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3 An unforgettable experience Located in the remote northern region of Western Australia, the Kimberley is one of the world s last great wilderness areas. At over 420,000 square kilometres, it is twice the size of Victoria, yet there is just one paved road traversing it. These are ancient lands, built on 1.8 billion-year-old sandstone that has been uplifted, contorted and eroded to form spectacular gorges, desolate mountains, and vertiginous waterfalls. A national biodiversity hotspot listed in the top 3.7% of least-impacted marine environments worldwide. Uninhabitable yet inhabited, it is here that you will find a living indigenous culture dating back more than 40,000 years, along with Australia s oldest rock art galleries. In 2017 and again in 2018, PONANT is offering compelling expedition voyages that explore this isolated 13,000 kilometres of coastline - Australia s lesser visited great Outback. The Kimberley boasts more than 2,600 islands, extensive mangrove forests, wild rivers and important seabird breeding colonies, all comfortably explored via small ship and Zodiac. Join us onboard the luxury expedition ship L Austral, the youngest, most modern and, importantly, ecologically advanced ship in the region, for a truly memorable adventure. 5 HIGHLIGHTS: Take a Zodiac trip to view the unique tidal phenomena of the Horizontal Falls, with the option to enjoy a thrilling fast boat ride through the falls. Encounter the world s largest population of migrating humpback whales estimated to exceed 36,000; watch for Australian Humpback dolphins and the elusive Dugong. Enjoy Zodiac excursions with our experienced Expedition Team; explore the mangroves for saltwater crocodiles and be in awe of the grandeur of amazing geological features including waterfalls, Montgomery Reef and contorted landscapes so old they predate the existence of fossils. Walk to caves to see outstanding examples of indigenous Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock art, the oldest known depictions of the human form on the planet, a time capsule from man s earliest occupation following arrival of the first migrations out of Africa. Take an optional helicopter tour to see the waterdrop tiers of Mitchell Falls, the Mitchell River, and Mitchell Plateau. 1 - Horizontal Falls / 2 - L Austral / 3 - Stateroom / 4 - Swimming-pool / 5 - Optional helicopter tour KIMBERLEY EXPEDITIONS by 3


5 Amazing stops Vast wildlife sanctuaries, ancient indigenous art, precipitous waterfalls, some of the world s most beautiful rivers and beaches, untouched reefs and rugged islands with an amazing variety of marine life: in a place that has fewer people per square kilometre than almost anywhere else on Earth, the Kimberley guarantees a great adventure. Let PONANT take you to a land you will never forget. PRINCE FREDERICK HARBOUR & THE HUNTER RIVER One of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast, Prince Frederick Harbour and Hunter River are lined with ancient rain forest pockets, pristine mangroves and mosaic sandstone cliffs. The sandstone escarpment at the river mouth, known as Kampamantiya, rises over 200 metres before giving way to extensive mud banks and mangrove habitat, home to apex predator Crocodylus porosus, the saltwater crocodile. Guarding the entrance to the river is Wunumpurramarra, also known as Naturalists Island. VANSITTART BAY - JAR ISLAND Jar Island contains ancient rock art galleries depicting the Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) style, unique to the Kimberley region. These extremely ornamented naturalistic human figures are stained indelibly into the rock surface, forming a negative-like image devoid of pigment, indicating great age which may extend back over 30,000 years. Indeed, these are the oldest detailed depictions of human figures in the world, and their detail provides a fascinating insight into a rich early culture. KING GEORGE RIVER & FALLS The 80 metre-high sides of the King George River display varying degrees of weathering, the colours and textures of the gorge changing as you travel up the river and by time of day. Ochre, pink, and orange hues, together with weathering and erosion patterns, provide continually changing scenery that culminates at the King George twin falls, the highest single drop falls in the Kimberley. For many, this will be the highlight of your Kimberley experience. 4 5 SWIFT BAY The Bonaparte Archipelago, is a stunningly rugged maze of islands stretching almost 150km 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. 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 (Bradshaw) style rock art. Enjoy a guided walk to a number of rock art galleries depicting these unique rock art styles. MONTGOMERY REEF The tidal movements here are the third largest tidal range 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 on a falling tide, a torrent of water cascading off the top, due to the tide dropping faster than the waters trapped on top of the reef can escape. At just under 400km2 it is Australia s largest inshore reef. To the east, are the High Cliffy Islands, once home to the Yawijibaya people, who lived there for almost 7,000 years yet disappeared without trace or explanation. HORIZONTAL FALLS, TALBOT BAY Talbot Bay is defined by stunning geological features including the Horizontal Waterfalls and the dramatic, vertiginous cliffs of Cyclone Creek - one of the premier attractions of the West Kimberley. The Horizontal Waterfalls are a pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range, with massive tidal differences of up to 10 metres. They are created as seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, creating a waterfall up to 4 metres high and vast tidal whirlpools on the outgoing side. 1 - Mitchell Plateau & Falls / 2 - Porosus Creek Hunter River / 3 - Zodiac expedition / 4 - Raft Point / 5 - King George river KIMBERLEY EXPEDITIONS by 5

6 Wildlife encounters Australia is a continent famous for its unique, endemic animal species, and the Kimberley-as one of the world s last true wilderness areas-is home to many of them. Below is a sampling of what we may encounter on our Kimberley cruise. SALTWATER CROCODILE Earth s largest and one of the deadliest living reptiles, the saltwater crocodile has the broadest distribution of any other crocodile. Salties are formidable, opportunistic predators that feed on prey both large and small, including fish, other reptiles, birds, water buffalo, wild boar... They have the strongest bite of any modern animal. Males can reach up to 6 metres and weigh up to 1300 kilos. Females are much smaller and often do not grow larger than 3 metres long. GREEN TURTLE The green turtle is the most common sea turtle in the Kimberley, and is identifiable for its brown heart-shaped carapace that measures up to 1 metre in length. Green turtles nest, forage, and migrate across tropical northern Australia, and can live for a hundred years. Northern Australia has the largest number of breeding Green turtles, so you may be lucky enough to encounter them during your Kimberley Expedition. SHORT-EARED ROCK WALLABY The acrobat of the marsupial world can be found leaping and bounding around the rocky outcrops and cliff ledges. Their agility is due in part to feet that grip rock with skin friction rather than claws. The short eared rock wallaby is found in small areas of northern Australia, yet in abundance, and is named for ears that are not more than half the length of their heads. HUMPBACK WHALE The Kimberley coast is home to the world s largest population of migrating Humpback whales. Every year, between the months of June and October, they visit the Kimberley s warm waters where they can peacefully calve. You will enjoy observing them from L Austral s outside decks or during a Zodiac cruise accompanied by your Expedition team. AUSTRALIAN HUMPBACK DOLPHIN The Australian humpback dolphin is a recentlyclassified species of of humpback dolphins that occurs between northern Australia and southern New Guinea. While all humpback dolphins have conspicuous humps, the Australian variation has a lower dorsal fin than its Atlantic and Indian cousins, along with an overall dark gray colouration. BLACK NECKED STORKS The picturesque black necked stork is known for its distinctive plumage: a jet-black head, black wing bar, and black tail, which contrast against the white plumage of the rest of the body and its long, coral-red legs. The male and female storks are identical in colouring and size, and are only distinguishable by differentcoloured irises (striking yellow for females and brown for males). This carnivorous bird ranges from Southeast Asia to Australia. 6

7 Immersive itineraries 1 2 DARWIN BROOME (10 nights) Aboard L Austral July 19 to 29, August 8 to 18, 2018 EXPEDITION BROOME DARWIN (10 nights) Aboard L Austral July 29 to August 8, August 18 to 28, 2018 EXPEDITION see page 9 D 1 DARWIN Embarkation from 14:00 to 15:00 D 2 Pulau Meatimiarang D 3 Wyndham (Complimentary optional tour) D 4 King George River & Falls D 5 Vansittart Bay D 6 Hunter River & Mitchell Falls D 7 Raft Point & Montgomery Reef D 8 Freshwater Cove D 9 Talbot Bay & Horizontal Falls D 10 Lacepede Islands D 11 BROOME Disembarkation and transfer to your hotel, airport or Broome town. D 1 D 2 D 3 D 4 D 5 D 6 D 7 D 8 D 9 D 10 D 11 BROOME Transfer from your hotel, airport or Broome town and embarkation to Lacepede Islands Talbot Bay & Horizontal Falls Freshwater Cove Montgomery Reef & Raft Point Hunter River & Mitchell Falls Swift Bay Vansittart Bay King George River & Falls Day at sea DARWIN Disembarkation Our Kimberley voyages are true expeditions, where each day s stops and activities will be determined by the Expedition Leader and Captain taking into account the tide, weather and sea conditions. 1 & 2 - Hunter river KIMBERLEY EXPEDITIONS by 7

8 Why cruise to the Kimberley with PONANT? Experience a luxury adventure on board L Austral, 124 staterooms and suites, 100% with private balconies: French lifestyle, unique comfort & service, Open Bar, Sophisticated Cuisine & Fine Wines, and the facilities of a luxurious yacht including a pool Join the best-in-the-business local expedition team with over 50 years experience in the region Travel on the youngest and most environmentally sustainable vessel in the region, certified Green ship Enjoy regular Zodiac outings & shore visits to get close to Kimberley nature Discover billions of years-old landscapes and ancient rock art; explore pristine mangrove environments, home to the world s largest living reptile Witness unique tidal phenomena such as the Horizontal Falls Encounter the world s largest population of migrating humpback whales 8

9 Fares(1) (Price list in AUD per person, based on a double occupancy & including taxes) JULY 19 TO 29, 2018 AUGUST 8 TO 18, nights on board DARWIN BROOME L AUSTRAL Deluxe Stateroom Prestige Stateroom - Deck Prestige Stateroom - Deck Prestige Stateroom - Deck Deluxe Suite Prestige Suite - Deck Prestige Suite - Deck Owner Suite Safety & port taxes (included) 940 Individual stateroom rate Complimentary optional shore excursion in Wyndham. JULY 29 TO AUGUST 8, 2018 AUGUST 18 TO 28, nights on board BROOME DARWIN L AUSTRAL Deluxe Stateroom Prestige Stateroom - Deck Prestige Stateroom - Deck Prestige Stateroom - Deck Deluxe Suite Prestige Suite - Deck Prestige Suite - Deck Owner Suite Safety & port taxes (included) 940 Individual stateroom rate Fares valid for the cruise departing on the 18 th August Consult us Consult us 2 3 * The Ponant Bonus is subject to availability and can change without notice. Details on pricing and conditions available on (1) Ponant Bonus fare per person, based on a double occupancy, including port taxes and transfer Ship - Broome town/airport. This promotional fare is yield managed, correct at time of printing and subject to increase according to the available inventory. 1 - Horizontal Falls / 2 - Osprey / 3 - Montgomery Reef 1 KIMBERLEY EXPEDITIONS by 9

10 Your expedition team Each voyage is accompanied by 12 Expedition Guides. Travelling with a team of renowned anthropologists, marine biologists, historians, botanists, geologists, naturalists and ornithologists, enables you to gain a greater understanding of the destination, for a rewarding and memorable experience. Selected for their knowledge and expertise, they enhance your experience on board and in the field, providing fascinating lectures and valuable insight into the Kimberley culture, history and wildlife. Each journey is different, planned daily by the Expedition team and ship s Captain to take advantage of the local conditions. Accompanied by our regional experts, enjoy regular commentated Zodiac outings and discover the Kimberley hidden treasures. MARK WATSON Mark has been working as a Naturalist & Field Guide for more than 20 years. After watching a Malcom Douglas documentary on the Kimberley, he packed his bags, landing a job as a Ranger at El Questro Wilderness Park. He immediately loved the rugged rusty ranges and the wildlife the Kimberley offers. He also worked on the pearl farms along the Kimberley coast and as an Adventure Guide, leading exclusive tours to inland gorges looking for ancient rock art. Mark looks forward to sharing his experience, passion and knowledge of this vast land, with all of PONANT guests. MARK HARRY CHRISTENSEN Harry is a Marine Biologist with extensive experience in educating people about Indo-Pacific Coral Reef biodiversity. For over 25 years, he has provided educational programs to visitors in many regions including the Kimberley, and also led several Expeditions in this area. His passion is based on watching Malcolm Douglas adventures throughout this rugged & remote coastline. He says I love the contrast of the red colour of ancient Kimberley sandstone, the greens of the woodlands & mangroves, all set upon cloudless blue skies. It gets into your blood. When I am in the Kimberley, I am at home; when not, I crave to return. Dr LIZ POPE Raised in the Philippines, USA, and Australia, Liz caught the travel bug at an early age. After finishing her PhD studies in biology, she worked as a guide in Africa leading overland safaris; managed a lodge in Botswana s Okavango Delta; and spent time as an education guide at Sydney s Taronga Zoo. Liz has worked on ships as an expedition guide since 2009 in Antarctica, the Arctic, Alaska, Southern Africa, the Scotland Isles and Papua New Guinea - this allows her to combine her curiosity of the natural world and her passion for sharing it with others. In a parallel career universe, she has worked in medical science communications, management and human resources. JOSÉ SARICA At a young age, his passion for sea mammals drove José to leave France and move to Québec where he studied a Masters and PhD in biology. José published his research on the mercury cycle in aquatic systems in international scientific papers. Subsequently, he became a professor in biology and biotechnology in a college in Quebec. A couple of years later, he started to study zoo therapy, where animals play a supportive role in therapy. In the Red Sea, José worked with dolphins and autistic children. For the last six years he has been working for PONANT as a guide and Expedition Leader in the Arctic, Antarctica, Alaska and Asia-Pacific. 10

11 Q&A with Mick Fogg, Expedition Leader As an award-winning wildlife photographer and adventurer, Australian Mick Fogg has spent the past 17 years leading expeditions and photographing some of the world s most remote and spectacular destinations from Antarctica to Southeast Asia. We sat down with Mick to ask him some questions about expedition cruising in the Kimberley, and what it s like to encounter a formidable Saltie. 1 What do you like most about being an expedition leader? One of the great joys is sharing unique experiences with well-educated and well-travelled people. Most of our guests aren t satisfied with just taking a photograph of the destination and heading back home. They want to experience the destination and learn more about what they are seeing and the people they are meeting. Through education and understanding our guests gain a holistic experience and memories that stay with them forever. You ve led expeditions throughout the Pacific and Oceania. Do you have a favourite destination-or maybe a top three? It s impossible for me to narrow down a favourite destination. My journeys have taken me to some pretty amazing places across the planet, but Australia s remote Kimberley region is definitely in my top three. The timeless landscapes, pristine environments and harsh beauty are like nowhere else on Earth. Born by fire over two billion years ago it is home to the oldest continuous culture on Earth and the world s largest living reptile. The scenery is breathtaking and with less than 45,000 people living in an area the size of California it is one of the world s last frontiers. The Kimberley has been called one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth. How does it feel to visit such a remote place? The feelings I get on returning to the Kimberley are almost indescribable. It is a place where landscapes are altered only by weather and tides, where human footprints are few and far between, and the stories in stone left by ancient cultures are still being read today. It almost feels like you are stepping back in time, to how the world once was, before humankind began shaping it. Our Kimberley expedition voyages allow guests to explore the myriad of waterways with our fleet of Zodiacs in search of wildlife, take guided walks to ancient indigenous rock art sites, walk along pristine white sand beaches and learn about the landforms, cultures and natural history of the region. What wildlife could one expect to see on a Kimberley expedition cruise? One of my favourite animals that I like to encounter and photograph would have to be the black necked stork. It is a spectacular bird to watch when it is hunting fish, dancing from one leg to another with wings outstretched to confuse its prey. Our Kimberley expeditions will be at the best time of the year for wildlife, as the waters recede during the dry season the birds and reptiles become more concentrated. In addition, during the months of July to September, the world s largest population of migrating humpback whales arrives in the Kimberley region. Last year there was an estimated 36,000 humpbacks migrating up the West Australian coast and the great news is that the population is increasing at about 10% a year. It is one of the best places on the planet to view these majestical leviathans. On that note, what is it like to encounter a saltwater crocodile (or Saltie ), the largest living reptile and a Kimberley inhabitant? They are such an ancient animal and time doesn t seem to have much meaning to them. They will watch animals for days, learn their routines and wait patiently for the opportune moment to attack. Rarely do they attack spontaneously; they are methodical and efficient hunters. They are one of the few cold blooded animals to survive the great K/T boundary extinction (66 million years ago) and are perfectly adapted to their environment. With the ability to lower their heart rate to one beat a minute, sense minute vibrations hundreds of meters away and explode from the water at almost 50 kph, they are a formidable predator. 1 - King George Gorge KIMBERLEY EXPEDITIONS by 11

12 36 Photographs, all rights reserved: PONANT - Mick Fogg - Michael Corbett - Eva Robert - Eric Laignel - Lorraine Turci - Alamy. Non contractual document and photos. The photos used in this brochure are only possible experiences and therefore can not be guaranteed. 01/2017