- Travel aboard the luxury expedition small ship, True North, in the company of Chris Packham
- Take a helicopter journey to the top of Eagle Falls for a picnic lunch
- Learn about the 'Bradshaws' - ancient rock art, possibly the oldest paintings known to man
- Chris will be joined by local birding expert, George Swann to maximise birding potential
Following our successful charter of the True North in Papua New Guinea, we are excited to offer another exclusive adventure on the True North with Chris Packham, this time in the Kimberley. Located in the north west of Australia, the Kimberley are renowned for being a region of outstanding beauty, dotted with spectacular waterfalls, billabongs, enigmatic rock-art and home to an array of extraordinary wildlife.
Our luxury Australian cruise covers over a thousand nautical miles, travelling from Wyndham in the east to Broome in the west. The Kimberley’s most iconic sites are included in the itinerary such as the King George Falls, the Hunter River, the Prince Regent River, Montgomery Reef and the Horizontal Waterfalls…all explored from the luxury platform of the True North.
Explore the Kimberley by helicopter
On this charter, the cost includes a helicopter excursion to Eagle Falls on the Drysdale River, a location only accessible by helicopter. After a short flight across the rugged Kimberley landscape, touch down at a secluded location where the True North’s friendly crew will be waiting. Take guided walks in search of rock art before cooling off by swimming in and around waterfalls. The landscape here is remote and untouched, providing a beautiful vista for photography. While the group is busy exploring, the ship chefs will be busy preparing a sumptuous bush barbeque. There are approx. 20 other helicopter flight excursions that can be booked on this cruise however please note that the cost shown only includes the Eagle Falls excursion outlined above.
What will the Kimberley be like in late April?
We have chosen to charter our trip to coincide with the end of the wet season. At this time the waterfalls are in full flow, thundering off the edge of Kimberley’s iconic sandstone cliffs and provide a dramatic backdrop for photographers. The electrical storms at this time of the year can also be very dramatic providing spectacular light shows.
Viewing rock art in the Kimberley
Much of the rock art visited on the cruise is only accessible by water or by helicopter and some examples are believed by many to be the oldest paintings known to man. There are excellent examples of both Wandjina and Bradshaw art, depicting images of human like spirits and in some cases, the Rainbow Serpent. Staff on board the True North have good knowledge of the rock art and can help in giving modern day interpretations of what is seen. There is no question, the rock art in the Kimberleys is of profound importance to our understanding of human occupation across Australia and gives fascinating insight into early man’s perception of his place in the world.
The Kimberley Foundation’s chief executive, Cas Bennetto believes the rock art in the Kimberleys “contains evidence of Australia’s earliest settlement and it’s a remarkable and unequalled historical resource for the world. Rock art is central to answering some of the big questions about human migration.”
Birding in the Kimberley
Over 300 species of birds can be found in the Kimberley, from endemics to migrants, pelagic birds and waders, colourful parrots and cockatoos to herons, egrets, ibises, bitterns, geese and ducks. Other specific birds of interest are rainbow bee-eaters, great bowerbirds, spinifex pigeon, blue-winged kookaburra and possibly the sacred kingfisher which is a migrant that lives in the Kimberley during the wet season.George Swann has been studying the birds of Kimberley for almost 27 years and will be on hand throughout the cruise to identify the birds that are seen. George knows the best spots for birdwatching and along with Chris Packham, will lead dedicated birding excursions, from tenders and on foot.
Chris Packham's role
Chris's knowledge of natural history is second to none and he imparts this knowledge in an eloquent and engaging fashion when on board. Whether talking over dinner, providing narrative in the field, delivering a lecture on board or giving a spontaneous chat over drinks in the bar, what Chris has to say is always worth hearing.
Opportunities for birding are abundant in the Kimberley and with Chris Packham and George Swann on board, there will be excursions ashore to discover local fauna and flora. Having spent the day exploring, return to your floating boutique hotel and have a drink in the bar with Chris Packham and the North Star team. Chris will be giving talks on board and will also be on hand to assist with any photographic tuition you might need.
Feedback from Steppes Travel's Papua New Guinea cruise with Chris:
"Chris Packham delivered unusual and interesting bites of information throughout but was equally happy to stay in the background when appropriate. He was approachable, sociable, humorous and generous with his advice when asked"
"Chris Packham exceeded our expectations. He was generous with his time and knowledge - and even shared some photos."
Fishing and Crocs
Our Kimberley cruise provides ample opportunity for big game fishing. The Drysdale River is renowned for mangrove jack while the Mitchell River and the Roe River are famous for being home to some of Australia’s biggest barracuda. The crew on board the True North know these waters extremely well and will give as much help and guidance as is needed. All fishing equipment is provided – you just need to provide patience along with a bit of luck of course.
Crocodiles will be permanent companions on this trip and there will be several opportunities to photograph Australia’s most infamous resident. Water levels will be high at this time of year but it is still likely that crocs will be seen both in and out of the water, making for exciting photographic opportunities.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.