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Coral Expeditions is a 33 year old Australian expedition cruise company. We operate and manage a fleet of 3 small ships taking guests to some of the most beautiful, yet undiscovered, regions of Asia-Pacific. Over 5,000 travellers from all over the world come to us every year for our relaxed small ship atmosphere and itineraries which larger ships cannot replicate. Our operations are bespoke and sometimes not commercially justifiable, but result in a more personal product. We have limited the size of our ships to maximise the expedition experience. Our cuisine is prepared small batch on board, and while the style is down to earth, it reflects high quality Australian produce and wine. We operate to Australian standards of safety with Australian senior crew wherever we go. We were the first to offer interpretive programmes on our cruises and to employ Expedition Leaders, Guest Lecturers, Marine Biologists, and SCUBA Instructors – a tradition that continues today.
Relaxed environment – True to our Australian heritage, our ship environment is designed to be casual. There is no dress code or assigned seating at meal times. Our ship layout encourages mingling. Complimentary coffee and tea stations are open throughout the day in the lounge and dining areas. There are no in-room televisions or room service, but there is plenty of common space. Also, we operate an open bridge policy and encourage guests to visit the bridge and observe ship operations. Our Captains enjoy the open interaction they share with our guests.
Professional service – we offer high standards of comfort and care, but without any formality or stuffiness. Our crew are trained to be attentive but are always open to a friendly chat. We maintain the highest standards of marine and passenger safety; we follow Australian standards in our staffing and operations.
Unique coastal expedition itineraries – our guests come to us because of our unique destinations and shore-rich programmes. Our shallow-draught ships can go where larger ships cannot. We shy away from long ocean voyages. Every day typically has at least one stop for water or land-based activities. On each voyage we will have a Trip Director or Expedition Leader, and on longer voyages, we have Guest Lecturers who are typically experts in the geology, history or flora and fauna of the region. Our Trip Directors and Expedition Leaders come with marine or local expertise.
Located close to the Dining Room, our six spacious Main Deck (Category B) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature twin portholes for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
Located close to the Dining Room, our six spacious Main Deck (Category A) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature large, twin porthole windows for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
Located in the bow of the ship and encircled by a full-ship promenade, our two Promenade Deck (Category B) staterooms are 15sqm (160 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, telephone and Junior King bedding.
Encircled by a full-ship promenade, our 19 spacious Promenade Deck (Category A) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
Located on the exclusive Bridge Deck close to the Lounge and Bridge, our six spacious Bridge Deck staterooms are 20sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
Available now, and brand new, Bridge Deck Staterooms offer guests private balconies opening out from french windows providing comfortable indoor outdoor living.
Launched in 2005, Coral Discoverer set a new benchmark standard for small ship cruising in Australia. Refurbished in November 2016, she continues to raise the bar to new levels of sophistication in expedition cruising in the Southern Hemisphere.
The 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer is the grand vision of Coral Expeditions, pioneers in expedition and adventure cruises around Australia, Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. Her tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat all 72 passengers for excursions to beaches and rivers. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities.
Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications in Cairns, Australia, with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience. Australian flagged, and staffed entirely by an Australian and New Zealand crew, your experience aboard Coral Discoverer will be unique.
Ship Profile & Stats
- Length: 63m
- Tonnage: 1,838 tonnes
- Maiden Voyage: 2005
- Refurbished: 2016
- Passenger Capacity (dbl): 72
- Crew Nationality: Australian
- Dining Staff Nationality: Australian
- Ship Registration: Australia
- Laundry Facilities (Limited)
- Gift Shop
- Workout Area
- Wireless internet available for laptops, PDAs and onboard computer
- Xplorer, Zodiacs and Glass Bottom Boat
- Phone and fax facilities
- Lecture Lounge
- Reference Library
- Main Dining Room
- Sun Deck
- 3 Cocktail Bars
|07 May '21||
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
|08 May '21||
King George River, Western Australia
|09 May '21||
Vansittart Bay, Western Australia
|10 May '21||
Mitchell Plateau and Falls, Western Australia
|11 May '21||
Prince Frederick Harbour, Western Australia
|12 May '21||
Prince Regent River, Western Australia
|12 May '21||
Careening Bay, Western Australia
|13 May '21||
Montgomery Reef, Western Australia
|14 May '21||
Raft Point, Western Australia
|14 May '21||
Doubtful Bay, Australia
|15 May '21||
Horizontal Waterfalls, Western Australia
|15 May '21||
Talbot Bay, Western Australia
|16 May '21||
Lacepede Islands, Western Australia
|17 May '21||
Broome, Western Australia
All itineraries and ports of call at the discretion of the cruise line subject to local weather conditions and may change without notice.
10 Night Cruise sailing from Darwin to Broome aboard Coral Discoverer.
Perfected over three decades, our 10-night Kimberley cruise takes you on an unforgettable journey from Darwin to Broome. Expert guides interpret 40,000-year-old rock art, and retrace the history of Phillip Parker King who first charted this spectacular coastline almost 200 years ago. Later in the season, witness the Humpback Whales on their migration.
Board a Zodiac and touch the spray from the magnificent King George River and its towering 80-metre twin falls. Join an expert guide to learn about the history of the ancient Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock paintings. Witness waterfalls cascading off Montgomery Reef as it rises out of the ocean on the ebbing tide, whilst discovering the reef’s diverse marine life.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Depart Darwin
Board your Coral Expeditions ship at 8.00am where there is time to settle into your cabin before our 9:00am departure. Spend a luxuriant sea day at leisure as we cruise across Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and sail into Western Australian waters.
Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard and join our Expedition Team in the Lounge for an insightful introduction to the Kimberley. As dusk falls meet your fellow travellers, the Captain and crew for the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.
Day 2: King George River and Falls
Fed by the King George River draining across the Gardner Plateau, 80m tall King George Falls are the most impressive Kimberley waterfalls and the highest twin falls in Western Australia. Before reaching the mist-like spray rising from the base of King George Falls, we cruise through steep-sided gorges carved by a flooded river system that carved a swathe through the Kimberley landscape 400 million years ago.
Early in the waterfall season, we may cruise around the base of impressive King George Falls while in later months we take the opportunity to view the honeycomb erosion patterns of sandstone cliffs up close.
Day 3: Vansittart Bay DC3 and Jar Island
Vansittart Bay is home to many cultural and historically significant sites like the remarkable Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Aboriginal rock art galleries estimated to be up to 20,000 years old. Jar Island is so-named after the pot shards found here, brought to the island by Macassan fisherman harvesting sea cucumbers (also known as trepang).
Nearby, on the Anjo Peninsula lays the well-preserved wreckage of a US Airforce C-53 Skytrooper aircraft, the result of a pilot losing his bearings flying from Perth to Broome in 1942 and putting down on a salt pan near present-day Truscott Airbase.
Day 4: Mitchell Falls, Winyalkan, & Swift Bay
Tumbling down the Mitchell Plateau in a series of tiered waterfalls and emerald green rock pools, the Mitchell Falls are the photogenic poster child for the Mitchell River National Park. Take a scenic helicopter flight (additional cost) to multi-tiered Mitchell Falls where emerald-hued rock pools cascade down the escarpment and ancient rock art galleries are concealed in caves behind curtains of water.
Mitchell River National Park is inhabited by significant numbers of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and bird species which are lured by a year-round water source. Sandstone terraces beside tiered rock pools make a terrific viewing platform from which to savor the serenity of this ancient landscape.
An alternative option to Mitchell Falls is exploring the sandstone caves of Hathway’s Hideaway. This mass of weathered tunnels, arches and columns form a labyrinth-like maze and was once an Aboriginal midden. Another option while anchored at Winyalkan Bay is a visit to a series Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock art galleries at Swift Bay.
In the evening we will enjoy watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean while indulging in a gourmet BBQ.
Day 5: Prince Frederick Harbour
Prince Frederick Harbour is one of the Kimberley’s most spectacular locations at the southern end of York Sound. The harbour is dotted with islands lined with mangroves and monsoon rainforests, set against a backdrop of the ochre-hued escarpment.
White-bellied sea eagles and other birds of prey are often seen here, and at low tide, expansive mudflats reveal large populations of mudskippers and mangrove crabs. We will take our Xplorer tender vessels on a cruise up Porosus Creek to view some striking rock formations.
Day 6: Prince Regent River and Careening Bay
King Cascade is a classically beautiful terraced waterfall and is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Kimberley. Falling from a considerable height and around 50m across, water tumbles down a staggered terrace of Kimberley sandstone. Layer upon layer of ochre-hued and blackened rock sprouts grasses, mosses and ferns in a sort of lushly vegetated hanging garden.
We reach King Cascade after cruising in our Xplorer tender vessels down the steep-sided Prince Regent River which is a remarkable anomaly as the river runs dead straight along a fault line.
Lt. Philip Parker King named nearby Careening Bay after he beached his leaking vessel HMC Mermaid to effect repairs. While stranded on this remote coastline for 17 days the ship’s carpenter carved HMC Mermaid 1820 into the bottle-shaped trunk of a boab tree near the beach. Almost 200 years later, the Mermaid Boab Tree has since split into two trunks and sports a mammoth girth of 12m. Significantly, the bulbous tree is listed on the National Register of Big Trees and the carpenter’s careful inscription now stands almost as tall as a person.
Day 7: Montgomery Reef
Montgomery Reef is a biologically diverse area covering over 300 sq km and was named by Phillip Parker King. Twice daily, as the sea recedes in mammoth 11m tides, Montgomery Reef rises from the Indian Ocean in a cascade of rushing water revealing a flat-topped reef pockmarked with rock pools and rivulets.
As the reef emerges, we get up close in our Xplorer and Zodiac inflatable tenders to witness the spectacle as our Expedition Team share their knowledge on the formation of the reef and the myriad wildlife. Opportunistic birds take advantage of the emerging reef, feeding on marine life left exposed in rock pools. Turtles, dolphins, dugongs and sawfish too are also attracted to feeding opportunities as the ocean recedes.
The ocean is awash in a swirl of eddies and whirlpools as the moon’s gravitational force takes hold. Then, a few hours later the entire water-borne drama is reversed as the tide comes in and Montgomery Reef disappears below sea level.
Day 8: Doubtful Bay
Raft Point guards the entrance to Doubtful Bay, a vast body of sheltered water which harbours significant sites such as the ancient Wandjina rock art galleries located a short walk from the beach and are considered some of the finest in the Kimberley and we visit the rock art galleries when traditional owners are available to guide us. Doubtful Bay is the traditional country of the Worrora people who follow the Wandjina, their god, law-maker and creator. Images of Wandjina are found throughout the Kimberley, recording their stories, knowledge and culture in stone.
Red Cone Creek flows gently downstream until it meets the small but impressive Ruby Falls. Named by local mariner Capt. Chris Trucker after his daughter, Red Cone Creek is carved through rock formations stacked atop each other like building blocks. These rock walls are great for climbing and clambering over before reaching a series of freshwater swimming holes and waterfalls. The falls may be a gurgling torrent or a gentle trickle, depending on the time of the year.
Other sites we aim to visit in Doubtful Bay include the mighty Sale River and Steep Island.
Day 9: Horizontal Falls and Bucaneer Archipelago
The Horizontal Falls are one of the Kimberley’s biggest attractions and are a result of the mammoth 11m tides the Kimberley is renowned for. Naturalist David Attenborough described the Horizontal Falls as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.’
The Horizontal Falls are created as the ocean thunders through a narrow gorge in the McLarty Ranges. Water builds up on one side and is forcibly pushed through the bottleneck, creating a rushing horizontal waterfall of swiftly flowing seawater. Riding the rapids on our Zodiac inflatable tenders is one of the highlights of our Kimberley expedition cruises.
Talbot Bay is at the heart of the Buccaneer Archipelago, where rocks on the 800 or so islands are estimated at over 2 billion years old. At Cyclone Creek, you will see evidence of massive geological forces in the impressive rock formations and cruise through the Iron Islands, past Koolan Island, before enjoying sunset drinks at Nares Point.
Day 10: Lacepede Islands
The Lacepede Islands are a protected class-A nature reserve and are significant as a seabird nesting rookery for brown boobies and roseate terns. Other species often sighted at the Lacepedes include Australian Pelicans, frigate birds, egrets and gulls. The four low-lying islands are also an important breeding and nesting habitat for green turtles.
If weather and tide conditions are suitable, we will explore the lagoons by Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels.
As our incredible Kimberley adventures draw to a close, on our last evening aboard we enjoy the Captain’s farewell drinks amongst new-found friends.
Day 11: Arrive in Broome
Our incredible adventure along the Kimberley Coast concludes in Broome this morning at 8:00am. Bid farewell to new-found friends, the Captain and crew.
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. 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.