CORAL DISCOVERER NINGALOO itinerary West Australia cruise

CORAL DISCOVERER ITINERARY NINGALOO REEF

10 Nights - Broome to Broome

Join an extraordinary voyage down Western Australia’s Coral coast onboard Coral Discoverer. Departing Broome, we will visit the spectacular Rowley Shoals Marine Park, the Dampier Archipelago and the historic Montebello Islands. An exploration of the renowned Ningaloo Reef completes our voyage. Our marine experts and guides lead our discovery of this pristine coastal habitat.

Australia’s west coast is home to some of the country’s most extraordinary wonders – many are only accessible by sea. Explore Australia’s west coast on a small ship cruising in true expedition style to remote archipelagos, offshore coral reefs and remote coastlines that few have the opportunity to visit. Our knowledgeable Expedition Team and Guest Lecturer program provide expert guidance and insightful presentations into these far-flung destinations, enhancing the expedition cruise experience while helping to create memories to last a lifetime.

Expedition Highlights

  • Snorkel or dive the pristine and rarely visited Rowley Shoals Marine Park, accompanied by our onboard Marine Biologist
  • Scuba dive the remarkable reefs of Muiron Islands, or ‘dusk dive’ the Navy Pier* at Exmouth to encounter a huge variety of marine life (*Navy Pier dive is an additional cost)
  • Encounter the mega fauna of Ningaloo Reef – with the chance to swim with whale sharks and manta rays (this experience is subject to nature)
  • Discover sites of cultural significance to Indigenous Australians, including the Dampier Archipelago petroglyphs, with expert interpretation
  • Encounter a proliferation of wildlife, including rare birds and marine life on the remote islands and atolls
  • Relax on pristine white-sand beaches in the Muiron Islands, Dampier Archipelago, and Turquoise Bay

Note: Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling. No two Tasmania cruises with Coral Expeditions will be the same as each expedition is crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders, allowing us to quickly respond to favourable weather conditions to offer you the very best of Tasmania’s flora, fauna and wild coastline. Below are the key destinations we visit.

ROWLEY SHOALS

At the edge of the continental shelf, 170 nautical miles offshore, lie the Rowley Shoals a chain of 3 coral atolls including Clerke, Mermaid and Imperieuse Reefs. The shoals, named by Captain Phillip Parker King, offer some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in the world. Their shallow lagoons are inhabited by myriad coral species and marine life, including giant potato cod, Maori wrasse, at least 233 species of coral and 688 species of fish – many of which are not found on other coral reefs. Diving along the outside edge of the shoals one can view colourful soft corals, hammerheads and pelagic fish. Water clarity here is absolutely unparalleled, making for superb underwater photography opportunities.

Conditions permitting, we will spend 1-2 days at Clerke and perhaps Mermaid or Imperieuse reefs, with ample time for snorkelling and diving opportunities. With each atoll covering approximately 90 sq km, there will be plenty to see! Guided by our on-board marine biologist, snorkel away the day in the coral gardens of the Aquarium at Clerke Reef, or dive along the sheer vertical walls and through coral canyons. Try a drift snorkel in the channel, or beach comb on Bedwell Island, keeping an eye out for the red-tailed tropicbird that roosts there.

MONTEBELLO ISLANDS

The Montebello Islands or ‘Montes’ are an archipelago of more than 250 limestone islands and islets off the coast of the Pilbara.  A twitcher’s delight, the islands are considered an Important Bird Area, as they support over 1% of the world populations of fairy and roseate terns, as well as Sooty Oystercatchers.

The islands also have a fascinating maritime history. The survivors of the Dutch vessel Trial swam here after their ship was wrecked in 1622, being the first Europeans to land on the islands. The Montes have an ‘explosive’ past – Alpha and Trimouille Islands were the site of three British atomic weapons tests in the 1950s. Relics of the military operation can still be found on the islands today.

Spend a full day exploring this island group, with wildlife spotting opportunities and many beautiful beaches to swim at. We saw many rufous hare-wallabies and lagoon stingrays on our recent trip here.

MUIRON ISLANDS

Located approximately 10 nautical miles off the North West Cape, the waters surrounding the uninhabited Muiron Islands are teeming with marine life. A variety of dive sites are on offer, including swim-throughs and ledges where nudibranchs, eels and angelfish hide. With fantastic bommies and protected reef, snorkellers will appreciate the variety of soft corals and gorgonians as well the incredible fish life. After in-water activities, stretch your legs on a stroll down the beach on these untouched islands.

DAMPIER ARCHIPELAGO

Consisting of 42 islands and islets, 25 of which are nature reserves; The iron red islands of the Dampier Archipelago stand in bright contrast to the turquoise waters which surround them. Bottlenose dolphins are regularly seen in the area and the archipelago supports the largest Hawksbill turtle rookery in the Indo-Pacific region. Birdwatchers will have the opportunity to see several species of migratory waders as well as sea eagles and ospreys. With luck we may even see the elusive Rothschild’s rock wallaby.

The archipelago not only offers exceptional natural beauty but significant sites for Aboriginal and European Heritage, many of which are in National Heritage Listed Areas. Named after English Explorer William Dampier who first visited the islands aboard the Cygnet in 1699; the islands’ earliest inhabitants were the Yaburara people, as is evidenced by the thousands of rock engravings, shell middens and stone arrangements scattered across the area.

Alongside our onboard naturalist and historian, explore the archipelago’s pastoral, pearling and indigenous past that is still visible today in the form of ruins and petroglyphs. Learn about the tragic Flying Foam Massacre(s) of 1865, in which an entire tribe, language and people were all but exterminated. There will be ample opportunity to explore the area’s historical and cultural sites before taking to the azure waters for snorkelling, kayaking and diving.

NINGALOO COAST & REEF

The World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is the turquoise jewel in the crown of the Western Australian coastline. Spanning over 5,000 square kilometres, this is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world. It’s inner and outer reefs create a diverse range of habitats for vibrant corals and more than 500 species of fish. This is also where mega marine life come to feed during their migrations, including humpback whales, giant manta rays, and the majestic whale shark. It is also a coastline with a fascinating heritage, where lonely whalers battled it out against the elements.

We will spend 2-3 days here exploring this stunning coastline from Exmouth to Coral Bay and its underwater playground. Snorkel and dive the outer reefs and relax on stunning beaches such as Turquoise Bay, and learn about WA’s interesting heritage at the ruins of the Norwegian Bay whaling station. As we cruise the ‘Humpback Highway’ down the coast, we have the opportunity to watch these majestic whales breach close by. Spend a day with an experienced local operator, with the chance to swim among some of the mega fauna this region is known for (these encounters are subject to nature and cannot be guaranteed).

Note on fitness levels: this trip is suitable for passengers of all fitness levels, though reasonable mobility is required to enjoy all it has to offer. Our Xplorer tender permits easy boarding without climbing any stairs. Hikes vary in intensity and where possible we split groups to suit easy and moderate walkers. Guests are welcome to opt out of any excursion and relax onboard – our top deck outdoor lounge is great on a sunny day. The ship has no elevator. As the itinerary covers remote regions, it is not suitable for passengers with serious medical conditions.

Note that each itinerary will include a mix of the above attractions, depending on prevailing conditions. The Captain and Expedition Team will make daily itinerary changes to maximise the guest experience and take advantage of opportunities opened up by weather. There will be a daily briefing onboard to advise guests on the upcoming day’s activities. Time of departure and return are guaranteed – the rest is an adventure! The expedition will visit Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour conditions permitting. We always aim to visit these beautiful destinations, but if we are not able to enter, an alternative destination more appropriate to the inclement weather conditions will be chosen by the Captain.

Note the summer temperature can still be very cool especially with the wind chill so warm layered clothing is essential.

For more information on our Coral Discoverer Itinerary Ningaloo Reef call 1300 799 758 now or email us. 

CALL 1300 799 758

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CORAL DISCOVERER ITINERARY NINGALOO REEF

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