Across the Top of Australia

Across the Top of Australia

From £8,995 GBP

Description

The Kimberley region of Western Australia was the last great empty section of Australia to be explored, with European settlers arriving only just over 100 years ago. Ignored by the early settlers, the Kimberley is today one of the richest areas of the continent with record gold and diamond rushes, great cattle drives and hauls of pearl shells having put the region well and truly on the economic map. However, for all its latterly discovered wealth, it still remains one of the most untouched areas in the world. Covering nearly 423,000 square kilometres, the region has fewer people per square kilometre than almost any other place on earth and is truly one of the world’s last great wilderness areas with a complex landscape which encompasses spectacular gorges and waterfalls, fascinating cave systems and an incredibly diverse variety of wildlife.

Due to its wild and undeveloped nature, the Kimberley is a wonderful place for the genuine traveller to explore and it is perfect for expedition style cruising. There are so many highlights, it is difficult to know where to begin when extolling its virtues. From the tidal phenomena at the Montgomery Bay Reef to the Horizontal Waterfalls near Talbot Bay, from the hundreds of islands in the Buccaneer Archipelago to the gorges of the King George and Hunter rivers. The whole vast area offers a cornucopia of natural world delights on a scale seldom witnessed anywhere else in the world.

Trip Name
Across the Top of Australia
Days
15
Overview
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 114 (in 57 suites) Built: 1991 / refurbished 2012 The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows. If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere. Your Suite Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub. Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Your space The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your dining With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board. For your comfort, safety and security The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to outside decks only. Gratuities Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 - London to Darwin, Northern Territory of Australia.
Fly by scheduled flight via Singapore.
Day 2 - Day 2 - Darwin.
Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the Darwin Hilton Hotel (or similar) for a two night stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax.
Day 3 - Day 3 - Darwin.
After breakfast in the hotel, enjoy a full day tour to Litchfield National Park. Litchfield National Park is famous for its spectacular waterfalls. See Florence Falls and enjoy an interpretive bush and monsoon vine forest walk. Travel onto Tolmer Falls for a magnificent view of the water cascading down to the deep waterhole at the base of the falls. We will return via Wangi Falls with its large crystal clear pool; maybe take a dip in the cool waters and witness Litchfield’s amazing stand of termite mounds. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening at the hotel.
Day 4 - Day 4 - Darwin.
The morning will be spent a leisure before joining a tour of Darwin. Later in the afternoon we will transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky and sail this evening.
Day 5 - Day 5 - At sea.
Settle into life on board as we cruise the northern coast. Enjoy introductory talks on the area or relax on deck.
Day 6 - Day 6 - Koolama Bay, King George River & Falls.
Wake up in Koolama Bay, named after a merchant ship bombed by the Japanese in World War II. From here we will start our 12 kilometre journey through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery along the mighty King George River. Millions of years of erosion have created vertical sheer walls that resemble stacks of sandstone. The highlight is sure to be King George Falls, the highest single drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley and your expedition team will get you to the cascading waters.
Day 7 - Day 7 - Vansittart Bay, Jar Island.
With your expedition team, walk across salt flats to view the wreckage of a US Air Force DC3 which crash landed on the beach during World War II. Later, visit Jar Island and the Gwion Gwion Aboriginal art gallery. Discovered by Joseph Bradshaw in 1891 some of the art has been dated back over 17,000 years and is unique to this region.
Day 8 - Day 8 - Bigge Island.
Off the coast of the Kimberley, approximately six kilometres from the mainland, Bigge Island is well known for its indigenous rock art, which was created by the Wunambal people. In caves throughout the island, see examples of first contact art depicting tall ships and the mysterious Wandjina figures.
Day 9 - Day 9 - Prince Frederick Harbour, Hunter River, Mitchell Falls.
The Prince Frederick Harbour is home to some of the most spectacular scenery we will see. Soaring red cliffs, green rainforest and mangroves paint a beautiful canvas for our arrival as we sail through Nine Pin Head, the sandstone bluff that marks the mouth of the river. We follow the Hunter River to reveal the spectacular backdrop of Mount Trafalgar while to the north Mount Anderson rises to an impressive 480 metres. We will drop anchor at Naturalist Island and have the choice to join a Zodiac excursion around the island and mangroves looking for wildlife, especially crocodile, or an optional helicopter excursion to Mitchell Falls. This amazing four tiered waterfall drops 80 metres and is surrounded by the red escarpment lands of the Mitchell Plateau making the view from the air quite stunning.
Day 10 - Day 10 - Careening Bay, Prince Regent Reserve, St George’s Basin.
Visit Careening Bay, the home of the Mermaid boab tree, and where Phillip Parker King was forced to beach his damaged ship HMC Mermaid in 1820. We will explore Prince Regent Nature Reserve, a protected area, and cruise St George’s Basin.
Day 11 - Day 11 - Montgomery Reef, Doubtful Bay, Raft Point.
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. Join the expedition team and board your Zodiac to experience this natural phenomenon up close and discover the reef’s diverse marine life. Cruise through Doubtful Bay, where we hope to see whales. Later we position to Raft Point to visit an ancient Wandjina rock art site.
Day 12 - Day 12 - Talbot Bay, Horizontal Falls.
Cruise through to Talbot Bay, known for massive 12-metre tides that create an amazing spectacle, the incredible Horizontal Falls. Subject to tidal conditions, embark on a ride through the Humpback whales falls on a high-powered fast boat. David Attenborough described this as “one the greatest natural wonders of the world.” Later, take a Zodiac cruise through Cyclone Creek and keep an eye out for native birdlife whilst observing the unique geology and amazing rock formations.
Day 13 - Day 13 - Buccaneer Archipelago, Adele Island.
Arrive in the spectacular Buccaneer Archipelago, home to more than 800 islands and a wealth of wildlife and fascinating rock formations. Cruise to Adele Island and explore this important location for breeding seabirds before enjoying an afternoon at sea followed by our Farewell Dinner this evening.
Day 14 - Day 14 - Broome to London.
Disembark this morning and join a tour of Broome before transferring to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.
Day 15 - Day 15 - London.
Arrive today.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
13-09-201827-09-20189195 0Caledonian Superior Suite
13-09-201827-09-201810595 0Promenade Owner's Corner Suite
13-09-201827-09-201810095 0Promenade Prem. Balcony Suite
13-09-201827-09-20189795 0Bridge Deluxe Balcony Suite
13-09-201827-09-20188995 0Castle Standard Suite
13-09-201827-09-20189495 0Promenade Premium Suite

Inclusions

    • Admire King George Falls, the tallest single drop falls in Western Australia
    • Marvel at the incredible indigenous rock art of Bigge Island
    • Witness the tidal phenomenon and marine life of Montgomery Reef
    • Cruise through Doubtful Sound looking for whales
    • Explore in small groups ashore on expert led guided walks

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