Sunday 05 May | Depart 4:30 PM
Roughly 15,000 people live year-round in Broome perched on the edge of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The population swells to over 45,000 during the tourist season as people from all over the world are drawn to the natural splendors of the Dampier Peninsula. Broome is surrounded by lush green mangroves and mudflats along Roebuck Bay, but the interior is dry and rugged like much of the Kimberley coast. The town of Broome started up around a nascent pearling industry that attracted Japanese, Chinese, Malay and Aboriginal divers to the area in an interesting mix of cultures.
Buccaneer Archipelago Region
From Monday 06 May To Tuesday 07 May
Roughly 800 islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago surround and shelter the impressive spread of Yampi Sound (from the aboriginal word for water, “Yampee”). The area was named in 1821 by Captain Phillip Parker King, in commemoration of William Dampier’s visit in 1688. Pearlers began visiting the area in the late 1800s, and more recently mining operators established open-cut mines on Koolan Island on the east side of the Sound. Some of the richest iron ore in the world is extracted here to this day. The coastline of Yampi shows rock layers wildly twisted and contorted into great folds.
Hunter River Region
From Wednesday 08 May To Thursday 09 May
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.
King George River Region
Friday 10 May
The King George Falls is one of the Kimberley’s most magnificent natural wonders. At 80 meters (260 feet), the thundering spectacle of twin cascades are among the highest in Australia. The river weaves through an amazing landscape of near vertical red rock formations and a parade of wildlife — carnivorous saltwater crocodiles and amazing birdlife, including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite.
Saturday 11 May | Arrive: 8:30 AM, Depart 5:00 PM
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.
Day at Sea
Tuesday 12 May
Monday 13 May | Arrive: 0:30 PM, Depart 7:30 PM
Saumlaki is a regional capital city on the island of Yamdena, the main island of the unique Tanimbar archipelago, located in Indonesia between Papua New Guinea and the northern coast of Australia. The Tanimbar Islands have a distinct culture with still-vibrant traditions. They actively produce traditional crafts such as richly-colored ikat cloth and carved wooden statutes, and local residents still carry on their own centuries-old forms of music and dance.
Day at Sea
Tuesday 14 May
Wednesday 15 May | Arrive: 8:30 AM
Darwin is Australia's most colorful, and exotic, capital city. Surrounded on three sides by the turquoise waters of the Timor Sea, the streets are lined with tropical flowers and trees. Warm and dry in winter, hot and steamy in summer, it's a relaxed and casual place, as well as a beguiling blend of tropical frontier outpost and Outback hardiness. Thanks to its close proximity to Southeast Asia and its multicultural population it also seems more like Asia than the rest of Australia. Darwin is a city that has always had to fight for its survival.