Kimberley Explorer: Expedition Cruising Australia’s Iconic Kimberley Coast

Kimberley Explorer: Expedition Cruising Australia’s Iconic Kimberley Coast

From AUD $8,950


Join pioneering small ship expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions on a thrilling in- depth exploration of Australia’s world-famous Kimberley Coast, one of the world’s most pristine and untouched wildernesses, aboard our luxurious, 140-guest expedition ship Heritage Adventurer.

Forged by nature and spanning more than 400,000 square kilometres, Western Australia’s wild and remote coastline marries a treasure trove of towering, fractured iron-tinged red cliffs, torrential waterfalls, azure waters, hidden coves and caves, secluded white sand beaches, magnificent reefs and rare and endangered wildlife with indigenous customs and connections to an ancient land, and rich history.

Best explored by expedition vessel, our Kimberley cruises allow an up close and intimate exploration and immersion of this rugged wilderness dwarfed by nature on an unfathomable scale. Highlights of our voyage include the unforgettable spectacle of King George Falls cascading 80-metres down 2,000 million-year-old towering cliffs, the outdoor galleries showcasing the 60,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art of the Gwion Gwion and Wandjina people, World War II relics and early explorer history.

At Talbot Bay we will experience the power of the region’s massive tidal movements and the world’s only Horizontal Falls described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world”, and marvel as the world’s largest inshore reef system at nearby Montgomery Reef ‘rises’ out of the water with the falling tide.

Hidden among jagged sandstone monoliths, the final resting place of the remarkably preserved skeleton of a WWII Douglas DC-3 Aircraft awaits discovery at Vansittart Bay, while a glimpse into Australian colonial history can be found carved into the trunk of the centuries old Mermaid Boab Tree at Careening Bay. Enjoy astounding wildlife encounters and observations from the region’s iconic saltwater crocodiles through to the birding paradise of the Lacepede Islands and one of the world’s largest and most pristine mangrove systems along the Hunter River home to White-bellied Sea Eagle, Osprey, Red-headed Honeyeater, Blue- spotted Mudskippers, Fiddler Crabs and more.

Discover an ancient landscape like no other as we expedition cruise the untouched beauty of Australia’s iconic Kimberley and experience the truly epic scale of this magnificent region by ship and Zodiac on this unforgettable Australian adventure.

Trip Name
Kimberley Explorer: Expedition Cruising Australia's Iconic Kimberley Coast
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1: Darwin
Join Heritage Adventurer this afternoon at Darwin Port, Australia’s ‘northern gateway’ famous for its glittering harbour, World War II history and enviable tropical outdoor lifestyle. The captain and expedition team will be waiting to greet you on arrival and show you to your cabin. You will have time to settle in and familiarise yourself with the ship; we will also take the opportunity to introduce you to your expedition team and our voyage plans. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as we set sail for the Kimberley. Note: some voyages operate in reverse.
Day 2 - Day 2: At Sea
Settle into life on board Heritage Adventurer, spend time poolside, in the bridge, on the Observation Deck or in the Observation Lounge looking for cetaceans and sea birds, and prepare for our upcoming adventures by joining lectures with our specialist expedition team.
Day 3 - Day 3: King George River
Our approach to King George River gorge is not to be missed and best experienced out on the Observation Deck as the towering 2,000 million-year-old Warton sandstone cliffs dwarf our vessel. Navigating this scenic stretch of water by Zodiac there’s much to take in passing the ever-changing eroded rockfaces as we cruise deeper into the gorge marvelling at the untouched beauty of the 1,000 tiny islands, islets, waterfalls and secluded beaches that make up the Buccaneer Archipelago as we explore one of the last true wilderness coasts. As we reach the end of the gorge nothing will prepare you for the grand scale spectacle of the Kimberley’s highest single-drop falls as the King George River plummets 80 metres over the edge of towering of ancient red sandstone cliffs into tidal waters. Undoubtedly one of Australia’s most awe- inspiring natural wonders, the twin falls known as male and female Rainbow Serpents or Wunkurr by the Balanggarra people, are fed by wet season rains and rightly hold a special place in indigenous lore. While here we will learn about how this natural wonder was created, enjoy a closer look and, for the more energetic, there is an option to a hike to the top where your effort is rewarded with a swim in a freshwater rockpool.
Day 4 - Day 4: Vansittart Bay
Beautiful islands, pristine white beaches lapped by turquoise waters, secluded coves and stunning scenery abound in Vansittart Bay which is also the location of a historical World War II site and incredible ancient Aboriginal rock art. Named after the Chancellor of Exchequer by early explorer Rear Admiral Philip Parker King, this striking, naturally protected bay is framed by scattered jagged sandstone monoliths and the final resting place of the preserved skeleton of a WWII Douglas DC-3 Aircraft which crash landed onto the saltpan after running out of fuel during a mercy mission to evacuate four Dutch citizens from Java. On Jar Island, the location of ancient outdoor Aboriginal Gwion Gwion art galleries set among fascinating caves and rock formations, much of the rock art tucked under ledges and featured on cave walls is estimated to be up to 40,000 years old and remarkably preserved, protected from the elements. The island is also home to some interesting flora and fauna including the Golden-backed Tree Rat, echidnas and birdlife. Discover a bounty of anthropological and historical wonders in Vansittart Bay.
Day 5 - Day 5: Swift Bay
Our intrepid Kimberley voyage sees us today navigating the scattered islands, known as the Bonaparte Archipelago, which stretching almost 150 kilometres along the dramatic coastline. Our destination today is the remote and unspoiled inlet of T-shaped Swift Bay with its sandy beaches, ominous sea-worn caves and mangroves. A Zodiac cruise here allows a closer look at this incredible coastline where we will also likely observe salt water crocodiles. Experience the granduer of Mitchell Falls from the air on a thrilling scenic heli-flight (optional extra), while on land a number of rock art galleries display the unique Wandjina and Gwion Gwion styles on a large scale, denoting the cultural importance of the area.
Day 6 - Day 6: Hunter River
During our explorations of theHunter River today it will quickly become apparent why this winding, 30-kilometre stretch of water is widely considered to be one of the highlights of the Kimberley coast. Tucked into the north-east corner of Prince Frederick Harbour, an enormous bay which puts the Kimberley’s epic scale into perspective, this scenic wonderland is dotted with islands and flanked with wildlife-filled mangrove-lined rivers, savanna woodlands and patches of lush monsoon rainforest, courtesy of receiving the lion’s share of the region’s rainfall, and soaring red cliffs. At the river’s mouth the unrestrained grandeur of 200-metre-high sandstone escarpment Kampamantiya keeps silent sentry, welcoming us into this otherworldly realm we will be exploring today. Fed by two 90-metre waterfalls, the Hunter and the Donkin, Hunter River is home to one of the largest and most pristine mangrove systems in the world. Zodiac cruising the coastline could see us spotting diverse wildlife including White-bellied Sea Eagles, Osprey, Great-billed Heron, Eastern Reef Egrets, Red-headed Honeyeater, Blue-spotted Mudskippers, Fiddler Crabs and more, as well as the iconic saltwater crocodile, of which the Hunter River boasts the Kimberley’s largest population. While here we will also explore Naturalist Island/Wunumpurramarra and its remarkable, 300-metre-long beach strewn with marine snail shells.
Day 7 - Day 7: Careening Bay
Today we explore the site of the historic Mermaid Boab Tree, which bears the name of the HMC Mermaid which was famously carved into it while the ship was beached there undergoing emergency repairs during Philip Parker King’s third voyage of discovery of the region in 1820. Now measuring some 3 metres wide and National Heritage listed, the tree offers a glimpse into Australian colonial history, while an old Makassan Islamic prayer alcove can be found behind the tree. We will also visit Prince Regent National Park, one of Australia’s most remote and beautiful places as well as being a national biodiversity hotspot. Accessible only by boat, this protected area is home to the spectacular Kings Cascades, Pitta Gorge, Mount Trafalgar, Python Cliffs and Prince Regent River, which runs almost straight for most of its length, often between near-vertical cliffs. At Hanover Bay we will enjoy a Zodiac cruise of St George Basin with its spectacular scenery and stunning backdrop of the flat-topped Mt Trafalgar and Mt Waterloo, and on to the majestic King Cascade Falls where American model Ginger Meadows was fatally attacked by a crocodile in 1987.
Day 8 - Days 8 & 9: Collier Bay
Located at the eastern end of the Buccaneer Archipelago, and only accessible by sea, we have two days to explore the ancient land- and sea-scapes of Collier Bay and its astounding natural attractions. At Talbot Bay we will experience the power of the region’s massive tidal movements which have shaped the landscape, most famously at the world’s only Horizontal Falls. Here we will witness what David Attenborough described as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world” as trapped water in an inland bay thunders between two narrow chasms as the tide drops more than 14 metres on the other side creating spectacular falls, whirlpools and boiling white water. At nearby Cyclone Creek we will explore the twisted geological folds of the ancient seabed and hope to see the inquisitive Tawny Nurse Sharks among the incredible marine life on display, while another tidal spectacle awaits at Montgomery Reef at the bay’s centre. The world’s largest inshore reef system, we hope to capture the magic of observing this enormous reef ‘rise’ from the ocean as the tide falls creating torrents and waterfalls up to 3-metres high, and displacing marine life igniting a feeding frenzy as predators above and below the water descend. At Freshwater Cove shoreline explorations of the caves and grottos reveal a multitude of ancient rock art galleries.
Day 9 - Day 10: Lacepede Islands
Today we explore the incredible wildlife reserve and birding paradise of the Lacepede Islands. Designated a nature reserve in 1970 and rat free since 1986, this collection of four unassuming islands off the north-west coast of Western Australia are recognised as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International with what is thought to be the largest breeding colony of Brown Boobies, up to 18,000 pairs, in the world. These small, low-lying spits of coarse sand and coral rubble atop a platform reef are also the state’s most important breeding grounds for Green Turtles. Other wildlife which call these remarkable islands home include Roseate Terns, Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Bridled, Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Common Noddies, Lesser Frigatebirds, and Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, while Grey-tailed Tattlers, Whimbrels, Bar-Tailed Godwits, Ruddy Turnstones and Great Knots are among the visiting vagrant species. While landings are not permitted, we plan to explore the islands’ incredible shores by Zodiac and, if lucky, we may also see some Humpback Whales which frequent this coastline during their northern migration in winter and early spring.
Day 10 - Day 11: Broome
This morning we arrive in Broome, a former wild frontier now relaxed tropical beach resort and gateway to the Kimberley. After breakfast there will be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to Broome International Airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Broome, we do not recommend booking flights departing before 1300 hours. During our voyage circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Please note: Voyages are planned and scheduled pending final regulatory approval.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $8,950MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $9,450SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $11,450SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $11,950SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $14,995MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $15,475SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $15,475WORSLEY SUITES
11-07-202321-07-2023AUD $19,475HERITAGE SUITES
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $11,450SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $11,950SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $14,995MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $15,475WORSLEY SUITES
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $15,475SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $19,475HERITAGE SUITES
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $8,950MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
21-07-202331-07-2023AUD $9,450SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $8,950MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $9,450SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $11,450SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $11,950SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $14,995MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $15,475WORSLEY SUITES
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $15,475SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
10-08-202320-08-2023AUD $19,475HERITAGE SUITES


    • King George River
    • Vansittart Bay
    • Swift Bay
    • Hunter River & Collier Bay
    • Lacepede Islands