We're cruising The Kimberley with Ponant Cruises
Grandiose landscapes, vast expanses of lagoons and coral reefs, abrupt gorges and towering waterfalls… The Kimberley is a wild, raw and quite simply breathtaking. If you’ve been considering cruising The Kimberley but you want to know more about what your daily itinerary would look like, we’re going to walk you through the 10 night/11 day itinerary with Ponant aboard the luxurious Le Laperouse.
Cruises to The Kimberley generally go from Darwin to Broome or vice versa, so the itinerary we are about to describe may operate in reverse. There’s advantages to both so it really depends on what fits your schedule best as you’re not going to miss out either way.
Day 1 - Darwin
Beginning in Darwin, we recommend you fly in and overnight first. Aside from there being plenty to see and do in Darwin, allowing a night before your cruise departs means you have a little time up your sleeve in case your flight gets delayed or cancelled, or any luggage goes missing etc etc.
On the day of embarkation, you can board the ship between 2.30 and 3.30pm, for a 4pm departure. If you’ve overnighted, it means you’ve got the morning free to explore, have some lunch and then get on board nice and relaxed.
Setting sail, you can explore the ship, enjoy a drink and dinner and meet your fellow guests.
Day 2 – Pulau Meatimirang (Technical Stop)
Today is all about relaxing, winding down and enjoying the on-board facilities. The expedition team are available for a chat and they’ll be offering an enrichment programme on Australia with insights into the history and flora and fauna. Whilst the ship stops in Pulau Meatimirang, it is purely for clearance purposes by Indonesian officials, so you won’t be getting off the ship today.
Day 3 – Wyndham
A fantastic start to your cruise, Wyndham is Western Australia’s northernmost town and the gateway to The Kimberley. There’s a choice of three excursions – a) Bungle Bungle Scenic Flight on board a 12 seater plane b) El Questro station tour or c) Ord River Tour. Note that there are limited places on each tour so early birds booking their cruise in advance get first dibs as it’s purely first-in-first-served (another reason to book early!)
Day 4 – King George River
Up the King George River we go so make sure you have your camera handy! It’s simply breathtaking with 80-metre-high sides, incredible colours and the magnificent Twin Falls which you’ll see up close via tender or zodiac. This is what The Kimberley is all about!
Day 5 – Vansittart Bay
Today it’s all about the incredible rock art that can be found throughout the region. The artwork is believed to date back some 30,000 years making these the oldest dated depiction of human figures in the world. Your expedition team will take you on a walk past some fascinating rock formations to the Gwion Gwion art galleries.
Day 6 – Swift Valley
Named after Jonothan Swift (author of “Gulliver’s Travels”), this T-shaped bay is a composition of craggy sandstone, offering numerous rock shelters where you’ll find rock art of both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion origin. It’s one thing seeing these designs in books or pictures and quite another seeing them in person. You can’t help but wonder what secrets these rocks could tell.
Day 7 – Hunter River & Mitchell Falls
Today we’re out in the zodiacs with the expedition team exploring some of the most pristine mangroves in the world. The fauna is rich and diverse here! The sandstone escarpment at the mouth of the river rises over 200 metres high before subsiding revealing mud banks and mangrove forests. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for saltwater crocodiles!
Day 8 & 9 – Collier Bay
For some, these two days are what they have been dreaming about for their Kimberley cruise. Montgomery Reef (where, when the tide falls, a raging torrent of water cascades off the hidden reef making it look like the reef is emerging out of the ocean), Talbot Bay and the Horizontal Falls (described by Sir David Attenborough as “One of the greatest wonders of the natural world”), hidden caves and grottos boasting a multitude of ancient rock art and more!
Day 10 – Lacepede Islands
An important breeding habitat for Green Turtles, the Lacepede Islands is also a breeding colony for Brown Boobies. In fact birdlife is prolific here and you may see Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Lesser Frigatebirds, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers and more. Your expedition team is invaluable here as they’ll help you identify the different species and share their expertise on behavioural patterns.
Day 11 – Broome
Sadly we disembark this morning and wave goodbye to newfound friends. You’ll have time to connect with your flight home all in the same day but, if you add on a night or two to explore Broome, there’s much to see here too. Learn about the pearling era, the history of the Chinese and Japanese workers, take a sunset Camel Tour on Cable Beach, visit the Crocodile and wildlife park, visit Cape Leveque by 4WD, go whale or dolphin watching to name just some of what’s on offer in Broome.
If this itinerary sounds like a bit of you, you can check out more details on our website or request a call from our Ultimate Cruising experts who can share with you the best package option on offer.
Images: Ponant - Mick Fogg / Nick Raines