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Kimberley Complete and the Top End Cruising

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Fully Guided Locally Guided Adventure Small Group Cruise 4WD Scenic
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 Trip Length
25 Days
 Trip Starts
Darwin
 Trip Finishes
Broome
25 Day Kimberley Complete and the Top End Cruising Itinerary (APT)
Countries Explored: Australia
Trip Operator
Trip Style
Small Ship Cruise
Accommodation
4 - 4.5 Star
Max. Group Size
23
Guide Level
Fully Guided, Locally Guided
Trip Code
GKKCD25S
Cruise Line
Ponant
Ship
Passengers
264
Crew
145
Launched
2013
Refurbished
2019

Overview

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on APT's 25 Day Kimberley Complete and the Top End Cruising. Our most popular land journey takes you deep into the Kimberley’s heart, with stays at APT’s exclusive wilderness lodges. Then set sail for the Kimberley Coast’s most compelling destinations on the luxurious Le Soleal.

Itinerary

Welcome to Darwin, an ideal stepping stone to your Kimberley Coast adventure. After your arrival, we will transfer you to your luxury ship, Le Soleal. Get to know your expedition team and APT cruise director at a welcome briefing before dinner. Stay 10 Nights: Le Soleal (D)

Wake this morning as your ship cruises into Koolama Bay. Hear how this harbour was renamed following the Japanese bombing of the MV Koolama in 1942. Next, it's onto the King George River. Join your expedition team and jump aboard a Zodiac to meander through the river's gorge system, passing mangrove-fringed coves and sheer red cliffs. (B/L/D)

Signature Experiences:
  • Anticipation builds as your Zodiac approaches King George Falls, which plunge 80 metres over a soaring sandstone cliff. Edge closer to this epic cascade and learn how it turns to a raging torrent during the monsoonal wet season.

This morning join your expedition team on an intriguing discovery. Walk across salt flats to view the wreckage of a US Air Force DC3 which crash-landed near Vansittart Bay during World War II. Later, visit Jar Island and discover the island's outstanding rock art gallery. During your exploration here, you'll see more examples of Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) paintings, dating back more than 20,000 years. (B/L/D)

Located in the Timor Sea, the Ashmore Reef Marine Park is a sanctuary for many marine species and a designated important bird area (IBA). Every year, more than 100,000 seabirds breed here, including crested terns, white-tailed tropicbirds and greater frigatebirds. It was recognised as a wetland of international importance in 2003 for its vital role in providing a haven for the tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds which turn up to feed each year.

In addition to the prolific birdlife, beneath the clear tropical waters, the coral reefs, seagrass meadows, sandflats and lagoons of Ashmore Reef are home to a colourful array of marine life including 255 species of reef building coral, the greatest number of any reef on the Western Australian coast. Ashmore Reef provides a unique opportunity to combine a zodiac tour to view the abundant birdlife and marine life with the opportunity to experience a magical moment snorkelling or a refreshing swim. (B/L/D)

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. (B/L/D)

Explore this maze of islands, inlets and peninsulas, believed to have been named by explorer Lieutenant Phillip Parker King after novelist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels. Most significant here are extraordinary examples of Wandjina and Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) rock art, estimated to have been created between 5,000 and 13,000 years ago. They can be seen in caves close to the water's edge, mainly painted on rock overhangs. (B/L/D)

You are transported to Prince Frederick Harbour today, which is home to towering red cliffs and tangled mangroves. With its extreme tides and pristine ecosystems, the harbour is rich in wildlife including mudskippers and saltwater crocodiles. Keen birdwatchers should keep a careful eye out for kingfishers, egrets, herons and white-bellied sea eagles.

Stepping out from the sleek comfort of Le Soleal to your trusty Zodiac, it's hard to believe you're at Australia's final frontier, this time to explore the Hunter River and Naturalist Island. As your day of discovery draws to a close, you might choose to set out on a thrilling helicopter flight to see the Mitchell Falls in all its splendour from above (flight at own expense). (B/L/D)

Step onto dry land at Raft Point to visit an ancient Wandjina rock art site. The unique figures depicted in these artworks are ritually repainted each year, but scientific estimates date the originals as far back as 5,000 years. You'll be joined by a local Indigenous guide when available. (B/L/D)

Signature Experiences:
  • Depart with your expedition team to discover Montgomery Reef by Zodiac. The reef ‘rises' out of the ocean as the tidal waters cascade rapidly down into the surrounding channels. By Zodiac you'll get up close to see this natural phenomenon for yourself.

Explore Talbot Bay and Cyclone Creek. Accompanied by your Expedition Team Leader, you'll weave nimbly past the dramatic folds of rock formations, keeping a look out for local wildlife. You might also choose to take a thrilling ride through the falls aboard a high-powered fast boat (own expense). (B/L/D)

Signature Experiences:
  • Today your ship cruises through to Talbot Bay, known for its massive 12-metre tides that create the unique Horizontal Falls. Subject to tidal conditions, board a zodiac with your Expedition Team to view this incredible natural phenomenon.

This morning, your ship charts a course into the stunning Buccaneer Archipelago on route to the Lacepede Islands. Made up of more than 800 islands, and filled with stunning scenery and an incredible array of wildlife, the remote region remains relatively untouched. 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.

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. (B/L/D)

Arriving into Broome today means it's time to say goodbye to your ship. You'll disembark and we'll transfer you to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure before a relaxed dinner. Stay: Broome, Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa (B/D)

Leave Broome this morning and head to the Boab Prison Tree, believed to be 1,500 years old. Continue along the Gibb River Road to Windjana Gorge, where ancient marine fossils lay embedded in the gorge walls. Next, it's on to Tunnel Creek, Western Australia's oldest cave system. Wade through the cool waters that fill the tunnel and emerge on the other side to discover a serene oasis. Stay: Fitzroy Crossing, Fitzroy River Lodge (B/L/D)

Travel to Danggu Geikie Gorge National Park today and explore incredible Geikie Gorge, famed for its towering walls that have been bleached white by the river when it floods. Afterwards, head to Halls Creek, before arriving at Purnululu National Park. Settle into your lodge before an open-air dinner tonight. Stay Two Nights: APT's exclusive Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge (B/L/D)

A full day has been set aside for you to explore Purnululu National Park today, starting with a walk along Piccaninny Creek. This winding gorge is set deep within the Bungle Bungle Range, offering unparalleled views of the beehive domes. Your next stop is Cathedral Gorge, a natural red rock amphitheatre created by millions of years of water erosion. This spacious cavern is renowned for its acoustics, and you'll see why as you wander through it. (B/L/D)

Signature Experiences:
  • End your day of discovery by watching the sunset over the Bungle Bungle Range – with a glass of bubbly in hand, of course.

Set out on a hike to Echidna Chasm, a natural cleft in the rock that reaches a staggering 200 metres in height while only being one metre wide at certain points. Later, travel along the Spring Creek Track to Kununurra. Stay Two Nights: Kununurra Country Club Resort (B/L/D)

Travel to Lake Argyle and join a wildlife cruise on the mighty Ord River. From a modern shaded vessel, discover the area's ecological system that has developed from the damming of the Ord River at two locations. Later, enjoy sunset while cruising on Lake Kununurra. Keep an eye out for wildlife and soak up the views as your boat makes its way through winding creeks and picturesque lagoons. (B/L/D)

Visit Parry's Lagoon this morning, home to an array of birdlife. Next, it's on to Wyndham, where you'll soak up the views of the Cambridge Gulf from the Five Rivers Lookout. Stop for lunch before arriving at El Questro, a sprawling wilderness area which covers 700,000 acres. Afterwards, continue to Emma Gorge Resort, located in the heart of El Questro. Stay: El Questro, Emma Gorge Resort (B/L/D)

Hike to Emma Gorge where you'll be rewarded with a swim beneath a towering droplet waterfall. Visit Zebedee Springs before continuing to the iconic Home Valley Station, crossing the Pentecost River along the way. Nestled in the midst of the sweeping Cockburn Range, it's not hard to see why this immense cattle property was used as the setting for Baz Luhrmann's blockbuster film, 'Australia'.

Tonight, head to a spectacular viewpoint just in time for sunset. Soak up the breathtaking views with a glass of bubbly and watch as the ever-changing colours dance over the Cockburn Range. Stay: Home Valley Station (B/L/D)

Signature Experiences:

  • Head to Zebedee Springs, a permanent natural thermal spring tucked away in a secluded pocket of rainforest. Relax as you soak in the hot springs and leave feeling refreshed.

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. Along the way, stop at Drysdale River Station for lunch. Afterwards, enter a remote world of Livistona palm forests, beautiful lookouts, magnificent waterfalls and isolated swimming holes. Stay Two Nights: APT's exclusive Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge (B/L/D)

Today you have a full day to discover the beauty of Mitchell Falls, with its tiered waterfalls and Indigenous rock art. When available, local Indigenous guides will join the adventure. Begin with a guided hike to Little Mertens Falls to view rarely seen rock art. Continue to Big Mertens Falls before arriving at the incredible Mitchell Falls. Go for a swim in the pools above the falls then take an included helicopter flight over Mitchell Falls and the surrounding wilderness back to your 4WD vehicle (or if you prefer, hike back with your guide). (B/L/D)

Signature Experiences:
  • Soar over incredible Mitchell Falls on an included helicopter flight.

Visit Wandjina and Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) rock art galleries and swim in the clear waters at King Edward River. Cross Drysdale River and arrive at Drysdale River Station. Stay: Drysdale River Station (B/L/D)

At Manning Gorge, you'll enjoy lunch in the shade of boab trees. Look out for the region's bird life and enjoy a refreshing swim in the pristine water under paperbarks. Continue to Galvans Gorge, where a short walk leads to a picturesque waterhole, the ideal spot for a refreshing swim. Stay Two Nights: APT's exclusive Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge (B/L/D)

Back on the Gibb River Road, travel to Bell Gorge, where spectacular cliffs surround a series of tiered waterholes. Should you be feeling particularly energetic, you may take the opportunity to hike to the lower pool of the gorge and enjoy a relaxing dip below the cascading waterfall. (B/L/D)

Back on the Gibb River Road, travel through the Wunaamin Conservation Park to Derby, where you will visit the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre. Later this evening, perhaps enjoy a drink before a farewell dinner at your resort. Stay: Broome, Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa (B/L/D)

Your journey comes to an end today with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • View the incredible natural phenomenon Horizontal Falls
  • Join your expedition team to explore Montgomery Reef by Zodiac
  • Discover ancient Indigenous rock art in a number of Kimberley locations

  • Experiences in 31 destinations
  • The services of an expert APT driver-guide, cruise director and 12-member expedition team.
  • Prices includes airport transfers, port charges and park fees

  • Locally-inspired dining – a total of 70 meals and a wide range of onboard beverages

  • 10 nights aboard Le Soleal with daily excursions on Zodiac vessels
  • Stay at APT's exclusive network of Wilderness Lodges

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • High Zodiac Activity – This expedition cruise uses Zodiacs for most excursions
  • Travel insurance is mandatory on all cruises
  • Cruising itinerary is subject to change due to tidal conditions and may be modified on board your ship
  • Prices are for cruise and land tour only, flights not included
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Deck Plans

Deck 2
 
Superior Stateroom
 
Deluxe Stateroom
Deck 3
 
Prestige Stateroom
Deck 4
 
Prestige Stateroom
Deck 5
 
Prestige Stateroom
 
Deluxe Suite
 
Owners Suite
Deck 6
Sun Deck

Cabins

Superior Stateroom

  • 226 sq ft / 21 sqm
  • Individually-controlled air-conditioning
  • King-size bed or twin beds
  • Shower with French bath products
  • Hairdryer & Bath robes
  • Flat screen satellite TV
  • Desk with stationery, minibar and personal safe
  • Internet access WiFi, Video on demand, iPod players and satellite direct line telephone
  • 24hr room service

Deluxe Stateroom

  • 200 sq ft / 18.5 sqm including private balcony
  • Individually-controlled air-conditioning
  • King-size bed or twin beds
  • Shower with French bath products
  • Hairdryer & Bath robes
  • Flat screen satellite TV
  • Desk with stationery, minibar and personal safe
  • Internet access WiFi, Video on demand, iPod players and satellite direct line telephone
  • 24hr room service

Prestige Stateroom

  • 200 sq ft/ 18.5 sq m, including private balcony
  • Individually-controlled air-conditioning
  • King-size bed or twin beds
  • Shower with French bath products
  • Hairdryer & Bath robes
  • Flat screen satellite TV
  • Desk with stationery, minibar and personal safe
  • Internet access WiFi, Video on demand, iPod players and satellite direct line telephone
  • 24hr room service

Deluxe Suite

  • 290 sq ft/ 27 sq m, including private balcony
  • Individually-controlled air-conditioning
  • King-size bed or twin beds
  • Shower with French bath products
  • Hairdryer & Bath robes
  • Flat screen satellite TV
  • Desk with stationery, minibar and personal safe
  • Internet access WiFi, Video on demand, iPod players and satellite direct line telephone
  • 24hr room service

Owners Suite

  • 484 sq ft/ 45 sq m, including private balcony
  • Individually-controlled air-conditioning
  • King-size bed or twin beds
  • Dining area and sofa
  • Shower with French bath products
  • Hairdryer & Bath robes
  • Flat screen satellite TV
  • Desk with stationery, minibar and personal safe
  • Internet access WiFi, Video on demand, iPod players and satellite direct line telephone
  • 24hr room service

Prices & Dates

There are currently no departures available on this trip. Either it's the end of the season and new departures will be released shortly, or this itinerary has been changed and will no longer continue. Feel free to contact us for information about when next seasons dates will be released or click here to view the general release dates for all destinations.

Note
Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by APT. For cruise itineraries, cabin images are sourced from APT. These should be treated as indicative only. Cabin inclusions, upholsteries and room layout may differ to the image(s) shown depending on the ship selected and your sailing dates.

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