Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley and Tiwi Islands - with National Geographic
* Subject to availability.
- A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert onboard.
- Enjoy regular Zodiac® outings & shore visits to experience the unique Kimberley wilderness.
- Take guided walks ashore with your expert expedition team to view ancient Wandjina rock art galleries.
- Discover the stories behind the enigmatic Gwion Gwion rock art
- View the oldest depictions of the human form on the planet.
- Listen to stories of the dreamtime from the oldest continuous culture on the planet.
- Explore pristine mangrove environments.
- Visit the World renowned Tiwi Design and Manupi Art centres of the Tiwi Islands.
- Witness unique tidal phenomena such as the Horizontal Falls and Montgomery Reef.
Staterooms & Suites
There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.
Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience.
As the fifth ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Bellot will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.
Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service.
Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel.
Port of call & excursions
BroomeEmbarkation 17/09/2021 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 17/09/2021 at 20H00 .
Located in the northwest of the Kimberley region and in the far north of Western Australia, the town of Broome is reputed for its history and its glorious pearling era. The fascinating Chinatown district, which is the historic city centre, and the famous Japanese Cemetery, dates back to 1896, and has a past marked by the immigration of numerous Chinese and Japanese workers, attracted by the prosperous pearl industry at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Broome is also famous for the “Staircase to the Moon”, an optical illusion created by the Moon reflecting on the sand banks at low tide, like a staircase climbing up towards the sky, a unique spectacle provided by nature…
18 September 2021 – Lacepede IslandsArrival 18/09/2021. Departure 18/09/2021.
The Lacepede Islands are Western Australia’s most important breeding habitat for Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas), and have been named by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The breeding colony of Brown Boobies is possibly the largest in the world. Up to 20,000 Roseate Terns have also been recorded here. Other birds breeding on the islands include Masked Boobies, Australian Pelicans, Lesser Frigatebirds, Eastern Reef Egrets, Silver Gulls, Crested, Bridled and Lesser Crested Terns, Common Noddies, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers. Join your expedition team for a guided Zodiac® tour to view the prolific wildlife. Due to the sensitive nature of the environment, landings are prohibited on the Lacepede Islands.
19 September 2021▸20 September 2021 – Collier BayArrival 19/09/2021. Departure 20/09/2021.
Lying to the east of the Buccaneer archipelago, the ancient landscapes of Collier Bay have been shaped by the massive tidal movements the region is renowned for, creating a photographer’s paradise. With a tidal range exceeding 14 metres, recorded near Yule entrance at the southern end of the bay, they are among the largest in the world. This massive daily movement of water creates unique phenomena that occur nowhere else in the world. Nestled in the centre of the Bay is Montgomery Reef, the world’s largest inshore reef system. As the tide falls a raging torrent of water cascades off the top of the reef, creating turbulent ‘rivers’ and mini waterfalls. At the Southern end of the Bay, Talbot Bay is home to the world’s only ’Horizontal Falls’ described by Sir David Attenborough as “One of the greatest wonders of the natural world.” Hidden in the many caves and grottos of this ancient landscape are a multitude of ancient Rock Art galleries. Here you can find spectacular examples of the Wandjina and Gwion Gwion styles. As we are at the mercy of weather and tide conditions in this region, the activities mentioned above are only possible experiences and can’t be guaranteed.
21 September 2021 – Bigge IslandArrival 21/09/2021. Departure 21/09/2021.
Named by Phillip Parker King in 1819 after The English Judge and royal commissioner John Thomas Bigge, Bigge Island is known as Wuuyuru to the Wunambal people of the Kimberley Coast. Wuuyuru is a significant site for Aboriginal people and is the resting place of the boss Wandjina Aarwarrndju. The easily accessible galleries are also home to more recent images of sailing ships and what appears to be figures smoking pipes. Some have suggested that this is evidence of first European contact with Aboriginal people on the Kimberley coast. Whether it was Dutch or English sailors of the 1600s, French sailors of the Baudin expedition or New South Wales surveyors such as Philip Parker King or John Lort Stokes of the early 1800s, we will never know. Join your expedition team ashore for a guided walk to a number of rock art galleries depicting the Wandjina style.
22 September 2021 – Hunter RiverArrival 22/09/2021. Departure 22/09/2021.
Arguably one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast, Prince Frederick Harbour and the Hunter River are lined with ancient rainforest pockets, pristine mangroves and mosaic sandstone cliffs. They are considered to be some of the most pristine mangrove forests in the world, containing up to 18 different species, supporting a rich and diverse fauna. The sandstone escarpment at the river mouth, known as “Kampamantiya” rises over 200 metres high before giving way to extensive mud banks and mangrove forests home to numerous bird species and the iconic saltwater crocodile. Our expert Expedition Team will share their knowledge with you as you explore this pristine mangrove environment by Zodiac® keeping a constant lookout for wildlife. You will also have the opportunity to reach the Mitchell Falls by helicopter from Naturalist Island beach.
23 September 2021 – Swift BayArrival 23/09/2021. Departure 23/09/2021.
The Bonaparte Archipelago, is a stunningly rugged maze of islands stretching almost 150 km along Western Australia's remote Kimberley coast. Its colour and scale conspire to take ones’ breath away. Its distant location has meant it has remained an unspoilt and remarkably pristine location to explore and experience. Phillip Parker King named “Swift's bay" after Jonathon Swift (1667-1745) the author of Gulliver’s travels. The ‘T’ shaped bay is composed of heavily fractured sandstone providing an abundance of rock shelters. On the walls of these shelters are examples of both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style rock art. Join your expedition team ashore for a guided walk to a number of rock art galleries depicting these unique rock art styles.
24 September 2021 – Vansittart BayArrival 24/09/2021. Departure 24/09/2021.
Jar Island contains ancient rock art galleries depicting the Gwion Gwion style unique to the Kimberley region. Mainly neglected by, or unknown to, the early European researchers of Aboriginal culture in the Kimberley in favour of the dominant and more dramatic Wandjina art, Gwion Gwion art has in recent years gained world prominence. It is generally thought that this art may extend back to over 30,000 years before our time and represents the first wave of seagoing colonisers of the Australian continent. As it is, these are the oldest detailed depiction of human figures in the world. Join your Expedition Team ashore for a short walk, past some fascinating rock formations, to the site of the Gwion Gwion art galleries.
25 September 2021 – King George RiverArrival 25/09/2021. Departure 25/09/2021.
The journey up the King George River is nothing short of breathtaking. The 80m high sides of the gorge display varying degrees of weathering of the ancient Warton sandstone. The colours and textures of the gorge change with the light as you travel further up the river creating a continual changing scenery that is simply stunning. The journey culminates at the King George twin falls; the highest single-drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley (80m or 260ft). Fed by wet season run-off the level of water cascading over the falls varies from year to year. Your Expedition Team will escort you in either the Zodiacs or ships tenders to the foot of the twin falls, and explain all about the stunning geological formations of the canyon.
26 September 2021 – WyndhamArrival 26/09/2021. Departure 26/09/2021.
Wyndham is the northernmost town in Western Australia and in many ways is the gateway to the Kimberley. It is surrounded by some of the most spectacular landforms, rivers and wetlands in the Kimberley.
27 September 2021 – Pulau Meatimiarang (Technical Stop)Arrival 27/09/2021. Departure 27/09/2021.
Enjoy a leisurely day at sea to take advantage of the luxurious onboard services or enjoy a cool drink by the pool. Enjoy time to reflect on your experiences or share photographs with fellow guests. Your expedition team will be offering an enrichment programme focusing on Australia, it’s history and flora and fauna. Perhaps take the opportunity to be out on deck sunbathing or sampling culinary specialties prepared by our Chef and Galley Team.The Indonesian officials will perform the necessary clearance formalities. Our stopover at Pulau Meatimiarang is for technical clearance purposes only. There is no opportunity for guests to go ashore.
28 September 2021 – Wurrumiyanga, Tiwi IslandsArrival 28/09/2021. Departure 28/09/2021.
The Tiwi people are culturally and linguistically distinct from those of Arnhem Land on the mainland just across the water. Most residents speak Tiwi as their first language and English as a second language. The creation of Indigenous art is an important part of Tiwi Island culture and its economy. For 25 years Munupi Arts has been a vital meeting place for the Tiwi people of the Pirlangimpi community for employment, cultural pride and well-being. The Munupi Arts and Crafts Association gives local artists an opportunity to proudly celebrate Tiwi culture through both traditional and contemporary mediums. You will be welcomed ashore in Pirlangimpi and have the opportunity to visit the Munupi Art centre and experience life in this small remote Aboriginal community.
29 September 2021 – Pirlangimpi, Tiwi IslandsArrival 29/09/2021. Departure 29/09/2021.
The Tiwi people are culturally and linguistically distinct from those of Arnhem Land on the mainland just across the water. Most residents speak Tiwi as their first language and English as a second language. The creation of Indigenous art is an important part of Tiwi Island culture and its economy. For 25 years Munupi Arts has been a vital meeting place for the Tiwi people of the Pirlangimpi community for employment, cultural pride and well-being. It gives local artists an opportunity to proudly celebrate Tiwi culture through both traditional and contemporary mediums. You will be welcomed ashore in Pirlangimpi and have the opportunity to visit the Munupi Art centre and experience life in this small remote Aboriginal community.
DarwinDisembarkation 30/09/2021 at 07H00 .
Darwin is located in Australia’s Northern Territory which is also known as the “Top End”. It is the capital city and the most populated town of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a beautiful tropical city, a melting pot of people and cultures, over 50 different cultures live and work side by side that prides itself in its unique and friendly laid-back lifestyle. Come discover the town’s still recent history through its emblematic buildings such as the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture or Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Australia: an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) must be obtained before your arrival in Australia. For more information, please visit www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas. Carriers should be aware that there will not be any physical evidence in your passport. A copy of your ETA must be sent to PONANT at the latest 45 days prior to your cruise date. We also ask you to keep a copy of your ETA and keep it with your passport throughout the duration of your trip.
Australian customs regulations are very strict, especially for the import of food items such as fresh food (even sealed), fruits, eggs, meat, plants, vegetables, seeds, grains. Fur and feathers are also forbidden. We highly recommend you consult this website for further details : www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas/customs-clearance.
It is recommended that you contact your health professional for any specific medical advise relating to travel through these regions, including advice on Malaria prevention and dengue fever.
Discover the unique concept of PONANT tropical expedition cruises: explore the world’s extreme regions while enjoying luxurious comfort and service.
A luxury expedition voyage
Choosing a PONANT expedition cruise means choosing a state of mind: the alliance of elegance and authenticity, of exploration and comfort, of adventure and refinement… The comfort of your ship and your stateroom, personalised and attentive service, refined gastronomy: a very special atmosphere that we take great care to maintain. In the heart of the archipelagos of Oceania or the atolls of the Indian Ocean, along the wild coastlines of Central America or Australia, our luxurious services will ensure that your expedition cruise is an unforgettable experience.
PONANT, expedition cruise specialists
With almost 20 years of experience in the extreme regions, PONANT, the world’s number 1 polar cruise company, is also a real specialist in the planet’s most remote tropical regions. Our latest-generation fleet has the most modern technology to guarantee both your safety and respect for the regions visited. The size of our ships means we can get as close as possible to areas that are difficult to reach, offering a privileged access to preserved sites. Our flexibility enables us to adapt to the surprises inherent to these expedition itineraries.
Professional expedition teams, varied activities
After scouting missions in the field, our Expedition Leaders and their teams of naturalist guides design exceptional itineraries in the tropical regions. During the cruise, they organise daily outings and shore visits in Zodiac® dinghies so as to get as close to nature as possible. They can reserve local means of transport (dugout canoes, bush taxis, local buses, etc.) in order to reach essential sites for hiking (volcanoes, nature reserves, etc.) or for visiting isolated villages. Indeed, the close relationships that our teams have been able to build with the local communities will enable you to share the life and ancestral customs of these peoples for a few hours. The naturalist guides also supervise snorkelling tours to discover the coral reef fauna. On board, the naturalist guides will share their knowledge during various conferences on fauna, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology…
Expedition programmes include activities such as Zodiac® outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landings"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.
Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.
Travelling to isolated regions is an exhilarating experience. In remote areas, please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.
- Cotton comfortable and light-weight shorts/bermuda shorts
- Light weight long trousers
- Long-sleeved breathable SPF50+ shirts
- Cotton short sleeved T-shirt
- Aquatic UV long-sleeved T-shirt for sun protection during snorkeling or swimming
- Aquatic non-slip sandals
- Windproof, waterproof and breathable outer layer
- Broad brimmed anti-UV hat with strap and veil to protect the neck
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Highly protective sunglasses.
- Sunscreen and after-sun with high SPF index & insect repellent
- Binoculars (strongly recommended for wildlife viewing).
- Small waterproof backpack (to protect your camera from water).
- Camelbak (backpack with water pockets)
- Walking poles (highly recommended).
During your visits to some local communities, all guests will be required to dress respectfully. Ladies must have their shoulders and thighs covered. Gentlemen should have their shoulders covered also.
Do not hesitate to visit the online PONANT store which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations, at the following address: https://boutique.ponant.com
Benefits of the PONANT store:
- Advice on equipment from our experts to help you prepare for your polar expedition
- A wide range of technical equipment for polar expeditions, approved by our experts
- Two delivery options: delivery to your home or directly to your cabin on board the ship
- Duty Free shopping for cabin delivered items