Discover the last true wilderness on earth
As seen in The Guardian National Geographic Travel Guide
Benoa (Bali, Indonesia) to Broome (Australia)
26 March 2015, 16 night Cruise
On board Silver Discoverer
Adventure through the unknown aboard the Silver Discoverer and experience some of the most remote regions of Asia Pacific including Australia’s The Kimberley and remote islands of Indonesia.
This exclusive voyage focuses on wild destinations and lands untouched by time or tourists, including remote tribal villages, unchartered atolls, coral isles with vibrant marine life, wildlife-rich wetlands and rainforests largely inaccessible by land.
The crowning feature is northwestern Australia’s The Kimberley — one of the last true wilderness areas on earth — a remote region of wildly beautiful landscape encompassing striking gorges, waterfalls, cave systems, vibrant wildlife and pockets of dense rainforest.
This itinerary truly offers some of the world’s most extraordinary outback adventures, largely inaccessible by land, where you can swim in freshwater rock pools, walk across spectacular remote landscapes, discover 20,000 year old ancient Aboriginal rock art and embark on Zodiac explorations to plunging waterfalls and picturesque rivers.
Itinerary highlights include:
Waikelo, Sumba, Lesser Sundas, Indonesia
Famous for its intricate ikat fabric, distinctive architecture and sculptured stone tombs, Sumba has resisted the advances of the modern world and is therefore a fascinating island to explore. West Sumba is particularly fascinating as this is where ancient tribal rites are best preserved. The Sumba culture centres around fortified villages where ancestors are worshipped by extended families living in enormous clan houses with high-pitched thatch roofs. The dead are honoured by dragging massive stone graves a huge distance in order to construct mausoleums for the departed.
During our tour we will visit a Sumbanese village, witnessing a funereal rite ceremony as well as a fierce martial arts performance on horseback. You will also observe the process of making Indonesia’s famous ikat textiles and have the opportunity to purchase ikat directly from the weavers.
Komodo, Lesser Sundas, Indonesia & Pink Beach, Indonesia
Any early risers among the group may be able to spot whales cruising the straits as we approach Komodo.
Upon arrival you will have the opportunity to walk along a forested pathway to a viewing area for a closer inspection of the Komodo Dragons – the largest living lizard which is indigenous to the remote Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang. The surrounding forest is also home to elegant Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos, Friar Birds, Megapode Birds, and Sambar deer.
Lamalera Village, Lomblem Island, Indonesia
Visit the last two traditional whaling villages in Eastern Indonesia - Lamalera and Lamakera on Solor Island. This ancient tradition is slowly dying out, however it is still the principal way of life here and you can discover the traditional Whaling boats made entirely of wood with sails made from palm leaves. You will be welcomed by villagers and have the opportunity to go on a “mock” whale hunt in the boats. The women will also provide a weaving and dying demonstration and you will also have the opportunity to purchase Lamalera’s traditional hand-woven ikat textiles depicting images of the whales and the boats.
A flight over Bungle Bungle
Enjoy an aerial view over the black and orange striped domes of the Bungle Bungle mountain range in Purnulul National Park - a World Heritage Site and a landscape unlike anything you have ever seen. Known to the local aborigines for hundreds of years, the Bungles were only discovered by the outside world in the mid 1980’s.
Here you will also discover the majestic, man-made Lake Argyle and Argyle Diamond Mine.
The Kimberley is famous for having one of the world’s largest tidal range- second only to the Bay of Fundy. A flexible itinerary will allow you to take advantage of this natural phenomenon and in the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on tide, weather and sea conditions.
Some of the places you may visit during your time in this wondrous region include:
Nares Point & Crocodile Creek, Kimberley, Western Australia
Nares Point is a long sandstone finger of protruding from the mainland alongside Koolan Island. The convoluted photogenic rock formations make this a superb location for Zodiac exploration and beach walks. Nearby Crocodile Creek—which despite it’s name is actually free of crocodiles— provides the opportunity to take a refreshing swim in the cool natural pool to beat the Kimberley heat.
Talbot Bay (Horizontal Falls), Buccaneer Archipelago, Kimberley, Western Australia
Described as "one of the greatest natural wonders of the world" by British naturalist David Attenborough, Horizontal Falls truly is an amazing spectacle. This group of over 800 islands was created millions of years ago by the erosive tidal changes and the region’s 490 foot tides. Depending on the ebb and flow of the tides you will board a Zodiac for an exhilarating ride through the falls, continuing deeper into the sandstone gorge of Cyclone Creek to explore ancient geological formations that were created over the last two billion years.
Montgomery Reef, Kimberley, Western Australia
No Expedition of Kimberley would be complete without a visit to Montgomery Reef - over 400 square miles (1035 km2) in size where you can observe the amazing tidal changes that take place here. The timing of the tides will be everything; a low tide reveals up to 13 feet (4 m) of reef exposing a river that allows access to this amazing semi-submerged world. As the tide continues to ebb the Zodiacs will make their way to the edge of the reef surrounded by cascading waterfalls up to 10 feet high (3 m). Continuing up the river you will discover an abundance of reef birds and every imaginable sea creatures including turtles, manta rays and if you are extremely lucky the elusive dugong (manatee). A truly once in a lifetime experience.
Raft Point, Kimberley, Western Australia
In the year 2000 at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sydney, the world saw an enormous Wandjina spirit rise out of the ground. This was a breath-taking moment, and for most people, their very first encounter with Aboriginal mythology. This image was actually that of a 114 foot sculpture (35 m) created by an artist who lives at Raft Point, Kimberley, which is home to these indigenous Wandjina paintings. As we Zodiac ashore here we shall set out towards the top of Raft Point, where we will hike through the abundant Kimberley Flora including the iconic Baobab Tree - known by the local Aboriginals as the “upside down tree”. Upon reaching the top of Raft Point, enjoy the spectacular views of the bay in the shade of the overhanging cliff - home to the Wadjina Spirit and many other Dreamtime stories and images representing daily aboriginal life. Take in the Wadjina Spirit and listen to the dreamtime stories associated with this extremely important Aboriginal spirit.
Hunter River, Kimberley, Western Australia
Home to an immense mangrove system dating back over 2 billion years the Hunter River is ideal for sighting numerous bird species. As we set out in the Zodiacs be sure to look out for the image of the Indian Head in the soaring red sandstone cliffs as well as keeping an eye out for the Crocodylus Porosous (saltwater crocodile), the most aggressive crocodile known to man. Here you can also arrange an optional helicopter flightseeing excursion to the famous Mitchell Falls, where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools flowing out into the Mitchell River.
Jar Island, Vansittart Bay, Kimberley, Western Australia
After landing on Jar Island by Zodiac we go for a walk to the outdoor gallery of Bradshaw Art a.k.a. Gwion Art, one of the three distinctive styles of rock art in the Kimberley region. Bradshaw Art has raised more questions than answers as to that painted these figures and where they have come from, and we will listen to the theories and interpretations of our own experts as we admire these very delicate and intricate pictographs.
King George River & Falls, Kimberley, Western Australia
At 260 feet (80 m) The King George Falls is one of Kimberley's most magnificent natural wonders and is among the highest in Australia. Here we will ride the Zodiacs up the waterway, weaving through the wondrous landscape of near vertical red rock formations and an abundance of wildlife — carnivorous saltwater crocodiles and amazing birdlife including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite.
Silversea Cruises has a reputation for exploring exotic destinations in luxury.
The lavish Silver Discoverer experience is comfortable, intimate and convivial, with accommodation for up to 120 guests in 62 ocean-view suites.
On board, there’s gourmet cuisine, personalised butler service and generous all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including everything from fine wines to all ashore excursions and interactive walks, consistent with the company’s long-standing tradition of luxury and value.
As you sail between exotic destinations, you will have access to an on-board programme that includes photo presentations, destination lectures and daily recaps. Once you reach each port, marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, historians and anthropologists — all experts in their field — will lead a fleet of Zodiac excursions and interactive walks ashore.
Silver Discoverer Expeditions will be accompanied by an expedition team of 11 experts, including knowledgeable cruise lecturers, naturalists, geologists, biologists, historians and ornithologists. From lectures and briefings to guided field studies, your expedition team’s education, knowledge and passion for wildlife, local culture, and adventure make them ideal companions and an essential part of the expedition experience.