- 13 Day WA Coastal Cruise Itinerary
Kimberley Expeditions focuses on value for money for our guests. There is no better time than now to cruise the Kimberley. Come on board our 38 metre expedition vessel MV Reef Prince and find yourself cruising through towering gorges and tributaries, travelling ‘down river’ in our excursion tenders and enjoying waterfalls such as King Cascade or the King George Falls.
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Depart Geraldton – the Abrolhos Islands – Easter Group
Your Expedition begins this morning. Arriving mid morning within the Easter Group of the Abrolhos Island. Discovered and charted by the Portuguese in 1619 and aptly named. Abrolhos means – “Keep Your Eyes Open”. Comprising 3 main island groups. Many of the 122 coral islands were heavily mined for Guano over a hundred years from 1844. While they are still home for thousands of beautiful and rare sea birds, the islands are currently supporting a thriving cray fish industry.
Today we can snorkel or dive on the beautiful Anenomi lump – one of the best dive sites in WA. This afternoon we fish for today’s target species (and dinner) the Blue Bone Grouper. We’ll grab a mooring sheltered by a small island, which provides sanctuary for a colony of Australian Sea lions. As the sun sets we can visit their island and share a memorable moment on the beach talking to these delightful puppies.
Day 2 & 3
122 coral islands – the Abrolhos Islands – Wallabi Group
This morning, during a tasty breakfast, we steam north to the Wallabi Group of Islands. If the weathers on our side we hope to have snorkel or dive on the Batavia wreck. In 1629 this Dutch vessel on her maiden voyage hit Morning Reef. The events that followed make an unbelievable tail. After our discovery of the wreck site we can steam to turtle bay and walk on West Wallabi Island to the site of the earliest European structures on Australian soil. The soldiers of the Batavia built stone forts to protect themselves from the murderous Mutineers. Well take you to the site of these forts whilst looking for the Tammar Wallabi and pythons.
This evenings target species is the Pink Snapper. The skipper knows a drop off that’s usually home to a school of Pinkies.
Departing the Abrolhos at 1600 we enjoy our evening meal while we cruise thru the night to arrive at our next destination – Steep Point, within Shark Bay.
Steep Point & Dirk Hartog Islands within Shark Bay
This morning we arrive inside Steep Point for a snorkel or dive around Monkey Rock. Some may wish to stay on the surface and try their luck for a mackerel – todays target species.
We’ll cruise north up the inside of West Australias largest island. Dirk Hartog Islands is 80 kms long. The island was discovered on 25 October 1616 by Hartog in the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship Eendracht from Cape Town to Batavia (Jakarta). Hartog inscribed his name and the date on a pewter plate and nailed it to a post.
In 1697 the Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh landed on the island and discovered Hartog’s plate. He replaced it with one of his own, which included a copy of Hartog’s inscription, and took the original plate home to Amsterdam, where it is still kept in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Well anchor at the top end of the island just beside the site of Dirk Hartogs landing. We’ll enjoy our chefs delights here then perhaps a drink or two under the stars on the upper deck.
Dirk Hartog Island Cruise past the Cuvier cliffs
Departing Turtle Bay early we steam north past Bernier and Dorre Islands. Rising sea levels and wave erosion some 8 000 years ago left Bernier and Dorre Islands separated from the mainland and inaccessible for Aboriginal occupation.
Dirk Hartog’s voyage in 1616 represents the first known landing on the islands and in 1696 William de Vlamingh surveyed and named Dorre Island from the Dutch words ‘Dor’ meaning dry or barren.
The natural harbour of Cuvier is our next highlight. Sheltered within high rocky cliffs lies a salt port. Feel free to drag a lure as we continue our cruise past Coral Bay and into the evening.
Discover Exmouth then cruise to Serrurier
This morning we awake as we steam past the Norwest Cape lighthouse.
Today we have the option to steam down into the Exmouth Gulf and spend a few hours exploring Exmouth town.
In Exmouth we have two optional tours. Firstly to snorkel with whale sharks. An amazing opportunity but $ of course. Well get you the lastest group discount price closer to the time, but expect around $400 for the day.
Secondly a scenic town tour showing the best of Exmouth. Around $80 for 3 hrs.
Either way we’ll enjoy a very sheltered overnight anchorage at Serrurier Island – 40Nm northeast of Exmouth.
Mackeral Islands opening with Serrurier Island
An early mornings beach walk and swim on Serrurier or a fishing expedition for today target species the Estuarine Cod – the choice is yours. Serrurier offers some great beach combing and swimming.
Departing our little island paradise we sail through the industrial islands of the Pilbara making our way to the heavenly Montebello Islands by tonight. The fishermen will be keen to drag a lure while we head north east. Good chance of a charging Spanish mackerel for the patient.
Tonight we arrive and anchor within the shelter of 174 beautiful little islands. The crews favourite destination.
Day 8 & 9
Explore the Montebello Islands
Three days is just enough time to give us a great taste of the Monties. From the mangroves to the ornate crayfish and perfect little sandy bays.
These islands were significant for pearling from the end of the 19th century until recent years when the farms were disassembled.
The Montebello Islands were the site of three nuclear weapons tests by the British military: one in 1952, and two in 1956. A bay on Trimouille Island was the site of Operation Hurricane, the first ever atomic weapon tested by the United Kingdom, on 3 October 1952. In 1956 there were two further tests, on Alpha and Trimouille Islands respectively. The second of these, codenamed “G2”, included the largest nuclear explosion in Australia, with a yield of 98 kilotons (6 times that of Hiroshima). Fallout from the Montebello tests is reported to have contaminated areas of mainland Australia as far away as Queensland. We can explore the, now safe, site of these blasts.
Be it fishing, snorkeling, diving or just strolling the perfect isolated beaches the Monties are our playground for the next two days before we cruise to the Rowley Shoals.
Cruise to the Rowley Shoals
This afternoon we arrive at Clerk Reef. From within the Shelter of the Atoll we watch the sun set over a pristine and virtually untouched coral island. The top deck is definitely the place to be for yet another spectacular sunset whilst enjoying your choice of beverage before savoring a delicious meal.
Day 11 & 12
Snorkel, Fish or enjoy great beach combing and bird watching
Today you may wish to join a fishing expedition or beach comb the sandy cay within the atoll. Amazing diving and snorkelling at the Rowley shoals.
The Rowley Shoals are a chain of coral atolls on the edge of one of the widest continental shelves in the world. The three pear-shaped atolls have shallow lagoons inhabited by corals and abundant marine life. Each atoll covers an area of around 80 to 90 square kilometers.
The Shoals rise with nearly vertical sides from very deep water. Mermaid Reef, the most northerly, rises from about 440 meters, Clerke from 390 meters and Imperieuse from about 230 meters.
The Rowley Shoals is an opportunity to experience a diverse array of snorkelling and diving environments including lagoons, canyons, sheer vertical walls, high speed drifts and snorkelling. You can experience the swimming pool like condition 300 km’s from the nearest land.
The coral atolls of the Rowley Shoals are famed for their almost untouched coral gardens, giant clams and other shellfish. Giant potato cod wait to be hand fed and follow divers around, while colourful reef fish show little fear, and trevally, mackerel and tuna hover in schools.
Rowley Shoals are among the few reefs in the world affected by a high tidal range. The dramatic five meter tides pour massive volumes in and out of the coral framework and have created unearthly and enchanting coralscapes. The turquoise lagoons are filled with coral bommies brimming with exotic tropical fish and unbelievably colourful formations. Drift diving in and out of the atolls sweeps you through pristine reefs with, maori wrasse, barracuda, potato cod, morays turtles and many shark.
Our crew will fill the day for you with some unforgettable experiences. After our final afternoon at the Rowleys we begin our overnight steam towards the Pearling town of Broome.
We’ve shared some amazing experiences together. We’ve made some great new friends. Today we disembark in Broome at around noon. We will arrange transfers to your hotel
* All itineraries are indicative only. No two Kimberley cruises will be the same. Each cruise is tailored around the astounding 10+ metre tidal range, weather and sea conditions.