Darwin, Matakus Island, Wyndham, King George River, Hunter River Region, Buccaneer Archipelago & Broome
Cruise, Off the Beaten, Nature & Wildlife, Cruise, Off the Beaten, Nature & Wildlife
The Kimberley region of Australia was originally explored by Europeans after 1881, yet its history dates back over 60,000 years.
The vast gap between these two dates mean that the region’s Aboriginal heritage is largely intact, from its ancient rock art to its tales of legend and lore, passed down from generation to generation.
This cruise celebrates expedition cruising at its very best; from the on board expert team to the local guides, we guarantee that you will be both invigorated and inspired by The Kimberley.
Arrive at Darwin and make your way to check in at Silversea pre-cruise hotel. Their Simply Hotel selection is the perfect choice for those who want a centrally located setting from which to discover the city. Rooms in these 4.5 and 5-star properties are generally Standard Double or King rooms that provide comfortable accommodations and superior service.
Spend the day to explore Australia’s capital of the north, which was named in honour of Charles Darwin by the British settlers who established a frontier outpost here. With a unique history, beautiful islands nearby, and a palette of sizzling Pacific flavours, colourful Darwin is an enchanting and exotic Australian destination. The sounds of chattering birdlife and the gentle splash of fountains and waterfalls will fill your ears in George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. The sunshine and famous tropical pink sunsets mean many visitors naturally gravitate to the city’s soft sands to relax at spots like pretty Mindil Beach, as evening approaches. The adjoining market is filled with souvenirs and crafts stands and is the perfect great place to enjoy some fiery Asian flavours. Stroll the stalls, grab some food, and crack open an ice-frosted beer as the sunset show begins.
The day is at your leisure to further explore Darwin.
A transfer will be arranged from your hotel to the Silver Explorer for check-in.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you have been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Discover lovely Matakus Island, surrounded by unspoiled white sandy beach with crystal clear waters. Around 100 people inhabit the island, most of the men are fisherman, while the women produce ikat weaving. Christianity is the main religion, but many old beliefs and customs remain alive, music and dancing is performed at special ceremonies.
The island is a marine paradise, with fields of staghorn coral and schools of cardinalfish visible in its crystal clear waters. There is ample time to enjoy the beach at your leisure, or to go snorkelling in the crystalline water – grab your underwater cameras and snorkels and dive in! Wildlife is not limited to below the water however. Birds including the Tanimbar starling, Moluccan masked owl, Fawn-breasted thrush and Blue-streaked lorry all call the island home.
Disembark the ship by Zodiac at the beach near Matakus where the villagers will welcome you ashore. Then walk to the village center and get acquainted with locals while observing traditional local dance performances. See an ikat weaving demonstration and take time to wander around the village and observe into the daily life of the village folk.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Wyndham is a small settlement with the spirit of a Kimberley outback township, established in 1886 with the Halls Creek gold rush. Today, it has a population of roughly 900 people and operates largely as a port exporting cattle, servicing the mining industry and hosting a few small ships as the gateway to the breath-taking Bungle Bungle mountain range and the nearby Ord River. The Bungle Bungle Mountains in Purnululu National Park are now a World Heritage Site, known to the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years, the Bungles were only discovered by the outside world in the mid-1980s.
Conversely, cruising the peaceful and tree-lined Ord River is a chance to look for freshwater crocodiles, fruit bats, short-eared rock wallabies and a variety of birds, including Mangrove Herons and Gerygones.
Please note: All destinations on voyages in the Kimberley region, and the order in which they are visited, are subject to tidal variations and weather conditions.
Shore Excursion: Bungle Bungles Scenic Flight with Lunch
Experience a breath-taking tour of the Bungle Bungle range and Lake Argyle on this incredible scenic flight. Half the group departs from Wyndham, with a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle landing at Kununurra and the other half of the group depart from Kununurra returning to Wyndham. Fly past the Diversion Dam, Lake Kununurra and over the Ord Irrigation Area before crossing the Carr Boyd Range, which holds back the waters of the inland sea, Lake Argyle. Enjoy aerial views of the Ord Dam and the full expanse of Lake Argyle. Fly past Lissadell Homestead, over the Osmand Range and on to Purnululu National Park and the Bungle Bungle massif. From an aircraft it is an impressive sight. The orange and black stripes across the beehive-like mounds, encased in a skin of silica and algae, are clearly visible from the air, as is a hidden world of gorges and pools, with fan palms clinging precariously to walls and crevices in the rocks. Spend around 20 minutes here, and then return via the Argyle Diamond Mine with panoramic views the whole flight. Views of the Wyndham mud flats and the Cambridge Gulf are included. Lunch is served at a local hotel.
Shore Excursion: Ord River Cruise with Lunch
Start the day with one of the great spectacles of the Australian wilderness on Australia’s longest continuous daily river cruise. Travel up the Ord River/Lake Kununurra enjoying expert commentary on the irrigation area and environmental aspects of this amazing man-made waterway observing wildlife along the way. Stop for a buffet luncheon at a riverside camp with time to relax and utilize eco-toilet facilities. Resuming the cruise in the heart of the Carlton Gorge and stunning red cliffs that the Kimberley is famous for. Once through the gorge climb the last 15kms of the river experiencing the versatility of the boat’s capabilities whilst at the same time, negotiating the fast water section of your trip. Arrive at the foot of the Ord Top Dam and discover how this amazing structure was designed. Transfer to the awaiting coach for a drive across the Ord Top Dam wall for viewing and photograph opportunities of Lake Argyle. Visit the Lake Argyle Resort, the site of the original workers camp during the construction of the Ord Top Dam, before leaving Lake Argyle. An opportunity is provided at the Argyle Homestead Museum (home to the Durack family) to marvel at the resilience of those who came to open up this area to cattle and agriculture. Sit back and relax for the scenic drive back to Kununurra and then onto Wyndham.
The King George Falls is one of the Kimberley’s most magnificent natural wonders. At 80 meters (260 feet), the thundering spectacle of twin cascades are among the highest in Australia. The river weaves through an amazing landscape of near vertical red rock formations and a parade of wildlife — carnivorous saltwater crocodiles and amazing birdlife, including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite.
Shore Excursion: Zodiac Cruise with Silversea Expedition team
From Kooloma Bay enjoy a Zodiac cruise to the King George Falls, surrounded by ancient metamorphosed sediments, volcanic rocks and granits. These waterfalls, famous for their indigenous inhabitants (The Balanggarra), are the male and female incarnations of the Wunkurr or Rainbow serpents. Water levels of the King George Falls may vary according to the time of the month we visit them.
Shore Excursion: Hiking with Silversea Expedition team
After a scenic zodiac ride to the King George Falls, leave your Zodiac anchored next to some large rocks on the side of the falls to begin your hike up to the summit. The active ascent its of approximately 90 meters ending with a rewarding dip in the natural pool at the top.
The Hunter River is home to an immense mangrove system surrounded by soaring red sandstone cliffs. Narrow mangrove channels shelter numerous bird species, mudskippers, fiddler crabs and the infamous saltwater crocodile; the most aggressive crocodile species known to man. Naturalist Island at the mouth of the river has a stunning stretch of sandy beach that makes a perfect landing site for small helicopters that can pick up visitors wishing to explore some of the Kimberley’s vast interior. The highlight inland is the famous Mitchell Falls where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the mighty Mitchell River. The headwaters of the falls are cool and a dip in the fresh water is a welcome reprieve from the heat of the heartland.
Set off the coast of Western Australia, the Buccaneer Archipelago is one of the Kimberley’s finest secrets. The Archipelago, (50sq km / 19 sq mi), is made up of around 800 islands and protect the mainland from the huge 12 metre tides and astonishing speed of the Yampi Sound (or, in traditional Aborigine, “Yampee”). The speed and power of the water may not make for pleasant bathing, but do however result in fantastic natural phenomena. One fine example is the horizontal reversible waterfall in Talbot Bay. The tidal pull is responsible for the “reversible” nature of the falls; however, this also hides narrow gaps between the islands, making for treacherous sailing conditions. Isolated graves of sailors and divers are testimony to the danger. Enterprising individuals were initially attracted to the Buccaneer Archipelago in the 1800s due to the superior pearling as well as the rich iron ore deposits. Pearling conducted by luggers in the 1880s was concentrated in Cygnet Bay, Cascade Bay, Cone Bay and Strickland Bay. More recently, mining operators established open-cut mines on the east side of the Sound. Some of the richest iron ore in the world is extracted here to this day.
Shore Excursions: Horizontal Falls Fast Boat Ride
The Buccaneer Archipelago’s tides present amazing spectacles that can create seemingly horizontal waterfalls at Talbot Bay. Watch reefs and islands come out of the ocean, only to have them disappear before your eyes again. The Horizontal Falls is a natural phenomenon where you can experience this incredible tidal power first-hand. Board a 900-horsepower fast boat (the fastest boat in the Kimberley region) and let the highly experienced skippers take you for an exhilarating ride through the Horizontal Waterfalls. Reasonable mobility and fitness are required as the ride will be rapid and bumpy at times.
Shore Excursion: Zodiac Cruise with Silversea Expedition Team
Talbot Bay: the gateway to the famous Horizontal Falls, a natural phenomenon of the Kimberley region that is created by the enormous tidal ranges and an incredible sight to witness. As the water rises and falls, it is forced through two narrow channels in the sandstone landscape, generating whirlpools and fast-flowing white water which creates a stunning waterfall-like effect. We will explore this area by zodiac, and get a true sense of what it is like to experience the force and magnitude of the Kimberley Tides.
Montgomery Reef: Montgomery Reef is the world’s largest inshore reef, measuring an incredible 400-square kilometres in size. Located to the east of the Buccaneer archipelago, this natural pristine ecosystem is home to several of the Kimberley’s most charismatic wildlife including green turtles, sea snakes, reef egrets and dugongs. This top icon of the Kimberley lies at the mercy of the region’s huge tidal ranges – up to 11 metres during king tides. As the water drops, an extraordinary phenomenon is created where the reef seemingly rises from the ocean, creating dozens of cascades. Here, timing is everything – and a visit to Montgomery Reef is a sight to behold.
Yampi Sound: is a large bay positioned amongst the ‘Iron Islands’, a well-known group of islands famous for their high deposits of iron ore. The area is rich in marine life, and home to resident pods of snub-fin and bottlenose dolphins. It is also an important calving and nursery ground for Humpback whales, which frequent the area between June and September every year. This region is a geologist’s dream, with fascinating rock formations surrounding the entire bay, including amazing examples of geo-synclines and anticlines twisting throughout the layered sandstone landscape.
Shore Excursion: Hiking with Silversea Expedition Team
Freshwater Cove: a small cove with a white sand beach located on the eastern side of Collier Bay, in Worrora Country. A moderate hike inland through the bush along a well-formed trail leads us to a series of rock shelters filled with fascinating, and some of the freshest and most elaborate examples of Wandjina-style rock art. Enjoy the hike with your expedition team, and be on the lookout for some of the many beautiful bush birds found in the area.
Raft Point: Home to the Worora people, Raft Point is a wild and beautiful headland situated in Doubtful Bay. Not far from the beach inland are many caves and shelters, where spectacular rock art galleries have been created by the region’s indigenous people. These painting mostly depict vital and fascinating stories of history and aboriginal culture. Specifically, we can see elaborate examples of Wandjina art, dating back many thousands of years.
Arrive into Broome in the early morning, and disembark after breakfast. You will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight, or to the Silversea pre-cruise hotel for check-in. Their Simply Hotel selection is the perfect choice for those who want a centrally located setting from which to discover the city. Rooms in these 4.5 and 5-star properties are generally Standard Double or King rooms that provide comfortable accommodations and superior service.
Currently known as the gateway to the Kimberley region for many, Broome has long been used as a trading route between east and west Kimberley for Aboriginal families. These semi-nomadic tribes respected strict unwritten rules regarding ownership of the land, and the Yawuru people remain the Native Title holders for the township of Broome to this day. Broome itself has over 84 Aboriginal communities affiliated to it, 78 of which are considered remote. The city grew from its nascent pearling industry of the late 19th century and At the peak of its industry, around 1914, Broome was responsible for 80% of the world’s pearl trade.
Day at leisure to explore Broome further before making your own way to the airport for your departure flight, or you could extend a few more nights in Broome to explore the region.
Silversea’s purpose-built luxury Silver Explorer expedition cruise ship has been designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations, including both of earth’s polar regions. A fleet of 12 Zodiac boats allows Silversea Expedition guests to visit even the most off-the-beaten path locations and an expert Expedition Team provides insight and understanding to each unforgettable Silver Explorer luxury cruise adventure.
Explorer Suite • Vista Suite • View Suite • Veranda Suite
Deck Four forward is home to eight Explorer Suites (18sqm). Enjoy a separate sitting area and the passing scenery through a view window. Explorer Suites accommodate up to two guests and exude cosy opulence, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring ashore.
Located on Deck 4 midship and 18sqm in size, this suite is a quiet sanctuary. The suite’s sitting area has plenty of room to relax, with large picture windows frame panoramic ocean views, the perfect backdrop for breakfast in bed.
Located on Deck 3 midship and 18sqm in size, the View Suite provides a relaxing haven. Complete a day spent exploring onshore with an evening unwinding in the comfort of your sitting area, and capture passing ocean scenes through your view window.
Located on Deck 5 and 20sqm in size, this suite is a Silversea cruise signature, complete with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto a private balcony.
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