Embark aboard L’Austral for an 11-day expedition cruise along the north-west coast of Western Australia.

At around two-thirds the size of France, Kimberley is one of the last unspoiled regions on the planet.
Vansittart Bay offers a number of islands and secret inlets. You will sail to Jar Island, home to ancient galleries of Aboriginal rock art, significant examples of the Gwion Gwion style, dating from 30,000 years before our time.

You will also visit the Lacepede Islands where you will be able to observe the abundance of nesting birds as well as some of the large population of turtles residing in the lagoon.

The highpoint of this cruise will undoubtedly be the discovery of the King George River and the majestic Twin Falls, the highest falls in Western Australia.

L’Austral will also take to you to the Hunter River and its forest of wild mangroves, as well as Swift Bay, which offers many caves and rocky overhangs.

Highlights


• Experience a refined adventure on board L’Austral, 132 staterooms & suites, 95% with private balcony: French lifestyle, unique comfort & service, Open Bar, Sophisticated Cuisine & Fine Wines, and the facilities of a 5-star yacht including a pool

• Join our highly qualified local expedition team

• Enjoy regular Zodiac® outings & shore visits to get close to Kimberley nature

• Discover billions of years-old landscapes & ancient rock art

• Listen to stories of the dreamtime from the oldest continuous culture on the planet

• Explore pristine mangrove environments, home to the world’s largest living reptile

• Witness unique tidal phenomena such as the Horizontal Falls

• Encounter the world’s largest population of migrating humpback whales

• Travel on the most environmentally sustainable vessel in the region, certified “Green ship”

Capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin stands on the shores of the Timor Sea on Australia’s North Coast. Its lush urban areas exude a tropical, multicultural atmosphere. You can also soak up aboriginal culture at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory or take in colonial heritage as you walk the historical discovery trail around the harbour. Pristine nature surrounds Darwin with waterfalls and virgin forests welcoming you to Litchfield National Park.
Captain Phillip Parker King named Vansittart Bay after the longest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart and Jar Island after Malay earthenware jar fragments he found on the beach in 1819. Jar Island contains ancient rock art galleries depicting the Gwion Gwion style unique to the Kimberley region. Mainly neglected by, or unknown to, the early European researchers of Aboriginal culture in the Kimberley in favour of the dominant and more dramatic Wandjina art, Gwion Gwion art has in recent years gained world prominence. It was originally named “Bradshaw” style after the exploring pastoralist Joseph Bradshaw who first recorded these enigmatic human figures near the Roe River in 1891. Amongst the many different stylistic variations, the most recognised are the classic Tasselled and Sash Bradshaw figures. These extremely ornamented naturalistic human figures characteristically seem to float with bent knees & pointed toes across the hard grained sandstone rock faces of innumerable galleries. Often a dark mulberry hue, they are stained indelibly into the rock surface forming a negative-like image devoid of pigment, indicating great age. They bear strong similarities to the early dynamic figures in Arnhem Land which are dated at around 20,000 years before present (BP). Little dating has been done on the Gwion Gwion art so far, however samples taken from a fossilised wasp nest adjacent to a tasselled figure dated by Bert Roberts in 1996 estimate them to be older than 17,000 years. It is generally thought that this art may extend back to over 30,000 years BP and represent the first wave of seagoing colonisers of the Australian continent. As it is, these are the oldest detailed depiction of human figures in the world and their detailed array of ornaments, weapons and accruements provides a fascinating insight into a rich early culture whose legacy has extended to the current Aboriginal culture across Australia. You will be transferred ashore and undertake a short relatively easy walk to a number of overhangs and caves that display the various styles of Gwion Gwion rock art. Some of the cave entrances are narrow and require good flexibility and full movement of joints.
Arguably one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast, Prince Frederick Harbour and the Hunter River are lined with ancient rainforest pockets, pristine mangroves and mosaic sandstone cliffs. The Kimberley coast contains more than a quarter of the world’s mangrove species, and some of the largest stands of mangroves in Australia. They are considered to be some of the most pristine mangrove forests in the world, forming closed forests in discontinuous chains along thousands of kilometres. The mangrove forests of Prince Frederick Harbour contain up to 18 different mangrove species, supporting a rich and diverse fauna. The sandstone escarpment at the river mouth, known as “kampamantiya” to the traditional custodians rises over 200 metres high before giving way to extensive mud banks and mangrove forests lining the Hunter River and its tributaries. Guarding the entrance to the river is “Wunumpurramarra”, also known as Naturalists Island. Please note that Mitchell Falls and the Mitchell River system are only accessible via the optional helicopter tour. The included portion of today’s expedition focuses on the Hunter River system and its mangroves, geology, crocodiles and bird life. You will undertake zodiac tours of the mangrove environments in the lower reaches of the Hunter River and Porosus creek. The Expedition Team will share their knowledge as you explore the area keeping a constant lookout for wildlife. Stunning geology can be found near the opening of the Hunter River and the mangroves of Porosus Creek are home to saltwater crocodiles.
Wijingarra Bard Bard (Freshwater Cove): the home of the Northern Quoll and the Black Headed Python, lies in the heartland of Worrorra country. It is a special place to the Worrorra people and provides a unique opportunity for visitors to hear the stories of the Lalai (creation) and gain an understanding of how country and culture intertwine in this beautiful landscape. Worrorra are saltwater people, whose country stretches from Cone Bay on the Northern end of King Sound along the West Kimberley Coast to the lower reaches of the Prince Regent River. They are a proud people that have returned to their country after being displaced during the Second World War. Along with the Ngarinyin and Wunambal tribes, they are part of the shared Wandjina culture and belief system. The Wandjina is their supreme spiritual being who created the landscape during Lalai (creation time). Wallungunder, the Boss Wandjina, came from the Milky Way to create the earth and the people. Wijingarra Bard Bard is home to a number of significant rock art galleries including cyclone cave where guests will be captivated by the rock art and the fascinating story of the Eye of the Sea. "For us to share our past, present and future with you makes us proud, our old people are happy to know that we are on our country and keeping the culture alive. It is important for us to walk into the future and provide a sustainable future for our younger people that embraces our heritage and culture and keeps it alive." – Donny Woolagoodja 2010 You will be transferred ashore by the ship’s zodiacs for a wet landing onto a sandy beach. Take part in a traditional ochre “Welcome to Country”: where you will be introduced to the area and learn the cultural history of Wijingarra Bard Bard. You will then be guided on a bush walk to various significant sites in the area, including cyclone cave. On returning to the beach, enjoy some refreshments and meet with the artists and peruse their paintings. These are available for purchase from the artists. Before being farewelled with a traditional smoking ceremony on the beach.
The first European to sight the Islands was the Frenchman Nicolas Baudin in 1801. He named them in honour of French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède, who described several Australian fish species and wrote the first treatise on cetaceans. The Lacepede Islands are a group of four islands lying 120km (75miles) to the northwest of Broome and separated from the mainland by the Lacepede Channel. East, West, Middle and Sandy Islands are all small, low spits of coarse sand and coral rubble, lying on top of a platform reef and total 180.2ha. The islands are an A Class Nature Reserve administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation. The Islands are Western Australia’s most important breeding habitat for Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas), and have been named by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because they support over 1% of the world populations of Brown Boobies and Roseate Terns. The breeding colony of Brown Boobies, of up to 18,000 breeding pairs, is possibly the largest in the world. Up to 20,000 Roseate Terns have also been recorded there. Other birds breeding on the islands include Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Lesser Frigatebirds, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Crested, Bridled and Lesser Crested Terns, Common Noddies, and Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers. Visiting waders include Grey-tailed Tattlers, Ruddy Turnstones, Great Knots and Greater Sand Plovers. Black rats were eradicated in 1986 leading to the recolonization of the island by small terns. You will have the opportunity to undertake a zodiac expedition in and around the islands to view the prolific birdlife. There is also the chance to spot some of the large turtle population that resides in the lagoon contained within the Islands. There will be no landings as they are limited to 6 people at any one time (including guides). Less disturbance of the nesting birds can be achieved by remaining in the zodiacs and not landing.
The tidal movements in the Kimberley are nothing short of massive, in fact the Kimberley has the third largest tidal range of anywhere on the planet. Montgomery Reef is a spectacular example of the impact of these tides as the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean on a falling tide. As the tide drops a raging torrent of water cascades off the top of the reef. The phenomenon is due to the tide dropping faster than the waters trapped on top of the reef can escape. At just under 400km2 in size it is Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals. Lying to the east, are the High Cliffy Islands. High Cliffy was once home to the Yawijibaya people, who lived there for almost 7,000 years and were reputed to be a physically superior tribe of Aboriginal people up to 7 feet tall. The islanders travelled the tides and currents on traditional rafts, but soon after a Pathé film crew filmed the islanders in 1929, the entire tribe of 300 people disappeared without trace and without explanation. Montgomery Island was named by Phillip Parker King in recognition of Andrew Montgomery, the surgeon on his 1821 voyage along the Kimberley coast. You will undertake a zodiac expedition to the exposed reef system with its cascading mini-waterfalls to witness the amazing tide induced phenomena first hand. Landing on the reef is prohibited. The actual scale of the phenomena is strictly governed by the tides on the day.
Adjoining the Buccaneer Archipelago to the north and Dugong Bay to the south, Talbot Bay is defined by stunning geological features including the “Horizontal Waterfalls” and the dramatic, vertiginous cliffs of Cyclone Creek. Described by Sir David Attenborough as “One of the greatest wonders of the natural world” it is an iconic location and one of the premier tourist attractions of the West Kimberley. The Horizontal Waterfalls are a pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range approximately 300m apart. The McLarty range itself is approximately 1.8 billion years old, comprised of sandstone, quartzite, siltstone, shale and dolomite with abundant stromatolites. The first and more seaward of the gaps is approximately 25m wide, whilst the second gap is approximately 15m wide. With massive tidal differences of up to 10.8m on a spring tide in Talbot Bay, the Horizontal Waterfalls (technically termed “pinch rapids”) are a natural phenomenon created as seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, creating a waterfall up to 4m high on a King tide. With each change of tide the direction of the fall reverses, creating vast tidal whirlpools on the outgoing side. You will undertake a zodiac expedition to view the horizontal falls and the surrounding geological features of Talbot bay and cyclone creek. The zodiac expedition does not pass through the horizontal falls during strong flow. You may undertake an optional “fast boat” ride through the falls to experience the thrill of this exhilarating ride.
The Bonaparte Archipelago in WA's remote Kimberley region, is a maze of islands, inlets, peninsulas and rivers. Its colour and scale conspire to take ones breath away. Its distant location has meant it has remained an unspoilt and remarkably pristine location to explore and experience. The Bonaparte Archipelago honours French First Consul, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Its name was bestowed by French explorer Nicolas Baudin, who charted the coast and explored the islands in August 1801 as part of a major French expedition of scientific discovery around the shores of Australia. Phillip Parker King named “Swift's bay" after Jonathon Swift (1667-1745 the author of Gulliver’s travels. The ‘T’ shaped bay is composed of heavily fractured sandstone providing an abundance of rock shelters. On the walls of these shelters are examples of both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style rock art. You will be transferred ashore, where a short walk leads you to multiple caves and overhangs containing fine examples of both Gwion Gwion and Wandjina style art.
Koolama Bay was formerly known as Rulhieres Bay prior to 1942 when the state ship Koolama was beached at the location after being attacked by Japanese bombers from Kupang. The King George River flows into the Southern end of the bay. Koolama bay has historic significance as a World War II site, indicating the impact of World War II in north-west Western Australia and the strategic significance of shipping and the north-west port of Wyndham. It is also the site of the first aerial attack by Japanese forces in the Kimberley area. The MV Koolama stranding site and survivor camp at Koolama Bay and Pangali Cove is significant to the Kwini people who helped the 180 passengers and crew reach safety. You will be transferred ashore to Pangali cove where youi can take a short walk through mangroves and across a shallow creek to the site of the Koolama survivors’ camp. If wind, tides and time permit you might also undertake a short zodiac tour into tranquil coves.
Disembarkation
Itineraries are subject to change.

Superior Stateroom

$ 8550 AUD pp
Superior Stateroom
8 superior staterooms of 226 sq.ft.located on Deck3. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

DeLuxe Stateroom

$ 9230 AUD pp
DeLuxe Stateroom
16 Deluxe Staterooms of 200 sq.ft.with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4

$ 9970 AUD pp
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5

$ 10270 AUD pp
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6

$ 10580 AUD pp
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Deluxe Suite

$ 14810 AUD pp
Deluxe Suite
On Deck 3 you will find 3 Deluxe Suites with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table

Prestige Suite - Deck 5

$ 20540 AUD pp
Prestige Suite - Deck 5
20 Prestige Suites with private balcony will provide you a sea with in total discretion. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table

Prestige Suite - Deck 6

$ 21160 AUD pp
Prestige Suite - Deck 6
20 Prestige Suites with private balcony will provide you a sea with in total discretion. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table

Owners Suite

$ 22640 AUD pp
Owners Suite
The Owner's suite is situated on Deck 2. It has been decorated by Franch interior designers and will provide you a breathtakting panoramic sea view. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Bathtub or shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Large bathtub, Sofa, Table with 4 chairs, Armchair & Pedestal table

Additional charges:

Safety and port taxes: 780 AUD pp

L'Austral

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition / Cruise Ship

Length: 142 metres

Passenger Capacity: 264 (200 in Antarctica)

Built: 2011

This superb mega-yacht with 132 cabins is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral has a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy and well-being.

A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. Precious materials in smoothing neutral tones are brought to life with splashes of cheerful reds. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht”.

Cuisine

Loyal to the great French tradition, the haute cuisine on board is worthy of the finest restaurants, where discreet, attentive service is the hallmark.

Our two restaurants welcome you for breakfasts, lunch and dinner. The Gastronomic Restaurant, with a capacity of 268 persons, is situated on Le Liberté Deck and serves you French and international cuisine accompagnied by fine wine. On the Grill Restaurant, you will have the opportuniny to eat outside and enjoy buffet lunch and themed dinner.

Life On Board

Whether you want to join other guests in the theatre or games area (Wii™ consoles, etc), or relax on your own in a quiet corner of the library, L'Austral has been designed to meet the needs of every guest.

Everything has been done to preserve the independence of each guest to suit their personal tastes: lounges for lectures and shows, a spa in partnership with Sothys™, but also more intimate spaces such as the library and internet corner. Comfortable cabins, nearly all with private balcony, are available for families either as triples or as communicating cabins. There is also a games area with Wii™ consoles, children’s menus, and a baby-sitting service. Just as if you were on a private yacht, your time is your own to do as you please.

Fitted with the latest equipment (Kinesis Wall, running machine) and in partnership with the famous

Sothys™ brand, the Beauty Centre on L'Austral welcomes you for some unforgettable moments of relaxation and pampering (beauty treatments, hairdresser).

Cabin layout for L'Austral

Optional excursions and tours are available, please contact us for more details

L'Austral

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Luxury Expedition Luxury Expedition

11 Days from
$ 8550 AUD pp

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0800 945 3327

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1800 107 715

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