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Why Small is Big in Antarctica

Posted by Roderick Eime on August 20, 2019

Oceanwide Expeditions Hondius in Antarctica

 

Are you ready for your big adventure cruise?

You must be sick of hearing about your friends’ fantastic Antarctic adventures by now, so isn’t it about time you had your own?

Yes, it’s true, there are adventure cruises all around the world now but for most people, it’s Antarctica that sets the heart racing and is your first taste of true wilderness. The great empty white continent is the coldest, windiest, driest, least inhabited continent on the planet and hardly seems like an ideal holiday destination. Well, I’m about to tell you Antarctica is the sort of place you DON’T go for a holiday - but instead, for the most rewarding, enlightening and enriching adventure experience you will ever have. 

If you were to go into your corner travel agent and ask about Antarctic cruises, chances are they will scratch their head and reach for the closest brochure. Most likely it is a cruise company with whom they have a sales agreement and one that excludes a great many of the really interesting smaller cruise companies who know more about travel to Antarctica than the big, glitzy operators with their free-flowing champagne and Michelin-starred chefs.

Now, if you like that kind of thing, by all means, go for it because no matter who you travel with, you are sure to have the best time. But let’s dig a bit deeper and see what else is on offer for this spectacular voyage you will most likely only ever do once in your life.

 

Spirit Enderby Penguins in Antarctica

 

Where exactly does my voyage go?

Almost every voyage leaves from the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, at the very bottom of South America. You will then sail across the legendary Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula and - hold onto your beanie - because it can get rough. You might get lucky and sail across the ‘Drake Lake’, but no one can guarantee a smooth crossing.

 

EXPERT TIP from Expedition Cruise Specialists: These days new Polar Class 6 ships like Oceanwide Expeditions’ Hondius and Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer are purpose-built to minimise movement in open water. But if you’ve got a queasy stomach and even the thought of a bumpy crossing turns you green, Antarctica21’s new Magellan Explorer might be just the ticket. Cross the Drake Passage in both directions by charter jet before joining the ship close to the action.

 

The new Magellan Explorer in Antarctica

 

Once across the passage, your ship will arrive in the much calmer waters around the Peninsula and begin to explore the islands and fjords full of squawking penguins and curious seals. Ships may also visit the sites of current and former Antarctic bases, so there’s a fair dose of history too.

If you’re more the serious adventure type, you might consider a voyage to East Antarctica. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. Because that part of the continent, below the Antarctic Circle, is the epicentre of history and exploration and is sure to trump your friends’ stories about their ‘excursion’ to the Peninsula. For this voyage, ships depart from the southern tip of New Zealand, stopping at the lesser-known subantarctic islands due south of the long white cloud. You may not have heard of Macquarie Island which, for trivia buffs, is actually part of Tasmania, although more than 1700 kms away. It was made famous by Sir Douglas Mawson, who set up camp there in 1911 while on his way to the Ross Sea, where you can end up if you’re going all the way.

 

EXPERT TIP from Expedition Cruise Specialists: Getting to East Antarctica is harder as it involves a longer time at sea, but the rewards are undoubtedly worth it. New Zealand’s Heritage Expeditions offer several expeditions to East Antarctica each year aboard the Spirit of Enderby, or for the ultimate experience you can cruise all the way from Ushuaia to New Zealand aboard Oceanwide Expeditions’ Ortelius or Lindblad Expeditions’ soon to be launched National Geographic Endurance.

 

Spirit Enderby towards Antarctica

 

What will I see in Antarctica?

Most of your boring dinner guests will tell you all about the penguins, (flying) seabirds, seals or even whales and, let’s be honest, they can be pretty entertaining. Communing with the handsome King Penguins with their hilariously fluffy youngsters is not something you’re ever going to forget. Then there are the boisterous Gentoos who hop around constantly tending their nests and demanding youngsters. Sound familiar? 

Sometimes the little guys will get distracted and come over to check you out. If you sit still, they will inspect your backpack, pulling on the buckles and straps to see what’s inside. Shoelaces are another favourite source of amusement.   

Now you need to be on your guard with the fur seals. The naughty weener pups, with nothing better to do while they wait for mum to come back from shopping, will chase each other around and sometimes you too. If dad’s at home you will likely get a surly look and a not-so-polite request to move along. 

 

seals antarctica with oceanwide expeditions

 

The big blubbery elephant seals are something else altogether. Like some weird sea monster dreamed up by Jules Verne, these slothy creatures wallow around in packs, belching and slobbering all over each other. The little ones, however, are as cute as all get out with their big dreamy eyes and whiskers and may even approach you if you’re patient. Your guide will quickly remind you that it's their choice, not yours to make the approach, so don’t get carried away. 

You’ll know too that whales love to go on summer holidays to Antarctica where all the food is. Take it in turns with your fellow passengers to stand watch on the bridge for the telltale blow of the spout. If you’re not sure what sort of whale it is, your guide will race over with the picture book and get you to describe the shape and pattern of the ‘blow’ and how big the fins are. Most common are the Humpbacks who just love to shoot out of the water and splash back in. This is called ‘breaching’ and it’s only Humpbacks which do this. Ask your guide why. Otherwise, you might sight the smaller Minkes, Orcas (aka Killer Whales) or big ones like Fin Whales or (get ready with yelps of delight) the super rare Blue Whale.

EXPERT TIP from Expedition Cruise Specialists: Several ships, inclduing Oceanwide Expeditions’ Hondius  offer dedicated whale watching cruises each year, guided by leading marine mammal experts.

 

Aurora expeditions whale watching

 

And what else is there to do?

These days the various ships that go south have a whole bunch of stuff to keep you amused. When ashore you can hike up a hill (or mountain), go snowshoeing, photograph everything in sight or explore the historic huts and bases like at Port Lockroy or Deception Island. For the particularly intrepid, there is ice camping (yes, in tents) or even snorkelling and dry suit diving for qualified scuba divers. During the few sea days and in the evenings, sit in on one of the expert lectures from biologists, historians or any of the other scientists who may be along.

Then, when your expedition is over, you will have a brag bag chock full of stories and yarns for when you take your place at the table

 

Roderick Eime is Australia’s leading expedition cruising photojournalist. You can follow his exploits at www.expeditioncruising.com

Images in this article courtesy of Oceanwide Expeditions, Aurora Expeditions, Heritage Expeditions, One Ocean Expeditions & Antarctica21 

 

Camping on the ice in Antarctica

2021 Aranui 5 Schedule Released

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 13, 2019

Aranui 5 cruising French Polynesia

 

For over 30 years Aranui Cruises has been showcasing the South Pacific to eager explorers aboard ships that uniquely combine passenger cruises with freight and cargo delivery services.

Originally founded in 1954, the Aranui ships have been plying the waters of French Polynesia for over six decades. For the first 30 or so years of the company’s existence they operated primarily a regular cargo delivery service between Tahiti and the Tuamotu and Gambier Archipelagos, supplying and facilitating trade between the islands. It wasn’t until 1984 that the Aranui 1 was converted to accommodate the first passengers on her cargo routes, and by the time Aranui 5 was launched in 2016 the dual purpose of the Aranui ships was clearly cemented.

Today, Aranui 5’s classic 13-day Marquesas Islands cruise visits nine islands across three striking and distinct French Polynesian archipelagos - the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands - showing off some of the most naturally beautiful and untouched islands in the world, all with the comfort and ease of cruising.

The classic itinerary includes Bora Bora and its famed blue lagoon, plus Nuka Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, Hiva Oa and Fatu Hiva in the remote Marquesas; and the Tuamotu ports of Rangiroa and Fakarava with picturesque white sandy beaches. 

 

 

Aranui 5 unloading freight

 

In these rarely-visited islands the arrival of the Aranui 5 is met with great enthusiasm by the community, locals gathering at the wharf hours in advance to eagerly await the latest deliveries. But it’s not a one-way trade for the islanders, before Aranui 5 sets off for her next port the community’s wares are loaded aboard bound for Papeete and beyond; copra, citrus fruit, fish and barrels of noni being popular exports.

While the freighter is in port dispensing freight, her human cargo disembarks to explore a range of included excursions such as hikes, 4WD tours, visits to archaeological sites and a picnic on a secluded beach in Bora Bora.

There are 18 departures of the classic Marquesas Islands voyage scheduled for 2021 (operating year-round) with prices starting at $4,377 per person in a four-person dormitory, or $8,209 per person, twin share in a stylish Deluxe Stateroom with private balcony.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Marquesas Islands voyage departing on 16 December 2021 features an extended visit to Fatu Hiva as it coincides with the famed Marquesas Arts Festival.

While the Marquesas Islands itinerary remains incredibly popular, over recent years Aranui has been keen to expand their sights, opening up new expedition routes on their aptly-named Discovery Voyages.

 

Aranui 5 culture

 

The first of these new itineraries was the popular Pitcairn Island Discovery Voyage, first launched in 2019 (and sold out immediately – as it did for the 2020) and we have received confirmation that it will return in January 2021. With an expanded itinerary that departs Papeete via the Tuamotu and Gambier Islands to Pitcairn and includes an overnight stay at Adamstown as well as a visit to Oneo Island, this annual cruise will again sell out very quickly.

Given the success of the Pitcairn cruise, 2021 sees two new exciting Discovery Voyages having their maiden sailings.

The first of the new Discovery Voyages departs on 8 May 2021 and focuses on the Tuamotu and Society Islands, with visits to Rangiroa, Fakarava and Makatea in the Tuamotus and the Society Islands’ Raiatea, Tahaa, Maupiti, Huahine, Moorea and Bora Bora. 

The second is slated for 04 September 2021 and ventures from Papeete to the Cook Islands, with port calls scheduled for Rarotonga and Aitutaki. On the return journey guests will have the opportunity to explore the Austral Islands, the southernmost-archipelago in French Polynesia. A highlight of the time in the Australs will be Rurutu, where humpback whales come to reproduce between July and October.  

Aranui Cruises has a loyal following right around the world, and with just over 100 cabins available on each cruise you do need to get in early to be guaranteed a berth, particularly for the maiden Discovery Voyages. So why not give one of Expedition Cruise Specialists’ South Pacific experts a call today on 1800 90 20 80 to lock in your place! 

Discover the Aranui 5 and her 2021 itineraries

 

Aranui 5 cruise cabin

The New m/v Hondius officially launched

Posted by Andrew Castles on June 05, 2019

the new m/v Hondius Oceanwide Expeditions

 

Click here to see the latest Hondius interior photos fresh from the ship

 

It's been a very exciting week for polar cruising enthusiasts, with the launch of the the m/v Hondius. Two years in the making, Hondius recently sailed from the Brodosplit shipyard in Split, Croatia to her Dutch homeport of Vlissingen, home of her owner Oceanwide Expeditions. After a gala welcome ceremony on 03 June 2019 it was time for the inaugural guests to board before setting off on her maiden voyage to the Arctic.

Hondius's launch is also a milestone in polar exploration, as she becomes the world’s first Polar Class 6 expedition cruise vessel to begin operations. As such, she represents one of the most structurally-fortified, technologically-advanced, and navigationally nimble expedition ships taking ot the ice, capable of reacting to weather and wildlife opportunities with the utmost speed and flexibility.

To keep itineraries flexible and response time rapid, Hondius is equipped with advanced stabilisers and two main engines capable of powering the vessel at up to 15 knots. But Hondius sacrifices no warmth to achieve her keen polar edge: You will have 72 crew and staff members (including expedition and hotel staff) at your service while cruising aboard this state-of-the-art 'home away from home', ensuring that what little time you do spend on the ship (when you're not off exploring) you will spend comfortably entertained.

 

Hondius Superior Cabin

 

Hondius also promises high-quality accommodation for up to 174 expeditioners on each voyage. You may choose from several different grades of accommodation including the exlcusive Hondius Suite (35 square metres), six Grand Suites with balconies (27 square metres), eight Junior Suites (19 to 20 square metres), eight Superior Cabins (20 to 21 square metres), 11 Twin Deluxe Cabins, (19 to 21 square metres), 14 Twin Window Cabins (12 to 14 square metres) as well as 28 Twin Porthole cabins, two Triple Porthole Cabins, and four Quadruple Porthole Cabins that vary in size from 12 to 18 square metres. Though elegantly designed in stylish mid-century modern décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide’s distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. 

See more detail on Hondius's range of Suites and Cabins

 

Here's a  few photos of the celebrations during her gala launch in the Netherlands.

 

Hondius launch gala

 

After completing her first expedition cruise, Hondius will continue the northern summer with some of the most classic routes in the Arctic polar regions. She will even sail under the northern lights in the east Greenland fjord of Scoresby Sund, Earth’s largest fjord system, later in September, with some cabins still available at 20% off normal prices!

Although Hondius’s first cruises will be in the Arctic, she is just as much an Antarctic expedition vessel. Beginning in October 2019, Hondius will embark on a full schedule of cruises throughout Antarctica, visiting such emblematic areas as the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, and the Falklands.

In these exotic Southern Hemisphere landing sites, passengers have the opportunity to spot a wide variety of whales, seals, multiple penguin species, and many other seabirds – and all while engaging in exciting activities, some of which are only available in Antarctica.

There's still space to join the new Hondius during her inaugural season of sailings. For bookings and more information please contact us on 1800 90 20 80 (or +61 7 4041 2101 if calling from outside of Australia) to speak to one of our polar cruising experts.

 

LAST CABINS ON HONDIUS'S 2021 ANTARCTICA SOLAR ECLIPSE CRUISE

One of the fastest-selling cruises on Hondius's forward schedule is the 2021 Solar Eclipse voyage departing Ushuaia on 26 November 2021. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is almost sold out, with the last few cabins now available. To find out more about this incredible journey click here.

 

 

 

Review: India's Brahmaputra River Cruise

Posted by Vicki Briggs on May 02, 2019

Cruise India's Brahmaputra River

 

Last month I had the pleasure of joining Assam Bengal Navigation’s newest river ship Charaidew II on a voyage along northern India’s Brahmaputra River. India is a destination I’ve wanted to experience for many years, so when the opportunity arose to join my good friend Gianna on this seven-night cruise I jumped at the chance.

 

The Itinerary

The Assam region is located in the northernmost part of India, close to the foothills of the Himalaya. The Brahmaputra River is the region’s main waterway, flowing through Tibet, into India and down through Bangladesh to the Bay of Bengal. The river itself is ever-changing, meaning that the ship’s charts are constantly being updated from voyage to voyage. As the river conditions are so variable it is generally only safe to cruise during the daylight hours, with the ship safely anchored overnight. 

Our itinerary was the 7-night ‘River Island’ program, cruising the Brahmaputra between Steemer Ghat and Jorhat. The cruise itinerary takes in the highest navigable reaches of the river and showcases the unique culture of the area, fusing Indian and S.E. Asian influences. Highlights include a visit to Sivasagar, the old capital of the Ahom kings, as well as to Majuli Island with its unique Hindu monastic communities famous for their dance drama. 

 

Brahmaputra River cruise map

 

The major drawcard for Gianna and I was the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kaziranga National Park, as we were keen to see and photograph as much wildlife as possible. We had our hearts set on catching a glimpse of a Royal Bengal Tiger (the park has also earned the distinction of having the highest density of these beauties), but alas on this occasion we weren’t fortunate enough to spot one. Our cruise director told us they had seen a Bengal Tiger patrolling the riverbank on the previous trip, but as is the case with wild animals you do have to be a little lucky on occasion. Not to worry however, as the park is blessed with a variety of wildlife including the world’s largest population of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros and the Indian Wild Water Buffalo. The park also supports large populations of Indian elephants, Indian bison, Barasingha (swamp deer), and Capped Langur along with myriad birdlife including the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-shouldered Kite, White-tailed Eagle and Himalayan Griffon. 

We visited Kaziranga on two occasions during the voyage, the first time we ventured ashore in the park included a wildlife-spotting tour on the back of an elephant, a new experience for me.

 

Kaziranga NP elephant tour

 

When we weren’t in Kaziranga we were stopping at the traditional villages that line the river bank. We particularly enjoyed these villages as they were so untouched by tourism; it was interesting watching the locals go about their everyday business as we strolled through the villages, whether they be praying in the town’s temple or sitting at a traditional handloom weaving colourful fabrics. Of course they don’t get many westerners up in this part of the world, so everyone we met was keen to have a selfie with us and the people were so warm and friendly. The village visits were a definite highlight for us, and typically we had a couple of hours to explore and interact with the locals each time we went ashore.

 

Weaving brahmaputra river cruise

 

On each occasion when we returned from an excursion to the ship we were met by the crew bearing cold towels and refreshing beverages and we particularly enjoyed the crew’s attention to the small details such as these.

The itinerary is quite gentle in terms of physicality, anybody with a reasonable level of mobility will be able to enjoy it without too many problems. Most of the activities were scheduled for the morning, with the afternoon put aside to cruise to the next day’s location. While cruising aboard the ship there were activities to take part in, including the opportunity to dress in colourful saris (a lot of fun) and an interesting cooking class with the ship’s chef where he taught us about spices and preparing traditional Indian curries. We were also lucky enough to enjoy a performance by local Assam dancers on the first night of the cruise, and music from a renowned Buddhist flutist later in the trip.

 

Indiai cruise

 

A note about transfers to the ship…

To join the cruise we flew from Delhi into the city of Guwahati. We were met on arrival at the airport by the ship’s local representatives (driver and guide) for an included private car transfer to the Charaidew II. The car was modern and well-maintained and we enjoyed the four-hour ride through the countryside, which included an impromptu stop for lunch at a roadside restaurant offering some of the best Indian cuisine we enjoyed during our travels.

At the conclusion of the cruise we were flying out from the city of Dibrugarh and again a private transfer was provided. En route our attention was drawn to some amazing prayer calls emanating from a temple and the driver and guide were only too happy for us to drop in for a quick visit. 

The transfers were very well organised and we felt very safe in the hands of our skilled driver (the roads in India can be quite an experience!).

 

Read the Daily Newsletter from each day of the expedition.

 

Village India Brahmaputra River Cruise

 

The Ship:  Charaidew II

Assam Bengal Navigation operate a small fleet of river ships in India on both the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers. We were lucky enough to cruise aboard the brand-new Charaidew II which they had launched just eight weeks prior in mid-January 2019.

At 44 metres in length, the Charaidew II provides extremely comfortable accommodation for up to 36 travellers sharing 18 cabins and approximately 30 crew. We were travelling during the ‘off-peak’ time of year, so the ship wasn’t full, but we did note that there was plenty of public space so we don’t think the ship would ever feel too crowded, even with a full complement aboard.

 

Charaidew II lounge

 

The ship’s decor reflects traditional Assamese design, with touches of colonial elegance, brought to life by hand-woven cotton fabrics. The lower deck houses the comfortable dining room, with the bulk of the cabins located on the mid deck. On the top deck you find the lounge and sun deck, both pleasant locations to sit back with a good book or to take in views of the river. There’s plenty of comfy chairs to make yourself at home, and a bar to purchase a refreshing drink (tea/coffee and water/fruit juices are included at no additional cost). In the lounge you also have access to complimentary WiFi, which allowed us to stay in touch with friends and family at home and share some of our photographs each day.

 

Charaidew II dining room

 

There’s also a small gym on board, along with a spa offering massages and beauty treatments (additional cost). 

Being brand-new, the ship is in excellent condition and the crew did a great job ensuring she was looking at her absolute best each day.

 

The Cabin:  Double Cabin

The Charaidew II offers three grades of accommodation; there are two highly sought-after Deluxe Cabins (32 square metres) with private balconies, 12 Double / Twin Cabins (22 square metres) and four standard Cabins (16 square metres) that are also available to solo travellers. 

Gianna and I shared a Twin-bedded cabin on the mid deck. We were very impressed by the generous size of the accommodations and enjoyed the fact that the French Balcony allowed plenty of fresh air in while an insect screen kept the bugs at bay. The cabin featured individually-controlled air conditioning, comfortable beds (you may choose either a double bed or two singles), a writing desk with chair, plenty of hanging space and an electronic safe. There were also in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities and a small bar fridge.

 

Charaidew II cabin

 

The cabin’s en suite was also very well designed, with a full-size shower (there was never a shortage of hot water), toilet, basin and hairdryer. Complimentary Biotique toiletries were provided and replenished during the daily servicing of the room.

 

The Dining

We were particularly looking forward to sampling some local cuisine during the cruise, and we enjoyed the menu the chefs in the galley were able to produce. As the ship’s guests originate from all around the world the menu offers a combination of western and Indian dishes and we did find that the spice had perhaps been ‘toned down’ a little to suit most palates. We recommend a gentle word to the chef if you would prefer a more spicy offering, they are sure to oblige.

Breakfast and lunch were served as buffets in the dining room, with a typical array of bacon, sausages, and eggs (cooked to order) on offer. There was also a variety of fruits, yoghurts and cereals for those keen on a lighter start to the day. Tea and coffee and fruit juice are also on offer throughout the day. If you prefer an espresso-style coffee (rather than typical filter coffee) there is a barista in the lounge but do note that these premium coffees come at an additional cost on board.

 

dining aboard Charaidew II

 

Lunch was again a buffet, featuring a mix of both western and Indian dishes. At lunch each day you also make your dinner selection for that evening’s meal choosing from a small a la carte menu. Dinner typically consisted of four courses, a soup, entrée, main and dessert. On one occasion we enjoyed a bonfire BBQ ashore for the evening meal which was a highlight.

If you like to indulge in a glass of wine with your evening meal there is a small selection available on board for purchase. While the wine list is not expansive, we did find that the choices on offer were more than adequate and reasonably priced. 

 

Our Verdict

For the uninitiated, India can be an assault on the senses; the constant movement, noises, smells, colours and crowds in cities like Delhi and Varanasi can take a bit of getting used to. In comparison, the pace of life on the river can be very genteel and our time exploring the Brahmaputra River aboard the new Charaidew II allowed us the opportunity to experience a completely different – and unexpected - side to this amazing country. 

Rarely visited by the tourist masses, the Assam region is full of friendly people and interesting discoveries and we suggest there is no better way to experience this part of the world than on a 7-night cruise aboard Assam Bengal Navigation’s new Charaidew II. 

So if India’s on your bucket list, make sure you add the Brahmaputra River to your itinerary – you wont regret it!

For more information about cruising India’s rivers contact our expert team today on 1800 90 20 80 (+61 7 4041 2101) or visit www.expeditioncruisespecialists.com.

Click here to visit our Charaidew II webpage.

 

Photographs courtesy of Vicki Briggs, Gianna Galeotta and Assam Bengal Navigation. Not to be reproduced without written permission.

 

cruising india's brahmpautra River

Eco Abrolhos - the 'active' Kimberley adventure cruise

Posted by Guest Post - Paul Hogger, Eco Abrolhos Cruises on April 10, 2019

This special guest blog (and photography) was kindly provided by Paul Hogger – Eco Abrolhos Guide and Photographer

 

Eco Abrolhos' 2023 Kimberley Schedule is out now and selling quickly. Call our expert team today on 1800 90 20 80 to secure your place!

 

 

2023 Kimberley Cruise Prices:

Lower Deck Cabin - $13,115 per person, twin share

King Bunk Cabin - $14,165 per person, twin share

Queen / Double Stateroom - $16,265 per person, twin share

King Bed Deluxe Stateroom - $17,840 per person, twin share

Single travellers may secure a Lower Deck cabin for $15,740.

 

Ask our expert team about 2023 Booking Bonuses!

 

*****

 

Recently, Australian television's SBS broadcast a 'Slow TV' series with The Kimberley featuring as one of the showcased journeys with a cruise from Broome to Darwin spanning some 15 hours of television time. While the voyage was portrayed as somewhat relaxing this is not reflective of the pace onboard the Eco Abrolhos.

You don’t have to be young and super fit, or a marathon runner, but aboard Eco Abrolhos the crew offer a vast range of activities that reward guests with a fantastic cross section of all The Kimberley has to offer.

 

Eco Abrolhos in the Kimberley

 

Why The Eco Abrolhos Itinerary?

At Eco Abrolhos we don’t offer seven or nine day 'Snapshots' or even five day 'Tasters', all eight of our annual Kimberley cruises are the same duration – 13 nights – and this is for a very important reason. We pride ourselves on taking each guest on a complete Kimberley journey – starting at Broome and finishing at Wyndham or vice versa. By visiting the key sites regularly the Eco crew know the hotspots, where’s safe to swim, where the wildlife lives, the best fishing holes and where to find the largest variety of birdlife.

Our 13 night journeys are not just thrown together on the run. These expeditions are planned over 18 months in advance to correspond exactly with the best tides and moon phases for each voyage. The 13 night duration also enables Eco Abrolhos to set off on a spring tide (the largest tides) and finish 14 days later also on a spring tide. This planning is critical to provide the ship the greatest water depth (and assistance from the currents) to get into places like the Berkeley and King George rivers and give our guests the maximum “Wow factor” and water movement at iconic locations such as Horizontal Falls and Montgomery Reef, all of which are at the start or end of each expedition.

The neap tides (smaller tides) during the middle of the trip make for better fishing and crabbing opportunities in the central section and longer stops at the scenic areas like the swimming waterholes, indigenous rock art sites and onshore hikes. 

With a maximum of 11-metre (37ft) tides, timing is a critical factor everywhere we go in The Kimberley. Each and every one of our eight 13 night Kimberley Expeditions is planned like this; we’ve been doing it for years – and it works!!

 

Eco Abrolhos Itineraries

 

Eco Abrolhos's expedition tenders

The four custom-built expedition tenders allow us to intimately explore the Kimberley. We don’t just drive up the rivers and watch the world go by. Our tenders allow us to put you in the action. With 140Hp engines, forward facing central seating and high sides, these are the perfect viewing and photo platforms. The folding front stairs makes boarding comfortable and easy and the full walk-around sides make fishing a breeze. 

Having multiple tenders allows Eco Abrolhos to cater to the various needs of our guests. Perhaps some of our guests wish to climb the waterfall while others would prefer to explore myriad creeks spotting wildlife. That’s no problem on the Eco Abrolhos.

 

Eco Abrolhos excursion tenders

excursion tenders eco abrolhos

 

Fishing aboard the Eco Abrolhos

Fishing is always a favourite activity. Our four tenders allow us to split the guests into 4 groups. Usually each tender heads to a different hotspot with their guide. It makes for some friendly banter both over the radio while the fishing is underway and afterwards back onboard the Eco Abrolhos. With all the guides being equal fisherman, the result is never the same.

 

Fishing aboard Eco Abrolhos

 

Indigenous Rock Art

Our captain is very passionate about the art and has over 35 years’ experience in The Kimberley guiding guests to remote art sites. We visit a mixture of Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) and Wandjina rock art sites. The hikes to get to the art sites range from under a minute to 20-minute climbs up a rocky cliff side. Some of the views from the art sites are just as worthy of the climb. Typically, we visit six to eight art sites during each 13-night cruise.

 

Eco Abrolhos rock art

 

Hikes and exploring ashore

Hikes, treks, bushwalks; call them what you will but they are popular during our cruises and the rewards are well worth the effort. In addition to hikes to the art sites there are multiple walks to fresh water swimming holes, hikes up side tributaries with small waterfalls and rock races, walks into areas to see stunning bird and wildlife and even a walk over a salt flat to an intact DC-3 plane wreck. One of the most active hikes is at the King George River. We only conduct this activity during the first half of the season when there is enough water flow above the falls. The hike starts with a steep incline up the side of a rocky slope before coming out on the rim of the 100-metre high gorge. The walk takes you past colourful wildflowers and along the rim before coming to the top of the iconic 88-metre high twin waterfalls. From there it’s a little further on to a delightful swimming hole on top of the world.

 

Walking excursions aboard Eco Abrolhos

 

And that's not all.....

We could keep going but by now we hope you get the idea. From pre-dawn starts to capture magnificent sunrises, to full action-packed days and backed up with a large range of post-sunset activities both on and off the Eco Abrolhos, your 13 Night “ACTIVE” Kimberley Adventure Cruise will leave you completely fulfilled with your voyage along the Kimberley Coast.

 

Eco Abrolhos after hours

 

See more about the Eco Abrolhos