Australia & New Zealand Cruises
Nothing can fully prepare you for the dramatic contrasts of Australia’s north-west, rich in Aboriginal culture and galleries of ancient artwork. Towards the west, in the historic pearling town of Broome, the colours of nature are vibrant and intense: rich red earth, azure blue seas and brilliant white sand beaches. North of Broome lies the ragged Kimberley coast, a place you can only comprehend from the sea. You'll cruise the waters of the Kimberley coast, bringing you to rugged gorges, inlets, and waterfalls plunging 100 metres. This all combines for an awe-inspiring experience you simply can't have by travelling over land.
Available Cruise Departure Dates (2013):
Darwin-Broome: Apr 18, May 8,28, Jun 17, Jul 7,27, Aug 16, Sep 5
Broome-Darwin: Apr 28, May 18, Jun 7,27, Jul 17, Aug 6,26
You will be transfered between Darwin domestic airport and your city hotel by private car.
Darwin Central Hotel is situated at the core of Darwin City, with easy access to all the area's highlights and attractions. Choose from any of the 132 rooms, each of which possesses a unique, trendy air. The hotel embraces boutique decor while promising all the comforts and spaciousness of home. Dine at the two hotel cafes, which offer a host of Italian and western cuisine, as well as breakfast and lunch options. Later, take a stroll through the passageways and admire the artwork displayed at the hotel. Otherwise, step outside and relax by the swimming pool.
Meet your private driver at your hotel for a half-day guided orientation tour of the highlights of Darwin, with an exploration into surrounding habitats rich in bird-life, for a birdwatching excursion. You will visit monsoon rainforest in search of the endemic Rainbow Pitta and the colourful Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove; coastal foreshores in search of shorebirds, Sacred Kingfisher and Brahminy Kite; mangroves for Red-headed Honeyeater, Chestnut Rail and Collared Kingfisher; wetlands for a variety of water birds including the iconic Black-necked Stork (Jabiru); and savannah woodland for Forest Kingfisher, various Finch species and the Spangled Drongo. Binoculars will be provided for you. At the conclusion of the tour, you'll be returned to your hotel.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Sleep in this morning and relax at your hotel.
Meet your driver for a private port transfer.
Welcome aboard your cruise vessel!Meet your fellow passengers, and get settled in.
Technically and aesthetically, Orion is arguably the most sophisticated vessel in its class. The Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships guide describes her as "the latest in the quest to build the ideal expedition cruise ship". Constructed by the world-leading Cassens Shipyard in Emden, and launched in November 2003, she boasts a host of advanced design features including technology that sets new standards in sustainable marine environmental practices. Although custom-made for expedition cruising, Orion is the epitome of elegance. No expense has been spared when it comes to the quality of fittings and furnishings, and the range and calibre of onboard recreational facilities are nothing short of five-star. Orion's luxurious appointments means she is more mega-yacht than cruise ship and her guests are few; around just 50 couples, all cared for in 5-star comfort by a crew of 75. Chart your own path less travelled.
Today you'll cruise to Com, East Timor where your vessel will clear customs, allowing you to go ashore at Jaco Island, a small uninhabited island, with a marvelous beach and great swimming. Relax here before departing for your next Australian port.
Days at sea aboard Orion are less structured than a typical cruise ship. Rise at your leisure and select from a variety of breakfast options. Late morning consider joining a presentation in the Lecture Theatre by one of the Expedition Staff or a Guest Speaker. Luncheon is served both indoors and out and the timeless tradition of afternoon tea is observed at 4:00pm.
Begin your evening by joining your fellow travellers in the Leda Lounge for a pre-dinner drink and a briefing on tomorrow’s destination and Shoreside Expedition options by one of the Expedition Team. The Restaurant opens at 7:00pm, though there is no rush, allowing you to dine when and with whom you choose. In warmer climes it is possible to reserve a table for dinner under the stars with full table service, be it a romantic table for 2 or a celebration for 20. After dinner you will find our duo in the Leda Lounge playing a selection of music ideally suited to conversation over a cognac, or dancing should the mood take you.
Begin your evening by joining your fellow travellers in the Leda Lounge for a pre-dinner drink and a briefing on tomorrow’s destination and Shoreside Expedition options by one of our Expedition Team. Some are included in your fare, others offer a range of differing experiences to suit a variety of interests.
The Restaurant opens at 7:00pm, though there is no rush, allowing you to dine when and with whom you choose. In warmer climes it is possible to reserve a table for dinner under the stars with full table service, be it a romantic table for 2 or a celebration for 20. After dinner you will find our duo in the Leda Lounge playing a selection of music ideally suited to conversation over a cognac, or dancing should the mood take you.
Today you have a choice between two activities:Bungle Bungle Range Scenic Flight (approx 2h 15m)This exhilarating flight will take you over the Diversion Dam Wall, and the Order River/Packsaddle irrigation areas, showcasing the fertile Ord River Valley farming. You'll then follow Lake Kununurra and the Carr Boyd Ranges down to Lake Argyle. Follow the expanse of Lake Argyle down to the cattle country over flying Lissadell and Texas Downs and on to the ancient Bungle Bungle Ranges and Purnululu National Park (approximately 20 minutes orbit); fly past Argyle Diamond Mine and the Ragged Ranges with a panoramic view of Ivanhoe irrigation area on your return.--or--Ord River Cruise to Lake ArgyleThe Ord River is one of the most stunning river systems in Australia. Your cruise will navigate a massive 55km stretch of river between Kununurra and Lake Argyle (Ord River Dam). As a result of the damming of the Ord River, the area in between is rich in wildlife, flora and scenic beauty. Lunch will be provided either at the riverside camp or at Resort Lake Argyle, with refreshments provided along the way. Your tour includes a ground tour of Lake Argyle, including viewing the Lake from a scenic lookout, and a visit to the Historical Durack Homestead.
Zodiacs and tenders will cruise up the stunning sandstone canyon that culminates in the twin drops of King George Falls and convey you back again to your cruise vessel. For guests looking for a bit more adventure, you will be able to take a walk to the top of the falls and have the opportunity to enjoy a swim. This is quite a steep, difficult walk with lots of loose uneven ground underfoot and all participants will need high levels of fitness and mobility.
Optional:A fantastic way to see the stunning gorge of the King George River. Fly along the course of the dramatic sandstone lined canyon, orbit the twin drops of the falls with ample opportunity for photography before returning to a landing site near your anchorage in Koolama Bay.
To participate in an optional activity, please contact your travel consultant.
Upon arrival in Vansittart Bay, you will go ashore via Zodiac to a beach landing on Jar Island. There, your Expedition Team will take you on a short walk, past some fascinating rock formations, to the site of the Gwion Gwion art gallery. The walk to the art site over uneven ground is relatively easy with only one small rock ledge to negotiate, however the access to the majority of the art is a little difficult and includes scrambling over large boulders and crawling under rock overhangs. The reward is a stunning gallery of this ancient and mystical art form.
Your ship will anchor just off Naturalist Island in Prince Frederick Harbour. From this location you will undertake Zodiac expeditions into the Mangrove environment of the Hunter River and its tributaries. Your expert Expedition Team will share their knowledge with you as you explore the area keeping a constant lookout for wildlife.
Optional:After a short Zodiac ride to a wet landing on Naturalist Island, board your helicopter for a 20 minute flight to the stunning Mitchell Plateau. Your experienced pilots will keep you informed as you initially track up the Hunter River, with a chance to spot crocodiles from the air. Once you reach the plateau you may see wild cattle running loose below and even the odd pocket of rainforest hidden away in this inaccessible area. You will land next to the falls where you will have approximately one hour to explore the area before your return flight. You will have access to some great spots to photograph the triple drops of Mitchell Falls. You will even have a chance for a refreshing dip in the river well above the crocodile habitats the Kimberley is renowned for. Be aware you will be unaccompanied in a stunning yet rugged and very remote area, with uneven rocky surfaces and little shade from the sun.
Arriving at high tide, you'll see very little of Montgomery Reef. However as the tide drops rapidly away a raging torrent of water, cascading off the top of this 400ha reef, erupts as miles of surrounding reef appears to slowly rise out of the ocean. A Zodiac will maneuver you into a channel in the reef as water cascades down on either side. It's the perfect spot to watch cormorants, egrets and sandpipers forage for sea life trapped on the surface of the reef. Below the waterline, opportunistic sea turtles,and many larger fish also take advantage of this feast.
Today your Zodiac excursion will take you to witness the tidal phenomena of the Horizontal Waterfalls. You will also have the opportunity to view the stunning sandstone canyons of the nearby gorges. Your Zodiac excursion will be timed, where possible, to coincide with tidal movement through the gaps were the horizontal waterfalls are created. The amount of actual tide movement will vary depending on tide movement of the day.
Optional:Whilst the Zodiacs can provide a close up view of the falls, to experience the thrill of actually passing through the falls in full tidal movement, a larger, faster boat is required. A local operator has two fast, rigid hulled inflatables based at the falls to give you the ride of your life through the fast moving waters of the falls. Speed through the two gaps in the sandstone walls as the tidal action creates foaming rapids. The ride is approximately 15 minutes.To participate in an optional activity, please contact your travel consultant.
The Expedition Team will guide you around the area today, in Zodiacs and on foot, and the opportunity exists to take advantage of the freshwater swimming hole at Nares Point. Nearby Crocodile Creek defies its name, and due to several vertical embankments remains "crocodile free" allowing you to take advantage of the cool freshwater to relax and beat the Kimberley heat.
Today you'll arrive at the port in Broome, where you will disembark from your ship, and say farewell to your fellow cruisemates.
Meet your driver for a private port transfer.
Meet your private driver-guide at your hotel for a tour of Broome Town today, rich in its history in the pearling industry. Your tour will bring you to see some of the area's most impressive beaches, including Cable, Redell and Town Beaches. The town's wharf is offers exceptional views out across the bay, and plenty of locals fishing add to the ambience of a nice stroll. The red cliffs and turquoise water of Gantheaume Point highlight the area's natural beauty. A Japanese cemetery with graves of over 900 divers who died in the early days of the Broome pearling trade is a somber reminder of the town's exploits at the turn of the 20th century. Your tour will include a tour of the Pearl Luggers- two reconditioned pearling ships where you'll have a special presentation about the perils and riches of the golden age of the pearl industry in Broome. Conclude your tour with a return to your hotel.
The Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa is only resort in Broome located on spectacular Cable Beach which is a unique blend of cultural influences and architecture. Locate directly in the magnificent gardens is a range of accommodation options including studios, bungalows, private villas and luxury suites complete with a private butler. The resort also features two swimming pools - one for families, and the other reserved solely for adults. Relax for a while in the Chahoya Spa or the meditative Buddha Sanctuary. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner in one of our four distinctively different restaurants and bars.
Meet your private driver for an airport transfer.
VISA/PASSPORTAmerican and Canadian citizens are required to have a valid passport to enter Australia. Americans and Canadians must enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It may be obtained for a small service fee. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to apply for ETAs on behalf of travelers. Please note that American citizens who overstay their ETA or visa, even for short periods, may be subject to exclusion, detention, and removal.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check information about the ETA, other visas, and entry requirements with the Embassy of Australia HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/australia.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Canberra. Government: Constitutional Monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1901. Language: The official language is English. Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages. Religion: 27% Roman Catholic, 21% Protestant and smaller minorities of all other major religions. Time: Australia spans three time zones: GMT + 10 (GMT + 11 from October to March, except Queensland; starts a month earlier in Tasmania). GMT + 9.5 (GMT + 10.5 from October to March, except Northern Territory). GMT + 8 (GMT + 9 from October to March, three-year trial in Western Australia until 2009 followed by referendum). Some states operate daylight saving time during the Australian summer. Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use, however sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adaptor socket may be needed. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances are found in most hotels. Telephone: Country code: 61. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in and around populated areas; access in some of the more isolated, outback and rural areas is limited. US handsets are not compatible. Internet: Available throughout Australia. Internet cafes are prevalent in all capital cities and tourist towns, and individual hotels may also provide facilities. Wi-Fi access is increasing in cities and is mainly found in hotels, bars and cafes.
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