Early Waterfall Cruise Package (Cruise 1: Darwin to Broome)
March 14th to 28th, 2017 - $8,490 per person
This Early Waterfall Holiday Package includes
a morning flight from Darwin to Kununurra on March 14th
a bus transfer from Kununurra to Wyndham on March 14th
a 14 day/13 night cruise from Wyndham to Derby March 14th to 27th
a bus transfer from Derby to Broome on March 27th
a night’s accommodation in Broome on March 27th, checking out on March 28th
Cruise 1: Wyndham to Derby - March 14th to 27th 2017
Discover the incredible beauty of the Kimberley as Discovery One makes her way from Wyndham to the township of Derby. You will explore the unique Kimberley coast on this unforgettable cruise with the added bonus of seeing the waterfalls at their most magnificent after the Wet Season.
March 14th 2017: Darwin, Kununurra & Wyndham
After a flight from Darwin to Kununurra and a bus transfer from Kununurra to Wyndham, you will board Discovery One. Settle in, become familiar with your surroundings and relax. You are about to begin the journey of a lifetime as Discovery One cruises out of Cambridge Gulf towards the Kimberley Coast.
The Berkeley River
The stunning red ochre cliffs bordering the Berkeley River dominate the scenery as we cruise through this magical region of beautiful waterfalls and freshwater pools. The Berkeley has extensive smaller creeks feeding into it and drains the Seppelt and Collison Ranges and Gardner Plateau.
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.
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 spectacular King George Falls; the tallest falls in Western Australia. Be prepared for a shower! At this time of year the spray from the falls extends up to 500 meters down the gorge and the noise drowns out all other sounds.
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.
Bigge Island is at the start of the Bonaparte Archipelago and 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.)
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.
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.
Saint George Basin and the Prince Regent River
Within the St George Basin are two flat topped hills, Mt Trafalgar (391m) 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.
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.
Samson Inlet & Langgi Beach
Sampson Inlet 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. Travelling south, 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.
Approximately 15kms SW of Langgi, and at the beginning of the Buccaneer Archipelago, 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.
ESE of Montgomery Reef is Raft Point., so named because of the Indigenous people who were seen there with their rafts used for hunting turtles, rays and dugongs. This is home to some ancient and well preserved Wandjina cave paintings. We take a walk to the caves, where you will take in the breathtaking views over Doubtful Bay and Steep Island
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.
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.
Silvergull Creek & Squatters Arms
Travelling down Silvergull Creek brings you to Squatters Arms, where a unique couple made their home for around 20 years, after they sailed in and discovered this beautiful spot with its freshwater springs. You can take a stroll in the rainforest they created or just relax in their spring fed tank with amazing views.
Silica Beach, on Silica Island, 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.
March 27th 2017: Derby
Relax on the top deck and soak up the 360 degree views as we enjoy the final stretch of cruising to the township of Derby. A bus will be waiting to take you to the accommodation in Broome which has been organised for you.
This itinerary lists all the places you can reasonably expect to visit on your cruise between Wyndham & Derby. It is likely, however, that there will be additional places of interest visited on the actual cruise, time and tides allowing. Some of these places are well known, but others have been charted by our Captain during his 10 years of travelling the Kimberley Coast. We prefer not to list these places so as to keep them in their pristine condition. The Captain’s 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.