December 10, 2007

The Kimberley Journey of Discovery

The rugged and foreboding Kimberley region of north-western Australia has a fearsome reputation for its unforgiving environment and ability to draw adventure travellers from all over the world.

The sheer cliffs, raging tides, carnivorous wildlife and inhospitable landscape effectively deterred the early Dutch mariners from further exploration, but the region also holds what are possibly the world’s oldest known cave paintings – the Bradshaws.

Overland travel in the Kimberley region between Broome and Wyndham is almost impossible and can only be done by experienced drivers in well-equipped vehicles. These factors have very effectively isolated the monumental rock formations and glorious ancient stone vistas from modern human interference, but thanks to the latest wave of sophisticated luxury expedition vessels, the Kimberley is rated one of Australia’s “must see” travel destinations.

A secret well kept by expert fisherman, pearl divers and missionaries for most of the 20th century, the Kimberley is finally revealing its true wonder to the outside world.

Between May and September every year, a small fleet of expedition and adventure vessels conduct enriching, naturalist-escorted tours throughout the labyrinth of estuaries, waterways and coves. Teeming birdlife, mysterious archeological sites, awe inspiring landscapes and natural phenomenon witnessed by very few Europeans are just part of the seemingly irresistible allure of the Kimberley.

Some of the highlights include:
  • The Bradshaw Paintings: Believed by some researchers to be as old as 50,000 years, these intricate and detailed portraits depict a race of people long forgotten in the Kimberley. They contrast in style and design to the better known Wandjina paintings and have sparked many great debates amongst experts.
  • The Horizontal Waterfalls: Described by David Attenborough as "one of the greatest natural wonders of the world", this highly unusual phenomenon occurs as the huge, 10 metre tides ebb and flow between a tiny gap in the ridge within Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago.
  • Mitchell Falls. These superb cascades and their marvellous namesake plateau are perhaps the crowning glory of the scenic attractions of the Kimberley. Scenic flights are the best way to view these falls and are at their best early in the season.
  • Broome. This isolated and remote township has come back to life as a bustling tourist centre and gateway to the great Kimberley region. From the iconic camel rides to pearl tours, the town is developing a world class tourism profile, but retains its rugged, unique character.
Among the ships conducting cruises in the region, one stands out above the rest. MV Orion, is quite simply, the largest, most luxurious, well-appointed expedition vessel operating in the region. have an exclusive charter and custom itinerary that sets new standards even for this prestigious vessel.

Winner of the Cruise Passenger Magazine Reader's Choice Award, the MV Orion carries just 100 passengers in superbly appointed staterooms more akin to a luxury hotel than a small passenger ship. Exquisite dining and leisure facilities give MV Orion an unfair advantage over other vessels in the region.’s 10-night, 5-star itinerary includes all meals, transfers, luxury pre-cruise accommodation at Cable Beach Resort and beach camel ride, wine and beer with meals and even a choice of high value shore excursion normally priced in the hundreds of dollars. Choose a fabulous scenic flight over the World Heritage Bungle Bungles or a helicopter picnic at glorious Mitchell Falls – it’s up to you.

Prime staterooms for this May 2009 departure are almost sold out and the earlybird discounts close at the end of October if not sold out beforehand. Please act quickly as the Kimberley season is a regular sell-out.

Call on Freecall 1300 369 848, or better still, book on-line at

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