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Wilderness Adventures

Arnhem Land Expedition Cruise

Darwin Return
Trip Code: GKCSA8
  • Trip Highlights
  • Map & Itinerary
  • Travel & Accommodation
  • Pricing & Availability

Trip Highlights

Welcome to Country

Take part in a stirring Welcome to Country ceremony at the East Arnhem Indigenous community of Yirrkala.

Soar high over Arafura Swamp

See millions of breeding waterbirds during an included scenic helicopter flight over Arafura Swamp.

Friendly Tiwi Smiles

Be greeted on Bathurst Island by the friendly Tiwi Islanders, where the glowing smiles are infectious.

Your Vacation Includes

  • All-inclusive sightseeing in 6 destinations
  • Seven-night cruise aboard the elegant MS Caledonian Sky
  • Expert 10-member APT Expedition Team and Leader
  • Daily excursions on Zodiac vessels
  • All meals and all-day beverages
  • Airport transfers, port charges, sightseeing and park fees

Map & Itinerary

Save As Pdf
Australia Map GKCSA8 2019

Darwin Return

Designed Exclusively for APT guests
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

These once-in-a-lifetime moments allow you to experience an unforgettable world of exclusive moments, incredible cultures and charming surprises

Be met at Darwin airport and transfer to your expedition ship. This evening, get to know your fellow guests as you enjoy a Welcome Dinner and briefing with your Expedition Team. Set sail as you learn how Arnhem Land was named after a Dutch ship of the same name, which explored this coastline in 1623.

Stay: Seven Nights, MS Caledonian Sky

Daily :
  • Dinner

This morning visit Port Essington, an inlet on the Cobourg Peninsula. Arrive in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park to see pristine beaches, lush rainforests, mangrove swamps and coral reefs. Follow the Port Essington coastline to Victoria Settlement, a British outpost established in 1838 to strengthen their claim over the north of Australia. Your guide will lead a captivating walk through the settlement, recounting the hardship the troopers faced in such a harsh environment. Later, choose between an exploration of the Victoria Settlement hospital camp, complete with stunning views over the Arafura Sea, or embark on a fascinating walk through the Eastern Paperbark Wetland. After lunch, board a Zodiac with your Expedition Team to cruise along Caiman Creek.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Arrive at the Wessel Islands and join your Expedition Team aboard the ship’s Zodiacs to traverse the Hole in the Wall, a cleft in the rock which passes through the island chain from north to south. Learn how these islands were an important site for the Macassan trepang (sea cucumber) traders who visited the Arnhem Land coast between the 16th and early 20th centuries. Signs of pre-European contact between the Indigenous peoples of the area and these fishing fleets from Sulawesi are evident in the language, stories, art, tools and cuisine of the Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land. Interestingly, the Yolngu are the only Indigenous Australians to have a word for money, ‘rupiah’ which is also the currency in Indonesia. There are also depictions of prau, the sailing ships of the Macassan, in rock art which as been dated to the 15th century. In return for access to trepang fishing areas, the Yolngu received goods such as cloth, tobacco, rice and metal tools including knives. The Macassans continued visiting up until 1907.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

Arrive at Yirrkala on the Gove Peninsula and be greeted with a Welcome to Country smoking ceremony and dance performance. Tour the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, then participate in a friendly spear throwing competition, or master the art of basket weaving before reboarding your ship.


Arrive at the Gove Peninsula, a place where the first British contact with the Yolngu came about in 1803 as Matthew Flinders made his circumnavigation of Australia. Flinders also sighted the massive fleet of Macassan fishing ships, holding some 1,000 fishermen, off present-day Nhulunbuy. This must have been a startling discovery for the explorer, given the British settlement in Sydney Cove numbered little more than 6,000 people.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

Today is sure to be a highlight of your journey as you soar high above the impressive 700 square kilometre Arafura Swamp on a spectacular helicopter scenic flight. This is the best way to experience the wetland, a habitat to hundreds of bird species including brolga, spoonbill and magpie geese. It is also said to have the largest population of crocodiles on the planet.


Your Indigenous art experience continues today at Galwin’ku, located at the southern tip of Elcho Island, where you will be greeted with a traditional ceremony. Visit Indigenous-owned art centres to witness the creation of stunning pieces of local craft including bark paintings, woven pandanus baskets, carvings and shell jewellery. Return to your ship for a delicious dinner.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

After breakfast, your Zodiac delivers you to South Goulburn Island, where you’ll take part in a traditional Welcome to Country ceremony performed by the friendly locals.


While in the Goulburn Islands you may choose to visit a local arts centre, tour the island and stop to take in the natural landscapes, or listen to stories of local life and harvesting of sea cucumbers.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

Wake to the serenity of the Tiwi Islands, where you’ll disembark to explore the first of the two islands, Bathurst Island.


Enjoy a locally guided tour through the community of Nguiu. Spend time with the locals while they work on their weaving and painting, enjoying some damper and billy tea as you watch. Visit the Patakijiyali Museum to see traditional art that depicts Tiwi Dreamtime stories. Then, enjoy a demonstration of totem dances and a smoking ceremony. Later, enjoy a Zodiac cruise through the intricate creek systems of Melville Island (subject to weather and tidal conditions).

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast, disembark your ship and be transferred to Darwin airport or your Darwin hotel.

Daily :
  • Breakfast

Travel & Accommodation

Couple relaxing in their stateroom, Hebridien Sky
Spacious Suites on Sky Ships

With the largest lead-in cabins in the region for ships of this size, welcome to APT Small Ship Expedition Cruising.

View Ship Details
Finest Onboard Dining

From room service to elegant outdoor dining, you’ll be amazed by the culinary options aboard an APT Expedition Cruise.

Small Ship Expedition Cruising

Explore by Zodiac with your Expedition Team to get closer to the sights on an APT Small Ship Expedition Cruise.

As a family-owned company with origins that date back to 1927, we know how to make a great holiday extraordinary

Price & Availability

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