Ex­plor­ing the Kim­ber­ley

Un­touched land­scapes and an­cient at­trac­tions make this one of the most com­pelling des­ti­na­tions in the world

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Amazing Adventure -

this is big sky coun­try! And this is the Kim­ber­ley, the vast north-western ex­panse of Aus­tralia’s Top End. It’s also one of the most cap­ti­vat­ing ex­pe­di­tion cruis­ing re­gions in the world.

Na­ture has coloured it in a pal­ette you’d be for­given for think­ing was more akin to Mars than our blue planet. You an­chor be­side pris­tine beaches be­fore step­ping out onto warm sand with no foot­prints other than yours. Thun­der­ing wa­ter­falls and swollen bil­l­abongs await you on ev­ery ex­cur­sion ashore – croc­o­diles top the list of flora and fauna, a re­minder that you’re well and truly in the wilder­ness.

Above all else, the Kim­ber­ley is re­mote and largely in­ac­ces­si­ble, with few roads pen­e­trat­ing its some­times-dan­ger­ous ter­rain, which is jaw-drop­ping in its beauty.

DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS

For­tu­nately, ex­pe­di­tion cruis­ing in this re­gion is hav­ing its mo­ment in the sun. With smaller ships, pur­pose-de­signed to go where other ships can’t, you can get both an in­ti­mate feel and ad­ven­tur­ous itin­er­ary. If you haven’t con­sid­ered this form of travel yet, be con­vinced by such cruises to this stun­ning re­gion.

You will ex­pe­ri­ence the perks of an all-in­clu­sive hol­i­day, as well as par­tic­i­pat­ing in an im­mer­sive ad­ven­ture, in­clud­ing into Broome and Dar­win, plus nor­mally in­ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tions, such as King Ge­orge River and the Hor­i­zon­tal Falls.

YOU’RE IN AN­CIENT LANDS

The area takes its name from its most im­pos­ing land­mark – an­cient moun­tain ranges tow­er­ing above the un­for­giv­ing coast, which claimed many un­for­tu­nate sea­far­ers over the cen­turies be­fore Euro­peans first set foot here. Aus­tralia’s first peo­ple have called the Kim­ber­ley home for what some be­lieve is more than 60,000 years.

WILDER­NESS TO RE­MEM­BER

Cov­er­ing more than 400,000 square kilo­me­tres, yet with just 30,000 peo­ple, it is a place ac­knowl­edged as one of the world’s last, and most beau­ti­ful, wilder­ness ar­eas. Its ar­chae­o­log­i­cal, art and rock wall paint­ings and cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance are among the most amaz­ing in the world.

Add to that awe­some fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, end­ing in de­li­cious din­ing with the day’s catch, and you have a near per­fect package! And, while all the on-board ex­pe­ri­ences are mem­o­rable, with per­son­alised ser­vice and stylish fa­cil­i­ties, of course the big at­trac­tion is the ex­otic des­ti­na­tion it­self.

TICK OFF THE BUCKET LIST

All va­ri­ety of ves­sels of­fer a won­der­ful balance be­tween the spa­cious com­fort of a large ocean liner and ad­van­tages such as small group sizes. Gen­er­ally ac­com­mo­dat­ing be­tween 30 and 100 guests per cruise, hopping off at each stop along the way is easy, es­pe­cially with the op­tion of tak­ing part in the in­clu­sive on-shore ex­cur­sions of­fered by lo­cal guides. All up it makes for the ab­so­lute bucket-list trip of a life­time.

VIN­TAGE EUROPE

Nowhere has seen the growth in river cruis­ing quite like Europe. And it’s re­ally no won­der.

A river cruise is the best way to see Europe’s in­cred­i­ble ar­ray of his­toric cities, farm­ing re­gions and cas­tles es­pe­cially. Be­ing tac­ti­cal de­fen­sive posts, cas­tles were set in nat­u­rally el­e­vated po­si­tions over­look­ing the main trans­port routes through­out Europe, which were the wa­ter­ways. A river cruise now al­lows you to dis­cover cen­turies old cas­tles and for­ti­fied homes that can’t be seen from the roads, but can be ad­mired per­fectly as you chunter down the river with cham­pagne in hand. Now that’s trav­el­ling! Cas­tles aside, there’s plenty of other rea­sons you’d want to add a Euro­pean river cruise to your bucket list. The choice of coun­tries are yours to cruise and go­ing ashore is pos­si­bly the ul­ti­mate plea­sure of your hol­i­day, as you shop, wine, dine, visit mu­se­ums, gar­dens or just walk the won­der­ful streets to ex­cite and de­light you be­fore you re­board ship to rem­i­nisce about your day as you en­joy your evening cock­tail. Then apart from the lux­u­ri­ous com­fort of your suite, where you can watch the world pass by as you rest and re­lax by day and night, the liv­ing is made even eas­ier with all-in­clu­sive fares for meals, drinks, trans­fers, shore ex­cur­sions, care for your ev­ery need and more. What could be bet­ter?

SLOW BOAT IN CHINA

The same joy of cruis­ing car­ries across the world to ex­otic and thrilling des­ti­na­tions in the East. River cruis­ing in China typ­i­cally takes place on the Yangtze River, the third long­est river in the world be­hind the Nile and the Ama­zon.

Be­cause most cruises on the Yangtze come with a few days pos­tor pre-trip in Shang­hai and Bei­jing, the tran­quil­lity of the cruise is the per­fect tonic to the some­what

manic pace of vi­brant, mod­ern China. The high­light of the Yangtze is the Three Gorges re­gion, where you will see the cra­dle of an­cient Chi­nese civil­i­sa­tion set to the back­drop of misty moun­tains, bam­boo and dra­matic cliffs. A side ex­cur­sion to the Three Gorges dam will leave you in amaze­ment at the scale of this feat of hu­man en­gi­neer­ing.

Ma­jor play­ers in China river cruis­ing in­clude APT, Vik­ing, Avalon, Uni­world and Vic­to­ria.

JUST AS EX­CIT­ING THE AMA­ZON

Since the first Span­ish Con­quis­ta­dors en­tered into the Ama­zon in the 16th cen­tury, peo­ple have been drawn to, killed by and even sent mad by South Amer­ica’s most fa­mous river. These days, a trip down part or all of the Ama­zon as it slices through Peru and Brazil is a far more re­laxed and daz­zling af­fair. Well, re­laxed yes, but civilised no! The Ama­zon still of­fers ac­cess to some of the world’s great wilder­ness and a bio­di­ver­sity of flora and fauna that is sec­ond to none. While jaguars and puma stalk its banks, mon­keys and sloths swing from the branches, and man­a­tees, pink dol­phins and the in­fa­mous pi­ra­nhas swim be­neath its sur­face. Great clouds of but­ter­flies float above them all. Ex­cur­sions to wit­ness vil­lage life along the river is a high­light for many who choose this des­ti­na­tion. Then there’s canopy walk­ing in Tam­bopata, Peru and the ‘meet­ing of the waters’ in Manaus, Brazil, where the sandy wa­ter of the River Solimoes con­verges with the black wa­ter River Ne­gro, both Ama­zon trib­u­taries. You can watch their colours mix­ing for a few kilo­me­tres as they flow side by side. Put your­self in the Ama­zon pic­ture. With all the ex­cite­ment and ad­ven­ture of the wilder­ness, there is as much lux­ury and com­fort river cruis­ing there as any­where. Have a look at G Ad­ven­tures and Aqua Ex­pe­di­tions for their Ama­zon op­tions.

Tal­bot Bay will give you the ride of a life­time. Gear up for ex­cite­ment-plus as you ride the Hor­i­zon­tal Falls. End beau­ti­ful days with sun­set drinks – heaven! CORAL EX­PE­DI­TIONS

An unforgettable walk into Pan­gali Cove. CORAL EX­PE­DI­TIONS

Not to be missed, go meet the crazy wildlife.

Look no fur­ther than your bed if you wish as you cruise on by. Ac­tiv­i­ties aboard when the day’s tour­ing and cruis­ing is done. Yes please. It’s no won­der Aussies have fallen in love with Euro­pean river cruis­ing – look at that view! Take in the ar­chi­tec­ture in Vil­shofen as you cruise down the Danube from Bu­dapest to Mu­nich.

It’s fab­u­lously ‘un­tamed’ but you can still cruise the Ama­zon in style. Im­merse your­self in the his­tory and culture of the East on one of the many cruise of­fer­ings, such as APT’S RV Amalo­tus. Be spell­bound by the his­toric Three Gorges re­gion, as part of your tour down the river Yangtze. The Ce­les­tial Suite (left) aboard the Sanc­tu­aryEx­plorer ex­udes fives­tar lux­ury – per­fect for watch­ing the world go by.

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