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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wilderness cruising faces change

Two of the world’s most pristine cruising regions have this week been subject to significant changes. AUSTRALIA’S Kimberley and Ecuador’s Galapagos are in the midst of transformations that may have an impact on cruise tourism. Yesterday’s heritage-listing of WA’s West Kimberley region (TD 30 Aug) has been hailed as a breakthrough for domestic tourism, but it is not yet known how it will effect activities of passenger ships.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the ruling would protect almost 20 million hectares of land including extensive stretches of the coast. But environment groups have questioned why the site of a huge gas development at James Price Point has been largely excluded. Meanwhile, in the Galapagos National Park, new rules are set to ban cruise ships from visiting most islands more than once in a 14-day period. Effective from 01 Feb 2012, the regulations directly involve 50 cruise companies that operate in the Galapagos.

But tour operators hope the restrictions will improve passengers’ experience as they may often be on board the only ship at some ecologically sensitive sites. The new rules will also open up wildlife-rich areas such as Tagus Cove, which was closed several years ago to vessels with more than 40 pax. Snorkelling, kayaking and boat rides will also be regulated, with activities assigned to specific sites and times to avoid overlapping by cruise lines.

Kimberley coast 2012 cruise 20% discount

Cruising the coast of the heritage-listed Kimberley

Kimberley Quest adds 10-day cruise next year and releases 20% earlybird deals

A 10-day Adventure Quest cruise has been added to boutique Kimberley Quest's program of six, eight and 14-day cruises along northern West Australia's rugged Kimberley coastline next year.

Releasing the 2012 itineraries for Kimberley Quest this week, Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises also announced 20 per cent discount earlybird deals for new bookings made between September 1 and January 31, on 8, 10 and 14-day cruises in 2012.

The deal on the new cruise, for example, means the price is from $7200 per person instead of from $9000.

Director, Lynne Ralston said that in recent years Kimberley Quest II skippers had discovered several secret spots that could be easily accessed by the stylish 18-passenger Kimberley Quest for a 10-day Broome-Broome trip.

"We can explore many untouched places that we rarely have the opportunity to visit," she said. "While we have been operating cruises along the coast for 18 years we're still learning her secrets."

The price includes cabin with ensuite, all chef-prepared meals served on the shady stern deck or in the air-conditioned lounge, full use of the vessel (that includes the spa pool on the forward deck) and guided land and water excursions.

Departures are August 21 and August 30.

The itinerary includes Cape Leveque, Buccaneer Archipelago, Dugong Bay, Yampi Sound, Talbot Bay, Montgomery Reef, Sale River, Raft Point, Doubtful Bay, Camden Harbour, Rothsway Water, Prince Regent River, Cathedral Falls and King Cascade, Camp Creek and Hanover Bay, Heywood, Champagny Island and Adele Island.

Kimberley Quest II offers four cabin styles, all with ensuite facilities.

Twenty-five departures -- listed as "expeditions" by PSCC -- across six itineraries are scheduled for 2012 in a season running from March 27 to October 8.

Two of three eight-day fishing expeditions are booked out.

Lead-in full fare prices are from $6,200 per person, twin share for the six-day Captains Quest, from $8345 for both the eight-day Northern Quest and Southern Quest, from $7.200 for the six-day Fishing Expedition and from $12, 095 for the 14-day Ultimate Quest.

The 14-day itinerary is cruising between Broome and Wyndham, the Southern Quest is between Broome and Mitchell Plateau, the Northern Quest is between Mitchell Plateau and Wyndham and the Captains Quest is between Mitchell River and Hunter River.  The Fishing trip is between Hunter River and Broome.

Prices for cruises featuring Mitchell Plateau include a helicopter flight as well as light aircraft transfers to/from Broome.

Contact: tel 08 9193 6131, email or visit

Heritage listing for Kimberley


Pic: Kimberley Quest

FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke has today announced the heritage listing of Western Australia’s West Kimberley Region, with the move hailed as a significant breakthrough for domestic tourism in Australia. About 19 million hectares is covered by the decision, including the coastline of the Dampier Peninsula from Cape Leveque to Cambridge Gulf, the Kimberley Plateau and the Fitzroy River.

Burke said the region “belongs on a list of the places which define Australia,” while Tourism Australia md Andrew McEvoy said the “terrific news” would “add to the credentials of the Kimberley as a must-visit destination”. Intrepid Travel has been keen for the listing, with the operator’s Kimberley business mgr, Jelena Mitrovic, telling TD this morning she was thrilled at the decision.

“This puts the Kimberley alongside other Australian icons such as the Great Barrier Reef in terms of marketing to international travellers,” she said. “It’s a major step in protecting and boosting tourism in the region,” she added. The Kimberley is already part of Tourism Australia’s National Landscapes program.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

North Star Continues to Celebrate


After enjoying yet another successful season in the Kimberley, North Star Cruises, operators of the adventure-cruise ship TRUE NORTH, are getting ready to sail east to Papua New Guinea. The company not only offers luxury adventure-cruises all around the Australian coastline but also in the stunning waters of the South Pacific and this year celebrates 25 years as one of Australia's most-loved tour operators.

Guests disembarking from the TRUE NORTH consistently respond with "that's the best holiday I have ever had!" 

Those fortunate enough to secure a cabin on the PNG cruises, aptly named Adventures in Paradise, can look forward to a long list of daily activities including snorkelling over ditched WWII tanks, SCUBA diving and fantastic game fishing.  Guests can also enjoy treks into the jungle and opportunities to explore the beautiful fiords of Tufi. There are exhilarating helicopter flights including a visit to the Kokoda Track and flights over Rabaul's active volcano and, strolls on the uninhabited Lusancay Islands.   There are also plenty of opportunities for guests to experience village life and local culture. The warmth and friendliness of the villagers is often overwhelming. The cruise also includes return flights from Cairns in a private charter plane - saving valuable time for more adventure!

Over the past 25 years North Star has become revered as a provider of unique holiday experiences. Not bad for a small company that is 100% Australian owned and, a real pat on the back for a young Aussie crew who have developed an equally revered reputation for service and attention to detail.

Adventures In Paradise Cruising Schedule

Adventures In Paradise 1

Cairns / Alotau - Kavieng / Cairns

From 29 October 2011 To 05 November 2011: Hurry - only a few cabins left!

Adventures In Paradise 2

Cairns / Kavieng - Alotau / Cairns

From 26 November 2011 To 03 December 2011: Cabins Available

Adventures In Paradise 3

Cairns / Alotau - Kavieng / Cairns

From 03 December 2011 To 10 December 2011: Cabins Available

Adventures In Paradise Extended

Cairns / Kavieng - Louisiades - Alotau / Cairns

From 10 December 2011 To 19 December 2011: Cabins Available

For more information on the TRUE NORTH see  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kimberley Quest II: Introducing our 10 Day Adventure Quest


10 Day 'Adventure Quest' - NEW for 2012

Meeting popular demand, the Kimberley Quest team are excited to announce the release of our new 10 Day cruise which will commence next year.

Offering a totally different Kimberley experience, the 10 Day 'Adventure Quest' delves into parts of the Southern Kimberley to explore many untouched places and well kept 'secret spots' that we rarely have the opportunity to visit.

Take an adventure like no other; join us on this uninterrupted Broome to Broome cruise to explore many waterways and inlets, visit pristine beaches, experience idyllic fishing opportunities and venture to untouched areas along the Kimberley coastline.

10 Day Adventure Quest: Broome - Broome

21 August - 30 September
30 August - 8 September

Prices start from $9,000 per person

For further details on our NEW Adventure Quest cruise, please contact our office on:

P. 1300 156 035 or (08) 9193 6131

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

News from Broome and the Kimberley Coast

Hello from sunny Broome, and welcome to our mid-season news from the magnificent Kimberley Coast.

Blessed with beautiful blue skies and balmy 28 degree days, the streets of Broome are bustling with tourists flocking to explore the pristine wilderness on our doorstep, and to escape the winter blues.

Being peak season it's also a busy time for The Great Escape Charter Company; we've seen our first round of 13 night Kimberley Classic Adventures come and go and made some wonderful new friends along the way. Two groups booked the whole boat and each had a festive 2 weeks from Wyndham to Broome; what a way to reunite with friends!

Our first round of 7 night Southern Kimberley Experiences have passed and Skipper Scotty, a favourite with guests, returned to join the crew, and guide guests through the land he is so passionate and knowledgeable about.

Now we return to the full 13 night cruises and while conditions are perfect, the waterfalls are still flowing along the entire coastline, thanks to the amazing Wet Season we had at the start of the year. The whales are also appearing as they move up the West Coast of Oz heading for Camden Harbour, a prime area for whale mating and breeding.

Help Save the Kimberley Coast

Those of you who have had the opportunity to experience the incredibly pristine wilderness of the Kimberley Coast will understand the importance of preserving and protecting this precious region for now, and for future generations.

The region is under threat of a proposed liquid gas processing plant development at James Price Point near Broome, and now is an important time to voice concerns about destroying this vital wilderness. To find out more you can read about what is happening here and if you would like to send a letter in protest you can visit this page on the Save the Kimberley website.


The Great Escape Charter Company is one of the original Kimberley Charter boat operators, exploring the Kimberley coast and Rowley Shoals for over 10 years.

Click to see our Cruise DVD or our Dive DVD Or call to find out more: 08 9193 5983