A Travellerspoint blog

West Kimberley Wilderness (part two)

Last frontiers - ask and you shall receive!

It has been windy all week in Broome and one windy morning Geoff and I were relaxing at our van when we got a very exciting phone call.

Just to back track. We had met a skipper of a Kimberley cruise earlier in our travels who told us all about cruising in the wilderness. We had seen something about it on TV on some very luxurious liner that cost a fortune - it is called True North. He was a skipper for another cruise boat and then he explained that there are several operators doing that sort of thing (at various prices) and you can get end of the season specials, if you have time and are hanging around Broome. He also added that it was a very unique experience and similar to going to the Antarctic on a cruise except different landscape. He recommended that everyone who travels should at least do this experience once in their lifetime. It's amazing.

This got me going and I thought it was worth a try. So during the first windy week I contacted some of these operators, however, there were not many more cruises going at this time of the year. That's when we got a call, the day before a cruise was leaving. We were to pack our bags and would be flying 2.5 hours over the wilderness to Mitchell Plateau where we are met by helicopter to take us to our boat! Wow. We are not lovers of light aircraft.

So with much trepidation about the flying part, we had to quickly pack some sort of bags because we didn't have suitcases. This is what we got! A plane the size of a flea and take-off on a windy day! Only 4 people can fly in it plus pilot.

the flea with (young) Columbian pilot

the flea with (young) Columbian pilot


I thought we had better let some family members know we were going for a week in case we fell out of the sky!!

We were told not to worry and that the scenery would be spectacular. See what you think.
spectacular scenery

spectacular scenery

so much wilderness

so much wilderness

inlets everywhere in the rugged north west

inlets everywhere in the rugged north west

river tributaries

river tributaries

beautiful waters way north of Broome

beautiful waters way north of Broome


where's the landing strip at Mitchell Plateau?

where's the landing strip at Mitchell Plateau?

Mitchell plateau

Mitchell plateau

We were then met by our friendly helicopter pilot who was showing us Mitchell Falls which look really nice in brochures but not much water in it at this time of year. Then onward for about 30 mins to our cruise boat.
our new fly!

our new fly!

the trickle from Mitchell Falls

the trickle from Mitchell Falls

Mitchell Plateau

Mitchell Plateau

there it is

there it is

helipad on our liner

helipad on our liner

landing on our cruiser

landing on our cruiser

farewell to our chopper

farewell to our chopper

Then the adventure began. Some would say the flights are also part of the adventure and they would be correct! After a welcome aboard we had a beautiful chef-prepared lunch on board before the afternoon activities began. The smaller boats at the back (tenders) took us up the Hunter River to sightsee. We then had sunset on a beach and took a short walk up to the rocks to see the Aboriginal rock art. Fantastic. Wandjina means various spirit paintings.
sandstone etc. boulders at Hunter River

sandstone etc. boulders at Hunter River

Geoff videoing Aboriginal rock art

Geoff videoing Aboriginal rock art

wandjina rock art

wandjina rock art

sunset somewhere in the wilderness

sunset somewhere in the wilderness

Then back to our home (boat) for cocktail hour with welcome champagne etc. Dinner and off to bed for the next adventure the following day.

The next day we had a list of activities on offer starting with an early morning fishing. I went and Geoff stayed in bed. I didn't even get a bite but the chef did and got us our first barramundi. Others caught some other fish which was to start us on our seafood meals.
early morning fishing catch

early morning fishing catch


After that we went to another rock art site of which there are several thousands all around this wilderness. There are different types of art and the peg figures, some with sashes around their waist were discovered by a guy called Bradshaw but painted by Aboriginals. We had to do some work (climbing) to get there but it was well worth it and all part of the adventure.
some fellow passengers

some fellow passengers

Bradshaw rock art (Aboriginal) which has peg people with sashes around the waist

Bradshaw rock art (Aboriginal) which has peg people with sashes around the waist

view from rock art cave

view from rock art cave


After lunch we were taken again by the tenders to some inlet off the river for a walk and swim in a rock hole.
tendering off to somewhere

tendering off to somewhere

not so friendly local in Hunter river

not so friendly local in Hunter river

a walk to our waterhole

a walk to our waterhole

refreshing water hole

refreshing water hole


Then it was time to go back to the 'mothership' for cocktails, dinner and sleep!
going back to our home

going back to our home

our home - we were on the middle deck

our home - we were on the middle deck

close of another day

close of another day

Day three was another really interesting day. Geoff decided that he would have a go at the early morning fishing for barra. Having had no experience the staff would show him how to do it. I wasn't there but he hooked someone's hat, got caught on the mud flats a lot and hooked onto rocks. Well you may laugh but he caught 3 barra. Nobody in that boat did or could believe it. I have nicknamed him 'barra boy'. Reminds me a bit of an Adam Sandler movie. I can just picture it. He had UV facecream all over his hands and touched the lure with it. The people on his tender were telling him that's not good and nor was his technique. He was reeling it in too fast. Well they had to eat humble pie and he was the star of the fishing after that. Everyday, with his lousy technique the fish would always find his lure. He also provided a good laugh for all those expert fishermen on board. What a hunter! Check out the action.
anticipation

anticipation

what is it?

what is it?

there it is

there it is

it's fighting

it's fighting

what a jumper

what a jumper

don't lose it

don't lose it

measuring the barra - 79cms!

measuring the barra - 79cms!

holding the catch - yuk!

holding the catch - yuk!

a happy barra boy - my hunter!

a happy barra boy - my hunter!

the size of barra boy's catch

the size of barra boy's catch

After breakfast we went to another inlet. Prince Regent River and we were going to some waterfalls for a climb and swim. This is what it looked like.
Cascade waterfalls

Cascade waterfalls

Barra boy and wife

Barra boy and wife

what a picture!

what a picture!

the climb to the waterholes

the climb to the waterholes

Geoff abseiling

Geoff abseiling

the main rock pool

the main rock pool

this was soooo refreshing and no crocs!

this was soooo refreshing and no crocs!

the cascading waters and us swimming

the cascading waters and us swimming

our boat

our boat

up a tributary somewhere

up a tributary somewhere

another waterfall

another waterfall

having another refreshing shower!

having another refreshing shower!

some fellow travellers

some fellow travellers


After lunch we went for a cruise by tender to see some more amazing wilderness.
afternoon excursion by tender

afternoon excursion by tender


And then it was time to go home to enjoy cocktails, tales for the day adventures, lots of laughs and dinner before a big sleep.

Each day we were given the days activities and you can choose to do it or not.
plans for the day

plans for the day

Well fishing was on the agenda most mornings so Geoff would do this seeing he was the expert! I went birdwatching one morning and this is what we saw.
prawns that we netted for prawn fritters!

prawns that we netted for prawn fritters!

croc with claw!

croc with claw!

a bird - forgotten the name of it

a bird - forgotten the name of it

more crocs

more crocs

Some people went crabbing but we went on the walk for the swim and rock art. It was hot and more difficult than most walks we had done to date but the swim and the rock pool was worthwhile. These are some of the photos.
tendering to our next waterhole

tendering to our next waterhole

the tricky sections of the walk

the tricky sections of the walk

frogs that blend with their environment

frogs that blend with their environment

us going into the 'pool'

us going into the 'pool'

view of the rock pool

view of the rock pool

the waterfalls and pool enjoyed by all who walked

the waterfalls and pool enjoyed by all who walked

coming back to the tender after the swim

coming back to the tender after the swim

looking at rock art

looking at rock art

back to the tender

back to the tender

sunset at Hanover Bay

sunset at Hanover Bay

cocktails and bonfire at Hanover bay

cocktails and bonfire at Hanover bay

sunset with boat at Hanover Bay

sunset with boat at Hanover Bay

I guess by now you are getting the gist of our trip. It was pure wilderness, beautiful and so much fun. We have some amazing footage and can't possibly put it all in the blog. The next day we went to see 'stone warriors' which had the most amazing rock formations. We also enjoyed a swim in the ocean with staff on croc/shark watch just in case. We saw whales migrating to warmer waters, I enjoyed the spa on the upper deck whilst watching the scenery and then we anchored at another very picturesque place with fishing always on offer early in the morning or at the end of the day.
a tender full for the swim and sightseeing

a tender full for the swim and sightseeing

some of us being tendered to stone warriors

some of us being tendered to stone warriors

the mothership!

the mothership!

some of the stone warriors - rock formations

some of the stone warriors - rock formations

tendering to the stone warriors and a swim

tendering to the stone warriors and a swim

lady drinking water

lady drinking water

hopping out for a swim

hopping out for a swim

me having lunch

me having lunch

chilli crabs!

chilli crabs!

the chefs food on offer every day

the chefs food on offer every day

me frolicking!

me frolicking!

what a lovely sight

what a lovely sight

unusual lizard eating grasshopper - I didn't take this photo!

unusual lizard eating grasshopper - I didn't take this photo!

more beautiful rockart under shelter of rock cave with view

more beautiful rockart under shelter of rock cave with view

look at the colours

look at the colours

barra boy earning a big rest in the spa

barra boy earning a big rest in the spa

more beautiful sunsets

more beautiful sunsets

dinner on deck

dinner on deck

another end of a beautiful day

another end of a beautiful day

On day 6 we went to a beautiful reef where the water cascades over the corals and the tide never gets a chance to run away from the corals. Changing of tides happens really quickly here and they have 4 tides a day. Spectacular sight and of course there was the usual swim after that.
menu for the day

menu for the day

start of Montgomery reef excursion

start of Montgomery reef excursion

Montgomery reef

Montgomery reef

tidal waterfalls

tidal waterfalls

a big clam

a big clam

tide trying to go down before next tide

tide trying to go down before next tide

tenders going around the reef

tenders going around the reef

sea turtle at reef

sea turtle at reef

crew were on croc/shark watch

crew were on croc/shark watch

swimming in ocean

swimming in ocean

end of another exciting day

end of another exciting day

On day 7 we did the famous horizontal falls ride. We anchored at Talbot Bay and the tides around this time were huge. 10 metres. The water is forced between gaps in the rocks. You go through one gap when it is safe to do so and swirl around in these whirlpools formed by this huge tide. The next gap is really narrow and unfortunately we weren't able to go through this due to the high tide. My photo doesn't quite show the drop is height from the high tide trying to push through this narrow gap. Hopefully our video footage will show it better. What a rush this was. It was really scary and gives you a real respect for the ocean.
the last day menu

the last day menu

scenic excursion at Talbot Bay

scenic excursion at Talbot Bay

some beautiful scenery at Talbot Bay

some beautiful scenery at Talbot Bay

can you see the change in levels?

can you see the change in levels?

swirling tides

swirling tides

whirlpools

whirlpools

the gap between the rocks

the gap between the rocks

Horizontal falls

Horizontal falls

Then it was last chance for a spa and some more viewings of the wilderness including seeing an iron ore mine on Koolan Island, a blight on all that wonderful wilderness. Also one final swim in the ocean at a silica beach. We then farewelled the Bucaneer Archipelago area with all those beautiful azure waters.
last day for a spa

last day for a spa

swim at silica beach

swim at silica beach


We had cocktails on the top deck overlooking Cape Leveque. Final viewings of all the lovely scenery and a lot of frivolity. What a fantastic adventure and how lucky we were to get that call on one windy day in Broome.
Cape Leveque

Cape Leveque

skipper Ben in foreground at cocktails

skipper Ben in foreground at cocktails

last dinner onboard

last dinner onboard

the last dinner

the last dinner

chef and helping hands

chef and helping hands

Geoff in our ensuite room

Geoff in our ensuite room

sunset from our room

sunset from our room

And so, in the blink of an eye, ended our incredible adventure into the wilderness of north west Australia - the Kimberleys.
the final sunset

the final sunset

Posted by blondnomad 22:10 Archived in Australia Tagged cruising

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Comments

The colours! What a wonderful experience for you.
(It's wet and cold here!)
Donna

by Chambry

I am sooooo jealous!!!!

by Akash

Gosh!!!!! How lucky you were to get stand-by rates.That trip is soooo----expensive. we could not afford it. We felt ourselves fortunate enough to go to Mitchell Plateau and over Mitchell Falls and some of those photos were familiar along the coast.
Also had an O/N at Horizontal Falls.
i'm so envious we would have loved to have done some of the other adventures. Keep enjoying yourselves. Loved the photos.

by Beryl Barrett

Well well...what an adventure. this is the trip Mike has been longing to do for so long. We will pick you brain re $ when you get back. Certainly an opportunity of a lifetime. Looking forward to hearing your next adventure....Barra Boy Mike has some competition now.

by Mike and Marilyn

I'm sssooooooooooooooo jealous. That would have been faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantastic.

by Robyn

These are the greatest photos yet! Makes one want to head that way immediately. I'm reading your blogs backwards as I missed a couple. I'm sure glad I didn't miss this one. I am in awe of the scenery there, and also the barramundi catching and chilli crab eating. Bastards!! xo Jan

by Jan Corbett

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