Exploring the Kimberley - with National Geographic
* Subject to availability.
- A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert specialised in the destination onboard.
- Join our highly qualified local expedition team.
- Enjoy regular Zodiac® outings & shore visits to get close to Kimberley nature.
- Discover billions of years-old landscapes & ancient rock art.
- Listen to stories of the dreamtime from the oldest continuous culture on the planet.
- Explore pristine mangrove environments, home to the world’s largest living reptile.
- Witness unique tidal phenomena such as the Horizontal Falls.
- Possibility of swimming or snorkeling.
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 first ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Lapérouse 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 26/08/2020 from 15H30 to 16H30 . Departure 26/08/2020 at 17H30 .
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. Start your visit in the fascinating Chinatown district and then discover the history of Japanese immigrants in Broome’s famous Japanese Cemetery, which dates from 1896. Your visit will perhaps involve an unusual encounter at Gantheaume Point, where dinosaur footprints more than 130 million years old can be seen. 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…
27 August 2020▸28 August 2020 – Rowley ShoalsArrival 27/08/2020. Departure 28/08/2020.
Regarded as one of the world’s most spectacular diving and snorkelling locations, the Rowley Shoals lie 260 kilometres west of Broome in the Timor Sea. The three coral atolls of Mermaid, Clerke and Imperieuse reefs rise, near vertical, from the surrounding crystal-clear waters on the edge of the continental shelf. The shallow lagoons inhabited by a diverse array of corals and abundant marine life are ideal for exploration by snorkellers and divers. To take full advantage of the location, Le Lapérouse will spend one and a half days at the Rowley Shoals, allowing you to swim and snorkel from Zodiac®.
29 August 2020 – Lacepede IslandsArrival 29/08/2020. Departure 29/08/2020.
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.
30 August 2020 – Talbot BayArrival 30/08/2020. Departure 30/08/2020.
Described by Sir David Attenborough as “One of the greatest wonders of the natural world” the “Horizontal Waterfalls” are an iconic location and one of the premier tourist attractions of the West Kimberley. They are a pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range approximately 300m apart. With massive tidal differences of up to 10.8m on a spring tide, the “Horizontal Waterfalls” are created as seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, creating a waterfall up to 4m high on a King tide. Today’s Zodiac® excursion will be timed, where possible, to coincide with the greatest tidal movement through the gaps. The amount of actual flow in the “falls” will vary depending on the tide movement on the day.
31 August 2020 – Montgomery ReefArrival 31/08/2020. Departure 31/08/2020.
The tidal movements in the Kimberley are nothing short of massive, in fact the Kimberley has the third largest tidal range of anywhere on the planet. Montgomery Reef is a spectacular example of the impact of these tides as the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean. As the tide drops a raging torrent of water cascades off the top of the reef. At just under 400 km2 in size it is Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals. Your Zodiac® expedition today will take you to the exposed reef system with its cascading mini-waterfalls to witness the amazing tide induced phenomena first hand. The actual scale of the phenomena is strictly governed by the tides on the day.
31 August 2020 – Raft PointArrival 31/08/2020. Departure 31/08/2020.
Raft Point or ‘Ngumbri’, and its 188 metres high bluff, juts out into Doubtful Bay's entrance off Kimberley, is the site of the most spectacular outdoor Aboriginal Wandjina art gallery on the Kimberley coast. The Worrorra, Wunambal, and Ngarinyin people say that the Wandjina are the creator beings of the Dreaming, and that they made their world and all that it contains. Wandjina ceremonies, to ensure the timely beginning of the monsoon wet season and sufficient rainfall are held during December and January. Join your Expedition Team for a challenging guided walk to visit this spectacular rock art gallery.
1 September 2020 – Careening BayArrival 01/09/2020. Departure 01/09/2020.
Careening Bay was named by Lieutenant Phillip Parker King after his ship, HMC Mermaid, was careened there during his third voyage of discovery in 1820. King surveyed the western coast to complete the map initiated by Flinders 20 years earlier. The Mermaid had been leaking badly and King needed to find a shallow sandy bay where he could careen his boat to undertake repairs. At a high tide, on a warm September afternoon, he ran the Mermaid onto the sands. For ten days the Mermaid crew worked hard before refloating the vessel. The ship’s carpenter carved the name of the vessel and the year into a conspicuous boab tree. The famous boab tree is now 3 metres wide and National Heritage listed. A reminder of a by gone era of exploration!
2 September 2020 – Hunter River & Mitchell FallsArrival 02/09/2020. Departure 02/09/2020.
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.
3 September 2020 – Browse IslandArrival 03/09/2020. Departure 03/09/2020.
The 14-hectare uninhabited Browse Island lies 180 kilometres of the north west Kimberley coast. It is surrounded by extensive coral reefs and is an important nesting site for Green turtles as well as numerous species of seabirds. Join your expedition team to explore this pristine, remote, seldom visited destination by Zodiac®.
4 September 2020 – Ashmore ReefArrival 04/09/2020. Departure 04/09/2020.
Located in the Timor Sea, the Ashmore Reef Marine Park is a sanctuary for many marine species. Each year, more than 100,000 seabirds breed here, including crested terns, white-tailed tropicbirds and greater frigatebirds. It was recognised as a wetland of international importance in 2003 for its vital role in providing a haven for the tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds which turn up to feed each year. In addition to the prolific birdlife, the lagoons of Ashmore reef are a haven for snorkellers whishing to explore the spectacular coral reef systems, home to an incredibly diverse array of marine life: a magical moment that you may experience during a full day dedicated to snorkelling, unless you prefer to have a refreshing swim.
5 September 2020 – Jar IslandArrival 05/09/2020. Departure 05/09/2020.
6 September 2020 – King George RiverArrival 06/09/2020. Departure 06/09/2020.
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.
7 September 2020 – At seaArrival 07/09/2020. Departure 07/09/2020.
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
DarwinDisembarkation 08/09/2020 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. Discover the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture and Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids. You will also enjoy the bustling waterfront on the Timor Sea.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
See the world through National Geographic’s eyes and make a difference.
For 130 years, the National Geographic Society has funded groundbreaking scientists and explorers, sharing their findings with the world. National Geographic’s deep belief is that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and take responsibility for it. A portion of the proceeds from your purchase of any cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions will go towards the National Geographic Society’s non-for-profit mission to explore and protect the planet. (Indeed, National Geographic Society receives funds from National Geographic Partners LLC, funded in part by your purchase. To learn more, visit www.natgeo.com/info.)
A National Geographic expert and photographer join each voyage to share their knowledge and insights. They will enrich the expedition experience through fascinating presentations, informal discussions and see the world through the lens of a National Geographic photographer, learning new techniques along the way.
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