Singapore to Broome (Kimberley)
18 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Singapore
Departure 5:00 PM
Advanced, airy and elevated, Singapore is a spectacular, futuristic vision of utopian city life. A healthy population of almost six million call it home, but this is a city designed with space to breathe, and gorgeous outdoor parks, massive indoor greenhouses and beautiful recreational spaces spread between the City of Gardens' skyscrapers and soaring structures. Once a quiet fishing village, now a glistening island city-state and an international beacon of science, education and technology. Singapore is almost intimidatingly clean - and the hyper-efficient public transport system whips residents and visitors across the city's neighbourhoods in a heartbeat. Glorious fountains and audacious skyscrapers loom up - nodding to traditional feng shui beliefs - and putting on dazzling illuminated displays after dark. The lush green botanical gardens are a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering 52 hectares and decorated with impressive colourful orchids. Or breathe in more of the freshest air by heading up to wander the canopy strung bridges of MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Head for the iconic Marina Bay - a landmark of the city crowned by three interconnected towers, which watch out over island sprinkled waters. Jaunt between Little India and the atmospheric Chinatown in minutes, where beautiful temples - like the Chinese Thian Hock Keng Temple and Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple add rich cultural intrigue. Singapore's cuisine is a mouthwatering fusion of its Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, and Malay influences, taking and enhancing the best of each. Enjoy dishes in towering restaurants, or toast the glowing skyline with the city's eponymous gin-soaked cocktail - a Singapore Sling.
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 Belitung Islands
The island of Belitung is large, measuring roughly 4,500 square kilometer (1740 square miles). Along with neighbouring Bangka and the many other surrounding small islands this is not just an archipelago, but a substantial province of Indonesia. Belitung used to have many tin mines, but today the island is better known for its nature. The most distinct features of Belitung’s many beaches are the fascinating granite rock formations along the shallow shores. These rocks can reach the size of houses and lie in bold contrast to the white sand. Swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters reveals healthy corals and hundreds of fish.
Day 4 Karimunjawa (Java Sea)
Covered by coconut trees and surrounded by white sandy beaches, Menyawakan Island lies some 64 nautical miles off Java’s coast in the Karimunjawa archipelago. This tranquil and secluded setting offers tropical and laid back ambiance and good snorkeling.
Day 5 Day At Sea
Day 6 Pulau Moyo
Pulau Moyo is an island east of Lombok and some three kilometers off the north coast of Sumbawa, Western Nusa Tenggara Regency. It has been proposed as a national park together with neighboring (and smaller) Satonda Island to the northeast –both already have the status of Nature Tourism Parks. Located at the mouth of Saleh Bay which nearly cuts Sumbawa in half, the island blocks the entrance to the bay with its more than 32,000 hectares. While most of the 21 settlements are found on the island’s northern coast, two thirds of the island is a reserve. The coastline with white sandy beaches and rarely visited reefs has been declared a marine conservation area; the central plateau, mostly savannah with occasional forests, is part of a nature reserve. Long-tailed macaques, wild cattle and boars prefer this habitat. Some twenty species of bats are known and a bat cave is one of the local attractions, which also include waterfalls. Striated Herons, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Green Imperial Pigeons, Yellow-crested Cockatoos, and Helmeted Friarbirds, are just some of the more than 70 species of birds recorded on Moyo.
Day 7 Komodo Island; Pink Beach, Komodo
Komodo, the volcanic island of giant lizards, lies 320 miles (515 kilometres) east of Bali. Komodo is 25 miles (40 kilometres) long and 12 miles (19 kilometres) wide; its parched hills ascend to a height of 2,410 feet (734 metres). Komodo is home to a community of some 2000 people who make their living primarily from fishing. The island is the centrepiece of the Komodo National Park, where you will find the most tangible legacy left behind from the Jurassic Era. Komodo Island was little-known and the Komodo dragons were only a myth until the giant lizards were scientifically described in 1912 . Extinct almost everywhere else, the island attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world who come to see the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. Komodo National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. The Komodo dragon’s great bulk and weight are its most unique characteristics; even hatchlings average 20 inches (51 centimetres) in length. The adult male can reach 10 feet (3 metres) and weigh up to 330 pounds (150 kilos). Females attain only two-thirds of this size, and lay up to 30 eggs at a time. With their saw-like teeth, these fierce creatures are able to rip apart a deer, goat or wild pig. The animals have an uncanny sense of smell, and are considered among the world's most intelligent reptiles. They are quite agile over short distances, and can move swiftly to capture their prey. The Indonesian Directorate of Nature Conservation (PPA) administers Komodo National Park. Park Rangers must escort all visitors; independent exploration of the park is not permitted.
Pink Beach earned its name for the way the beach can appear to have a rosy hue in certain lights. The color comes from small flecks of red coral mixed in with the fine white reef sand. With a few trees along the beach for shade, this stretch of coast makes a fine place to relax or enjoy a snorkel or dive in the crystal clear waters. It is possible to spot a striped clown fish nestled among the protective tentacles of its sea anemone host, or to see a grouper lazily swimming by a flamboyant soft coral. The reef here is now protected by law and the maturing corals are a joy to behold.
Day 8 Ende Flores
Approaching Ende is a sensorial feast. Birds chirrup overhead, eyes see the twin peaks Gunung Meja (661m) and Gunung Iya (627m) looming over the city and the perfumed scents of the local ginger tasting coffee and cloves promise exoticism and mystery in equimeasure. As if that wasn’t enough, the black sands and cobbled shores make Endes a very unique setting. The town of Ende is in the south of Flores Island, which is part of the Lesser Sundra Islands. Together with the Greater Sundra Islands, Lesser Sundra forms the Sundra archipelago, north of Australia. Part of the Sundra Arc, Flores is volcanic (hence that black sand). But, bar a few worthwhile attractions in the city centre (the town was under Portuguese rule for 300 years and many colonial structures such as the Roman Catholic Church still remain), Endes is above all a gateway for the Kelimutu National Park. Keli meaning Mountian and mutu meaning boiling, you are left in no doubt as to what to expect! Although there is no need to worry, the last eruption was in 1968. The park is 50 kilometres east of Ende, but worth every minute of the hour-plus drive to get there. Famous for its three crater lakes, each startling in their colourful beauty, the lakes are only accessible by foot. The three have wonderful names: the “Lake of Young Men and Maidens”, the “Bewitched Lake” and the “Lake of Old People” – all of which have superb legends attached. Keep your eyes peeled as endemic wildlife species abound, be it in the trees or on the ground.
Day 9 Savu
Savu is a small island about halfway between Timor and Sumba. This little island is one of the most interesting destinations in Nusa Tenggara. The Savunese principally plant corn, but derive their staple nutrition from the lontar palm. The nutritious juice of this drought-resistant tree nourishes a relatively high population concentration on Savu’s 461 square kilometers (178 square miles). Approximately 80% of the Savunese are Christian, although animistic beliefs are still important. The tradition of textile weaving remains strong, with the women still growing the cotton, hand dyeing and weaving on backstrap looms.
Day 10 Day At Sea
Day 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 Talbot Bay, Kimberley (Western Australia)
Talbot Bay is famous for the Horizontal Falls which have been described as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world“. The region’s tides of close to 36 feet create an amazing spectacle when the water tries to enter or leave Poulton Creek through two very narrow openings located one behind the other in the McLarty Ranges. Water builds up faster on one side than it can flow through the gaps, leaving or entering depending on the tide. This incredible tidal power can be experienced firsthand by boarding a local 900hp fast boat and taking an exhilarating ride through the Horizontal Waterfalls.
Day 16 Raft Point, Kimberley (Western Australia); Montgomery Reef, Kimberley (Western Australia); Yampi Sound Kimberley Western Australia (Pahang)
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.
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.
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 17 Yampi Sound Kimberley Western Australia (Pahang)
Day 18 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
From crystal waters to red rocks, this voyage is a chance to enjoy the lesser known – but not lesser impressive – parts of Indonesia and Australia. Hike the trails of the Komodo National Park and search for its eponymous dragon, snorkel and swim startlingly colourful seas and meet members of aboriginal groups who are the Kimberley’s traditional landowners. Educational? Yes. Aspirational? Yes. Inspirational? Oh – yes.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
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