Explore Australia's iconic Kimberley Coast and cruise the azure waters of Indonesia visiting a remote, tropical island.
Explore Australia's iconic Kimberley Coast and cruise the azure waters of Indonesia visiting a remote, tropical island with pioneering small ship expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions aboard our luxurious, 140-guest expedition ship Heritage Adventurer.
Sailing from Darwin, we cruise north well off the typical tourist route to the powdery white sand shores and crystal-clear waters of tiny tropical outpost and snorkelling paradise Matakus Island. Returning south, we voyage to iconic Kimberley outback town Wyndham, gateway to incredible natural wonders and beauty including the otherworldly domes of the Bungle Bungle Range and one of the country's most significant waterways the Ord River.
Best explored by expedition vessel, cruising the Kimberley Coast allows an up close and intimate exploration and immersion of this rugged wilderness dwarfed by nature on an unfathomable scale. During our voyage we will discover the unforgettable spectacle of King George Falls cascading 80-metres down 2,000 million-year-old towering cliffs, the outdoor galleries showcasing the 60,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art of the Gwion Gwion and Wandjina people, World War II relics and early explorer history.
At Talbot Bay we will experience the power of the region's massive tidal movements and the world's only Horizontal Falls described by David Attenborough as "one of the greatest wonders of the natural world", and marvel as the world's largest inshore reef system at nearby Montgomery Reef 'rises' out of the water with the falling tide.
Hidden among jagged sandstone monoliths, the final resting place of the remarkably preserved skeleton of a WWII Douglas DC-3 Aircraft awaits discovery at Vansittart Bay. Enjoy astounding wildlife encounters and observations from the region's iconic saltwater crocodiles through to the birding paradise of the Lacepede Islands and one of the world's largest and most pristine mangrove systems along the Hunter River home to White-bellied Sea Eagle, Osprey, Red-headed Honeyeater, Blue-spotted Mudskippers, Fiddler Crabs and more.
Discover a tropical paradise and ancient landscapes like no other as we expedition cruise Indonesia and the untouched beauty of the Kimberley on this unforgettable adventure.
Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the 'Grande Dame of Polar Exploration' due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland's Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.
Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship iceclass rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.
Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship.
Main Deck Triple Cabin - Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Superior Triple Cabin - Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Deck 4 Superior Cabin - Superior Cabins on Deck 4 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Deck 5 Superior Cabin - Superior Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Main Deck Single Cabin - Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Superior Single Cabin - Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, comfortable lounge, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Worsley Suite Cabin - Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaise-style lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Heritage Suite Cabin - Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table and chairs and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub and shower, large writing desk, floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
Two dates to choose from:
Departs Darwin 31 July 2023 arrives Broome 10 August 2023
Departs Darwin 20 August 2023 arrives Broome 30 August 2023
Call our experiences travel team today to book this amazing expedition on 1300 414 198, we can also assist with flights and additional accommodation.
*Please note that prices are subject to availability at time of booking and may change without notice.
Day 1: Darwin, Australia
Join Heritage Adventurer this afternoon at Darwin Port, Australia’s ‘northern gateway’ famous for its glittering harbour, World War II history and enviable tropical outdoor lifestyle. The captain and expedition team will be waiting to greet you on arrival and show you to your cabin. You will have time to settle in and familiarise yourself with the ship; we will also take the opportunity to introduce you to your expedition team and our voyage plans. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as we sail north for Matakus Island.
Day 2: At Sea
Settle into life on board Heritage Adventurer, spend time poolside, in the bridge, on the Observation Deck or in the Observation Lounge looking for cetaceans and sea birds, and prepare for our upcoming adventures by joining lectures with our specialist expedition team.
Day 3: Matakus Island, Indonesia
Discover paradise north of Darwin and well off the typical tourist route as we explore the powdery white sand shores and crystalclear waters of tiny tropical outpost Matakus Island. One of the smallest islands in the Tanimbar Archipelago, a group of about 65 islands separating the Banda and Arafura Seas, Matakus Island is little more than 3.2 kilometres in length and less than 2 kilometres wide. Despite its diminutive stature, the island’s proximity to chief town of the Tanimbars Saumlaki offers an authentic expedition experience with just 100 locals calling Matakus home. Fringed by unspoiled beaches and reefs home to abundant coral gardens and teeming with marine life, Matakus is a snorkellers paradise, while birders can look out for the Tanimbar Starling, poorly known Moluccan or Lesser Masked Owl, Fawn-breasted thrush and Blue-streaked Lory during our time here.
Day 4: At Sea
Sailing south towards Wyndham, there is time to relax by the pool, join the naturalists on deck and enjoy presentations as we prepare for our arrival tomorrow.
Day 5: Wyndham, Australia
Tucked beneath the Bastion Range and at the mouth of the King, Pentecost, Durack, Forest and Ord Rivers in the Cambridge Gulf, iconic Kimberley outback town Wyndham is Western Australia’s most northerly settlement. Built on the 1886 Halls Creek gold rush and surrounded by spectacular landforms, rivers and wetlands, Wyndham’s claims to fame include establishing the first Royal Flying Doctor Service and being the gateway to natural wonders the Bungle Bungle Range and one of the country’s most significant waterways the Ord River which we may have the option to explore. One of Australia’s most striking and surreal landscapes, the world famous and World Heritage listed ancient chasms, gorges and 350 million-year-old standstone Bungle Bungle Range were shaped by 20 million years of weathering. These now famous orange and black banded beehive shapes rising eerily out of the dusty savannah plains have been known to the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years, but were only brought to the world’s attention in 1983. The majesty of Ord River, a designated RAMSAR wetland of International Significance and wildlife haven, is 650-kilometres long and flanked with lush wilderness and rugged cliffs home to Freshwater Crocodiles, Flying Foxes, Brahminy Kites, Short-eared Rock Wallabies, Black-necked Crane/Jabiru, Osprey, Comb-crested Jacana and more.
Day 6: King George River
Our approach to King George River gorge is not to be missed and best experienced out on the Observation Deck as the towering 2,000 million-year-old Warton sandstone cliffs dwarf our vessel. Navigating this scenic stretch of water by Zodiac there’s much to take in passing the ever-changing eroded rockfaces as we cruise deeper into the gorge marvelling at the untouched beauty of the 1,000 tiny islands, islets, waterfalls and secluded beaches that make up the Buccaneer Archipelago as we explore one of the last true wilderness coasts. As we reach the end of the gorge nothing will prepare you for the grand scale spectacle of the Kimberley’s highest single-drop falls as the King George River plummets 80 metres over the edge of towering of ancient red sandstone cliffs into tidal waters. Undoubtedly one of Australia’s most awe- inspiring natural wonders, the twin falls known as male and female Rainbow Serpents or Wunkurr by the Balanggarra people, are fed by wet season rains and rightly hold a special place in indigenous lore. While here we will learn about how this natural wonder was created, enjoy a closer look and, for the more energetic, there is an option to a hike to the top where your effort is rewarded with a swim in a freshwater rockpool.
Day 7: Vansittart Bay
Beautiful islands, pristine white beaches lapped by turquoise waters, secluded coves and stunning scenery abound in Vansittart Bay which is also the location of a historical World War II site and incredible ancient Aboriginal rock art. Named after the Chancellor of Exchequer by early explorer Rear Admiral Philip Parker King, this striking, naturally protected bay is framed by scattered jagged sandstone monoliths and the final resting place of the preserved skeleton of a WWII Douglas DC-3 Aircraft which crash landed onto the saltpan after running out of fuel during a mercy mission to evacuate four Dutch citizens from Java. On Jar Island, the location of ancient outdoor Aboriginal Gwion Gwion art galleries set among fascinating caves and rock formations, much of the rock art tucked under ledges and featured on cave walls is estimated to be up to 40,000 years old and remarkably preserved, protected from the elements. The island is also home to some interesting flora and fauna including the Golden-backed Tree Rat, echidnas and birdlife. Discover a bounty of anthropological and historical wonders in Vansittart Bay.
Day 8: Hunter River
During our explorations of the Hunter River today it will quickly become apparent why this winding, 30-kilometre stretch of water is widely considered to be one of the highlights of the Kimberley coast. Tucked into the north-east corner of Prince Frederick Harbour, an enormous bay which puts the Kimberley’s epic scale into perspective, this scenic wonderland is dotted with islands and flanked with wildlife-filled mangrove-lined rivers, savanna woodlands and patches of lush monsoon rainforest, courtesy of receiving the lion’s share of the region’s rainfall, and soaring red cliffs. At the river’s mouth the unrestrained grandeur of 200-metre-high sandstone escarpment Kampamantiya keeps silent sentry, welcoming us into this otherworldly realm we will be exploring today. Fed by two 90-metre waterfalls, the Hunter and the Donkin, Hunter River is home to one of the largest and most pristine mangrove systems in the world. Zodiac cruising the coastline could see us spotting diverse wildlife including White-bellied Sea Eagles, Osprey, Great-billed Heron, Eastern Reef Egrets, Red-headed Honeyeater, Blue-spotted Mudskippers, Fiddler Crabs and more, as well as the iconic saltwater crocodile, of which the Hunter River boasts the Kimberley’s largest population. While here we will also explore Naturalist Island/Wunumpurramarra and its remarkable, 300-metre-long beach strewn with marine snail shells.
Day 9: Collier Bay
Located at the eastern end of the Buccaneer Archipelago, and only accessible by sea, today we explore the ancient land- and sea-scapes of Collier Bay and its astounding natural attractions. At Talbot Bay we will experience the power of the region’s massive tidal movements which have shaped the landscape, most famously at the world’s only Horizontal Falls. Here we will witness what David Attenborough described as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world” as trapped water in an inland bay thunders between two narrow chasms as the tide drops more than 14 metres on the other side creating spectacular falls, whirlpools and boiling white water. At nearby Cyclone Creek we will explore the twisted geological folds of the ancient seabed and hope to see the inquisitive Tawny Nurse Sharks among the incredible marine life on display, while another tidal spectacle awaits at Montgomery Reef at the bay’s centre. The world’s largest inshore reef system, we hope to capture the magic of observing this enormous reef ‘rise’ from the ocean as the tide falls creating torrents and waterfalls up to 3-metres high, and displacing marine life igniting a feeding frenzy as predators above and below the water descend. At Freshwater Cove shoreline explorations of the caves and grottos reveal a multitude of ancient rock art galleries.
Day 10: Lacepede Islands
Today we explore the incredible wildlife reserve and birding paradise of the Lacepede Islands. Designated a nature reserve in 1970 and rat free since 1986, this collection of four unassuming islands off the north-west coast of Western Australia are recognised as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International with what is thought to be the largest breeding colony of Brown Boobies, up to 18,000 pairs, in the world. These small, low-lying spits of coarse sand and coral rubble atop a platform reef are also the state’s most important breeding grounds for Green Turtles. Other wildlife which call these remarkable islands home include Roseate Terns, Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Bridled, Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Common Noddies, Lesser Frigatebirds, and Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, while Grey-tailed Tattlers, Whimbrels, Bar-Tailed Godwits, Ruddy Turnstones and Great Knots are among the visiting vagrant species. While landings are not permitted, we plan to explore the islands’ incredible shores by Zodiac and, if lucky, we may also see some Humpback Whales which frequent this coastline during their northern migration in winter and early spring.
Day 11: Broome
This morning we arrive in Broome, a former wild frontier now relaxed tropical beach resort and gateway to the Kimberley. After breakfast there will be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to Broome International Airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Broome, we do not recommend booking flights departing before 1300 hours. During our voyage circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Please note: Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.