In 2013, Orion Expedition Cruises is offering 15 ten-night Kimberley voyages from late April to early September travelling between Darwin and Broome and visiting King George River and Falls, Vansittart Bay, Hunter River (for Mitchell Falls), Montgomery Reef and Raft Point, Talbot Bay/Horizontal Waterfalls, Crocodile Creek and Nares Point. The expedition team at Orion Expedition Cruises understands exploring Australia's Kimberley region is best undertaken in a variety of ways, and has selected options to enhance experiences by providing appropriate exploration by land, sea and air.
By land, enjoy plenty of time ashore to see Kimberley coastal highlights including outstanding examples of pre-history Gwion Gwion and mythical Wandjina indigenous rock art. Land on remote islands and beaches, explore vast gorges and climb to the plateau next to the highest waterfall in the Kimberley, King George Falls.
At Raft Point meet Donny Woolagoodja, the appointed owner/guardian of the Wandjina rock art in the area, and other traditional land owners, welcomed ashore with a traditional purification smoking ceremony and authentic interpretation of the Wandjina rock artworks that abound in the area.
By sea, explore magnificent Montgomery Reef, Horizontal Waterfalls and the mighty rivers of the Kimberley. From the safety and comfort of Orion's ten Zodiac expedition craft venture into waterways in search of saltwater crocodiles, turtles and sharks. Then return to the comfort of your five-star floating base camp, Orion, for expedition cruising among a thousand islands in a region subject to some of the world's greatest tidal movements.
Grasping the enormity of this region is best done by air. Exclusive to Orion, enjoy an inclusive two-hour Bungle Bungle Ranges flight at no additional charge. Brought to the world’s attention only 25 years ago their remote location ensures the Bungle Bungles remain an elusive destination seen first-hand by just a fortunate few.
Optional helicopter sight-seeing provides the opportunity to trace the Hunter River at low altitude, skimming the plateau before touching down to explore the beautiful, triple drop Mitchell Falls. From an aerial perspective see the remnants of massive geological structural pressures that have folded and shaped the Kimberley landscape.
Visit the Kimberley in April and May, following the annual ‘Big Wet’, to see waterfalls at their most magnificent. Late July and August is front-row prime time to see some of the estimated population of 20,000 migrating Humpback whales as they arrive from Antarctic feeding grounds to rest and calve.
With thousands of kilometres of undeveloped shoreline, the Kimberley, so ancient much of it pre-dates the existence of fossils, ranks as one of the world’s environmental wonders. A rare wilderness area worthy of the highest levels of conservation and protection whether experienced by land, sea or air.
The purpose built expedition ship Orion is your five-star base camp for exploration. Accommodating just 53 couples, Orion’s staff of 75 professionally caters for the needs of everyone in an unobtrusive yet attentive way. All 53 suites and staterooms have ocean views, marble bathrooms, flat screen TV and DVD/CD player, internet accessibility and choice of queen or twin bed configuration. Elegant throughout, Orion’s features include a sauna, health spa and gym, boutique, library with internet access, a wide range of water sport activities including fishing, plus a choice of dining areas and innovative menus created by multi-award winning chef, Serge Dansereau.
2013 prices for the Kimberley voyages start from £5,665 per person twin share for an oceanview Category A Stateroom including all meals, lectures, inclusive shore expeditions, gratuities and port fees. For further information and reservations call 020 7399 7620 or visit www.orionexpeditions.com