Art of the Kimberley & Tiwis
New Release: Join us on a special expedition that combines the old and the new – explorations of ancient rock art sites dating back 40,000 years, connections with traditional elders on country and visits with some of the vibrant art and cultural communities of the region. Our expedition will be led by an experienced team who will help guests discover and interpret the well-preserved rock art hidden in natural galleries amongst islands and escarpments. We will travel deep into the King George and Berkeley River systems to witness a landscape carved by the powerful forces of tides and annual monsoon rains. Set sail across the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf to discover the rich modern culture of the Tiwi Islands by visiting a local co-operative gallery at Munupi Arts Centre where guests can purchase art at the source, participate in craft workshops and view performances. We invite you to join us this September on a brand-new, one-off voyage aboard Coral Adventurer departing September 2022.
- Be immersed into the remote Tiwi Islands on a cultural walking tour in the company of a local guide
- Visit Munupi Arts and Tiwi Design to view examples of both traditional and contemporary Tiwi art and experience these artistic traditions firsthand in a workshop with a local artist
- Walk amongst ancient Indigenous rock art galleries at Swift Bay, Bigge Island, Wollaston Bay and Vansittart Bay and learn about Wandjina and Gwion Gwion art history
- View striking rock formations and intricate honeycomb weathering patterns up close on Xplorer tender cruises at the King George and Berkeley River systems
- While exploring these remote locations, encounter native wildlife in their natural habitat
Your Fly, Stay & Cruise Package Includes:
- Return economy class flight from Sydney to Darwin
- 2 nights 4-star accommodation in Darwin
- Litchfield National Park Waterfalls Full-Day Tour
- 9 night Art of the Kimberley & Tiwis: Special Edition expedition onboard Coral Adventurer, Darwin return
- Includes local dining prepared fresh onboard, wines, select beers & soft drinks with meals, guided excursions plus more
- Private transfers throughout
Pricing is per person twin share and based on travel 31 August – 11 September 2022
Single traveller pricing available, speak with your travel consultant
Make your way to the DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin for SailSAFE check-in at 7:30am before your 8:00am transfer to Coral Adventurer for boarding at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf, and a 9:00am departure. Spend the day settling in and mingling with your fellow guests as we head west from Darwin towards the Kimberley coast.
KING GEORGE RIVER
Cruise down scenic King George River with its characteristic steep-sided gorges caused by the flooded river system that carved a swathe through the Kimberley landscape. We will take the opportunity to get up close and view the intricate honeycomb erosion patterns of the 80m tall sandstone cliffs by Xplorer and Zodiac tenders.
SWIFT BAY - A DAY OF ROCK ART
Swift Bay is home to historical Wandjina and Gwion Gwion Rock Art (Bradshaw) galleries. Stretch your legs and explore the magnificent sandstone structures, providing an abundance of rock shelters. On the walls of these shelters is where we will find examples of this rock art. If tide and time permit, we may also visit another art site at Wollaston Bay, a former sea-cave in the low sandstone cliff.
BIGGE ISLAND & CAREENING BAY
Discover Bigge Island, lying some 6 kilometres from the mainland separated by the Scott Strait. Walk along the cliffs and cave walls to admire the art works including depictions of Wandjina figures. The island plays an important role in future wildlife conservations as it is free from feral predators, which allows rare vulnerable species to thrive including the Northern Quoll, Scaly-tailed Possum and Monjon – the smallest member of the rock wallaby family.
Careening Bay is the site of the famous Mermaid Boab Tree, but it is also home to plenty of birdlife. Bar-shouldered Doves call throughout the day and Great Bowerbirds are common here. Also seen in the mangroves behind the beach are Shining Flycatcher, Red-headed Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike and Little Friarbird.
PRINCE FREDERICK HARBOUR
Prince Frederick Harbour is one of the Kimberley’s most spectacular locations at the southern end of York Sound. The harbour is dotted with islands lined with mangroves and monsoon rainforests, set against a backdrop of ochre-hued escarpment. White-bellied sea eagles and other birds of prey are often seen here, and at low tide, expansive mudflats reveal large populations of mudskippers and mangrove crabs. On our visit here, we will take our Xplorer tender vessels on a cruise up Porosus Creek to view some striking rock formations.
The sandstone caves of Wollaston Bay, with their weathered tunnels, arches and columns form a labyrinth-like maze that was once an Aboriginal midden. This wildlife haven is home to threatened specied including the golden-backed tree rat, monjon and golden bandicoot. While you explore the land, gaze at fascinating Gayarra Wandjina and Wandjina rock art.
JAR ISLAND & JALANDAL, VANSITTART BAY
At Jar Island, stretch your legs and explore the magnificent sandstone structures, providing an abundance of rock shelters. On the walls of these shelters is where we will find examples of rock art, the island is known to feature some of the most ancient human history records on the planet. Jalandal is another nearby rock art site. The under-hanging cave features examples of Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style art. We will meet with traditional owners who will provide interpretation to enrich the experience.
The remote Berkeley River cuts through the eastern edge of the Kimberley, draining into Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. This immense river is home to many saltwater crocodiles, rock wallabies and other wildlife, and is known for its steep-sided gorges. Enjoy cruising through the river and gorge to spot wildlife and take in the peace and grandeur of this isolated destination. Once back on board, guests can participate in art workshops and attend presentations by our Guest Lecturers.
Experience a traditional welcome ceremony and morning tea (damper and billy tea). On a guided tour, learn of the culture and history of the Tiwis as we explore the museum and the old mission precinct.
Visit Tiwi Design, one of the oldest and most artistically diverse art centres in Australia and produces ochre paintings on canvas and bark, ironwood carvings, screen printed fabrics, ceramics, bronze/glass sculptures and limited edition prints. Under the guidance of a local artist, enjoy an afternoon art session to create your own artwork to take home.
On Melville Island, learn about both traditional and contemporary art on a visit to wholly Indigenous owned Munupi Arts at Pirlangimpi. We will have the opportunity to purchase traditional Tiwi artworks including paintings, fabrics, carving, pottery and clothing at island prices.
Disembark at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 8:30am where there will be transfers available to the airport or CBD accommodation.
Terms & Conditions
Prices listed are per person in Australian/New Zealand Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking and shown on the lowest inside category available at the time. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 03 Jun 2022 and can be withdrawn without notice. Cabin categories include prepaid government fees and port taxes unless otherwise stated. Hotels may charge resort fees not included in this package, payable direct upon check in. Airfares are based on economy class flights from Sydney and are subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions, please call us for prices from other cities. Visas are not included. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.