The Kimberley region is home to some of the world’s most dramatic and astounding landscapes. Set sail on a 14-day Expedition Cruise that journeys from Broome to Darwin aboard Le Laperouse.

Join a National Geographic photographer and a National Geographic Expert on your voyage as we search for ancient aboriginal rock art that depicts life millenniums ago, deserted islands where wildlife thrives and landscapes that never fail to take your breath away. Discover one of the last unspoiled regions on the planet.
Jason Edwards will be your National Geographic photographer onboard. His award winning work comprises one of the largest portfolio’s in the Society’s long history and he has been recognised globally for his contributions to Science, the Environment and the Arts. As an accomplished storyteller and photographer of Natural History, Jason will help you capture the story of your journey through the Kimberley.

Journeying to Montgomery Reef experience the unique phenomena of the cascading mini-waterfalls and the spectacular beauty of the “Horizontal Falls” in Talbot Bay. Sailing deep into the wilderness, experience the pristine mangrove forests of the Hunter River, where we search for the legendary saltwater crocodiles, lurking in the waters below as many species of birds dance above.

Exploring deep into the 80m high sandstone gorge of the King George River, witness the powerful Twin Falls, the highest single-drop waterfall in Western Australia.

This wild area is home to the oldest continuous culture on earth, whose ancient stories and traditions can be found on the walls of the many rock art galleries across the region. The Gwion Gwion are regarded as the oldest depictions of the human form on the planet and the magnificent Wandjina represent the creator spirits of the Dreamtime.

On the Tiwi Islands, thousand-year-old artistic traditions continue thanks to art centres dedicated to local artists and craftsmen. During land visits, you will have the opportunity to admire these works of art up-close and discover daily life in these remote communities.

This Expedition Cruise is onboard Ponant’s Le Laperouse ship, part of the Explorers fleet.

Transfer in Broome from city to port included.

Trip highlights

Travel with renowned National Geographic photographer, Jason Edwards, and learn through workshops and one-on-one sessions how to capture the aboriginal art and the landscapes of the Kimberley.

Gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Kimberley from our National Geographic Expert.

Experience the unique Horizontal Falls and Montgomery Reef, shaped by some of the largest tides on Earth.

Visit the World-renowned Tiwi Design and Manupi Art centres of the Tiwi Islands curated by local artists.

During guided walks, discover ancient Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art galleries that depict life on the islands in its earliest forms and learn about their stories from the oldest culture on the planet.

Itinerary - 14 Days

1 Broome

Broome is a town historically famed for its pearling trade but today it is a popular holiday destination within the wild Kimberley region. Before embarkation, take some time to discover the historical Gantheaume Point, where dinosaur footprints more than 130 million years old can be seen. Visit the famous Chinatown district where you can discover the history of Japanese immigrants in Broome’s famous Japanese Cemetery, which dates back to 1896. The town is furthermore famed for its “Staircase to the Moon”, an optical illusion created by the Moon reflecting on the sandbanks at low tide, a unique spectacle provided by nature and a wonderful sight to behold if your schedule allows.

2 Lacepede Islands

Today we will cruise by Zodiac® around the Lacepede Islands to view its incredible wildlife. Sometimes referred to simply as the Lacepedes, this group of four islands situated off the coast of the Kimberley play a significant part of Australia’s fauna ecosystem. The islands are a significant breeding habitat for Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and have been named by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The Lacepede Islands are also home to one of the world’s largest breeding colony of Brown Boobies and up to 20,000 Roseate Terns have been recorded here.

During your time at these islands, join the Expedition Team for a guided Zodiac® tour to view the prolific wildlife, that also includes Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Lesser Frigatebirds, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Crested, Bridled and Lesser Crested Terns, Common Noddies, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers.

Due to the sensitive nature of the environment, landings are prohibited on the Lacepede Islands.

3-4 Collier Bay

Situated on a rocky and deserted coast of one of the most remote regions in the Kimberley, Collier Bay is only accessible by ship. The ancient landscape has been shaped by the massive tidal movements the region is renowned for. With a tidal range exceeding 14 metres, recorded near Yule entrance at the southern end of the bay, they are among the largest in the world and an incredible experience for those lucky enough to witness it. This dramatic movement of water creates a unique phenomena that occurs nowhere else in the world. As the water moves in and out, this creates turbulent ‘rivers’ and mini waterfalls.

Containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals, Montgomery reef is Australia’s largest inshore reef. In this majestic landscape, you enter an aboriginal area. Outstanding open air painted cave galleries allude to the myths of creation and can be observed after a hike on the hills.

As we are at the mercy of weather and tide conditions in this region, the above mentioned are only possible experiences cannot be guaranteed.

5 Bigge Island

Known as Wuuyuru to the Wunambal people of the Kimberley Coast, Bigge Island is a significant site for Aboriginal people as it is the resting place of the boss Wandjina Aarwarrndju. Famed for its incredible Aboriginal rock art, some of which is believed to capture some of the first encounters with Europeans, as depicted by images of sailing ships.

The rock galleries are easily accessed and you will join your expedition team ashore for a guided walk to a number of rock art galleries depicting the Wandjina style.

6 Hunter River

Hunter River is arguably one of the most idyllic parts of the Kimberley coast. Prince Frederick Harbour and the Hunter River are lined with ancient rainforest pockets, pristine mangroves and mosaic sandstone cliffs making for a truly exceptional stop off. They are considered to be some of the most pristine mangrove forests in the world, containing up to 18 different species, supporting a rich and diverse fauna.

The sandstone escarpment at the river mouth, known as “Kampamantiya” rises over 200 metres high before giving way to extensive mud banks and mangrove forests that are home to numerous bird species and the iconic saltwater crocodile.

Our expert Expedition Team will share their knowledge with you as you explore this pristine mangrove environment by Zodiac® keeping a constant lookout for wildlife.

7 Swift Bay

Situated within the Bonaparte Archipelago, Swift Bay is one of many islands in the archipelago that stretches almost 150 km along Western Australia's remote Kimberley coast. This island offers pristine landscapes and a host of wildlife to observe with unique rock formations defining the T shaped bay. Due to the unique nature of the bay, that provides an abundance of rock shelters, there are many examples of both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style rock art that can be explored.

With the Expedition Team, enjoy a guided walk to a number of rock art galleries depicting these unique rock art styles and learn more about their remarkable visual history.

8 Vansittart Bay

Vansittart Bay is a beautifully protected large bay with several islands and coves. Jar Island contains ancient rock art galleries depicting the Gwion Gwion style unique to the Kimberley region. Mainly neglected by, or unknown to, the early European researchers of Aboriginal culture in the Kimberley in favour of the dominant & more dramatic Wandjina art, Gwion Gwion art has in recent years gained world prominence as it is believed to date back more than 30,000 years and has the oldest depiction of humans anywhere in the world.

Join your Expedition Team ashore for a short walk, past some fascinating rock formations, to the site of the Gwion Gwion art galleries.

9 King George River

Cruising up the infamous King George River is an exploration of colour with the 80m cliffs of Warton sandstone displaying varying degrees of weathering to reveal a kaleidoscope of colour and texture that changes throughout your journey, and as the light changes through the day. It is a photographer’s delight. The culmination is your arrival at the King George Falls – Western Australia’s highest twin waterfalls at 80m (260ft). Fed by wet season run-off, the level of water cascading over the falls varies from year to year.

Your Expedition Team will escort you in either the Zodiacs® or ship’s tenders to the foot of the twin falls and explain all about the stunning geological formations of the canyon and search for wildlife along the way.

10 Wyndham

Surrounded by some of the most spectacular landforms, rivers and wetlands, Wyndham is an exotic and isolated town. As the Kimberley's oldest town, Western Australia's northernmost town and has the highest long-term average temperature of any town in Australia at 29.3 degrees Celsius. Sitting on edge of the Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham is home to the spectacular Ord River, the manmade Argyle Dam, and Purnululu National Park.

11 Pulau Meatimiarang, Indonesia (Technical Stop)

During this day at sea and we encourage you to make the most of your time onboard Le Soleal. Catch up with our onboard National Geographic Expert and National Geographic photographer to recap on your Kimberley adventure and better understand its people and landscapes. National Geographic and Ponant share the deep belief that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and are inspired to act to protect it.

Alternatively, visit the photo gallery area where you can take a look at some of the professional photos that have been taken during your trip so far or venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below alongside one of our naturalists.

Today the Indonesian officials will perform the necessary clearance formalities. Our stopover at Pulau Meatimiarang is for technical clearance purposes only. There is no opportunity for guests to go ashore.

12 Wurrumiyanga, Tiwi Islands

The Tiwi Islands are part of the Northern Territory, Australia, 80 km to the north of Darwin where the Arafura Sea joins the Timor Sea. They comprise Melville Island, Bathurst Island, and nine smaller uninhabited islands. Indigenous Australians have occupied the Tiwi Islands for centuries, with creation stories suggesting they were present at least 7,000 years ago. Culturally distinct from the people of Arnhem land, most locals today still speak Tiwi as their first language and English as their second.

Today, you will discover Wurrumiyanga, a village where you can see the Pukamani (wooden funeral posts with geometric hand-carved patterns) and beautiful paintings on canvas, along with your Expedition Team, you will be welcomed ashore and given the opportunity to experience life in this remote Aboriginal community.

13 Pirlangimpi, Tiwi Islands

Pirlangimpi is situated on Melville Island in Australia’s Northern Territory. This historic Aboriginal Tiwi settlement can date its history back hundreds of years and continues to practice ancient traditions. Home to around 350 people, we will visit today with the local community and learn the role that traditional art continues to play in their culture. Art is an essential part of life on the island and for 25 years Munupi Arts have been a vital meeting place for the Tiwi people of the Pirlangimpi community for employment, cultural pride and well-being. Munupi Arts and Crafts Association allows local artists to proudly celebrate Tiwi culture through both traditional and contemporary mediums.

Venture ashore for the opportunity to visit the Munupi Art centre and experience life in this small remote Aboriginal community.

14 Darwin

Located in Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin is the capital city and most popular town in the territory. The tropical city is thriving with life where it is home to over 50 different cultures who live and work side by side. Enjoy the bustling waterfront on the Timor Sea and take the time to explore this rich and diverse city before your journey back home.

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