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Don’t leave the Kimberley without doing this

King George River and falls (Oomari Falls) is one stop not to be missed on a visit to the Kimberley. Photo: Supplied

Given its vast size, any trip to the Kimberley will involve missing out on something, so we asked Coral Expeditions expedition leader Cara Cavanagh for the places she thinks should be included in any itinerary.

Coral Expeditions are pioneers of Kimberley cruising, having started sailing to the region more than 30 years ago.

The Australian-flagged company has vessels custom-designed for exploring tropical waters, with shallow drafts for getting up close to sites and ease of access, and plenty of open deck areas for enjoying the warm climate.

They have small passenger numbers — 72 to 120 depending on the vessel — and each journey includes expert guides and lecturers with connections to local communities. As well, all supplies and services are procured from local businesses.

Cara has done four seasons of Kimberley cruises with Coral Expeditions, two as expedition leader.

A dive instructor, and passionate bird watcher, the best part of Cara’s job is sharing the wildlife and landscape of the Kimberley with Coral Expedition’s passengers.

Coral Expeditions are pioneers of Kimberley cruising, having started sailing to the region more than 30 years ago.

“I love showing our guests the best of what I believe the Kimberley has to offer. These are my favourite locations — the ones that really capture the essence of this unique part of northern Australia” Cara said.

King George River and falls (Oomari Falls)

This is either the first or last stop on our itineraries, depending on the cruise format. The power of the falls at the beginning of the season, just after the monsoon, is without rival. As the dry season sets in and these falls begin to dry up, what is left is a truly stunning river system, with high ancient sandstone escarpments framing it. Millions of years of erosion in the making, this stop is one not to be missed.

Porosus Creek

Aptly named after Crocodylus Porosus (saltwater crocodile), this beautiful place is just inside the mouth of the Hunter River. The sunrise colours here are more spectacular than in any other location in the Kimberley, and a sunrise bird-watching cruise is a perfect start to a day of activities. The stars of the show are the crocodiles; at low tide, they lie on the mudbanks basking in the sun.

The Kimberley
Add Montgomery Reef (Yowjab) to your Kimberley must-see list.

Montgomery Reef (Yowjab)

This 400 square kilometre reef system is exposed at low tide, and as the water retreats, it creates a system of cascading falls in the middle of the ocean. The reef is home to turtles, sharks, sea snakes, and an abundance of corals.

King Cascade waterfall

In the middle of the dry season and with temperatures in the 30°C range, this stop offers a “Kimberley Shower”. This beautiful, cascading waterfall is spring fed and runs all year round.

The Kimberley
Horizontal Waterfall is one of the stars of the Kimberley.

Horizontal Waterfall

This tidal phenomenon is one of the stars of the Kimberley. Taking a ride in our Zodiacs as the driver navigates you through the huge volumes of water being pushed through the gaps in the sandstone structures really captures the power of the tides in this “Big Tide Country”.

Lacepede Islands

Not every stop can be made on a 10-day trip in the Kimberley as the huge range of tides dictate places that can be accessed. But when the tides and weather are favourable there are two more places that really accentuate the Kimberley experience.

For bird watchers, the Lacepede Islands make a remarkable stop. An A-class reserve, they are home to an abundance of nesting seabirds and shorebirds and they are an important site for green sea turtle nests. They also have what is thought to be the largest brown booby nesting population in the world, with 18,000 pairs raising their young here annually.

Crocodile Creek

The name sounds ominous, but this is one of the most magical places in the Kimberley. A short climb up a ladder leads to a spring-fed waterfall which fills a crystal-clear waterhole. Visitors can spend time lazing around in the pristine waters of this Kimberley gem.

This story was prepared in conjunction with Coral Expeditions.

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