1 Arrive Darwin, Embark Ship
Arrive in Darwin and be transferred to your expedition ship where you can settle in to your well-appointed suite or stateroom. Get to know your fellow guests, and Expedition Team during a Welcome Dinner tonight. Stay 10 Nights: MS Island Sky (D)
2 At sea
Get acquainted with your expedition ship as you enjoy informative lectures from your Expedition Team on board while spending a day at sea en route to the spectacular Kimberley Coast. Learn about the fascinating ecology of Australia’s most remote coastline, one that is dominated by some of the most dramatic tidal conditions on Earth. Hear stories of the rich World War II history and get prepared to discover ancient Indigenous culture that dates back for tens of thousands of years. Take time to relax as you feel the pleasant pristine air of the Timor Sea fill your lungs and then take advantage of the Open Bridge policy for the chance to make acquaintances with your ship’s Captain. After dinner tonight, make your way to the Lounge for the evening entertainment. (B/L/D)
3 Koolama Bay, King George River and Falls
Wake up this morning on the Kimberley Coast as your ship cruises into Koolama Bay. Once known as Cape Ruilhieres, hear how this spectacular harbour was renamed following the Japanese bombing of the MV Koolama in 1942, while carrying 91 passengers, 89 crew and a cargo of war supplies destined for the Australian Army at Wyndham. Arrive at King George River and board your ship’s fleet of Zodiacs with an Expedition Team member. Meander through the gorge system, travelling 12 kilometres upstream to discover hidden mangrove-fringed coves and 100-metre-high red-cliffs. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- While exploring the King George River, the highlight is sure to be King George Falls, plunging 80 metres over a magnificent sandstone cliff. Get up close to this spectacular cascade and learn how it turns to a raging torrent during the monsoonal wet season.
4 Vansittart Bay, Jar Island
Join your Expedition Team to take an informative walk across salt flats at Vansittart Bay to view the wreckage of a US Air Force C-53 which crash landed on the beach during World War II. The C-53 is a modified civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner, an aircraft used extensively during World War II by the Allies. Later, visit Jar Island and see examples of the Kimberley’s mysterious Gwion Gwion (formerly Bradshaw) paintings, dating back some 20,000 years. These stylised figures give impressions of movement, depicting people involved in ritual dancing, complete with elaborate clothing including tassels hanging from the arms and waist. The style of these paintings are very distinctive. (B/L/D)
5 Bigge Island
Discover Bigge Island today, off the coast of the Kimberley, approximately six kilometres from the mainland. In caves throughout the island, see examples of first contact art depicting European tall ships dating from the 15th to 18th century. Learn how the mysterious Wandjina figures are unique to the Kimberley, to the Wunambal, the Wandjina is the supreme Creator and a symbol of fertility and rain who comes to the Kimberley every wet season to bring life. This belief in a single Creator or God is unique to the Kimberley. Many of the Wandjina art sites are still repainted each year as a tradition which reconnects the Wunambal to their Creator. Having been repainted annually for the past 5,000 years, this is thought to be the oldest continuous sacred painting tradition on the planet. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Bigge Island is well known for its Indigenous rock art, which was created by the Wunambal people.
6 Prince Frederick Harbour, Hunter River, Mitchell Falls
Prrive at Prince Frederick Harbour, home to soaring red cliffs and mangroves. With its extreme tides and pristine ecosystems, there is an incredible range of wildlife to discover here including saltwater crocodiles, mudskippers and a plethora of bird species including kingfishers, egrets, herons and the majestic white-bellied sea eagles. Board a Zodiac with your Expedition Team to explore the Hunter River, then visit Naturalist Island where an optional helicopter flight to Mitchell Falls departs (own expense, guests are advised to pre-register interest). (B/L/D)
7 Careening Bay, Prince Regent Reserve
Visit Careening Bay, the home of the historic Mermaid Boab Tree, where in 1820 Lieutenant Phillip Parker King used the area’s massive tides to beach his damaged ship, the HMC Mermaid to repair a leak in the ship’s hull. One of King’s crew members carved the ship’s name in a Boab Tree that overlooks the bay, and today you have the chance to see for yourself a living piece of Australian colonial history. Continue on to explore Prince Regent Nature Reserve, a protected area that is only accessible by boat and is recognised as a national biodiversity hotspot. Spend time in the picturesque area of Hanover Bay and perhps visit St George Basin by Zodiac to see saltwater crocodiles and numerous marine creatures if tidal conditions permit. (B/L/D)
8 Montgomery Reef, Doubtful Bay, Raft Point
Cruise through Doubtful Bay, an amazing location for whale watching during the season. Later, travel ashore at Raft Point to visit an ancient Wandjina rock art site, gaining a unique perspective from a local Indigenous guide (when available). The Wandjina is known as a living art tradition as these stunning figures are ritually repainted, however scientific estimates show that the original depictions date as far back as 5,000 years. These figures, identified as having a distinctive plate-like face with no mouth, are said to show a powerful creator being. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Embark on an unforgettable adventure today as the magnificent Montgomery Reef ‘rises’ out of the ocean as the tidal waters cascade down into the surrounding channels. Board your Zodiac to experience this natural phenomenon up close and discover the reef’s diverse marine life. Keep an eye out for unique bird life and turtles who may pop their heads up from time to time.
9 Talbot Bay, Horizontal Falls
Cruise through to Talbot Bay, known for its massive 12-metre tides that create an amazing spectacle, the incredible Horizontal Falls. David Attenborough described these impressive tides as “one the greatest natural wonders of the world.” Later, take a Zodiac cruise through Cyclone Creek to see dramatic folding in the rock formations and keep an eye out for native birdlife and saltwater crocodiles. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Subject to tidal conditions, embark on a ride through Horizontal Falls on a high-powered fast boat.
10 Buccaneer Archipelago, Adele Island
Arrive in the spectacular Buccaneer Archipelago, home to more than 800 islands. Cruise to Adele Island and board your ship’s Zodiacs with your Expedition Team to explore this remote and isolated island. The island is classified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area for sea birds and waders and is an important habitat for breeding frigatebirds, brown boobies, cormorants and Australian pelicans. The island is surrounded by Adele Reef which is home to soft and hard corals and a large variety of marine life including reef sharks and stingrays. Savour a Farewell Dinner this evening with new-found friends as you sail towards the historic pearling town of Broome. (B/L/D)
11 Disembark Ship, Broome
After breakfast on board this morning, the time has come to bid farewell to your wonderful crew as you disembark your ship for the last time. Enjoy a short Broome orientation tour before being transferred to Cable Beach Club Resort. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner. Stay: Broome, Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa (B/D)
12 Gibb River Road, Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek
Your 4WD adventure commences today with a visit to the Boab Prison Tree, believed to be more than 1,500 years old and measuring an incredible 14 metres in diameter. This remarkable tree was once used by early police patrols as a standing point for prisoners as they were walked to Derby. Continue your journey along the Gibb River Road, a remote 660-kilometre outback highway stretching between Broome and Kununurra. Turn off to explore Windjana Gorge, where sheer cliffs tower above glistening white sands. Continue on to Tunnel Creek, a 750-metre-long natural tunnel carved through the Napier Range. Later, arrive at Fitzroy Crossing. Stay: Fitzroy Crossing, Fitzroy River Lodge (B/L/D)
13 Geikie Gorge, Halls Creek, Purnululu National Park
Travel to Geikie Gorge National Park and explore magnificent Geikie Gorge. Board a unique cruise along the stunning gorge and learn more about the beautiful flora and fauna of this spectacular region. Travel to Purnululu National Park, one of Australia’s most stunning natural landscapes. Settle into the tranquil ambience of APT’s exclusive Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge, located in the heart of the national park. Stay Two Nights: Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge (B/L/D)
14 Purnululu National Park, Piccaninny Creek, Cathedral Gorge
Today, discover the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park for yourself. It is home to the famed black and orange striped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range
, ascending to 578 metres above sea level. Walk along Piccaninny Creek, a winding gorge within the Bungle Bungle domes. Your next stop is the natural amphitheatre of Cathedral Gorge
, a spacious cavern where the acoustics are astounding. You may like to experience an optional scenic helicopter flight over the domes (own expense). (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- This evening, enjoy drinks as the sun sets over the striking Bungle Bungle massif.
15 Echidna Chasm, Kununurra
Join a hike along a Livistona palm-fringed trail into Echidna Chasm, a spectacular natural cleft in the ancient red rock that pervades the Kimberley. Travel through glorious rugged red landscapes to Kununurra, gateway to the East Kimberley and home of the mighty Ord River Scheme. Enjoy dinner at your hotel before time at leisure, perhaps exploring the township of Kununurra or relaxing at your hotel. Stay Two Nights: Kununurra Country Club Resort (B/L/D)
16 Lake Argyle, Ord River, Kununurra
Travel to majestic Lake Argyle, the largest man-made lake in the Southern Hemisphere. Join a spectacular wildlife cruise on the mighty Ord River. From your modern shaded vessel, discover a fascinating ecological system that has developed from the damming of the Ord River at two locations to create an area rich in wildlife, flora and undeniable beauty. Enjoy a mesmerising sunset while cruising on the tranquil Lake Kununurra. This evening, enjoy a delicious dinner at your hotel. (B/L/D)
17 Parry’s Lagoon, Wyndham, El Questro
Visit the serenely beautiful Parry’s Lagoon, a bird-watcher’s paradise for your chance to see a wealth of water birds. Head to Wyndham and view the breathtaking Cambridge Gulf from the spectacular Five Rivers Lookout. Enjoy lunch before arriving at El Questro, which covers a staggering 700,000 acres. Stay in tented accommodation at the foot of the Cockburn Ranges immersed in nature. Stay: El Questro, Emma Gorge Resort (B/L/D)
18 El Questro, Home Valley Station
After lunch hike to the picturesque Emma Gorge and be rewarded with a refreshing swim. Later, cross the Pentecost River into Home Valley Station, an immense cattle property. Head to a viewing area as you savour this inspirational setting with sunset drinks and gaze out to the ever-changing colours of the Cockburn Range as the sun retreats. Stay:
Home Valley Station (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Soak in the hot pools of Zebedee Springs and leave feeling revitalised.
19 Gibb River Road, Mitchell Plateau
Back on the Gibb River Road, ford the mighty Durack River, then turn off and travel north on the Kalumburu Road towards the isolated Mitchell Plateau. Here, enter a remote world of Livistona palm forests, beautiful lookouts, magnificent waterfalls and isolated swimming holes. For the next two nights, experience APT’s exclusive Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge. Stay Two Nights: Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge (B/L/D)
20 Mitchell Falls, Helicopter Flight
Discover the beauty of Mitchell Falls, with its tiered waterfalls and Indigenous rock art. Begin with a guided hike to Little Mertens Falls to view rarely seen Indigenous rock art. Continue to Big Mertens Falls before arriving at the incredible Mitchell Falls. Return to your wilderness lodge and enjoy a gourmet dinner. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Enjoy an included helicopter flight over Mitchell Falls and the surrounding wilderness. If you prefer, you can hike back to the vehicle with your guide. Longer flights over this captivating and remote coastline are available at an additional expense.
21 Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Rock Art, King Edward River, Drysdale River Station
Cross the beautiful Drysdale River and arrive at Drysdale River Station, where you will enjoy a unique stay at this historic cattle property. Stay:
Drysdale River Station (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- Visit Wandjina and Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) rock art galleries and swim in the clear waters at King Edward River.
22 Manning Gorge, Galvans Gorge, Gibb River Road
At Manning Gorge enjoy lunch in the shade of Boab Trees. Continue to Galvans Gorge, where a short walk leads to a picturesque waterhole where ancient palms cling to the escarpment above. Arrive at Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge in time for dinner. Stay Two Nights: Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge (B/L/D)
23 Bell Gorge, Hike and Swim
Back on the Gibb River Road, travel to Bell Gorge, where stunning cliffs surround a series of tiered waterholes. Bell Gorge is an idyllic natural spot for swimming and photography. Here you can also enjoy a spot of bird-watching. Perhaps hike to the lower pool of the gorge and enjoy a relaxing dip below the cascading waterfall. (B/L/D)
24 Derby, Broome
Visit the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre and Derby before checking into Broome’s Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa. Stay: Broome, Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa (B/L/D)
25 Depart Broome
Discover the delights of Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa as you enjoy your day at leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight home. (B)