Great Rivers Cruise Package 13: Darwin to Broome with Kimberley Discovery Cruises
September 10th to September 25th, 2013
Discover the incredible beauty of the Kimberley, as our comfortable 82’ catamaran, Discovery One, makes her way from the Berkeley River to the township of Derby. You will experience 14 days and 13 nights of wonder as we take you on a never to be forgotten journey through this pristine and spectacular wilderness. Our cruise includes Kimberley icons such as the Horizontal Falls, Montgomery Reef and Raft Point, plus many more!!
All transfers are inclusive in the price and will be via a commercial flight from Darwin to Kununurra and a seaplane flight from Kununurra to the Berkeley River* at the start of the cruise, and a bus transfer from Derby to Broome at the conclusion of the cruise. Accommodation, meals and tours will be provided before and after your cruise.
Day 1: A flight will be organised for you from Darwin to Kununurra, arriving in the morning. A bus will be at the airport to pick you up and take you on a tour of the region, before delivering you to your accommodation for the night. Dinner and breakfast will be provided at the hotel as you enjoy the hospitality of the north and get to know your fellow passengers on the cruise.
Day 2: This morning you will be picked up by a shuttle bus and taken to Kununurra Airport for your seaplane flight to the Berkeley River*. Arriving onboard Discovery One you will be welcomed with a drink and a smile by our friendly crew. Settle in, become familiar with your surroundings and relax as you get to know the crew and start your cruise. You are about to begin the journey of a lifetime!
Day 3: Enjoy the stunning red and ochre cliffs bordering the Berkeley River as we cruise through this magical region of waterfalls and freshwater pools. We visit Koolama Bay, named for the 340ft vessel 'Koolama' that was beached following an attack by the Japanese during WWII. This is just one of many places of historical interest in the Kimberley.
Day 4: Today we make our way to the King George River for a cruise along this beautiful stretch of water. Heading towards the King George Falls through sandstone cliffs, we end at the base of these twin falls for a close up view of the tallest falls in Western Australia. Be prepared for a shower! We anchor tonight at the falls where you can relax and enjoy a drink on the top deck, followed by dinner in an incomparable setting. Drift off to sleep peacefully to the soothing sound of the cascading water.
Day 5: Your destination today is the region of the northern Kimberley Coast, including Vansittart Bay, where we take you exploring various coves on the perimeter. Amongst other places of interest, you will view the 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.
Day 6: Today we visit 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. Travelling on, we cruise to the Bonaparte Archipelago, a fascinating set of islands offering wonderful scenery and diversity. Our Captain has many places of interest to explore with you in this region and will take you to as many places as tides and weather allow.
Day 7: This morning we visit Careening Bay, site of an ancient boab tree first visited in 1820 by Phillip Parker King whilst surveying the Australian coastline. We take you on a walk to see the boab where King and his crew careened the vessel HMC 'Mermaid' for repairs and carved the vessel's name into the tree. Next on our agenda is Bigge Island, one of the Kimberley's largest islands and home to some amazing rock art galleries. View these important and ancient paintings or relax and take a walk on a sandy beach before heading back to Discovery One for another wonderful sunset and a night under the stars in York Sound.
Day 8: This morning we stop at Naturalist Island at the mouth of the Hunter River, where you can do an optional helicopter ride over the Mitchell Plateau and view the stunning Mitchell Falls **. Later we make our way to the St George Basin, where you are welcomed by the sight of Mt Trafalgar and Mt Wellington (named by Philip Parker King during his explorations), before making our way to the Prince Regent River. Get your cameras ready as we experience some spectacular scenery on our journey down this remote and pristine waterway. It’s time for some crocodile spotting! This journey concludes at the majestic King Cascade Falls. This spectacular site is where American model, Ginger Meadows, was fatally attacked by a crocodile in 1987. Discovery One will take you up close to these magnificent falls which cascade over fern covered tiers in breathtaking splendour.
Day 9: This morning we visit 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 here in 1864. The historic landmark ‘Camden Sound’ is our next destination. Here we visit the 19th century ruins of that settlement that lasted less than two years, and appreciate the harsh conditions they endured. We also call in to Sheep Island and visit the graves of these tough pioneers.
Day 10: Watch the seascape change as we head south and explore the 400 square km’s of Montgomery Reef! This huge reef becomes exposed above the waterline as the tide falls, creating a visual spectacle of waterfalls and sea life. This is an exceptional site only very few get to see. Travelling on, we discover the beauty of Langgi. Here you will view the striking colours and shapes of rock formations that nature has carved over millions of years, before returning to Discovery One for a relaxing afternoon of cruising to Raft Point, home to some ancient and well preserved aboriginal paintings. We take a walk to the caves, where you will take in the breathtaking views over Doubtful Bay and Steep Island and learn about the Wandjina people who once inhabited this timeless land.
Day 11: Cruising between Augustus Island and the mainland, today we pass the remote settlement of Kuri Bay, home to Australia's largest and wealthiest pearling operation. We cross Doubtful Bay and slowly cruise up Red Cone Creek. If the tide allows, we will take you to the beautiful Ruby Falls.
Day 12: Today we reach the start of the Buccaneer Archipelago with its 1200 islands! Our first stop is Talbot Bay, home of the famous Horizontal Falls. The region's massive tides create a spectacular scene, sending huge volumes of water pouring through a narrow chasm in the land formation. We take you on an exciting fast boat ride around the falls before exploring Cyclone Creek, marvelling at the incredible marine life, including the impressive Tawny Nurse sharks, which often come to greet Discovery One. Enjoy yet another vivid sunset as we anchor here for the night.
Day 13: This morning we take you to Silvergull Creek where you will meet a unique couple who have made their home in this beautiful wilderness. Enjoy a barbeque lunch, take a stroll in the rainforest they have created, or just relax in their spring fed tank with amazing views.
Day 14: Today we stop to explore Crocodile Creek, where we take a refreshing swim in the stunning fresh water falls and rock pools. Back onboard, take a close look at Cockatoo Island and its Iron Ore mine, and then relax over lunch on the deck while we cruise west to Silica Beach, with its pure white sands and clear blue water. Enjoy some sundowners and unwind in your surroundings as we anchor at the top of Kind Sound for the evening.
Day 15: 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. This afternoon we arrive back at Derby Jetty where we bid you farewell, hoping that you will take with you memories to last a lifetime. A bus will be waiting and, depending on the time of arrival, a tour of Derby and lunch will be provided before transferring you to your accommodation in Broome. Dinner at a restaurant in Broome will be provided where we hope you can gather with your fellow travelers for a final goodbye. The staff at your hotel will organize the transport.
Day 16: After checking out of your accommodation, you should make your own way to the airport for your flight home. If you have time, you can leave your luggage at the hotel while you explore Broome.
*The transfer by seaplane could be at a destination further west than the Berkeley River, if prevailing weather conditions make it too dangerous or unpleasant to start or finish the cruise in the Berkeley River. This is entirely at the Captain’s discretion, as weather forecasts can’t be obtained more than 3 days in advance. His detailed knowledge and experience of the Kimberley, and our vessel, will ensure that your safety and enjoyment is always first priority. If the itinerary has to be changed, you can be assured that your enjoyment of the cruise will not be diminished.
**The availability and price of a Helicopter ride over the Mitchell Plateau depends on the number of passengers who choose this optional excursion. We do not include it in the price of the cruise and payment is made directly to the helicopter company by cash or credit card.
This itinerary is intended to be read as a guide only. While it is a good estimation of the cruise, the itinerary and/or sequence may change with tides and weather, or at the discretion of the Captain. There is also the possibility that further places of interest may be visited which are not specified in this itinerary.