When we conducted the first exploratory cruise in the Kimberley thirty years ago, tourism there was unknown. Our pioneering crew had to rely on fishing lore to navigate uncharted local waters.
But we fell in love with that vast expanse, carved by the powerful forces of nature – wind, rain and tidal flows. Since then, we have built our operations around the Kimberley. Our open-sided ‘Xplorer’ tender boats were designed to take in the magnificent cliffs and thundering waterfalls. Our ships feature wraparound decks, private balconies, and outdoor dining to enjoy the balmy air and glorious Kimberley sunsets. Our expedition crew are local experts who have been studying and exploring the region for decades.
Today, we are proud to operate three Australian expedition ships in the Kimberley from March to September each year. Every voyage is different, with new discoveries and experiences.
See the original Kimberley with the pioneers.
The Original Kimberley: As the Kimberley Expedition pioneers, we have perfected our itinerary over 27 years. Our classic 10-day voyage is an immersion into an ancient land. You will explore this rugged land carved by powerful forces of nature, on a thrilling adventure as you enjoy a zodiac ride through Horizontal Falls, shower underneath King Cascade, marvel at 60,000-year-old rock art, and spot crocodiles basking on the shoreline. Witness magnificent coastal vistas created by towering rock ridges, silent secluded gorges, plunging waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and massive tidal movements.
> Departs April to September 2023 & 2024
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Combine our classic 10-day Kimberley itinerary with a visit to the spectacular Rowley Shoals Marine Park and Ashmore Reef. Witness magnificent coastal vistas created by towering rock ridges, silent secluded gorges, abundant wildlife, and massive tidal movements. Finish off the voyage at a chain of coral atolls offering some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in the world. Their shallow lagoons are inhabited by myriad coral species and marine life, including giant potato cod, Maori wrasse, at least 233 species of coral and 688 species of fish – many of which are not found on other coral reefs.
> Departs September 2023
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Join us aboard Coral Adventurer on our special ‘The Solar Eclipse Expedition’. Experience an unobstructed view of the rare hybrid solar eclipse event from isolated Ashmore Reef. Continue on to visit iconic attractions along the Kimberley coast including legendary waterfalls, awe-inspiring tidal phenomenon and soaring rock formations carved by immense tectonic pressure.
> Departs 15 April 2023 – Sold Out, Join our Waitlist
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Our vessels Coral Geographer and Coral Adventurer carry a maximum of 120 guests and 48 crew. Coral Discoverer carries a maximum of 72 guests and 24 crew.
Generally, we have two excursions a day for a few hours in the morning before lunch, and a few hours in the afternoon. Each excursion differs in length, and if some guests prefer a shorter excursion, we arrange for an early Xplorer ride back to the ship. Being expeditionary, no two Kimberley trips are ever the same. We recommend reading some of our Kimberley Voyage Logs HERE for a more detailed look into how long is spent ashore.
Absolutely! We always offer an easier activity. On the Kimberley, many of the sightseeing destinations are only a short walk from where the Xplorer drops you off.
Yes! Our website now has new live availability where you can view which dates have staterooms available.
We recommend Reef Shoes (or other waterproof secure sandals) for what we call ‘wet landings’. This is when our Xplorer tender drops us off at a flat beach but cannot get any closer to the shoreline, thus guests are required to walk through water that is about shin high. We will tell you when we expect it will be a wet landing so you know to bring your Reef Shoes on the tender. If your reef shoes are comfortable to walk in, you are welcome to wear them for any walking. However, most guests decide to bring a pair of walking shoes and change into them after the wet landing.
Most evenings, after dinner in the Bridge Deck Lounge, we will screen a movie or documentary. Usually these are related to the Kimberley region. For example, Riddle of the Bradshaws is about the rock art of the Kimberley. The Koolama Incident, BBC Coast Australia (The Kimberley) and Rabbit Proof Fence are also commonly screened. However, we have a range of options available so if you chat to the team onboard, they might be able to accommodate another genre if you prefer.
Accommodation: We don’t offer accommodation, however there are some hotels that our guests regularly stay at including the Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin, Hilton Darwin, Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa Broome and Oaks Cable Beach Resort Broome.
Pre-Cruise Transfers: We do not offer pre-cruise transfers. Guests are required to make their own way to the check-in location with organized transfers to the vessel to follow.
Post-Cruise Transfers: We offer complimentary post-cruise transfers from the vessel to CBD hotels or the airport, which can be organised with the purser while onboard.
Absolutely! Our chefs cater for a range of dietary requirements. We do however request that you let us know ahead of time via the personal link so we can ensure we have enough produce onboard.
On our Kimberley departures, the commentary on the excursions is mainly focused on the destination. For example, geology when we visit Nares Point, nature and wildlife when we are witnessing Montgomery Reef rise from the ocean, or Indigenous history when admiring rock art. However, photography is a keen interest of many of our expedition crew, so let our expedition team know at the beginning of the voyage and we will do our best to cater to you!
We recommend a long-sleeve shirt or rashie for sun protection, and comfortable pants, shorts, or fitness gear for walks in warm tropical conditions. You can view our list of Kimberley packing tips here.
No. As many of you will be flying to your embarkation point, we recommend following your chosen airline guidelines for luggage restrictions.
Absolutely! We have unique Xplorer tenders that you simply step onto from the deck, and are hydraulically lowered onto the water. We do ask that all guests have a level of mobility where they are able to make their way up and down the vessel’s stairs unassisted in the case of an emergency.
There are very limited swimming options in the Kimberley as the saltwater regions are home to large saltwater crocodiles and some freshwater holes flood with saltwater on high tides. The expedition team will offer swimming options only when conditions and tides allow.
When the wet season changes to dry season, usually from March onwards, the Kimberley landscape is radiant with new growth and freshwater swimming holes are filled by gushing waterfalls. Late March is the start of the Kimberley cruising season which is when waterfalls are at their most magnificent after seasonal rains. Many waterfalls flow year-round but the best time to witness the Kimberley waterfall spectacle is generally from March to early June.
Our Kimberley voyages operate either from Darwin to Broome or Broome to Darwin. There aren’t any differences between travelling either direction, aside from which order you will experience each destination. Our voyage has a cruise day across the Bonaparte gulf which we sometimes recommend that, if this is your first cruise, you may prefer to do it first to adjust to the motion of being at sea (departing Darwin).
No. As we travel along the coast and into different channels or around islands guests will get a great view from both sides of the ship and on each of the ship levels.