening Bay was named by Phillip Parker King after his ship, ‘HMC Mermaid’, was careened during his first voyage of discovery in the Kimberley.

We visit the site of a large boab tree bearing the inscription “HMC Mermaid – 1820”, still clearly visible almost 200 years later. The area is filled with other interesting flora such as a cycad grove and tamarind trees.

In the afternoon we visit Rothsay Waters. This area has fantastic scenery options like Valley of the Palms, a remote art site on the river’s edge, numerous side tributaries to explore and excellent bottom fishing for golden snapper at an area called Land of the Giants.
We then move down through Strong Tide Point (which is great viewed from on the bow) and into the scenic St. George Basin which is overshadowed by the iconic flat topped mesas of Mount Trafalgar and Mount Waterloo.

Day 7: Prince Regent River & Kings Cascades.
On the rising tide we move out onto the front deck as we cruise through the scenic St George Basin and into the mighty Prince Regent River. Whilst there is so much to do and see in this river system, the highlight is the amazing Kings Cascades waterfalls. For the adventurous, there is a walk to the top of the falls and a fabulous swimming area at the top fringed with blue gums and pandanus. On the other side of the swimming hole is a multi-layered rocky area offset with mini waterfalls and smaller splash pools to enjoy a dip. Kings Cascades is one of the cruise highlights and a favourite amongst the guests.

Within the Prince Regent River system are other activites to do such as scenic tours to Camp Creek and Cathedral Falls (the highest in the region), two rock art sites and fabulous bottom fishing.

Other alternate options in the area include Hanover Inlet with its beautiful scenery, many beaches, brolga rock art and bower bird nests.

Day 8: Deception Bay or Sampson Inlet, Ruby Falls and Raft Point
Both Sampson Inlet and Deception Bay have wonderful areas to explore and offer fantastic scenic tours. Lookout for rock wallabies, bird life, reptiles, crocodiles and lots of fish life. The fishing at Samson inlet can also be excellent when trolling lures around the rocky edges. Either way you won’t be disappointed.

From there it’s a cruise down the coast past numerous landmarks and into Red Cone Creek. On the way there is great opportunities to see humpback whales in season. Ruby Falls lies at the end of Red Cone Creek and the area is home to a large population of saltwater crocodiles. The falls are stunning and we climb to the top to enjoy a magnificent swim in the long freshwater pools and some incredible views on the way back down.

Then we make the one hour trek across doubtful bay and anchor up under the iconic Raft Point for the evening. If time permits we can do a sunset tour and explore the rocky islands of Bird Rock and Steep Island. These areas are bird rookeries and are culturally significant areas to the local indigenous people.

Day 9: Montgomery Reef and Talbot Bay
If we missed Bird Rock and Steep Island as a sunset tour the day before, we might even do it as a sunrise tour today!

Then we head off to see Montgomery Reef ‘rise’ out of the ocean as the tide ebbs. Jump in the tenders for an extended reef cruise to study the marine life of Turtle Gully. This extended scenic tour is described by many of our guests as the most memorable moment of their Kimberley experience.

Then kick back as we steam past the Kingfisher Islands and down into Talbot Bay, anchoring up opposite the Horizontal Falls. If time permits we can do a sunset scenic tour of Cyclone Creek and take a few beverages with us as we marvel at the incredible uplifted rock formations of the area.

Day 10: The Horizontal Falls, Koolan Island and Croc Creek or Silica Beach
Wake up and have breakfast – but not too much as things are about to get lively as we experience the awesome power of the Horizontal Falls. Your attention will be taken by the incredible geology that abounds this area. David Attenborough called it the eigth wonder of the natural world!

Your cruise director will point out the changes that have occurred in this region over the last 2000 million years to form the water ways we now enjoy. The adventurous can cling on to the rails of our tender “Regent” during the fast boat ride through the falls.

We then steam out of Talbot Bay and it’s definitely worthwhile to be outside as we pass the incredible geological rock formations of the area. We then transit through the “Gutter” before heading past the mining islands of Koolan and Cockatoo. Your tour director will give you an insight to the past and present of the two iron ore mines.

As a last excursion we will head into Yampi Sound which is nestled within the Buccaneer Archipelago that has over 800 Islands. The area is visually stunning and being outside whilst cruising along is highly recommended.
Depending on the tide and weather, we will stop at either Croc Creek and hike to the top of a waterfall for a swim in a crystal clear freshwater swimming hole, or head further south to Silica Beach which has the finest white sand in the archipelago.

Either way, both options will leave you finishing on a high as we then spend the rest of the afternoon and overnight steaming down the coast towards Broome.

Day 11: Disembark in Broome
This morning we head past Cable Beach and Gantheaume Point before transiting into Roebuck Bay and trying up alongside the large commercial wharf. Farewell your fellow travelers and swap details. Sadly it’s the end of your Kimberley Cruise from Darwin. We disembark Broome at around 10am and say goodbye to the crew. Guests will be transferred by bus to their hotel of choice in the Broome district

This itinerary is an indication of what destinations are usually visited and activities are usually on offer. Throughout the expedition changes may be made to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.

For bookings:  1300 550 144  |   Click to email


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