Cruising the Kimberley
Explore the ancient and spectacular Kimberley coastline on a cruise.
One of the last great wilderness areas left on earth, WA’s Kimberley region is a vast, empty, mysterious land that scientists are only just beginning to understand.
Formed in ancient times after modern-day Australia separated from the Gondwana supercontinent, it has been flooded by melting ice caps, shaped by eons of geological upheaval and scarred by monsoonal rains.
Then and now, water has played a significant role in its formation. Rising sea levels drowned its coastal shorelines and swamped its river valleys. Massive tides that are among the world’s largest now ebb and flow with alarming power and speed, dictating cruise itineraries on a daily basis.
Exploring this region from the water allows you to experience many natural wonders you would otherwise miss, from its vast array of marine life, to offshore islands and fascinating mangrove eco-systems.
Sir David Attenborough listed the phenomena as “Australia’s most unusual natural wonder” and it’s no wonder. Every second, one million litres of water floods through two narrow gorges in the McLarty Range. Called a tidal pinch, it has also been compared to an ocean trying to fit through a letterbox.
Driven by the immense tides, Montgomery Reef appears to rise from the ocean as the water recedes around it, creating countless foaming waterfalls – some so voluminous that you could raft down them. The coral reef covers some 300 square kilometres.
Maritime explorers from 200 years ago inscribed their visit into the trunk of a bloated boab tree that’s many years older. Known as the Mermaid Tree, it was named after the ship that was captained by Lieutenant Phillip Parker King and marooned here while the crew undertook repairs in 1820.
It’s a long haul to get here, 20km up the Prince Regent River. But it’s a pleasant journey with plenty to see along the way, culminating in a spectacular waterfall tumbling gently over rock ledges into waters where crocodiles loiter.
King George Falls
Access Western Australia’s highest twin waterfalls via a stunning river gorge that doubles as a protective anchorage for yachties. It’s most impressive immediately after the wet season, when twin cascades plunge from a sandstone plateau around 80m high. Even in September, when the falls are reduced to a trickle, this is still one mighty impressive gorge.
The Gwion Gwion or Bradshaw Indigenous rock art style found in caves or sheltered from the elements under rock overhangs on Jar Island depict dancing and hunting figures from as far back as 30,000 years ago. The artworks illustrated stories that could be passed on through subsequent generations.
- Story Mark Daffey
- Photos Mark Daffey & GETTY IMAGES
- Mark Daffey travelled courtesy of Coral Expeditions.
Discover epic landscapes and cruise the remote Kimberley coastline aboard an intimate expedition ship with APT. Visit RACQ Travel or contact a travel consultant on 1300 096 166