Trips to the Montgomery Reef and Doubtful Bay are a must-do, particularly if you love creatures of the sea and a little bit of magic…
Montgomery Reef or Lalang-garram is in the Camden Sound Marine Park and is south of Yawajaba Island. It was named after Andrew Montgomery who served as a surgeon onboard Lieutenant Phillip Parker King’s cutter The Mermaid. It is also the largest inshore reef in Australia.
Timed correctly, you will arrive at the Montgomery Reef and be unable to see it! Instead, you’ll look out to what you think is infinite ocean and wonder if your captain has taken a wrong course. However, when the Kimberley tidal movement does start to flow out, the reef of approximately 300m² will magically appear before your eyes. Where there was once ocean – lagoons, islets and a mangrove island will stand.
Adding to the spectacle is the way the unusual tidal movement creates whitewater rapids and cascades. With the biggest tides, the sea level can drop a staggering 10m. Within the shallow pools, you will easily spot the animals who call it home. Six threatened species of marine turtle, dugongs, saltwater crocodiles, manta rays, black tipped reef sharks live on the reef as well as it being the Southern Hemisphere’s most important humpback whale nursery.
Over to the east of the reef, you will see High Cliffy Island. It is here that the Yawijibaya people lived for over 7,000 years. This tribe was notorious as being superior in strength and stature (some were reported to be over 2m) perhaps due to surviving in an environment where they adapted to tides, extreme weather and having to hunt on the reef for food. However, in the 1930s the entire tribe, of over 300 people, vanished. Not one single person remained and up to this day nobody is certain how or why they disappeared. Magic at hand again?
Keen anglers will have no uncertainty about heading to Doubtful Bay. Deemed an excellent spot for fishing, in particular for Barramundi, the area is also an important nursery site for Crocodylus Porosus (Saltwater Crocodile), fish and crustaceans.
Visitors to Doubtful Bay often hike up to the top of the island to take in the view but also to visit an Aboriginal art gallery nestled up on the high side of Raft Point. Here you will find a great collection of Bradshaw Art.
If fishing and hiking are not for you, there are waterfalls and watering holes in which to relax and unwind. These present the perfect opportunity to marvel at the Kimberley’s fascinating tricks!
I’m an expert in small ship cruising in the Kimberley and have completed four cruises on different vessels along this spectacular coastline. With a family I now work part-time so if you would like to have a chat with me about Kimberley cruising at a time that suits you book in a call here and I will call you then.
Cruises in the Kimberley are not ‘one size fits all’ scenario; there are different ships and itineraries each offering their own special elements. If you would like some general information to start your research then download my free guide to Kimberley cruising here. I have also written some really interesting blogs (if I do say so myself) click here to have read.