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11 Day Cruise | The Kimberley and Tiwi Islands

Darwin - Tiwi Islands - King George River - Vansittart Bay - Mitchell Falls - Swift Bay - Bigge Island - Careening Bay - Montgomery Reef - Horizontal Falls - Lacepede Islands - Broome

Walk amongst ancient Indigenous rock art

Learn about Wandjina and Gwion Gwion art history

Experience wilderness cruising on Xplorer vessels through the pristine marine sanctuary of the Lacepedes 

Relish in the thrill of a zodiac ride through the rapids of the Horizontal Waterfall

From $10,625 Typically $10,625 pp twin share

Check Departure Dates

Description


THIS DEAL HAS EXPIRED

 

Earn a TRAVEL CREDIT of $500 per person on selected 2023 Dates to use towards Pre/Post Accommodation!

Join us aboard Coral Discoverer on our new special culture-themed expeditions as we set sail across the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf to discover the rich modern community of the Tiwi Islands and the ancient rock art of the eastern Kimberley.

With fewer than 72 guests, this 10-night journey will connect you with the vibrant modern culture of the Tiwi Islands and take in the vast Kimberley coast and its ancient rock art galleries dating back over 40,000 years. Visit a local co-operative gallery at Munupi Arts Centre where guests can purchase art at the source, participate in workshops and view cultural performances.

Discover natural cave galleries and rock formations to reveal Wandjina and Gwion Gwion figures. Travel deep into the King George and Berkeley River systems to witness a landscape carved by the powerful forces of tides and monsoon rains. Experience the majestic landscape and powerful natural forces of the Kimberley, on shore excursions to the King George Falls and the tidal phenomena of the Horizontal Waterfalls and Montgomery Reef.

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes 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. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling. 

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Itinerary Downloadable Itinerary


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11

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Day 1

Darwin Departures: Arrive at 7AM for check-in. Board your Coral Expeditions ship in Darwin at 8:00am where there is time to settle into your cabin before our 9AM departure.

 Broome Departures: Arrive at 3PM for check-in. Board your Coral Expeditions ship in Broome at 4:00pm where there is time to settle into your cabin before our 5PM departure.

Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard and join our Expedition Team in the Lounge for an insightful introduction to the Kimberley. As dusk falls meet your fellow travellers, the Captain and crew for the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 2

Tiwi Islands

Experience a traditional welcome ceremony and morning tea (damper and billy tea). On a guided tour, learn of the culture and history of the Tiwis as we explore the museum and the old mission precinct.

Visit Tiwi Design, one of the oldest and most artistically diverse art centres in Australia and produces ochre paintings on canvas and bark, ironwood carvings, screen printed fabrics, ceramics, bronze/glass sculptures and limited edition prints. Under the guidance of a local artist, enjoy an afternoon art session to create your own artwork to take home.

On Melville Island, learn about both traditional and contemporary art on a visit to wholly Indigenous owned Munupi Arts at Pirlangimpi. We will have the opportunity to purchase traditional Tiwi artworks including paintings, fabrics, carving, pottery and clothing at island prices.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 3

King George River & Falls (Oomari Falls)

Fed by the King George River draining across the Gardner Plateau, 80m tall King George Falls are the most impressive Kimberley waterfalls and the highest twin falls in Western Australia. Before reaching the mist-like spray rising from the base of King George Falls, we cruise through steep-sided gorges carved by a flooded river system that carved a swathe through the Kimberley landscape 400 million years ago.

Early in the waterfall season, we may cruise around the base of impressive King George Falls while in later months we take the opportunity to view the honeycomb erosion patterns of sandstone cliffs up close.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 4

 Vansittart Bay (Banjal)

Vansittart Bay is home to many cultural and historically significant sites like the remarkable Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Aboriginal rock art galleries estimated to be up to 20,000 years old. Jar Island is so-named after the pot shards found here, brought to the island by Macassan fisherman harvesting sea cucumbers (also known as trepang).

 

Nearby, on the Anjo Peninsula lays the well-preserved wreckage of a US Airforce C-53 Skytrooper aircraft, the result of a pilot losing his bearings flying from Perth to Broome in 1942 and putting down on a salt pan near present-day Truscott Airbase.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 5

Mitchell Falls, Winyalkan and Swift Bay

Tumbling down the Mitchell Plateau in a series of tiered waterfalls and emerald green rock pools, the Mitchell Falls are the photogenic poster child for the Mitchell River National Park. Take a scenic helicopter flight (additional cost) to multi-tiered Mitchell Falls where emerald-hued rock pools cascade down the escarpment and ancient rock art galleries are concealed in caves behind curtains of water.

Mitchell River National Park is inhabited by significant numbers of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and bird species which are lured by a year-round water source. Sandstone terraces beside tiered rock pools make a terrific viewing platform from which to savor the serenity of this ancient landscape.

An alternative option to Mitchell Falls is exploring the sandstone caves of Wollaston Bay or Wollaston Creek. This mass of weathered tunnels, arches and columns form a labyrinth-like maze and was once an Aboriginal midden. Another option while anchored at Winyalkan Bay is a visit to a series Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock art galleries at Swift Bay.

In the evening we will enjoy watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean while indulging in a gourmet BBQ.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 6

 Prince Frederick Harbour and Bigge Island (Wuuyuru)

Prince Frederick Harbour is one of the Kimberley’s most spectacular locations at the southern end of York Sound. The harbour is dotted with islands lined with mangroves and monsoon rainforests, set against a backdrop of ochre-hued escarpment.

White-bellied sea eagles and other birds of prey are often seen here, and at low tide, expansive mudflats reveal large populations of mudskippers and mangrove crabs. We will take our Xplorer tender vessels on a cruise up Porosus Creek to view some striking rock formations.

Bigge Island’s Indigenous name is Wuuyuru, and the Indigenous Group of the area is the Wunambal people.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 7

Prince Regent River and Careening Bay (Wunbung-Gu)

King Cascade is a classically beautiful terraced waterfall and is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Kimberley. Falling from a considerable height and around 50m across, water tumbles down a staggered terrace of Kimberley sandstone. Layer upon layer of ochre-hued and blackened rock sprouts grasses, mosses and ferns in a sort of lushly vegetated hanging garden.

We reach King Cascade after cruising in our Xplorer tender vessels down the steep-sided Prince Regent River which is a remarkable anomaly as the river runs dead straight along a fault line.

Lt. Phillip Parker King named nearby Careening Bay after he beached his leaking vessel HMC Mermaid to effect repairs. While stranded on this remote coastline for 17 days the ship’s carpenter carved HMC Mermaid 1820 into the bottle-shaped trunk of a boab tree near the beach. 200 years later, the Mermaid Boab Tree has since split into two trunks and sports a mammoth girth of 12m. Significantly, the bulbous tree is listed on the National Register of Big Trees and the carpenter’s careful inscription now stands almost as tall as a person.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 8

 Montgomery Reef (Yowjab)

Montgomery Reef is a biologically diverse area covering over 300 sq km and was named by Phillip Parker King. Twice daily, as the sea recedes in mammoth 11m tides, Montgomery Reef rises from the Indian Ocean in a cascade of rushing water revealing a flat-topped reef pockmarked with rock pools and rivulets.

As the reef emerges, we get up close in our Xplorer and Zodiac inflatable tenders to witness the spectacle as our Expedition Team share their knowledge on the formation of the reef and the myriad wildlife. Opportunistic birds take advantage of the emerging reef, feeding on marine life left exposed in rock pools. Turtles, dolphins, dugongs and sawfish too are also attracted to feeding opportunities as the ocean recedes.

The ocean is awash in a swirl of eddies and whirlpools as the moon’s gravitational force takes hold. Then, a few hours later the entire water-borne drama is reversed as the tide comes in and Montgomery Reef disappears below sea level.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 9

 Horizontal Falls (Garaanngaddim) and Buccaneer Archipelago

The Horizontal Falls are one of the Kimberley’s biggest attractions and are a result of the mammoth 11m tides the Kimberley is renowned for. Naturalist David Attenborough described the Horizontal Falls as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.’

This natural phenomenon has been created as the ocean thunders through a narrow gorge in the McLarty Ranges. Water builds up on one side and is forcibly pushed through the bottleneck, creating a rushing horizontal waterfall of swiftly flowing seawater. Riding the rapids on our Zodiac inflatable tenders is one of the highlights of our Kimberley expedition cruises.

Talbot Bay is at the heart of the Buccaneer Archipelago, where rocks on the 800 or so islands are estimated at over 2 billion years old. At Cyclone Creek, you will see evidence of massive geological forces in the impressive rock formations and cruise through the Iron Islands, past Koolan Island, before enjoying sunset drinks at Nares Point.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 10

 The Lacepede Islands

The Lacepede Islands are a protected class-A nature reserve and are significant as a seabird nesting rookery for brown boobies and roseate terns. Other species often sighted at the Lacepedes include Australian Pelicans, frigate birds, egrets and gulls. The four low-lying islands are also an important breeding and nesting habitat for green turtles.

If weather and tide conditions are suitable, we will explore the lagoons by Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels.

As our incredible Kimberley adventures draw to a close, on our last evening aboard we enjoy the Captain’s farewell drinks amongst new-found friends.

Meals: All Meals onboard

Accommodation: Coral Discoverer

Day 11

Our incredible adventure along the Kimberley Coast concludes. Bid farewell to new-found friends, the Captain and crew. A post-cruise transfer to Broome CBD or Airport is included.

Broome Arrival: Arrive in Broome this morning at 8AM. A post-cruise transfer to Broome CBD or Airport is included. If you’re not transferring directly to the airport why not spend the day visiting world-famous Cable Beach or stroll the historic streets of Chinatown in central Broome.

Darwin Arrival: Arrive and disembark at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 830AM. Post cruise transfers to CBD hotels or the airport are included. If you’re not transferring directly to the airport why not spend the day enjoying the tropical city of Darwin with its landscaped waterfront and harbourside Wave Pool.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions & Exclusions


Inclusions

  • All excursions with the Expedition Team
  • Use of Xplorer and Zodiacs
  • Daily lectures and briefings with Guest Lecturers
  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
  • Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
  • 24-hour barista-style coffee and tea station
  • All entrance fees to National Parks, ports, traditional owner fees and charges imposed by governing authorities
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Use of all onboard facilities, incl. a reference library
  • Your expedition photos captured during the voyage
  • Post-cruise transfers
  • Wifi Access – Standard speed connectivity enabling email, social image sharing, web browsing and messaging

Travel Dates: Please take note of the direction of travel.

  • 28th August 2023- Broome to Darwin
  • 8th September 2023- Darwin to Broome
  • 26th August 2024- Broome to Darwin
  • 6th September 2024- Darwin to Broome

Important Health Information: All travellers must have insurance for this cruise and be vaccinated against covid19.

Exclusions

  • Pre-cruise transfers
  • Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
  • Pre and post cruise accommodation
  • Travel Insurance
  • Alcoholic drinks (including beer and wine) outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Premium Internet services (available at a cost)
  • Laundry service (available at a cost)
  • Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
  • Optional Extras (in some destinations)

About the 'Coral Discoverer': Coral Discoverer is a smaller expedition yacht, designed to take you to destinations that are inaccessible to larger vessels. Her shallow draught and manoeuverability make her highly versatile. She boasts ocean views from all public spaces, all outside-facing staterooms (some with balconies), and state-of-the-art tools for exploration including the Xplorer, zodiacs, a glass-bottom boat, and kayaks. Her Xplorer bar and adjacent sundeck lounge with 360-degree views are much-loved features. Carrying only 72 passengers, she offers an intimate expedition experience larger ships cannot replicate.

Your Cabin type: Main Deck Cabin (Category A). Upgrades Available on checkout and subject to availability.

Travel Insurance: We recommend Covermore travel insurance. To quote and book, please click HERE.

Travelling on your own? Why not join the Traveldream Solo Travellers Facebook group where you can interact with other travellers.

Departure Dates


AUG 2024
26 th
Monday 26 Aug 2024  ‐  Thursday 05 Sep 2024
SEP 2024
06 th
Friday 06 Sep 2024  ‐  Monday 16 Sep 2024
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