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15-Day Kimberley Xplorer Ultimate Kimberley Adventure Cruise - Derby to Derby


This trip is very much a "one off" – as very few will have had such a comprehensive trip of the Kimberley coastline with an itinerary that has been compiled from 16 years spent exploring the area. During the course of the 15 days you will also get to swim at some amazing locations and do some awesome fishing.

The aim of the trip will be to show you the diversity of the physical presence on Australia's northern coastline dating back thousands of years, as well some very special places that reflect the coasts natural beauty. Over the 15 days the aim is to take you to some sites that do not form part of the standard Kimberley Coast cruising experience – some are very seldom seen by anyone and others highly likely that they have never been seen.

For example, the Bradshaw & Wandjina paintings we will take you to are ones that very few people have seen – this site will just blow you away it is so impressive and very moving to be present at a site that has survived thousands of years and according to the academics reflects Australia's connection to the African continent. In contrast to that we will also take you to a cave of significant interest that has oriental (possibly Japanese) inscriptions. At this stage this site is relatively unknown – so you will be one of a very few to see this site. The contrast of Australia's past that is reflected in just these two sites alone is something that will stay with you forever.

The trip will run from Derby to Vansittart Bay and return to Derby via the outer Islands – which once again none of the other cruise boats cover this area despite it offering some spectacular natural wonders.


The following is an indication of what we would incorporate over the 15 days - Tides & weather permitting:

  • Swims at Silica Beach, Crocodile Creek and numerous others as we travel around the coast
  • Wandjana Paintings at Doubtfull Bay
  • Bigge Island – skulls / rock circles (has to be seen to be appreciated) / paintings
  • Prince Regent River & King Cascade Falls – walk to the top waterfalls & swim
  • Mangrove Forrest – and amazing eco system great for bird watching, fishing and croc spotting
  • Careening Bay (King's Carved Mermaid Boab tree)
  • Main Bradshaw Art Gallery – will need 2 days at this site
  • Off shore bird sanctuary
  • Visit a beautiful group of offshore islands – bird watching, beautiful beaches, isolation and a lonely grave
  • Turtles at Bluff Beach
  • Montgomery Reef
  • Cave with oriental inscriptions and brilliant photography
  • Walk into an abandoned Mission
  • Hunter River & Donkin Pool
  • Plus the outer island adventures on the return leg.

For this particular trip we will only be taking a maximum of 8 passengers. The trip is designed for adventurous individuals that are looking for an authentic holiday experience who are reasonably fit so they get the most out of the opportunity to explore this amazing coast. The walks we do on this trip are mainly day walks of moderate difficulty.

Most nights you will sleep onboard Kimberley Xplorer, however tide permitting we can also camp onshore to break the trip up.

Our onboard chef Jodie will be back for a 3rd season so once again you will be on 2 hourly feeds. Joining us will be Phil (previous owner and skipper of luxury cruise boat K2O) who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience.


Travelling north from Derby the mudflats of the King Sound give way to the wonderfully picturesque coastline. Cascade, Cone and Crawford Bays lie crumpled and creased, their shores notched with a myriad of mangrove estuaries, bays and sand beaches; plunging cliffs and rocky masses; stony islands and innumerable hidden reefs that litter these offshore waters. Numerous freshwater springs flow from the hills of King Leopold Sandstone into the bays creating pockets of rain forests. At X & X's you will walk up through the rain forest to an abandoned camp site established by a hippy with his commune of women between 1974 and 1987. After exploring the remnants of the camp you will take a refreshing swim in one of the many fresh water rock pools.

Kimberley Xplorer Up-the-creek


Strickland Bay is an incredibly picturesque bay with numerous islands. At the back of Strickland Bay is the unsurveyed water mass of the 'Graveyards'. Named after the pearlers who lost their lives in the area and were buried on Edeline Island. We visit the graves, have a quick swim and admire the sculptured sandstone rocks.


Horizontal Waterfalls are two narrow gaps in vertical sandstone rock strata which creates two spectacular 'horizontal waterfalls' when the tides reach peak flow in both rising and falling situations. Here you are transferred into one of the fast boats for an exhilarating ride through the gaps.

With 3 Sea plane operators working at the location and Paspaley's Pearl Farm close by it's a hive of activity which is in stark contrast to the rest of this isolated coastline. We enjoy lunch while watching the sea planes land and take off and feed the tawny nurse sharks that swim around Kimberley Xplorer.



Crocodile Creek in Yampi Sound is a little paradise tucked away behind the sandstone walls. The miners from nearby Koolan Island iron ore mine used this spot as a getaway site. With the top pool cascading into the lower pool and then onto the creek below, it's a delightful swimming hole with all the yachtie memorabilia left behind from passing travellers hanging from the shaded patio area. This spot makes for an enjoyable outing.



Silver Gull is the home to a couple of real life castaways living life in the slow lane. Phil & Marion have lived at Silver Gull for the past 15 years and support themselves by making jewellery and other souvenirs to sell to their visitors. They are the eyes and ears of the Kimberley coastline and a great couple to visit and catch up on the latest news. With lovely gardens and concrete tank continually filling with fresh water that flows out into the creek below this is a great spot to have a swim or sit on their famous outdoor throne.



With its powder soft pure white sand and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Silica Beach is a resort destination in the making. Enjoy a refreshing swim at this pristine beach or take the time to climb up the sandstone rocks for some great photography.



This narrow gap separates us from Cone Bay and makes for a helluva ride on spring tides. The force of the tide either coming into the King Sound or receding back to the sea makes for some turbulent water with impressive whirlpools and back eddies to get the heart pumping.



Whirlpool passage divides Chambers and Hidden Islands in the Buccaneer Archipelago. A scenic 3 mile 'S' bend tour is characterised at times of peak tidal movement by large metre deep whirlpools and tidal flows in excess of 10 knots. Passing through the passage when the tide is running is a dramatic experience as your vessel negotiates the violent whirlpools. However, get there at the turn of the tide and it looks like a millpond and ever so peaceful.



While cruising between all these sites of interest there will be some great adventures and fantastic scenery. At times we will have a couple of lures hanging out the back of Kimberley Xplorer trawling for a mackerel while you sit back and enjoy a cuppa or ice cold beer. As you traverse the reefs at low tide look out for passing dolphins, turtles and manta rays. From July to September you will get to see the humpback whales.

Your evening camp on a secluded beach offers the opportunity to explore the beaches or take a dingy ride around the island with a fishing line in tow. With an esky of chilled beverages and some pre dinner nibbles it's a great opportunity to watch the setting sun and reflect on the day's events. It is then back to Kimberley Xplorer for dinner and an abundance of laughs as Skipper Greg entertains you with stories of past adventures. With sore sides from laughing too much it's back to the beach and your roaring fire to relive your carefree younger days when the 'in thing' was to party on the beach. It is then off to bed in your mozzie dome to star gaze in a comfy swag as you drift off to sleep.

Mud crabbing with the ladies is a real hoot. The first question is always "what do I do if a crocodile grabs me". Skipper Greg's reply is to suggest you swim away from the rest of the group so the rest of us don't end up in the drink! The other question is "what do I do if a mud crab gets out of the bucket". No reply is needed as the ladies are quick to stand on the dingy seat if a mud crab escapes. All in all its great fun and we haven't lost anybody yet.

Exploring the reef systems from the dingys is remarkable. It's amazing to see the water recede and uncover all the wonders contained on these unique eco systems. With pockets of water left behind there is every chance you will see mangrove jack darting between the rocks. Witness large clam shells spurting water, baler shell (Melo amphora) foraging for food along with an abundance of other marine life including sand bubble crabs and trocus shells; the black tipped reef sharks swimming along the edges of the reef; the ospreys nest perched up on the rocks and eagles soaring on the thermals above, exploring the Kimberley's many reef systems is a naturalist's paradise. For the adventurous ones, go climbing with Skipper Greg for an over view from the top of one of the islands.

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