The best way to see the Kimberley

The Kimberley is a beautiful but also largely inaccessible land. That’s not a problem with Coral Expeditions. Their shallow-draught ships can take you there, accessing areas that larger ships simply cannot. And Coral Expeditions’ coastal explorations give you the time to connect and get closer to nature, history and culture.

Small ship comfort, great food, amazing sights, and access to otherwise hard-to-reach places, make Coral Expeditions the go-to cruise line to see the Kimberley.

And while the Kimberley is a wonder in itself, the Horizontal Falls was recently named one of Australia’s official seven wonders.

The ebb and flow of the ocean is even more pronounced in this part of the world, with water levels capable of rising and falling up to 11 metres in some parts of the Kimberley. At Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago, these tides manifest themselves as the Horizontal Falls – a sight that Sir David Attenborough described as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”. The violent exchange of water between two nearby gorges photographs beautifully from afar, but there’s nothing quite like a high-speed zodiac-boat ride across these exhilarating whirlpools.

At the heart of the Coral Expeditions experience are its purpose-built small ships. In an age of glitzy mega-vessels, their ships are truly intimate, carrying no more than 120 guests. This means you’ll navigate shallow bays, disembark onto beaches and jetties, and visit small villages without overwhelming a community.

With Coral Expeditions, you’ll also be supporting the communities and remote villages you visit, as you participate in art and cultural traditions, and attend workshops in local schools.

“We initiate and contribute to regional programs to support conservation, provide training and employment, and distribute relief supplies, all with guest support and involvement. It is an enriching and rewarding part of our expedition experience,” said Mark Fifield, Group General Manager of Coral Expeditions.

“The Kimberley is a land steeped in ancient Aboriginal culture, intriguingly portrayed through indigenous rock art estimated up to 60,000 years old. We uncover the legends of Australia’s pioneering past too, as we retrace the journeys made by explorers along this remote coastline hundreds of years ago.”

With Coral, you’ll explore this ancient region with expert interpretation of the landscape, nature, wildlife, culture and history, with many opportunities for thrilling experiences and close-up wildlife spotting.

“We chose a small ship cruise on the Kimberley coast because it is the only way to see this beautiful and unique part of the world. We were looking for lots of onshore activities and pertinent lectures rather than other forms of entertainment. The cruise fitted our expectations in every way.” ~ from Cruise Critic by QuiltingQueen, July 2018

The Kimberley is a last frontier; a harsh environment where you realise just how much of a privilege it is to be able to visit such a remote part of our amazing planet. Perhaps the greatest gift of the Kimberley coastline is a deep sense of connection with our world. Catching an Osprey eagles eye, seeing hungry crocodiles, riding rushing tides, witnessing islands emerging from the sea, marvelling at a school of black bream, or admiring the majesty of a humpback whale and her calf are just some of the experiences you’ll likely encounter.

August and September are whale season, when each year around 40,000 humpback whales make their way to the Kimberley’s warm tropical waters to mate and birth in places such as Camden Sound. This pod of humpback whales, the largest in the world, is growing in part due to the Kimberley’s safe haven and ideal breeding grounds.

And it is not just the Kimberley where Coral excels. For 34 years, Coral has steadily accumulated a wealth of local knowledge and contacts in the waters surrounding Australia. There is no replicating experience. Whether you travel in the Kimberley, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, the Islands of Indonesia or New Zealand, you will be assured a local perspective, with local guides, authentic interactions, and a true taste of local culture and cuisine.

Insider tips for a voyage to the Kimberley with Kimberley Reservations Executive, Benjamin Eastwood

1. Bring a camera and a journal.

2. The best time of year to experience the Kimberley is April/May during waterfall season with the falls are thundering. Pack a long sleeved shirt and broad brimmed hat.

3. Coral Expeditions’ experienced tender drivers get you very close to wildlife including ‘salties’! Make sure you have your camera on hand.

4. A voyage though the Kimberley is a ‘digital detox’. There is little to no mobile coverage and limited wifi onboard. You step away from the real world to immerse yourself in nature. It’s a very humbling experience.

5. The geology of the Kimberley tells a story. If you are lucky enough to have guest lecturer, Sandy Scott, he will guide you through the region’s geology. It’s sobering to think that the six main types of rock exposed on the Kimberley coast are all more than 1.7 billion years old!

A typical Kimberley cruise includes:

  • The intimate community of a small ship cruising expedition
  • No queues, no waiting –ships are small enough to allow us to board and disembark much quicker than larger vessels
  • Access to remote and untouched regions with no crowds in sight
  • All shore excursions, meals and selected wine and beer are included with your cruise fare
  • Trademark Xplorer tenders plus zodiacs get you up close and personal with nature, and are easily able to be boarded by people with limited mobility
  • Open bridge policy allows you onto the bridge to observe and chat with the captain and crew
  • Small batch regional food and wine experience
  • Attentive crew including expeditions leaders and guest lecturers will enhance your experience of the places you will visit
  • Wonderful expedition leaders, such as author and zoologist Ian Morris, who speaks Djambarrpuynu, Warramirri and Gupapuynu, the local Indigenous languages of areas visited on the Cape York and Arnhem Land itineraries.
  • Mingle with likeminded guests on the experience of a lifetime.

Is a Kimberley cruise on your wish list? It’s not too late to book your 2019 cruise now. First time Coral Expeditioners save up to $1400 per person* when using code FT19A on The Definitive Kimberley Cruise, offering 10 nights of adventure, departing Darwin or Broome.

*This offer is subject to availability and applies to new bookings only on the itineraries displayed only. This offer is not combinable with other offers, cannot be applied retrospectively, or redeemed for other benefits. Promo code FTI19A must be quoted at time of booking. Offer is available from 15 August 2019 until 31 December 2019. All prices are in Australian dollars.

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