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Wilderness Adventures

Arnhem Land and Kimberley Coast Cruise

Trip Code: GKCSKA18R
  • Expedition Cruise
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Trip Highlights
  • Map & Itinerary
  • Travel & Accommodation

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.

Spectacular Horizontal Falls

Board a high powered fast-boat to ride the massive tide at the spectacular Horizontal Falls.

Your Vacation Includes

  • All-inclusive sightseeing in up to 22 destinations
  • 17 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 on your cruise
  • Airport transfers, port charges, sightseeing and park fees

Map & Itinerary

Australia Map GKCSKA18R 2019

Darwin to Broome

Reverse Trip

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: Seventeen 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

Arrive back in Darwin and spend the day at leisure, or relax on board as you prepare to explore the Kimberley Coast.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Get acquainted with your expedition ship as you enjoy informative lectures from your Expedition Team on board while spending a day at sea en route to the spectacular Kimberley Coast. Learn about the fascinating ecology of Australia’s most remote coastline, one that is dominated by some of the most dramatic tidal conditions on Earth. Hear stories of the rich World War II history and get prepared to discover ancient Indigenous culture that dates back for tens of thousands of years. Take time to relax as you feel the pleasant pristine air of the Timor Sea fill your lungs and then take advantage of the Open Bridge policy for the chance to make acquaintances with your ship’s Captain. After dinner tonight, make your way to the Lounge for the evening entertainment.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

While exploring the King George River, the highlight is sure to be King George Falls, plunging 80 metres over a magnificent sandstone cliff. Get up close to this spectacular cascade and learn how it turns to a raging torrent during the monsoonal wet season.


Wake up this morning on the Kimberley Coast as your ship cruises into Koolama Bay. Once known as Cape Ruilhieres, hear how this spectacular harbour was renamed following the Japanese bombing of the MV Koolama in 1942, while carrying 91 passengers, 89 crew and a cargo of war supplies destined for the Australian Army at Wyndham. Arrive at King George River and board your ship’s fleet of Zodiacs with an Expedition Team member. Meander through the gorge system, travelling 12 kilometres upstream to discover hidden mangrove-fringed coves and 100-metre-high red-cliffs.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Join your Expedition Team to take an informative walk across salt flats at Vansittart Bay to view the wreckage of a US Air Force C-53 which crash landed on the beach during World War II. The C-53 is a modified civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner, an aircraft used extensively during World War II by the Allies. Later, visit Jar Island and see examples of the Kimberley’s mysterious Gwion Gwion (formerly Bradshaw) paintings, dating back some 20,000 years. These stylised figures give impressions of movement, depicting people involved in ritual dancing, complete with elaborate clothing including tassels hanging from the arms and waist. The style of these paintings are very distinctive.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

Bigge Island is well known for its Indigenous rock art, which was created by the Wunambal people.


Discover Bigge Island today, off the coast of the Kimberley, approximately six kilometres from the mainland. In caves throughout the island, see examples of first contact art depicting European tall ships dating from the 15th to 18th century. Learn how the mysterious Wandjina figures are unique to the Kimberley, to the Wunambal, the Wandjina is the supreme Creator and a symbol of fertility and rain who comes to the Kimberley every wet season to bring life. This belief in a single Creator or God is unique to the Kimberley. Many of the Wandjina art sites are still repainted each year as a tradition which reconnects the Wunambal to their Creator. Having been repainted annually for the past 5,000 years, this is thought to be the oldest continuous sacred painting tradition on the planet.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Arrive at Prince Frederick Harbour, home to soaring red cliffs and mangroves. With its extreme tides and pristine ecosystems, there is an incredible range of wildlife to discover here including saltwater crocodiles, mudskippers and a plethora of bird species including kingfishers, egrets, herons and the majestic white-bellied sea eagles. Board a Zodiac with your Expedition Team to explore the Hunter River, then visit Naturalist Island where an optional helicopter flight to Mitchell Falls departs (own expense, guests are advised to pre-register interest).

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Visit Careening Bay, the home of the historic Mermaid Boab Tree, where in 1820 Lieutenant Phillip Parker King used the area’s massive tides to beach his damaged ship, the HMC Mermaid to repair a leak in the ship’s hull. One of King’s crew members carved the ship’s name in a Boab Tree that overlooks the bay, and today you have the chance to see for yourself a living piece of Australian colonial history. Continue on to explore Prince Regent Nature Reserve, a protected area that is only accessible by boat and is recognised as a national biodiversity hotspot. Spend time in the picturesque area of Hanover Bay and perhps visit St George Basin by Zodiac to see saltwater crocodiles and numerous marine creatures if tidal conditions permit.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

Embark on an unforgettable adventure today as the magnificent Montgomery Reef ‘rises’ out of the ocean as the tidal waters cascade down into the surrounding channels. Board your Zodiac to experience this natural phenomenon up close and discover the reef’s diverse marine life. Keep an eye out for unique bird life and turtles who may pop their heads up from time to time.


Cruise through Doubtful Bay, an amazing location for whale watching during the season. Later, travel ashore at Raft Point to visit an ancient Wandjina rock art site, gaining a unique perspective from a local Indigenous guide (when available). The Wandjina is known as a living art tradition as these stunning figures are ritually repainted, however scientific estimates show that the original depictions date as far back as 5,000 years. These figures, identified as having a distinctive plate-like face with no mouth, are said to show a powerful creator being.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE HORIZONTAL FALLS

Subject to tidal conditions, embark on a ride through Horizontal Falls on a high-powered fast boat.


Cruise through to Talbot Bay, known for its massive 12-metre tides that create an amazing spectacle, the incredible Horizontal Falls. David Attenborough described these impressive tides as “one the greatest natural wonders of the world.” Later, take a Zodiac cruise through Cyclone Creek to see dramatic folding in the rock formations and keep an eye out for native birdlife and saltwater crocodiles.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Arrive in the spectacular Buccaneer Archipelago, home to more than 800 islands. Cruise to Adele Island and board your ship’s Zodiacs with your Expedition Team to explore this remote and isolated island. The island is classified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area for sea birds and waders and is an important habitat for breeding frigatebirds, brown boobies, cormorants and Australian pelicans. The island is surrounded by Adele Reef which is home to soft and hard corals and a large variety of marine life including reef sharks and stingrays. Savour a Farewell Dinner this evening with new-found friends as you sail towards the historic pearling town of Broome.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast on board this morning, the time has come to bid farewell to your wonderful crew as you disembark your ship for the last time. Enjoy a short Broome orientation tour before being transferred to Broome airport later this afternoon.

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.

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Finest Onboard Dining

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Small Ship Expedition Cruising

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

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