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This PONANT Kimberley cruise is the ultimate luxury expedition

If you’ve ever wanted to take a PONANT Kimberley cruise, now is the time to book. The incredible expedition cruise company has just added an additional 22 Kimberley sailings.

The raw and ravishing Kimberley spans 420,000 square kilometres across Western Australia’s top corner. It’s a destination where nature is at its most extreme, writ large in thundering waterfalls, record-breaking tides and sheer limestone cliffs that appear to cleave off the edge of the Earth.

Then there are the vast stretches of nothingness. No towns, no cars, no streetlights, no mobile phone towers, no people. Just striations of red and dusty green stretching to the horizon, the piercing palette occasionally broken by a gash of gorge or wend of a river.

If there was ever a destination to make you feel completely insignificant, in a good way, this is it.

The vastness and the lack of roads in the Kimberley make it difficult to explore on land.

A luxury small-ship PONANT Kimberley cruise really is the ultimate way to enjoy this wild setting in 2022.

Le Soléal with an elegant appearance and refined interior design, combined with cutting-edge technology to offer a new type of cruising: adventure in a luxury setting
Le Soléal with an elegant appearance and refined interior design, combined with cutting-edge technology to offer a new type of cruising: adventure in a luxury setting © PONANT

The small PONANT cruise ships ooze luxury

Exclusive French cruise line PONANT has one of the world’s most luxurious modern fleets of small ships.

Each expedition vessel has a maximum of 132 staterooms. The abundance of space onboard reflects the immensity of the destinations you’ll visit. Up to 95 per cent of PONANT cruise ship accommodation features a private balcony so you’ll have a front-row seat to the best views of the Kimberley region.

Regardless of whether you’re sailing on one of PONANT’s expedition ships (Le Soléal will be based in Australia in 2021 and 2022) or new-generation PONANT Explorers (Australia will be the home port for Le Lapérouse in 2021 and 2022), you’re guaranteed unsurpassed onboard entertainment. These glamourous expedition ships have a theatre and lounge, spa, pool, fitness centre and outdoor bar.

Guests will love the little luxuries from PONANT’s French partners – think Hermès, Ladurée, Lenôtre, Charles Heidsieck and Sothys.

Even in the most extreme of climates, you can be sure of supreme comfort and exceptional service which are the hallmark of PONANT’s luxury small ship expeditions.
Even in the most extreme of climates, you can be sure of supreme comfort and exceptional service which are the hallmark of PONANT’s luxury small ship expeditions. © PONANT Christophe Dugied.

PONANT Australia cruise inclusions

Unrivalled facilities and amenities aside, one of the greatest luxuries in the small-ship world is inclusivity.

When you cruise around Australia with PONANT, there are no hidden extras. Inclusions range from the small things, such as unlimited onboard Wi-Fi, to all Zodiac©. It also includes shore excursions* led by a team of top industry expert guides with a mind-boggling knowledge of the destinations you visit.

When back on your small and intimate ship, you don’t need to worry about opening your wallet to wine and dine. All meals and an open bar* are part of PONANT’s inclusions. Choose from two restaurants, formal and casual, or enjoy a little alone time with complimentary 24-hour room service available.

Explore the phenomenon that is the Horizontal Waterfalls on a PONANT expedition
Explore the phenomenon that is the Horizontal Waterfalls on a PONANT expedition, watch as the seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, creating a waterfall up to 4m high on a King tide. © PONANT Nick Rains.

PONANT Kimberley cruises

As nice as the creature comforts are, the real appeal of PONANT’s ships is the space they afford in the Kimberley, both geographically and mentally. Over the course of 10 nights from Broome to Darwin, or Darwin to Broome, you’ll take in some of the country’s most remote reaches, revelling in the quiet, marvelling at landscapes few others get to glimpse.

Each morning you’ll wake in a destination more dramatic than the next. At the mirror-like Hunter River, you’ll see saltwater crocodiles in dense mangroves and a menagerie of birds overhead. You’ll marvel at the King George River and watch as its record-breaking Twin Falls drop from an ancient escarpment. At the breathtaking Montgomery Reef, the tidal shift will reveal vast lagoons and coral reefs where turtles and manta rays play.

Talbot Bay’s raging Horizontal falls is a highlight for many Ponant Kimberley cruise guests as is seeing the 30,000-year-old rock painting galleries of Dreamtime Gwion Gwion masterpieces.

Rowley Shoals Marine Park
Explore the astounding sea life in untouched Rowley Shoals Marine Park. ©Tourism Western Australia.

See more of Australia with PONANT 

If you can’t wait to navigate the Kimberley in 2022 – PONANT has an unprecedented 26 departures on offer.

Looking for a different Australian expedition? Reserve a stateroom or suite for one of PONANT’s 2021 expedition itineraries to reveal the beauty of The West Coast, the South Coast, Queensland’s islands and reefs or Tasmania.

With international borders closed, there’s never been a better time to explore our own wonderful nation. And PONANT allows you to do it in style.

“Australia is blessed with an amazing array of wilderness, wildlife and cultural encounters that are not available anywhere else,” Mick Fogg, PONANT Expedition Manager Asia Pacific and Kimberley expert said.

“Yet for most Australians, they tend to feel they have to go overseas for a unique experience.”

You don’t. These PONANT cruise destinations are just as good, if not better.

Western Australia

Moving south from Broome, PONANT’s new ‘Jewels of the West Coast’ (departing 22 September 2021) offers one incredible sight after the next. Explore the astounding sea life in untouched Rowley Shoals Marine Park, the 40,000-year-old petroglyphs of the Burrup Peninsula, the colourful corals of Ningaloo Reef and the friendly bottlenose dolphins of Monkey Mia Reserve. Your journey ends 10 days later in Fremantle, where old and new unite.

From here, continue your explorations on the eight-night ‘Highlights of South Western Australia’ (departing 2 October 2021). This Fremantle-return sailing takes in the rugged coast and turquoise waters that Australia’s South West is known for. Learn about ANZAC history in Albany or squeak along blindingly white sand in Esperance. Then marvel at the animal biodiversity in the Bay of Isles – look out for fur seals, sea lions and all manner of birds – and sip your way around the Margaret River, one of Australia’s most awarded wine regions.

Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Sample and savour the delights of the rich gastronomical experiences and famous wine regions of the South Coast of Australia and Tamar Valley. ©PONANT Olivier Blaud.

Tasmania

Tasmania may be Australia’s smallest state by population, but it is big on attractions. You’ll see plenty of them on the ‘Tasmania Circumnavigation’ cruise departing 30 October and 8 November 2021. This nine-night itinerary offers an unrivalled taste of the Apple Isle. Take in the wineries of the Tamar Valley and the cosmopolitan capital of Hobart, as well as remote King and Maria island, each important in the country’s history. Then go where few others have ventured at Port Davey, only accessible on foot, by light aircraft or boat.

Queensland

When it’s time to warm up, the seven-night ‘Queensland’s Islands & Reefs’ (departing 8 December 2021) promises sunshine and sand – with a good dose of soft adventure. The colours of Australia’s east coast unfold in waves as you cruise from Cairns to some of the least-visited islands in the Great Barrier Reef. And you’ll have plenty of time set aside to swim, snorkel and dive through this World Heritage Site and witness its diverse marine life, including endangered green sea turtles.

This journey ends in Brisbane. But your next luxury expedition with PONANT Australia is just waiting to happen.

Terms and conditions: *30% discount is based on the PONANT Bonus offer. PONANT Bonus is yield managed and may change at any time without notice. Welcome Offer: AUD$800 discount is per stateroom based on double occupancy. This is only valid for guests travelling on their first PONANT voyage. This offer is based on availability. It cannot be combined with other special offers unless specified and may be withdrawn at any time, without prior notice. Terms and Conditions apply, refer to au.PONANT.com for more information. Lead image © Nick Rains

Le Bougainville pool
The outdoor areas on PONANT’s ships are all about relaxation in harmony with the location, and have been designed to merge into the sublime scenery and surroundings of the sea and horizon © PONANT/ Nicolas Matheus

This article on Ponant Kimberley cruises Australia was produced with content supplied by PONANT and is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter here.