Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime? Cruising in the Kimberley serves up eye-popping beauty at every turn.
A rarely visited, ancient and pristine coastline, this slice of Western Australia is often referred to as one of the world’s last great wilderness areas. It’s a wonderland of secret waterfalls, rare birds and confetti-like islands.
Accessible by boat from Broome, Wyndham (via Kununurra) Darwin and Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm on the Dampier Peninsula, the epic journey is worth the effort. Whether you’re seeking a sophisticated atmosphere with butler service or an action-packed activity focused itinerary, there are a bunch of excellent Kimberley cruises out there.
1. The Great Escape Charter Company
Family-owned and run, The Great Escape Charter Company has a custom-built 26-metre luxury catamaran, MV Great Escape, which caters to just 14 lucky guests across seven stylish staterooms.
Sail by the majestic falls of the Kimberley with The Great Escape Charter Company.
Each suite has a queen bed, real-time TV, personal fridges and private bathroom. Importantly, a helicopter sits on the deck, providing access to those hard-to-reach places. On board you’ll find fine dining, a spa on the front deck, wi-fi and seven friendly crew members.
Settle into one of the cosy cabins.
2. True North
Highly regarded True North crafts itineraries with the goal of being “life changing” for guests. The family-owned company has two vessels that are purpose-built for the Kimberley and can journey to the upper reaches of shallow river systems.
Cruise the Kimberley with the highly regarded True North.
True North hosts 36 guests, while True North II whisks away 22 folks. Multiple adventure boats take guests in small groups to experience wilderness up close, and a helicopter helps explorers investigate hard-to-reach corners.
Get whisked off to the remote coastal wonders of the Kimberley like King George Falls. (Image: True North/ Tourism Australia)
Rooms feature king-sized, queen or twin single beds, original artwork, small fridges, private bathrooms with twin basins and TVs. Choose from shorter, seven-day cruises, longer 13-day events or specialist expeditions focusing on coast and coral.
True North Cabins can fit solo, duo or group cruisers.
3. Silversea Cruises
Embarking from either Broome or Darwin, Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud delivers the ultimate big boat luxury experience over 10 days. For the 200 passengers on board, all suites have butler service and ocean views. Twenty zodiac boats ferry guests to fishing spots and narrow waterways. Helicopter excursions to the four-tiered Mitchell Falls can be arranged, and historians, naturalists and geologists travel on board.
Make yourself at home in the luxurious cabins.
In between adventures, dine at one of the four restaurants or head to the fitness centre, beauty spa, photo studio or the lounge dedicated to cognac and cigars.
Scenic’s luxurious Scenic Eclipse II hosts 228 guests and offers 10 dining experiences, a beauty spa, state-of-the-art theatre, a large oval-shaped pool (swim jets allow you to swim “laps”) and butler service (relax, they’ll guide you through the pillow menu). Choose from eight cabin types, including the opulent spa suites with four-poster king beds, jacuzzi overlooking the private verandah, and oversized steam shower. If you need more space, snap up the 247-square metre two-bedroom penthouse suite.
Take advantage of the vitality pool onboard Scenic Eclipse II.
Helicopters and zodiac rides are at your fingertips, as is French champagne, on this 11-day itinerary from Darwin to Broome (or vice versa) that includes stops at the remote Buccaneer Archipelago and the Lacepede Islands.
5. Kimberley Expeditions
Step on board the 36-guest Reef Prince and find yourself cruising through towering gorges, zipping ‘down river’ in the excursion tenders and sneaking into secluded bays.
With a focus on affordability for guests, Kimberley Expeditions offers action-packed 11-day cruises from Broome to Darwin (and vice versa). All cabins have ensuites and either queen-sized, double, or twin single beds. With plenty of fishing equipment on board, guests often are treated to fresh Spanish mackerel, golden snapper and mudcrab for dinner.
6. Coral Expeditions
From humble beginnings on the Great Barrier Reef 40 years ago, Coral Expeditions has taken its unique style of Australian expedition cruising to the far-flung lands of the Kimberley, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea and more.
Venture across the majestic Hunter River onboard Coral Expeditions.
Join a 10-night cruise from Darwin or Broome and jump on board either the 72-guest Coral Discoverer or the larger vessels, Coral Adventurer and Coral Geographer, which both welcome 120 guests.
Take in incredible sunset views en route to the Kimberley.
Discover the reefs, coastline and remote gorges by zodiac or glass-bottom boat, plus step ashore to explore remote locations. For down time, enjoy the spacious suites, restaurants, bars, library and daily lecture program.
Montgomery Reef is a popular cruise destination in the Kimberley.
Indulge your Gallic side in the Kimberley with French cruise operator Ponant, which has over 35 years of experience in luxury small ship cruising. Set sail aboard Le Lapérouse or Le Jacques Cartier, each with 92 chic staterooms and suites, a pool, several bar areas, plus The Blue Eye, a lounge located below the waterline offering undersea views.
Luxurious Hermes bath products, Veuve Clicquot Champagne and macaroons are some of the unique offerings provided to guests on board Ponant. Spend your days exploring ancient walking trails and watching the region’s most incredible wildlife before returning to the ship for massage treatments, lectures by naturalists and to relax in the library. Cruises can be booked via Aptouring.
Set sail aboard Le Lapérouse. (Image: Studio Ponant Laure Patricot)
Those looking for a cruise line that sails to all seven continents will find that with Seabourn. The suites aboard Seabourn ships feature queen-size beds, an extra-large walk-in closet, an ocean view, and a dining area.
Seabourn offers 10-day sailings between Broome and Darwin on the luxe Seabourn Pursuit. You’ll be joined by a team of world-renowned scientists, historians and naturalists and the expedition team will whisk you away on zodiac trips to wonders like the Horizontal Falls and Turtle Reef, home to dugongs, crocs and other sea creatures.
9. Heritage Expeditions
Join New Zealand’s family-owned and operated cruise company, Heritage Expeditions, for a Kimberley cruise aboard the luxury 140-guest Heritage Adventurer. Purpose-built for adventure, the ship is perfect for navigating the Kimberley’s intricate coast, islands and harbours and has a full fleet of zodiacs for excursions to secluded white sand beaches and remote bays.
Indulge in an awe-inducing Observation Lounge with a library and bar, or relax in the saltwater pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. Savour gourmet cuisine from talented chefs across two lavish restaurants and settle into your spacious suite each night.
10. Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures
If you don’t have a week or two to spare, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures may be your best bet for an overnight adventure. Depart from Broome or Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm on the Dampier Peninsula on a seaplane and take a thrilling low-level flight over the heart of Horizontal Falls, before landing on the water where you’ll then transfer to a power boat.
Have barramundi for dinner, snorkel in the marine viewing platform, and stay overnight on the 10-room Jetwave Pearl. Each room has its own private bathroom, air-con and a comfortable bed.
Go sailing across the spectacular Horizontal Falls. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
11. Kimberley Quest
Offering intimate small ship cruises, Kimberley Quest operates four-day all the way up to 21-day extended wilderness expeditions along the Kimberley coast, cruising between Broome and Wyndham.
Sail across Montgomery Reef with Kimberley Quest.
Their 25-metre Kimberley Quest II features indoor and outdoor alfresco areas, a spa and gourmet cuisine prepared by an on-board chef. Cruising with just 18 guests translates into a high level of personalised service and attention.
Pass through the wondrous Horizontal Falls.
For something even more exclusive, cruise the Kimberley onboard one of Yotspace’s superyacht charters. The 34-metre Akiko hosts just 10 guests across five luxury staterooms each with private ensuites, while the 35-metre Paradise also accommodates 10 lucky adventurers.
Week-long itineraries can be customized, allowing guests to immerse themselves in this remarkable region in peace. In between exploring, you can enjoy the yacht’s outdoor spa, sunset cocktails and the onboard chef’s gourmet creations.
Embark on a luxury Kimberley sailing experience with Yotspace.
13. Discovery One
Discovery One will take you on 10-to-14-night adventures along the pristine Kimberley coast. With just 22 passengers and a crew of six onboard Discovery One, there’s plenty of room for everyone on the 25-metre, four-level steel catamaran.
As for the off-board experiences the activity list is endless, with two tenders taking guests on excursions two to three times a day.
Go rock scrambling to level up your adventure in the Kimberley.
14. Kimberley Pearl Charters
Kimberley Pearl Charters offers seven, 10 and 13-night itineraries that are the perfect mix of adventure, exploration and indulgence.
Immerse yourself in Australia’s last frontier onboard Kimberley Pearl.
The newly renovated Kimberley Pearl boasts six cabins, one on the upper deck, two on the main and three below, all with private bathrooms.
Get ready for the ultimate cruise of a lifetime with Kimberley Pearl Charters.
15. Cygnet Bay
Take a Kimberley one-day cruise from Cygnet Bay, 200 kilometres north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsula. Cruise to Talbot Bay and get up close to the Horizontal Falls aboard the luxury purpose-built vessel Ohana.
Enjoy a cooked breakfast and seven-course degustation lunch and of course, a cocktail or two. If you want to stay longer, opt for the “soar, cruise and overnight stay” package.
Take a dreamy day trip cruise from Cygnet Bay. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)