No two western Australia cruises are the same. Throughout the expedition, allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Below is a selection of the key destinations visited.
Located 110 mile south of Perth, Bunbury is situated at the original mouth of the Preston River. For approximately 45,000 years, the Noongar people, indigenous to the Southwest region, have gathered in this area. Throughout history, Bunbury was shaped by Dutch, French, American and British seafarers, who arrived due to various circumstances such as exploration, trade and settlement aspirations.
Take a guided tour with descendants of the original inhabitants of the Bunbury Geographe area, the Noongar people, along the 3.3-mile Mangrove walk. Learn about the bush foods and medicine used in this area as well as Dreaming stories of the region. This evening, enjoy wine tasting on board while cruising around Cape Naturaliste at sunset.
Hamelin Bay beach was a tiny port that serviced timber mills all over the southwest between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. However, people soon came to realize that the waters were far too difficult to navigate and travel with a plethora of wrecks in this area just off the coast.
This morning, spend time exploring this vast expanse of bright white sand and turquoise waters filled with marine life. The combination of the friendly stingrays, and interesting fish and plant life in the bay make it a great snorkeling spot. After there is the opportunity to walk part of Cape-to-Cape trail to Cozy Corner (3.1 miles–Easy to Moderate) or Deepdene Beach to view the Elephant Rocks (4.9 miles– Moderate to Difficult). With a great biodiversity in the area there will be a plethora of native wildflowers throughout both walks including the chance to see native rose, hovea, old mans beard, pink fairy orchid and more. These trails involve some sand/beach terrain and some uneven, rocky sections.
This morning, arrive in Denmark and take an Xplorer transfer to Madfish Bay, a hidden wonderland of pools and bays in the William Bay National Park. At low tide it is possible to walk directly across to the small island in Madfish Bay, but at high tide the island is completely cut off from the mainland. From here, take a short coach transfer to Ducketts Mill Winery. Established in 1996 by Ross & Dallas Lewis with the first planting of Riesling and Cabernet, Ducketts Mill Winery is housed in a unique pine-slabbed farmhouse. Enjoy a wine flight tasting accompanied by house-made cheeses with platters of local produce as the dedicated team share their knowledge and pairing suggestions.
Point Ann & Ravensthorpe
Today cruise into Point Ann, one of the two places in Australia (the other being Head of the Bight in South Australia), where southern right whales come to calve in large numbers in the calm waters of the beautiful bay. Throughout the morning, anchor in this area and enjoy morning tea on board while keeping eyes on the ocean in hope of spotting these incredible creatures.
This afternoon arrive at Hopetoun to journey through the community art trail at Ravensthorpe. After a short bus ride, explore a section of the trail which was created by local farmers using old machinery and scrap metal to produce large-scale sculptures depicting the region’s diverse range of wildflowers and local surroundings. In the heart of the Western Australian wheatbelt region, this expression of art has transformed the economy of these small towns.
Esperance (Kepa Kurl)
This morning wake up at Esperance in the goldfield’s region of Western Australia. After a short Xplorer ride to Twilight Beach or Blue Haven Beach, explore the Wildflower Ocean Walk with options for varied fitness levels. Enjoy the spectacular Esperance coastline from the main esplanade all the way to Twilight Beach. This headland is home to an abundance of birds, wildlife and wildflowers.
For lunch today enjoy the freshest of fish with locally sourced fish from Esperance served as a classic fish & chips on board. Next visit Lucky Bay in Cape le Grand National Park, voted #1 beach in the world, for a swim and chance to see the local wildlife, including kangaroos.
Western Australia’s oldest colonial settlement lies on the northern shore of Princess Royal Harbor, King George Sound. The area was inhabited by the Mineng Noongar Aboriginal people for some 18,000 years before it was first encountered by Europeans.
Explore the Quaranup Indigenous Walk which follows the paths walked by the Mineng people to Quaranup (Kwooranup–place of brush tail wallaby) with opportunity to see ancient stone structures, waterholes, artifacts, engravings, and flora and fauna. Then travel around the coast of Kinjarling (Albany), to the Quaranup Cultural Site. Walk along the beach or dunes to ancient engravings and tool quarry sites. Tides permitting, there may be a chance to beachcomb and look for shellfish amongst the rocks.
Augusta & Flinders Bay Reserve
This morning arrive in the waters of Flinders Bay where there will be opportunity for whale watching from the Vista Deck. The ship will be passing through Flinders Bay around 6:00am, a great time to for an opportunity to see whales in a location they frequent.
After lunch enjoy a short Xplorer transfer to Flinders Bay Reserve at Augusta for freshly shucked Margaret River Oysters and complimentary wines. After this beachside tasting experience there will be an optional Coastal Walk (1 mile, easy) following the Blackwood River and Augusta coastline. Along this section of the trail, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Flinders Bay and the Great Southern Ocean, and the chance to climb down and explore among the rocky pools and sandy beaches.
Dunsborough (Quedjinup) – Signature Event
The Southwest region of Australia, within which Dunsborough sits, is recognized as one of the oldest continually occupied human habitats anywhere on Earth, with archaeology dating back approximately 40,000 years. Dunsborough itself shares in this history, with multiple sites of Aboriginal importance in and around the town.
This morning take a short coach transfer from Dunsborough to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to explore the tip of Cape Naturaliste–Kwirreejeenungup (surrounded by ocean on three fronts) and partake in coastal foraging. A local Wadandi (forest people by the sea) guide will join, interpreting the landscape and teaching on how the Noongar seasonal calendar influences the knowledge of food sources available throughout the year. Enjoy morning tea including native food tastings.
Signature Dinner Event at Leeuwin Estate
Family-owned Leeuwin Estate is one of five founding wineries of the now famous Margaret River district of Western Australia, under the direction of two generations who work with a team of highly skilled winemakers to consistently produce wines ranking alongside the world’s finest. With sweeping views overlooking the majestic karri forest, this evening travel to Leeuwin Estate for a six-course combination of exceptional seasonal West Australian produce, focusing on flavor, texture and aromas, with current Leeuwin Estate wines.
After a relaxing morning on board, spend the afternoon at Ambergate Reserve, a 185-acre regional park which protects the remnants of scrubland and woodlands once common along the coastal plains of Busselton. Over 360 plant species have been recorded here, from tall trees and shrubs such as marri, jarrah, peppermints and banksia, to creepers and ground covers–and 26 species of orchid. Many animal species also inhabit the reserve, including kangaroos, quendas, brush-tailed possums, wallabies and echidnas. Plus, an enormous variety of birds including tree martins, rainbow bee-eaters, falcons and tawny frogmouths.
Alternatively, there will be the opportunity to explore the town of Dunsborough or take a stroll along the coastal walk from Geographe Bay to Meelup (2.5 miles one way, Easy) with the opportunity to spot many native wildflowers.