Great River Cruise Package (Cruise 14: Broome to Darwin)
Great Rivers Package 14: 15 days/14 nights – Broome to Darwin
September 15th to 29th, 2017 - $8,490 per person
This Holiday Package includes:
a night’s accommodation in Broome on Sept 15th
a bus transfer from Broome to Derby on Sept 16th
a 14 day/13 night cruise from Derby to Wyndham Sept 16th to 29th
a bus transfer from Wyndham to Kununurra on Sept 29th
a flight from Kununurra to Darwin on Sept 29th
Cruise 14: Derby to Wyndham - September 16th to 29th 2017
Discover the incredible beauty of the Kimberley as Discovery One makes her way from the township of Derby to Wyndham. You will explore the unique features of the Kimberley coast on this unforgettable cruise, which includes the great rivers of the northern coast.
Saturday September 16th: Derby
After a night’s accommodation in Broome you will arrive in Derby by air conditioned coach and board Discovery One. You will be welcomed with a drink and a briefing by the Captain, before settling in, becoming familiar with your surroundings and relaxing as we cruise to the top of King Sound and the start of the Buccaneer Archipelago. You are about to begin the journey of a lifetime!
Near the entrance to King Sound lies Silica Beach which boasts pure white sands and clear blue water. It’s the kind of beach one imagines to be found in an island paradise and is a lovely place to take a dip in the shallows.
Silver Gull Creek & Squatters Arms
Travelling down Silver Gull Creek brings you to Squatters Arms, where a unique couple, Phil & Marion, made their home for around 20 years, after they sailed in one day and discovered this beautiful spot with its freshwater springs. Sadly, Marion passed away in 2014, but there are managers there to welcome you. You can take a stroll in the rainforest that Phil & Marion created or just relax in their spring fed tank with amazing views.
Yampi Sound & Crocodile Creek
Yampi Sound contains islands (Iron, Koolan and Cockatoo) which boast some of the richest iron ore deposits in the world. When mining operations existed on Koolan Island, the miners would get away to Crocodile Creek with its beautiful rock pools fed by fresh waterfalls. Situated above the creek, access is via a ladder bolted into the rock. This means that, despite the name of the creek, the pools have no crocodiles so are an ideal place for a swim.
Talbot Bay & the Horizontal Falls
Talbot Bay is home to the famous Horizontal Falls. The region's massive tides create a spectacular scene, sending huge volumes of water pouring through two narrow chasms in the land formation when the tides reach peak flow in both rising and falling conditions. . With up to 10mts of height difference between the waters of each of the two inland bays and the sea, as the water pushes through to two chasms it creates a mass of whirlpools, boils and raging currents. In Cyclone Creek, the incredible marine life includes impressive Tawny Nurse sharks which often come to greet Discovery One.
Raft Point was so named because of the Indigenous people who were spotted with their rafts used for hunting turtles, rays and dugongs. This is home to some ancient and well preserved Wandjina cave paintings. We walk to the caves, where you will take in the breathtaking views over Doubtful Bay and Steep Island. This walk is approx 300mts with a relatively steep gradient. Some people might need a walking stick.
North West of Raft Point is Montgomery Reef. This 400 sq km reef can emerge up to 4mts above the waterline at low tide, creating a visual spectacle of waterfalls and sea life. Several small islands dot the reef and support rich mangroves, crocodiles, turtles, birds and fish.
Travelling NE we reach Langgi Beach – a very significant Aboriginal site. Kimberley sandstone has eroded into amazing rock formations that nature has carved over millions of years with a multitude of shapes and colours. Wander among these natural sculptures and hear the Aboriginal stories associated with the site.
Further north is Samson Inlet which leads into a monsoonal rainforest pocket with almost permanent fresh water. Many previous passengers have called this the most beautiful spot on the Kimberley coast. Keen photographers should remember their cameras!
Hanover Bay & Camden Harbour
Within Hanover Bay are the pristine sands of Hanover Beach. It is here, in 1838, where Lt. George Grey unloaded his Timor ponies and began the first land based expedition of North West Australia in search of the great inland sea. The journey soon ended when he was speared by Aborigines. Despite this, Lt Grey reported back positively describing the area as ‘lush and fertile’. This glowing report encouraged a group of optimistic farmers to establish a new settlement in Camden Harbour in 1864. This was a total disaster from the start. The ruins of that settlement, which lasted only 9 months, can still be seen and the graves of some of these tough pioneers can be found on nearby Sheep Island.
Saint George Basin and the Prince Regent River
Within the St George Basin are two flat topped hills, Mt Trafalgar and Mt Waterloo, which provide a spectacular backdrop as you cruise to the mouth of the Prince Regent River. This river is the remains of the longest single straight lineament in Australia, making it yet another geological wonder. Get your cameras ready as you experience some spectacular scenery, flora and fauna on our journey down this remote and pristine waterway, concluding at the majestic King Cascade Falls. This spectacular site is where American model, Ginger Meadows, was fatally attacked by a crocodile in 1987, a horror story which has been retold around the world! Keep an eye out for crocodiles as you view these magnificent falls which cascade over fern covered tiers in breathtaking splendour.
Careening Bay is within the southern part of Nelson Bay where, in 1820, Phillip Parker King careened the vessel HMC 'Mermaid' for repairs whilst surveying the Australian coastline. His carpenter carved the vessel's name into an ancient boab tree which is still viewable today.
York Sound and the Hunter River
Prince Frederick Harbour lies within York Sound and it is here that we find the Roe and Hunter River estuaries. This area boasts sensational scenery, with cathedral-like gorges and eroded sandstone features such as the Indian Head at the entrance to the Hunter River. Naturalist Island is situated here and, during the cruise season from April onwards, it is possible for our passengers to enjoy a helicopter flight from Naturalist Island over the geological wonder of the Mitchell Plateau with its stunning tiered falls.
Bigge Island is the second largest island on the Kimberley coast. The island is made up of ancient quartzose sandstone and is relatively flat with small steep sided hills. Fantastic shapes have been carved by nature into the sandstone along the coastal areas. The Aboriginal people have visited Bigge Island for thousands of years so it is home to some amazing rock art galleries, including Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) and Kaiara art (a form of Wandjina Art of the Wanabul people.)
Vansittart Bay was named by Philip Parker King for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Although small (about 30kms across) it has some amazing places to visit, including ancient Bradshaw or Gwion Gwion paintings. Joseph Bradshaw was the first European to record these amazing paintings in 1891, some of which have been dated at over 17,000 years old, predating the famous Wandjina figures. There is also a site where a DC3 aircraft crashed on the beach during WWII after running low on fuel. You can explore the almost intact remains of this aircraft, getting a feel for this important time in Australia’s history. If there is time, you may also visit Jar Island which is the western part of the Bay. This was named by King after he found some old earthenware jars there. This is a lovely scenic island with good beaches and more Bradshaw art.
King George River
The King George River flows into Koolama Bay and is bordered by wonderful sandstone coloured cliffs. It is here you will see the King George Falls; the tallest falls in Western Australia. At this time of year the falls will not be as spectacular as early in the cruise season, but the gorges are still magnificent at any time of year.
Originally named Rulhieres Bay, Koolama Bay was re-named for the ill-fated 340ft vessel 'Koolama' that was attacked by the Japanese during WWII. After the attack she made her way into the Bay, dropped off her passengers and then travelled to Wyndham where she sank after another bombing raid.
The Berkeley River
The stunning red ochre cliffs bordering the Berkeley River dominate the scenery as we cruise through this magical region of waterfalls and freshwater pools. The Berkeley has extensive smaller creeks feeding into it and drains the Seppelt and Collison Ranges and Gardner Plateau.
Friday September 29th: Wyndham
It is here that the cruise concludes. A bus will be waiting to take you to Kununurra Airport for your flight to Darwin in the afternoon, with a short tour and a stop for lunch on the way.
As this cruise is near the end of the Dry Season, waterfalls will not be as spectacular as they are early in our cruise season. This is only one aspect of the Kimberley Coast, however, and you can expect to spend more time exploring other intriguing aspects of this pristine coastline which boasts the second highest tides in the world.
This itinerary lists all the places you can reasonably expect to visit on your cruise between Derby and Wyndham. It is likely, however, that there will be additional places of interest visited on the actual cruise, time and tides allowing, which is why we prefer not to give you a day by day itinerary. Some of these places are well known, but others have been charted by our Captain during his 10 years of travelling the Kimberley Coast. It is his aim to maximize the cruising experience for all passengers, so he will decide when and where he will take you during your 14 days on the Kimberley coast. In this sense, every cruise is a little different and each passenger’s experience is unique.