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Image by Zeb Zakovics
Darwin to Fremantle (Perth), Western Australia Expedition Cruise

09 - 26 August 2023

18 Days / 17 Nights

This cruise goes all the way from Darwin to Perth along the rocky coast of Western Australia. After a day at sea, sail to Indonesia's Matakus Island, where you will be warmly welcomed. Next, take in the natural beauty of the Kimberley, from the striped Bungle Bungle Mountain Range to the humpback whales of the Buccaneer Archipelago. Your trip will be complete with a trip to the Dampier Archipelago, the beautiful Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth, and the Abrolhos, also known as the "Galapagos of the South."

Itinerary in a Nutshell

13

Ports

2

Countries

Silver Explorer

Expedition Cruise

Routes
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Australia : Darwin - Wyndham - King George River (Kimberley, Western Australia) - Hunter River Region (Western Australia) - Buccaneer Archipelago Region - Lacepedes Islands - Expedition Dampier Archipelago - Expedition Montebello Islands -  Exmouth (Western Australia) - Dirk Hartog Island - Abrohols Islands - Fremantle (Perth), Western Australia
Indonesia: Matakus Island

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Day 01  |  Darwin

Darwin is an interesting Australian destination with a distinct history, stunning islands, and Pacific flavors. Crocodiles patrol Australia's Top End gateway jungled rivers and rainforests. Explore Kakadu's misty canals by airboat. George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens has chirping birds, fountains, and waterfalls. Soak it up, then relax with a picnic and BBQ. As dusk approaches, many people head to the city's soft beaches to rest at Mindil Beach. The adjacent market is loaded with souvenir and craft stands and offers spicy Asian flavors.

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Day 02  |  Day at Sea

Days at sea allow you to relax, unwind, and catch up. These blue sea days are excellent for heading to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on reading, or topping off your tan.

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Day 03  |  Matakus Island

Indonesia's east is a wonderland. Home to many stunning, untouched sites that haven't seen a tourism boom. Matakus Island is one. It's great for adventurers who wish to get off the beaten road. Matakus is a Tanimbar island. It's one of the smaller islands, but its proximity to Saumlaki, the regional center, guarantees that it's inhabited (current population 100). The tourism infrastructure is nearly nonexistent, so don't expect to buy souvenirs. Instead, order a lunch of freshly caught and grilled fish from one of the local fishermen. The island has excellent, white-sand beaches and crystal blue seas with staghorn coral and cardinalfish. Tanimbar starling, Moluccan masked owl, Fawn-breasted thrush, and Blue-streaked lorry live there.

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Day 04  |  Day at Sea

Days at sea allow you to relax, unwind, and catch up. These blue sea days are excellent for heading to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on reading, or topping off your tan.

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Day 05  |  Wyndham

Wyndham is a small town with a Kimberley vibe. It was founded in 1886 during the Halls Creek gold rush on the Cambridge Gulf, where numerous rivers merge. Wyndham has 900 residents and functions as a port exporting cattle, serving the mining industry, and hosting small ships. These boats can access the neighboring Ord River from Wyndham. Cruising the tree-lined Ord River provides an opportunity to see freshwater crocodiles, fruit bats, short-eared rock wallabies, and Mangrove Herons and Mangrove Gerygones. All Kimberley destinations and order are subject to tidal and weather conditions.

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Day 06 |  King George River (Kimberley)

King George Falls is a Kimberley natural wonder. The 260-foot double cascades are among Australia's highest. The river winds through red rock formations and a parade of animals, including ferocious saltwater crocodiles and gigantic raptors.

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Day 07  |  Hunter River Region (Western Australia)

Hunter River's mangroves are flanked by red sandstone cliffs. Narrow mangrove canals hide birds, mudskippers, fiddler crabs, and the ferocious saltwater crocodile. Naturalist Island at the river's mouth boasts a lovely stretch of sandy beach that makes an ideal landing location for small helicopters. Four-tiered Mitchell Falls plunge into deep pools that feed into the Mitchell River. The cool headwaters of the falls provide a nice relief from the heat of the plain.

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Day 08 - 09  |  Buccaneer Archipelago Region

Buccaneer Archipelago is one of Kimberley's best-kept secrets. The 50 k2 (19 sq mi) Archipelago, made up of 800 islands, protects the mainland from the 12 m tides and speed of Yampi Sound. Water's speed and power may not be comfortable for bathing, yet they create amazing natural wonders. Talbot Bay's reversible waterfall is an example. The tidal pull "reverses" the falls, but it also masks tight gaps between the islands, making sailing perilous. Sailors and divers have died in isolated graves. Cygnet Bay, Cascade Bay, Cone Bay, and Strickland Bay were pearling hotspots in the 1880s. Recently, open-cut mines were built on Koolan Island in Puget Sound. The world's richest iron ore is mined here.

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Day 10  |  Lacepedes Islands

The Lacapede Islands were declared an A-class natural reserve in 1970. Its brown booby colony is likely the world's largest. Even though they're only off the Kimberley Coast, the Lacepedes feel isolated. They were named after French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède, who investigated Australian fish species. Before becoming a nature reserve, the Lacepedes kept kidnapped Aborigines for the pearl industry. Their unusual location makes them a breeding ground for birds and marine life. The islands are home to Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, and Lesser Frigate Birds. Our Zodiac tours are the best way to see the West Australian bird ballet.

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Day 11  |  Day at Sea

Days at sea allow you to relax, unwind, and catch up. These blue sea days are excellent for heading to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on reading, or topping off your tan.

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Day 12  |  Expedition Dampier Archipelago

Dampier Archipelago's rust-colored rocks, Spinifex grass, white beaches, and blue oceans create a magnificent kaleidoscope. Burrup Peninsula is surrounded by 42 islands. First European visitor William Dampier called the archipelago in 1699. Ancient people inhabited the area. Aboriginals call the archipelago and peninsula Murujuga. Animals and people are easily recognizable, while legendary creatures and geometric patterns aren't. Dampier Marine Park protects coral reefs, sponge gardens, and seagrass meadows. A 5-meter tidal range adds rugged coastlines and sand flats. Corals, fish, and 1200 mollusks have significant biodiversity. Flatback and Hawksbill Turtles live here. Snorkeling shows a wealth of life. Arid rocky islands require adapted flora and wildlife. Reptiles and Rothschild's Rock Wallabies seek shade in rocky overhangs. Ospreys and Sea-eagles eat mostly seafood. Huge stick nests are on beach rocks. Some nests are decades old, a more manageable span.

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Day 13  |  Expedition Montebello Islands

Montebello is Italian for 'beautiful mountain' What a misnomer! The islands are low, flat, and dry. They were called by French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1801 following a conflict in Italy. The warlike moniker may fit, as the British utilized the islands for three nuclear bomb testing in the 1950s. Today travelers must avoid two radioactive islands. Other islands are okay to explore. Two endangered mammals—the Mala (Rufous Hare-Wallaby) and the Djoongari (Shark Bay Mouse)—live here. Aboriginal people visited until eight thousand years ago, when increasing sea levels following the last ice age pushed them too far offshore. The islands are an important seabird breeding colony. Seek out Roseate and Greater Crested Terns. Sooty Oystercatchers feed on rocks while Beach Stone-curlews explore beaches. Coral reefs and lagoons surround the islands in Montebello Marine Park. 150 kinds of hard coral, 450 species of fish, and 170 species of echinoderms (sea stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers) keep snorkelers happy. Green, Hawksbill, and Flatback Turtles nest on beaches and are highlights in the ocean.

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Day 14  |  Exmouth (Western Australia)

Ningaloo is a fringing reef south of Exmouth. It's 300 km long and the world's cleanest bordering reef. Coral reaches the intertidal zone. Cape Range National Park contains much of the limestone coast. The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area combines desert with coral. Arid environment means little rain and soil runoff, leaving the sea blue and perfect for snorkeling. Wave-cut limestone escarpments and Yardie Creek gorge are in Cape Range National Park. Cape Range features eucalypt woods, acacia scrublands, and spinifex grasslands. Skinks, dragons, monitors, and geckos thrive in Australia. Euros (Hill Kangaroos) and Black-flanked Rock-wallabies hide in the shade on hot days.

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Day 15  |  Day at Sea

Days at sea allow you to relax, unwind, and catch up. These blue sea days are excellent for heading to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on reading, or topping off your tan.

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Day 16  |  Dirk Hartog Islands

Dutch adventurer Dirk Hartog landed on this big island 400 years ago. Introduced animals have caused native fauna to perish. 'Return to 1616' involves restoring the island's original biological state by eradicating pests and reintroducing native animals. Nearly successful. Shark Bay on Dirk Hartog Island has the world's largest seagrass bed. It supports 10,000 dugongs. Dugongs have grey bodies, snorting nostrils, and gently raising tails. Shark Bay has Loggerhead and Green Turtles, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, and stingrays and eagle rays. Sharks maintain a healthy ecosystem, as the name says. The distant Dirk Hartog Island has its own bird. The Dirk Hartog Fairy-wren, also called the Black and White Fairy-wren, is a little bird with a tall, upright tail. Arid vegetation is home to unusual tiny birds. Spotted Harriers, Brown Falcons, and Brown Goshawks are visible. Dirk Hartog would recognize 1616's Island.

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Day 17  |  Abrolhos Islands

At Abrolhos, the warm Leeuwin Current meets cool southern seas, creating habitats for tropical and temperate marine species. A coral reef grows alongside algae. Two-thirds of the 400 fish species are tropical, whereas Australian Sea-lions and Western Rock Lobsters are at their northern limit. Pacific Gulls and tropical Bridled and Roseate Terns mix. Two million Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and one Australian Lesser Noddy breed here. Abrolhos Painted Quails, Dwarf Bearded Dragons, and shy Tammar Wallabies live among Nitre shrubs and Saltbushes. Their forebears survived starvation.

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Day 18  |  Fremantle (Perth), Western Australia

Fremantle ranks seventh on Lonely Planet's list of best places to live, edging out Perth. Perth, with its joyful hippie attitude, has long been the region's draw. Fremantle's colorful past and bright future outshine Perth. Fremantle has been remade since the America's Cup in 1987. Fremantle was one of Australia's prison cities; Fremantle Prison has remnants. Between 1850 and 1868, about 10,000 criminals were sentenced to life in this jail, which remained open until 1991. The sandstone building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 15 minutes from port. Don't forget your bail.

The Fleet

For more routes and detailed journey programs, please contact TRUVI team.

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