The magic of the East Kimberley captivates every visitor to the region. Mesmerised time and again, the region’s ancient, untouched wilderness with fat Boab trees just waiting for hugs, wild swimming spots with backdrops of skyscraper high gorges, and crystal clear dark skies decorated with more stars than it’s possible to count.
Not one for tours or cruises normally, instead preferring the freedom of setting my own schedule, I’m starting to reconsider now that there’s a new way to experience the wonders of this magical part of Australia.
Commencing in April 2023, there are new luxury Kimberley cruises onboard Le Ponant and it will be the first time the yacht leaves the Mediterranean. PONANT is synonymous with luxury cruising, but we’re not talking about 2,500 people in vessel so big it’s like a moving city. Instead, the 88-metre-long and 56-metre-high three-master yacht is one of the most majestic in the world. It’s where the journey is as magical as the destination. Where the skilful art of sailing and comfort, elegance, exclusivity and sustainability meet. The newly renovated yacht has decks and salons are sophisticated in style with 16 large and elegant staterooms for a maximum of 32 passengers and a crew ratio of 1:1. This is the ultimate in barefoot luxury.
Equipped with state-of-the-art Zodiacs for shore landings and excursions, this is a chance to sail and explore the breathtaking Kimberley coastline in a stylish and sustainable way.
As an exclusive addition to this experience, the Northern and Southern Kimberley itineraries include an exclusive charter flight between Kununurra and Kuri Bay or Broome and Kuri Bay on board one of Australian company Paspaley’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats to take guests from or to their embarkation point, as well as an exclusive guided visit of Paspaley’s pearl farms in Kuri Bay.
Some of Le Ponant’s itineraries.
“Northern Kimberley Sailing Expedition” on board Le Ponant – 9 nights or 10 nights
An immersive expedition including exploration of the spectacular 80-metre-high sandstone cliffs of the King George River Gorge and its Twin Falls, the highest in Western Australia, the chance to uncover the stories behind the enigmatic Gwion Gwion rock art and experience Prince Frederick Harbour, one of the largest and most scenic inlets of the Kimberley coast.
“Southern Kimberley Sailing Expedition” on board Le Ponant – 9 nights or 10 nights
Discover the pristine beaches and remarkable scenery of the Buccaneer archipelago and search for iconic bird species such as White-Bellied Sea Eagles, Brahminy kites and Ospreys. Guests will be able to watch in awe as the tidal waters flow off Montgomery reef and witness the unique tidal phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay.
“Rowley Shoals Sailing Expedition” on board Le Ponant – 8 nights
A sailing adventure to the Rowley Shoals, home to pristine coral lagoons and an abundance of marine life. Guests will discover the pristine beaches and remarkable scenery of the Buccaneer archipelago, witness the tidal waters flow off Montgomery reef and the unique tidal phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay. A visit to the Lacepede Islands, an important bird area and home to Western Australia’s most important breeding habitats for Green Turtles is on the radar.
Explore to Inspire: explore to better understand, learn, share and protect. For more than 30 years, PONANT has been committed to more responsible tourism and voyages of exploration which have meaning. The French-flagged fleet comprises 13 small capacity ships equipped with state of the art environmentally friendly equipment. With PONANT, exploration is refined, authentic and a source of inspiration. For more information visit au.ponant.com
On board Le Ponant. Photos: https://au.ponant.com/le-ponant