The world's largest humpback whale migration sees up to 6000 whales heading up the 'superhighway' along Western Australia's coast to calve in the warm waters off the Kimberley between August and November. Coral Princess extended its Kimberley cruise program last year – and discovered that late season whale watching is 'simply incredible'.
"We lost count of how many whales we saw on the voyage. We had daily sightings, and several came within metres of the ship, with mothers appearing to 'show' their calves to the human onlookers," said Vicki Briggs, Director of Coral Princess Cruises.
"We're used to seeing whales on our voyages, but the late season departures were incredible in terms of the frequency of sightings, and for the experience of seeing mothers and calves interacting."
Coral Princess Cruises has added extra departures for its most popular cruise - a voyage exploring the remote Kimberley coast between Broome and Darwin – extending the season from its usual start in April through to October.
The 10-night Kimberley cruise visits Kuri Bay, home of the South Pacific pearl industry, and ventures ashore to view the world-famous Bradshaw (Gwion) paintings, - the world's oldest known indigenous art – and the towering, 80-metre King George Falls, the tallest waterfalls in Western Australia. There is an optional helicopter flight over the Mitchell Plateau for views of the impressive four-tiered Mitchell Falls, as well as excursions into secluded gorges and to rock pools perfect for swimming. The cruise explores the Buccaneer Archipelago – made up of 800 islands – and includes an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the 'Horizontal Waterfall', where the tide floods between rocky cliffs.
The Kimberley wilderness of Western Australia is three times larger than England with a population of just 30 000.
Coral Princess operates two ships in the Kimberley. The Oceanic Discoverer accommodates a maximum of just 72 guests and travels with a purpose-built excursion vessel, Xplorer and inflatable Zodiacs. Coral Princess accommodates a maximum of just 48 guests. In true expedition style, the itinerary may vary to take maximum advantage of opportunities to venture ashore, to explore the many waterfalls, river systems and reefs - or to stop and watch the whales!
Prices for the 10-night Kimberley cruise start at A$6850 (A$6950 in 2011) aboard Coral Princess and A$8250 (A$8450 in 2011) aboard Oceanic Discoverer. Prices are per person, twin share and include the cruise, all meals, lectures and services of expedition staff on board and group transfers. There are regular departures from both Darwin and Broome between April and October.
For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises at www.coralprincess.com.au.