Cruising through the Kimberley

January 18, 2023
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Cruising through the Kimberley

I took inflatable Chinese zodiac signs and hovered on the beach of Naturalist Island in Kimberley, Australia, chatting excitedly, waiting for the helicopter to take my daughter and me to Mitchell Falls 20 minutes inland when our Filipino pilot Noel Dropped the bomb. The “trunk” by the water is a crocodile.

During the last three days of this voyage from Broome to Darwin, together with the Orion expedition cruise ship, I searched for the alligator from the safety of the Chinese zodiac-a beast that should be ubiquitous in this part of the world-only landed Twice, dragging with both hands. If one of these walking handbags is lurking, water is forbidden). There is one on the beach now, and we must go ashore. It must be an Australian version of Murphy’s Law.

“What are we doing?” I questioned the Filipino drivers, trying to make them sound worried about the passengers who would return by helicopter but anxious that this would mean our trip to the waterfall was about to end. They were busy all morning, two helicopters and four people at the same time—unless we were the last and the only three of us—for a very expensive two-hour waterfall tour, which was described as “breathtaking.” 323 pounds each, I hope they are.

“He ran as soon as he heard the helicopter,” our driver replied, as you like. He is right. The beast clinked in the sound of the blade spinning, but when I climbed out of the water from the zodiac and ran to the beach, I still looked left and right.

Then another bomb came. The helicopter does not have a door; later, we learned from other passengers that the other passenger did not even wear a seat belt, only a laptop seat belt. Something creepy. Anyway, Crocodile Dundee; this cruise became a James Bond movie.

Anyway, since our first dinner as a couple, my daughter and I have become heroes in the eyes of Australians (Orion has an open seat, so you walk around during dinner and meet Different people discovered that we were flying directly from London to Broome via Singapore and Perth and landed one hour before the ship’s check-in. She and most of the other passengers (except two from Australia) were at least two. Arrived in Broome a few days ago. “Just in case.”

Of course, we should have jet lag, but we are too excited. Our Orion cruise promises to be a real thing in our lives. We want to sail around Kimberley– A remote area in northern Australia, as large as England, but with a population of just over 40,000 people (and possibly as many cattle) and a few roads that are almost impassable during the rainy season between November and rainfall as high as 50% in December and April.

It is so far that Captain Vincent Tyrad (the name of the ship and the name of the shipping company) of Orion had to dock far away from some of the places we visited, which required a long journey on the zodiac, sometimes not even Only a comfortable journey can be approached, because most of the coast is still undeveloped.

Because Orion is small and can only accommodate 106 people, my daughter and I moved into our suite within an hour after boarding the plane-a beautiful room with stylish furniture and a separate bedroom and lounge area -Hidden in a charming glass or two with champagne and sandwiches (really popular after dieting with airline food), explored the ship and made friends with Filipino bartenders Benjie, Eric and Ray. They were surprised to see people farther away from home and taking care of us like other crew members, led by the foreman Gabor, greeted us with “Good Morning England” at breakfast every day. Life on the boat is very interesting, from the barbecue on the deck (3 out of 10 nights) to the daily quizzes proposed by Fran, half of the entertainment duo-another Gus-and drinks from friendly Australian passengers who complained about the cost, But amber is rich in nectar. The cost of drinks-£3.70 for a bottle of beer and £1.85 for a bottle of soft drink-is my biggest criticism. Since Orion promotes itself in the name of a five-star luxury hotel, and we are in a remote place-we can’t even have a drink on land during the day-I think at least soft drinks and wine should be included in the dinner. Bottled water is very popular because the temperature is as high as 80 years old (26°C 32°C). The same prompt.

Not only found that the helicopter tour of Mitchell Falls is overpriced, but it was also one of the highlights of a cruise full of highlights.

We took a speedboat through the rapids, driven by Adrian, a boy in his early twenties who lived in a hut in the middle of Talbot Bay in the winter (our summer) and should attract the female crew of passing ships to see him “Fish” (“This is not the best way to chat, but it works”). When Montgomery Reef rose from the sea, we watched from Zodiacs up close-Kimberley had a huge tide of up to 12 m; as the water receded, rapid waterfalls appeared on the reef.

We went to the DC3 plane that crashed during World War II and saw green turtles, whales and indigenous rock art, believed to be 50,000 years old, flying over Bungle Bungles (a series of honeycomb sandstone cliffs) and climbing to 260 feet tall George At the top of Wang Waterfall, I took a cold bath under the downpour-almost like being beaten.

We drank the bloody Mary that the crew had mixed on the sandbank on the reef, drank the champagne distributed by Gabor and his gang from a zodiac at the bottom of King George Falls, and then swam in an ominous puddle. This water The pit is called Crocodile Creek, and the crew came in, and when it came out, we knew it was safe,” cruise director Ian joked), while Gus Stranger on the shore played the saxophone. It’s noble. The trips were led by a four-person expedition, who drove the Zodiacs and talked about the history, geology, and flora of the area. Darrin went on fishing expeditions every day, and Harry was constantly looking for good photos. When we faced a giant crocodile basking on the Hunter River, Steve was cautious and unhappy. When his zodiac sign was trapped in the mud, and the unknown crocodile looked at him, he was even more painful.

“Does he know we are here?” I asked. “You can go out and have a look, but I don’t recommend it,” he replied, a little embarrassed when a Filipino driving other Zodiacs came to help us. I think that means yes.


Orion Expedition Cruises offers 10-night cruises between Broome and Darwin from April to September 2013 and vice versa. Domestic flight from Broome to Perth, one night at the four-star Swissotel Merchant Court in Singapore, one night at the three-star and above Holiday Inn Darwin, plus all Zodiac excursions and 500 Australian dollars (£322) ) In-flight points per suite (020 7368 1300; Trailfinder).