10 Night Kimberley Coastal Expedition, Darwin to Broome
Day 1: Depart Darwin
A charter coach will pick you up in the morning and transport you to MV Reef Prince, where your crew will welcome you aboard. After a tasty morning tea we’ll wave good-bye to the city of Darwin. This evening as we steam towards the setting sun, you can meet your fellow travellers and friendly crew as you enjoy the view from the decks and the fresh sea air. We start our journey across the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and sail into Western Australian waters.
Day 2: Koolama Bay
Wake in the tranquil setting of Koolama Bay. Over breakfast we’ll discuss the day’s activities. On the high tide we’ll enter the first of the Kimberley’s ‘big’ rivers, the mighty King George. Within the King George River we’ll marvel at the soaring cliffs leading to two breathtaking falls. The best views are from the upper sun deck and bow. Feel the spray mist produced from billions of litres of water falling hundreds of feet as MV Reef Prince or its expedition tender is steered expertly to the majestic falls. We’ll enjoy a night anchored at the base of these perfect falls.
Day 3: King George River
We sadly depart the amazing King George River this morning. Within Koolama Bay lies many hidden treasures for us to explore. A fascinating mangrove system brimming with life or an idyllic fresh water pool for a dip or perhaps a morning walk on the first of many isolated Kimberley Beaches. Departing Koolama we cruise through the night on calm waters to arrive at our next destination.
Day 4: Jar Island & WWII Aircraft Crash Site
Our crew will lead you to several stunning displays of the distinctive Aboriginal rock art in beach caves. These easily accessible paintings are very early Bradshaw art. Within Vansittart Bay lies a more recent reminder of our past. After running out of fuel on its way to Broome in 1943, a DC3 crashed. Well go ashore to explore this well preserved site. Departing Vansittart Bay we’ll cruise west within a multitude of Kimberley Islands.
Day 5: Bigge Island Indigenous Art
We awake at the northern end of Bigge Island, where we’ll go ashore to visit a very significant aboriginal art galley. Here we will discover examples of the first contact with sailing ships and pipe-smoking European seafarers of the 19th century. The lack of feral predators makes the Kimberley islands an ideal habitat for vulnerable mammal species.
Departing Bigge Island we cruise into Prince Fredrick Harbour then further up into the Hunter River and Porosus Creek. On the low tide we can all investigate the ecosystems hidden within the mangroves and mud flats from the comfort of our 11m expedition tender – “Regent”. This ecosystem is a favourite for those who enjoy our native birds. For the keen fisherperson, the chance to flick a lure into the low tide run-offs.
Day 6: Naturaliste Island With Optional Scenic Flights & Careening Bay
Enjoy the solitude as the Kimberley sun rises over the spectacular sandstone cliffs and invites you to share another day in Kimberley Country. This morning we move a short distance to Naturaliste Island. We are pleased to offer a very scenic helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls. Register your interest upon booking your cruise. Alternatively, you can try your luck in our favourite fishing patch on the incoming tide. Departing after lunch we steam for Carreening Bay.
Careening Bay was named by an early explorer Phillip Parker King after his ship, ‘HMC Mermaid’, was careened for repairs during his first voyage of discovery in the Kimberley. Our crew will lead you ashore to the site of a large boab tree, inscribed by the ships carpenter “HMC Mermaid – 1820”, still clearly visible almost 200 years later.
This evening we enjoy yet another Kimberley sunset as we cruise towards The Prince Regent River. Awaiting the incoming tide we anchor in St George Basin for the night.
Day 7: Prince Regent River
On the high tide we take our vessel Reef Prince many miles up the Prince Regent River to discover a spectacular waterfall cascading over terraced rock formations. We can nose the bow of our expedition tender Regent, under the cascading falls to indulge in an unforgettable wash in the cool fresh water.
This afternoon opens many other option for us. We may choose to explore another hidden waterfall further up the Regent or take a steep climb up the banks of the river to reveal the mysterious Aboriginal Bradshaw Paintings (Gwion Gwion), thought to be some of the world’s oldest indigenous art; or climb to the top of King Cascade waterfall. Tonight we ride the tide out of the river to anchor just off a perfect little Kimberley beach.
Day 8: Ruby Falls
Within Collier Bay lies many Kimberley gems for us to enjoy. We’ll plan our day around the huge 12m tides rising and falling every 6hrs. After a healthy breakfast we’ll walk to the top of an escarpment to view a special gallery of modern Wandjina style art. Some may like the optional Indigenous tour were local aboriginals will welcome you to their land with a smoking ceremony and ochre face painting followed by story telling and a walk to their significant cyclone cave. Register your interest upon booking.
On the high spring tide we can explore Red Cone Creek for a refreshing swim within Ruby Falls. Red Cone Creek may also entice us to try our luck for a mud crab or barramundi.
Day 9: Montgomery Reef
Within the heart of Collier Bay lies 400 square kilometres of Kimberley Reef System. Join a reef cruise in our expedition tender to study the marine life. Leaving Montgomery we cruise to Talbot Bay for the evening, the location of the commanding Horizontal Falls. After we drop anchor we’ll be greeted by our resident tawny nurse sharks who come for a friendly snuffle at our transom.
Day 10: Horizontal Falls
This morning we’ll experience the awesome power of the Horizontal Falls. On a trip through the falls our attention will be taken by the incredible geology that abounds this area. Cruising through Yampi Sound witness the effects of the iron ore mining operations on Koolan and Cockatoo Islands. Visit Crocodile Creek to enjoy a fresh water swim under a cool waterfall. Finally, we toast to our Kimberley Expedition and enjoy afternoon drinks as the sun sets over the Buccaneer Archipelago.
Day 11: Disembark in Broome
Today we disembark in Broome at around 10.00am. We will arrange transfers to your hotel.
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.