With four 2017 season voyages about to commence, Vice President Australasia PONANT, Monique Ponfoort, has released dates for the 2018 Kimberley season.
|Amazing geology (Mick Fogg)|
“The sales success of our inaugural 2017 season, about to get underway this July, has continued unabated, prompting us to schedule a further series of voyages in 2018” announced Monique.
Four 10 night voyages during July and August 2018 include the must-see highlights as well as some lesser known destinations and experiences the expedition team have uncovered along this remarkable 13,000 kilometre coastline.
Experience the unique combination of travelling onboard L’Austral, the youngest ship in the region, with the ‘best-in-the-business’ expedition team with over 50 years experience in the Kimberley.
“Not only is this a true luxury expedition, reflective of our position as the world leader in luxury expeditions, but PONANT guests travel on the most environmentally sustainable vessel in the Kimberley. With 20 years of expedition voyage experience our purpose built expedition ship brings the same high operational standards to the Kimberley that we operate in Antarctica – the only ship to do so - along with the highest level of environmental technology in the region,” continued Monique.
Revealing the geography and geology of this vast land is one aspect of the voyage but PONANT adds more, guest experiences with indigenous communities to share their stories of the dreamtime. Guests take part in traditional ceremonies such as “Welcome to country” and discover the ancient customs of Indigenous Australians - regarded as the oldest living culture on earth - maintaining their rituals on the land of their forefathers, with time to interact with these warm and friendly people, ensuring rewarding encounters and priceless memories.
|Wildlife spotting - but who's spotting who? (Mick Fogg)|
The 2018 Expedition Team will be headed by award winning photographer and adventurer Mick Fogg, a veteran of over 120 Kimberley expeditions. Mick is also leading the experienced expedition team when PONANT explores Australia’s own Kimberley region in 2017 for the first time.
He will be joined by a group of 12 experienced marine biologists, naturalists and conservationists including Harry Christensen, Mark Watson and Brad Siviour.
Four 10 night voyages between Darwin and Broome and vice versa are scheduled between July and August 2018.
Larger than 75% of the world’s countries, the Kimberley is a national biodiversity hotspot, listed in the top 3.7% of least impacted marine environments worldwide.
Guests will see extraordinary Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art; view vast landscapes that predate the existence of fossils, wonder at precipitous waterfalls and the myriad colours of ever-changing light.
PONANT guests will be exploring the region on an internationally recognised environmentally accredited ship, L’Austral, the youngest and most modern ship in the region.
Modern in design and construction, all four PONANT sister-ships, comprising the youngest fleet in the world, feature the very latest in maritime technology, including 3D sonar for seabed vision, a dynamic positioning system to avoid dropping anchor in sensitive maritime environments, and electric propulsion for reduced emissions. Perfect for exploring this region, much still uncharted, with its dramatic tidal changes.
An addition to visiting areas with the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the world, the voyages coincide with prime time for observing the largest population of migrating Humpback whales in the world - estimated to be 36,000 individuals or more - and with a compact ship and 14 Zodiacs this is potentially another exciting experience.
PONANT’s itineraries include classic must-see Kimberley highlights - the Hunter River, King George Falls, Mitchell Falls, Montgomery Reef and Horizontal Falls, as well as a number of rarely visited other destinations.
Depending on tides and weather conditions it may also be possible to visit Langii, spiritual home of the Wandjina, and Freshwater Cove, where guests will spend a very special day with Kimberley Elder Donny Woolagoodja, whose giant Wandjina artwork featured at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Hear Dreamtime stories of the oldest continuous culture on the planet.
L’Austral’s compact size (just 132 staterooms and suites) and maneuverability will allow the ship to get close to shore before launching her fleet of 14 Zodiacs. The perfect ‘search engine’ for expeditions, the Zodiacs will provide access for exploring bays, mudflats and mangroves, venturing beneath vertiginous waterfalls, probing rivers that carve through sandstone walls of dizzying heights, and viewing heaving emergent tidal reefs.
Back on board the mobile base camp, L’Austral, creature comforts prevail. Enjoy French luxury and ambiance, and experience the difference small ship cruising offers. Cool off in the swimming pool, enjoy spa therapy to ease tired muscles or simply as a pampering indulgence. An inclusive Open Bar provides guests the chance to relax with a beer, wines, champagne or, perhaps, a cocktail. Later, the choice of fine cuisine, the flavours complimented with world-class wines.
With every cabin on L’Austral featuring a private balcony during Kimberley voyages this is very civilised way to explore a remarkably remote destination, imbued with
PONANT’s trademark dash of panache.
Details of PONANT 2018 season Kimberley expedition voyages are available at au.ponant.com
Book now to benefit from the best price currently available, from 25% off the brochure fare, subject to availability.
Darwin – Broome: 19th July & 8th August
Broome – Darwin: 29th July & 18th August
10 nights from A$8510pp(1), in Deluxe Stateroom with private balcony
(1)Ponant Bonus fare per person, based on a double occupancy, including port taxes and transfer “Ship - Broome town/airport”, yield managed, correct at time of printing.