Monday, January 18, 2010
Astute cruise watchers have had a bumper season with many new vessels appearing in Sydney Harbour, not the least of them being P&O’s new superliner, Pacific Jewel.
But the really eagle-eyed will have noticed the diminutive Kimberley Quest II touring about the harbour. Mistaken perhaps for some playboy billionaire’s superyacht, the Kimberley Quest II is actually a busy adventure vessel working Australia’s favourite cruise region, the Kimberley. Owner’s Jeff and Lynne Ralston have brought her to Sydney for the Christmas/NY period to do private charters, agent tours and media appearances.
KQII was built by Austal in Fremantle who also built the multi-award-winning True North and the two Bora Bora Cruises’ vessels Tu Moana and Ti’a Moana. KQII accommodates just 18 passengers and six crew offering a truly intimate cruise experience.
When I say busy, KQII will do 26 expeditions is a typical season spanning mid-March to October. Most are 7-night ‘quests’, although three 13-night ‘ultimate quests’ at the beginning of the season between Broome, Mitchell Plateau and Wyndham are offered.
KQ’s media file is relatively slim compared to her competitors, but I called on colleague John Borthwick to describe the experience from when he reported for the SMH in 2008.
The Kimberley coast is a world of red rocks, big crocs and cave art of extraordinary antiquity. To cruise the Kimberley¹s rivers and fjords is to take part in one of Australia¹s greatest remaining adventures. And to do so in the purpose-built vessel Kimberley Quest II is to see this magical realm at is finest.
Cataract waterfalls, vast harbours (that dwarf Sydney¹s many times over), boabs and rare birds, plus barramundi for the taking, are all part of the Kimberley Quest experience. Add the luxury of the vessel itself, with a just 18 privileged passengers, plus specialist guides and an expert chef, and this becomes the cruise of a lifetime in a timeless realm.
While the Kimberley may be our favourite cruise region (according to Cruise Passenger Magazine’s reader survey) it will never become our busiest in terms of passenger numbers. The largest vessel currently offering dedicated Kimberley adventures is Orion at 100 passengers and the typical starting price for any vessel is around $1000 per person per day.
For details on Kimberley Quest, see www.kimberleyquest.com.au. To compare all Kimberley cruise products and find occasional specials, visit www.kimberleycruises.com
Artists, Musicians, Chefs and Specialist Guides - an Impressive Array of Special Guests Join True North Kimberley Cruises in 2010
Guests can learn about landscape painting, enjoy classical guitar performances, gain a deeper understanding of ancient rock art, and learn more about Kimberley geology.
North Star General Manager Peter Trembath said 2010 was the "Year of the Special Guest".
"We are providing some excellent value-add bonuses for guests who book a Kimberley Wilderness cruise," said Mr Trembath.
"Interacting with some unique characters and specialists guides within the stunning Kimberley environment provides guests with an experience they will never forget."
So far, events and special guests scheduled for 2010 include:
Guitarist Phil Cebrano provides classical accompaniment on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruises 2A Wyndham to Hunter River (27 March – 3 April) and 2B Hunter River to Broome (3 April – 9 April)
Kimberley Indigenous Artists Mark Noval & Donny Woolagoodja introduce the oldest paintings known to man on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruises 4A Wyndham to Hunter River (24 April – 1 May) and 4B Hunter River to Broome (1 May – 7 May)
Renowned artist Douglas Kirsop unlocks the secrets of landscape painting on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 5 Broome to Wyndman (8 – 21 May)
New artistic talent Andrew Tischler will astound with his life-like paintings on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 6 Wyndham to Broome (22 May – 4 June)
Geologist Phil Playford presents his theories on global warming and more on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 7 Broome to Wyndham (5-18 June)
Celebrity Chef Ryan Carey cooks up a storm on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 8 Wyndham to Broome (19 June – 2 July)
Other Kimberley Wilderness Cruise highlights include:
The Horizontal Waterfalls
Fishing for barramundi and mud crabs
Ancient rock art
Bush walking and swimming in billabongs
Bird watching - of every imaginable colour
Heli-picnics and heli-fishing
The mighty rivers of the Prince Regent, the Hunter and the Mitchell
For full itineraries, departure dates and prices visit www.northstarcruises.com.au
True North Background
The multi award winning adventure cruise ship, True North, allows discerning guests to experience wilderness in surroundings more akin to one of the world's most exclusive hotels. Lavish features include:
A sundeck, forward observation lounge, ship's lounge, alfresco bar, internet café, plasma screens with interpretive information, lower deck dining room with large panoramic windows, and fine dining.
· All cabins feature enhanced décor, en-suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones.
· Multiple expedition boats allow passengers to do "what they want, when they want".
· The True North is the only Kimberley adventure-cruise ship that sails with its own helicopter.
· The purpose built True North is able to explore the upper reaches of shallow river systems.
· Adventure cruises and expeditions operate along the magnificent coastlines of Australia and the South Pacific.
For more information visit http://www.northstarcruises.com.au
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Join Australian's premier small-ship cruise line Coral Princess Cruises to discover the remarkable Kimberley coast, one of Australia's most remote and spectacular wilderness areas. Cruise in unrivalled style and total comfort aboard the award-winning 'Coral Princess' or the state of the art flagship 'Oceanic Discoverer'. Both small-ships feature the facilities and amenities you have come to expect from much larger vessels, yet allow access to spectacular landscapes inaccessible to bigger ships. Experience the friendly and attentive service of our all-Australian crew and enjoy the finest of local dining as you explore the many natural highlights, stunning landscapes and ancient cultures of this seldom visited part of Australia. This truly is the cruise experience of a lifetime!
Our 10 night Kimberley expeditions cruise between Darwin and Broome and depart regularly between April and October 2010. Join us to explore the remote river gorges, rarely seen Aboriginal art, towering waterfalls and natural rugged beauty of this ancient coastline and our expert, all-Australian team of experienced guides and naturalists will acquaint you with the region's stunning natural scenery unique marine, bird and wildlife.