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Monday, 11 November 2002

Explore the Kimberley

Kimberley Quest

Like so many of the world’s most beautiful locations, the rugged, still partially unexplored Kimberley Coast is also one of the most inhospitable. And it is precisely this challenge allure that makes it one of the most rewarding.

Anyone who has flown out of Australia to SE Asia has probably seen the complex and colourful tapestry of inlets, wetlands, rivers and gorges that make up this remote region. Others may recall the accounts of early 17th century Dutch and English explorers who dismissed this region of “New Holland” as unfavourable.

This 11 day/10 night comprehensive exploration of the regions encompassing the Mitchell, King George and Prince Regent Rivers between the historic ports of Broome and Darwin. You’ll travel aboard the superbly appointed “Coral Princess” and, depending on dates, may choose to complete the forward or reverse journeys. Or you may even decide to stay aboard and traverse the entire Top End through to Cairns (see Across the Top End)

The 35m “Coral Princess” is perfectly suited to exclusive expeditionary cruising. Limited to just 48 passengers, the advanced catamaran design enables exploration of some of the most intricate waterways as well as open water cruising in speed and comfort.

Apart from the vessel’s own considerable agility, expeditioners will enjoy added flexibility and convenience with the use of two smaller craft, the 50 passenger “Explorer” and inflatable zodiac. This enables unparalleled opportunities to navigate the minute tributaries and backwaters frequented by such animals as the feared saltwater crocodile as well as abundant birdlife in the form of ibis, herons and cormorants.

The Kimberley Coast exploration is a true frontier experience, rich in natural beauty, wildlife and even prehistoric cave art. The drama and majesty of this wild region creates a lasting impression with anyone who visits. During August and October, voyagers are also likely to spot migrating humpback whales making their perennial journey north.

Top End

The perfect companion voyage to “The Kimberley” is “Across the Top End”.

This 11 night/12 day expedition cruise explores the seldom visited shores of Cape York Peninsula. Isolated because of the almost total absence of road access, we visit remote Lizard, Stanley and Forbes Islands before rounding Cape York. These islands offer some of the most superb snorkelling experiences anywhere on the Great Barrier Reef and you’ll also see the almost unheard of Endaen Aboriginal rock art gallery.

Through Torres Strait and into the Arafura Sea the discovery continues as we land at Nhulunbuy and beach BBQ on the Wessel Islands. The voyage culminates with a detailed exploration of islands in the Timor Sea as well as Bathurst and Melville Islands and the mysterious Coburg Peninsula, site of the failed settlement of Victoria before arriving in Darwin.

Of course, the entire journey can be completed in reverse of you prefer. Just add it to the end of your Kimberley adventure.

Still a relatively new experience amongst adventure travellers, the popularity of these cruises ensures they fill quickly.