Darwin to Broome (Kimberley)
11 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Darwin
Departure 5:00 PM
"Australia's capital of the north is a uniquely tropical city, and a historically isolated outpost of this vast, diverse country. Reaching up towards the equator, a full 2,000 miles from Sydney and Melbourne, the city was named in honour of Charles Darwin by the British settlers who established a frontier outpost here. With a unique history, beautiful islands nearby, and a palette of sizzling Pacific flavours, colourful Darwin is an enchanting and exotic Australian destination. Crocodiles patrol the jungled waterways and tropical rainforests around Australia's gateway to the Top End. Explore via airboat to look down on the veiny waterways of the mist-laced Kakadu National Park. The sounds of chattering birdlife and the gentle splash of fountains and waterfalls will fill your ears in George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Soak it all in, before kicking back and relaxing with a picnic and a crackling barbecue. The sunshine and famous tropical pink sunsets mean many visitors naturally gravitate to the city's soft sands to relax at spots like pretty Mindil Beach, as evening approaches. The adjoining market is filled with souvenirs and crafts stands and is the perfect great place to enjoy some fiery Asian flavours. Stroll the stalls, grab some food, and crack open an ice-frosted beer as the sunset show begins. It may be remote, but Darwin found itself on the front line during the Pacific War, as the Japanese air force unloaded their bombs onto the city in 1942. This relaxed unassuming city has a deeply resilient backbone, however, and you can explore the museums to learn more of the war's impact on Darwin, as well as the devastating effects of one of Australia's worst natural disasters, Cyclone Tracy in 1973."
Day 2 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 3 Matakus Island
The eastern part of Indonesia is a true paradise on Earth. Home to countless beautiful, unexplored destinations that have not enjoyed the tourism boom that many other parts of the country have. Matakus Island is one such destination. This makes it a perfect place for those who have a sense of adventure and truly want to explore off the beaten path. Matakus is a small island and part of the Tanimbar archipelago. At just over two miles in length and less than a mile across, it is one of the smaller islands but, despite its small size, its proximity to the regional capital city of Saumlaki just to the north ensures that the island is inhabited (current population 100). The tourism infrastructure is practically inexistent, so don’t expect to be souvenir shopping here – ordering a lunch of delicious freshly caught and grilled fish from one of the local fishermen that line the shore is about the maximum! The island is surrounded by fine, white-sand beaches and is a marine paradise, with fields of staghorn coral and schools of cardinalfish visible in its crystal clear waters. Grab your underwater cameras and snorkels and dive in! Wildlife is not limited to below the water however. Birds including the Tanimbar starling, Moluccan masked owl, Fawn-breasted thrush and Blue-streaked lorry all call the island home.
Day 4 Day At Sea
Day 5 Wyndham
Wyndham is a small settlement with the spirit of a Kimberley outback township. It was established in 1886 with the Halls Creek gold rush and sits on the Cambridge Gulf where several rivers converge. Today Wyndham has a population of roughly 900 people and operates largely as a port exporting cattle, servicing the mining industry and hosting a few small ships. For these vessels Wyndham is a gateway to the breathtaking Bungle Bungle mountain range and the nearby Ord River. The Bungle Bungle Mountains in Purnululu National Park are now a World Heritage Site. In excess of 350 million years have shaped geological formations of giant orange and black striped domes rising out of the ground into a landscape unlike any other. Known to the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years, the Bungles were only discovered by the outside world in the mid-1980s. Conversely, cruising the peaceful and tree-lined Ord River is a chance to look for freshwater crocodiles, fruit bats, short-eared rock wallabies and a variety of birds, including Mangrove Herons and Mangrove Gerygones. Please note: All destinations on voyages in the Kimberley region, and the order in which they are visited, are subject to tidal variations and weather conditions.
Day 6 Koomala Bay, Kimberley (Western Australia)
Koolama Bay is found at the mouth of the King George River. Named after the ship that had been beached here after a Japanese aerial attack during World War II, Koolama Bay is the starting point for a Zodiac cruise to reach the King George Falls, one of the Kimberley’s most magnificent natural wonders. At 260 feet (80 m), the twin cascades are among the highest in Australia. Koolama Bay and the river weaving through an amazing landscape of near vertical red rock formations will offer a parade of wildlife —saltwater crocodiles and amazing birdlife, including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite.
Day 7 Vansittart Bay (Jar Island)
Vansittart Bay is located near the northern tip of Western Australia. The bay was named by Phillip Parker King during one of his four surveys of Northern Australia during the early 19th century. Interesting parts of the bay include Jar Island and the opportunity to view Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) and Wandjina styles of rock art. For these two different rock art styles there are two sites in close proximity.An area with an example of a more recent history is the Anjo Peninsula. A beach landing and a short hike across a lagoon or -depending on tides- a walk around the lagoon will lead to a World War II site. An almost intact wreck of an old airplane, a C-53, can be seen there.
Day 8 Hunter River Region, Kimberley (Western Australia)
The Hunter River is home to an immense mangrove system surrounded by soaring red sandstone cliffs. Narrow mangrove channels shelter numerous bird species, mudskippers, fiddler crabs and the infamous saltwater crocodile; the most aggressive crocodile species known to man. Naturalist Island at the mouth of the river has a stunning stretch of sandy beach that makes a perfect landing site for small helicopters that can pick up visitors wishing to explore some of the Kimberley’s vast interior. The highlight inland is the famous Mitchell Falls where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the mighty Mitchell River. The headwaters of the falls are cool and a dip in the fresh water is a welcome reprieve from the heat of the heartland.
Day 9 Montgomery Reef, Kimberley (Western Australia); Raft Point, Kimberley (Western Australia); Yampi Sound Kimberley Western Australia (Pahang)
Montgomery Reef, which is some 300 square kilometres in size, can show an amazing tidal change of up to 4 metres. When the tide drops, the reef seems to rise out of the water. At low tide a river is exposed that allows access to an amazing semi-submerged world. When the tide continues to ebb, Zodiacs will be used to make the way to the edge of the reef where one is surrounded by cascading waterfalls up to 3 metres high. Continuing up the river one is able to look at the abundance of reef birds and sea creatures including turtles and manta rays. A visit to Montgomery Reef is very much tide-depending, but truly a once in a lifetime experience.
At the southern end of Doubtful Bay and just south of Steep Island, Raft Point is a low headland that is home to indigenous Wandjina paintings. A hike through abundant Kimberley Flora including the iconic boab tree will head towards the top of Raft Point. There one can enjoy spectacular views of the bay in the shade of the overhanging cliff, which is home to the Wandjina Spirit. Many large and ancient wall paintings of Dreamtime stories and images representing daily aboriginal life can be seen.
Yampi Sound and the Buccaneer Archipelago are part of an area that includes several interesting geological features and will show rock layers wildly twisted and contorted into great folds. The area is rich in minerals and open-pit mines have operated on the islands and the mainland for several decades. White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brahminy Kites, Ospreys, Common Sandpipers and Eastern Reef Egrets show that the area is rich in fish life, which in turn is an attraction for bottlenose dolphins that come to feed in the early mornings. Southwest of Cockatoo Island, within Yampi Sound, is Crocodile Creek, a hidden oasis tucked at the far end of a narrow bay lined with colourful orange cliffs of sandstone and mangrove trees and a nice waterfall and natural pool.
Day 10 Yampi Sound Kimberley Western Australia (Pahang)
Day 11 Broome (Kimberley)
Arrive 8:00 AM
Gateway to the oldest and most elusive of all Australia’s nine regions, Broome is where your Kimberley adventure begins. The ancient landscape has long held travellers spellbound: The Kimberley is three time larger than England but has a population of just 35,000, is over 65,000 years old and is home to 2,000 km of coastline. Almost impenetrable, incredibly remote, the red baked earth, prolific wildlife, majestic canyons and swimming holes are the stuff of Australian wilderness dreams. English explorer William Dampier was the first explorer to set foot in Broome in 1668. However, the land had long been used as a trading route between east and west Kimberley for Aboriginal families. These semi-nomadic tribes respected strict unwritten rules regarding ownership of the land. The Yawuru people remain the Native Title holders for the township of Broome to this day. Broome itself has over 84 Aboriginal communities affiliated to it, 78 of which are considered remote. The city grew from its nascent pearling industry of the late 19th century. Pearl diving was dangerous in the waters surrounding Broome and for many years divers were limited to Aboriginal slaves, skin divers who faced cyclones, sharks, crocodiles, ear and chest infections in order to bring up as many pearl shells as possible for their masters. Natural pearls were rare and extremely valuable, and when found, were placed in a locked box. At the peak of its industry, around 1914, Broome was responsible for 80% of the world’s pearl trade.
All This Included
Australia’s iconic Kimberley instantly conjures up dreams of exploring in the wild. Vast expanses of hard, baked earth, churning rivers and stealthy wildlife are just the beginnings. Join us as we explore the last of the world’s great unspoilt regions, discovering millennias of history along the way. Our highly qualified team of Expedition leaders will be there every hike, swim and zodiac ride of the way, making sure that you never miss a moment on this exceptional adventure.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.