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Kimberley Cruise

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

The rugged Kimberley region of Western Australia faces the Indian Ocean to the west and the Timor Sea to the north. It covers an area of 421,451 square kilometres and is bordered by the Great Sandy Desert in the south and Northern Territory in the east. Its amazing natural features include arid desert areas, gorges, sandy beaches, escarpments, rainforests, waterfalls, vast open plains, river valleys and a wonderful cave system.

There are four local government areas — Broome, Derby-West Kimberley, Halls Creek and Wyndham-East Kimberley, more than 100 Aboriginal communities of various sizes and almost 100 properties servicing the pastoral industry.

The best time to visit is during the dry, which is between April and September. Temperatures are warm but manageable and humidity and rainfall are low. In the wet, torrential rains can turn creeks into raging rivers within 15 minutes and watercourses can remain impassable for days. It is not unusual for towns to be cut off for weeks on end. However, that is a truly spectacular time to visit — there are dramatic thunderstorms, flowing waterfalls and a verdant, rejuvenated landscape.

Attractions include the Fitzroy River's dramatic gorges, the remote Mitchell Plateau, Kalumburu and Gibb River Roads, Talbot Bay's tidal waterfalls, Purnululu National Park, the enormous Lake Argyle and the booming town of Broome.

The luxurious way to enjoy this rugged part of Australia is with Red Sky Charters. Gay and Graham Potter own the luxury 12.5-metre catamaran Red Sky At Night and take up to four people to places few others ever see.

Before boarding the cat, your journey begins in Broome.

Even though Broome is remote, it has all the comforts most travellers dream of. Apart from wonderful views and romantic sunsets, there is excellent accommodation and luxuries such as good coffee and outdoor bars.

In Broome, you board your King Leopold Cessna for a scenic flight to Cockatoo Island, before being transferred by dinghy to Red Sky.

The flight takes around an hour; in that time you pass over the Buccaneer Archipelago. You will soon be among its 800 islands and bays, many uncharted and untouched.

After sunrise, it's up anchor until you find a deserted beach in the archipelago for breakfast. Then you can relax on board or journey into a mangrove creek for a fishing and crabbing expedition. At low tide you can help collect oysters for dinner.

Gay is quite a chef and turns out meals using whatever has been caught during the day. Meals are served with Western Australian wines and no one can resist mango daiquiris at sunset.

The catamaran is very stable, with shallow draught and lots of room. Passenger cabins are private, with queen-size beds, the bathroom has a large freshwater shower, toilet and vanity and there is plenty of storage space.

There is a little dinghy for shore and fishing excursions. You will need to take sturdy shoes for climbing over rocks. But two things are not allowed on board — footwear and smoking.


The most northern part of Western Australia


Red Sky Charters start at $4600 per person for six days/five nights. Charter flights with King Leopold Air and all meals are included. They operate between April and October.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

Red Sky Charters
PO Box 501 Broome 6725
Ph: 0407 739 738

King Leopold Air
Box 2632 PO Broome 6725
Ph: (08) 9193 7155
Fax: (08) 9192 2484

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