Tour Description

The Kimberly: Darwin to Broome

(Combined Adelaide and South Coast Departure)
Fourteen Days: 23rd July  – 5th August 2021

Twin Share: $7995 per person. Sole Use: $9389 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

Escape the cold this winter on a journey to the spectacular Kimberly region. It is an area of extraordinary contrasts, where the red rocky landscapes of the outback meet the bright turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Starting in Darwin, we tour to Broome, stopping to experience so many highlights along the way—a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles, the beautiful pink diamonds of Argyle Diamond Mine and a breath-taking cruise through Geikie Gorge, just to name a few. The country is inspiring and the unique, natural experiences will capture your imagination. This is a spectacular holiday opportunity not to be missed!

 

Day One – FRIDAY 23 JULY 2021

(includes light lunch and two course dinner)

After being picked up from our homes (limited areas*) we are taken to the Adelaide Airport terminal. On arrival we are met by an Endeavour Tours representative who assists us with our group check-in. Once checked-in, we are assisted through the security procedures and to the gate, ready to board our direct Qantas flight to Darwin.

When we touch down at Darwin Airport we will be met at the gate, assisted with our luggage and guided to where our Endeavour Tours tour driver and mini-coach are waiting.

Situated on the edge of a harbour bigger than Sydney’s, Darwin is a fascinating tropical city—a melting pot of people and cultures with world-class natural and cultural attractions. While a sophisticated, modern city in its own right, Darwin is also steeped in history, having endured many hardships, from Japanese bombers in World War II, to near total destruction by tropical Cyclone Tracy in the 1970s. Despite all of this, Darwin has rebuilt to establish itself as the gateway to Asia.

We make our way to the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Following lunch in this relaxing location at Eva’s Café, we begin exploring these beautiful gardens that have existed for over 130 years, surviving both the bombing and cyclone. The gardens are one of the few in the world with marine and estuarine plants growing naturally and are noted for their collections of tropical species. We can wander through monsoon forests, coastal foredunes, mangroves and woodlands in this delightful garden.

Later we check-in to our hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton (Ph. 08 8980 0800) where we will be staying for the next three nights.

Day Two – SATURDAY 24 JULY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After breakfast we set off to visit Aquascene, one of Darwin’s unique attractions. A natural phenomena occurs on the high tide amongst the tranquil tropical waters of Doctors Gully. Hundreds of friendly local, wild fish swim to the shallow shoreline in search of a meal of fresh bread. Over the course of this 60+ year tradition, the fish have shed their normal shyness and are hand-fed to the delight of thousands of fascinated locals and tourists every year.

Originally a pioneer outpost, the capital of the Northern Territory was first named Palmerston. While the port had been called Port Darwin since 1839, when Lt Stokes named it after his former shipmate Charles Darwin (who never actually visited the area), the actual settlement was not renamed until 1911. Having Been almost entirely rebuilt twice, Darwin is truly one of Australia’s most modern capitals and there is no better way to begin exploring than with a guided tour. So after morning tea, we are joined by a local who can give us a proper introduction!

Following the tour we visit Crocosaurus Cove located in the heart of Darwin City. Here we meet some of the largest saltwater crocodiles in captivity, as well as crocodile hatchlings and juveniles. We see the biggest display of Australian reptiles in the world, a two-storey fresh water aquarium, a turtle sanctuary, as well as local Aboriginal art and cultural displays. We enjoy lunch on arrival and then have plenty of time to wander through the displays.

On returning to our hotel we have time to freshen up and relax before a special evening. Our driver will take us to the Stokes Hill Wharf where we board the Spirit of Darwin for our wonderful Sunset Dinner Cruise. Dinner features fresh local produce which we enjoy while taking in the breathtaking sights of the Darwin Harbour at sunset.

After disembarking, we return to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Day Three – SUNDAY 25 JULY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

A short drive from Darwin is the award-winning Territory Wildlife Park. Set in 400 hectares of natural bushland, the park is home to the largest collection of Northern Territory wildlife. An easy walk meanders through the park taking us between typical Top End habitats, from wetlands, to monsoon vine forests and woodlands. The wetland habitat at Goose Lagoon for example, overlooks a natural billabong where wild animals come and go freely according to the season. While standing in the bird hide, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of Kakadu or Litchfield. We can also immerse ourselves (not literally!) in the underwater world of the Aquarium Tunnel. There is plenty of time to explore the many exhibits, including the elusive nocturnal creatures of the Top End—a group representing 80% of the Territory’s wildlife, the aviaries, bird of prey display and much more!  A special courtesy shuttle train provides an easier option to explore the park and move between the main exhibits.

We depart the park after lunch, stopping in next door to Berry Springs Nature Park, the closest waterhole to Darwin and a very popular weekend spot for the locals. The water is crystal clear with a small waterfall and a shallow pool, perfect for a cooling knee-deep wade!

On returning to Darwin, we visit Darwin’s cultural institution, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT). Set in a tropical garden on Darwin Harbour at Bullocky Point, the MAGNT has a variety of collections that highlight the region’s art, culture, and history. One of the more popular and powerful exhibitions tells the story of Cyclone Tracy and how it changed, not just the urban landscape, but the lives of Darwin residents forever.

This afternoon there will be free time to relax at our accommodation, take a walk along the esplanade or explore the nearby shops.

Day Four – MONDAY 26 JULY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

This morning we farewell our hosts in Darwin and travel south towards the town of Adelaide River.

We stop for morning tea before visiting the Adelaide River War Cemetery. Initially created for the service men and women who died in this area, following the war the graves of many service personnel were moved here from civil cemeteries and isolated sites throughout Australia. There are 434 military burials in the Cemetery, including some servicemen from overseas, namely Britain and Canada. The Cemetery also houses a Memorial to the Missing, honouring 292 personnel.

Adjoining the War Cemetery is the Civil Cemetery and here rests nine Post Office workers who died on 19 February 1942, as a result of a direct hit on the Post Office by Japanese air-raids.

Following our visit, we travel to Pine Creek where we stop for lunch. This small town grew with the discovery of gold back in the 1880s. The Pine Creek Lookout, once known as Enterprise Hill, gives us a panoramic view of the open cut pit that remained when Pine Creek Goldfields ceased operation in 1994. Before its closure, more than 764,000 ounces of gold were extracted from this mine. We visit the 135 metre deep pit, which has since been filled with water, before re-joining the Stuart Highway to continue our journey.

Further south we leave the highway and venture to Edith Falls. This delightful spot, located in Nitmiluk National Park, is a popular swimming hole, with a cascade of falls dropping into a large pandanus-fringed pool. We pause here to enjoy the location and atmosphere, and you might take the opportunity to dip your toes in the water!

Late afternoon, we continue to Katherine and our accommodation for the next two nights at Knotts Crossing Resort (Ph. 08 8972 2511).

Day Five – TUESDAY 27 JULY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Following breakfast we return to Nitmiluk National Park, destined for a different location today. The park features spectacular sandstone country, broad valleys and many significant cultural sites, so this morning we will spend time at the Visitors and Interpretative Centre to learn more about the parks geology, landscape and indigenous heritage.

One of the main attractions in the park is the spectacular Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, which consists of  13 natural gorges which wind for 12 kilometres. Created by the Katherine River carving its way through the sandstone, the massive walls of the gorge stretch more than 70 metres high. After our morning tea, we take the NitNit Dreaming cruise through the first two gorges of this stunning water course. During the dry season, the gorges are separated by large rocks and boulders, so there is a short walk in between to transfer boats. The scenery is breathtaking and while cruising, a cultural guide shares their knowledge of the significance of this site, as well as the flora, fauna and dreamtime stories.

After a light lunch in the café, we return to Katherine. Originally an outpost on the Overland Telegraph Line between Adelaide to Darwin, Katherine grew with the development of transport, local industry and tourism. We head to the Visitor Centre to learn more and watch the ‘The Big Wet’—a movie that won a gold medal at the New York Film Festival in 1994. The film provides a striking and vivid portrayal of the wildlife in Australia’s Northern Tropics, epic in their beauty yet unforgiving in their extensive monsoon season.

Back at our accommodation we will have a lot to talk about over dinner before retiring for the night.

Day Six – WEDNESDAY 28 JULY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Today we depart Katherine and begin the journey to Western Australia. As we travel along the Victoria Highway we can admire the spectacular scenery that surrounds. Throughout the day we will pass through sections of the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, the second largest park in the Northern Territory. Its landscape is diverse as it sits in the transition zone between the tropical and semi-arid regions of the state. Late morning we arrive at Victoria River Crossing, where we stop to enjoy refreshments.

Continuing along the highway, we make our way towards Timber Creek for lunch. The town was named by the explorer A.C. Gregory, whose boat was damaged along the Victoria River. It was at the site where Timber Creek is now, that he had to stop and cut some wood to repair the hole in his vessel.

We continue to the Northern Territory/Western Australia Border. From here it is not much further to Kununurra, the largest town in Western Australia north of Broome and situated among the scenic hills and ranges of the far north-east Kimberley region.

We check-in to the Ibis Styles Kununurra (Ph. 08 9168 4000), our home for the next three nights. There will be time to relax this afternoon before sitting down to a delicious two course meal.

Day Seven – THURSDAY 29 JULY 2021

(includes continental breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

We have an early start this morning, but it will definitely be worth it! Our first stop is the airport for a two hour scenic flight. This is the best time of the day to enjoy crystal clear views of the Bungle Bungle Range and witness the sunrise creating impressive formations over the rocky outcrops. We will also fly over the Ord River, Lake Argyle and the Argyle Diamond Mine, places we will visit in the coming days. This is a truly exhilarating way to take in this iconic Kimberley experience.

After this special start to the day, we return to our accommodation for a relaxed breakfast.

Amongst this ancient landscape, Kununurra is a relatively new town, established in 1961 as a service centre for the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. Initially sustaining a population of just 400 people, Kununnra now has a transient population that fluctuates with the seasons. In fact, during the dry season it can double to fourteen thousand residents! Agriculture is one of the biggest industries, but it’s no surprise that tourism is one of the  major employers for the town. We take a guided tour to discover more.

Since we’ve had an early start this morning, after lunch the afternoon is free. You may like to relax back at the motel or perhaps browse the local galleries looking at the spectacular jewellery and artwork featuring Zebra Rock, unique to Kununurra.

Day Eight – FRIDAY 30 JULY 2021

(includes continental breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After breakfast we make our way to Lake Argyle, Australia’s largest man-made body of freshwater. It is several times bigger than Sydney Harbour, covering over 900 square kilometres at full supply, with a flood capacity in excess of 2000 square kilometres. Lake Argyle is part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme which was a progressive and far-sighted move to develop the tropical north of Western Australia. During ‘the wet’ the rivers of the East Kimberley become raging torrents. At times the Ord River can empty 50 million litres a second into the Cambridge Gulf!

We stop to enjoy morning tea and visit the Argyle Homestead Museum which provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the Durack family, early pioneers in the Kimberley. We learn about their gruelling two year journey from Queensland to Kununurra with 2000 head of cattle, and discover the hardships of establishing a cattle station in this country in the 1800s.

From here we visit the Lake Argyle lookout at the dam wall to admire the stunning panoramic views.

After lunch we embark on a cruise up the Ord River, from Lake Argyle to Kununurrra. Along this 55 kilometre stretch, we have the opportunity to witness spectacular scenery, crocodiles, native birdlife and flying foxes, as well as being entertained by the informative on-board commentary.

On arrival in Kununurra, we will be met by our driver and return to our accommodation.

Day Nine – SATURDAY 31 JULY 2021

(includes continental breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

It is an early start this morning and after farewelling our hosts, we start our journey south. Our first stop is the tiny town of Doon Doon where we stretch our legs and pick-up refreshments before continuing our journey.

The purpose of our early departure is so we can visit Australia’s major diamond producer, the Argyle Diamond Mine. It is one of the most technologically advanced mines in the world and has put Australia on the map as producing the world’s biggest volume of diamonds. They extract the extremely rare and valuable pink diamonds, as well as the intriguing champagne and cognac diamonds and fine whites.

After our guided tour and lunch, we continue south to Halls Creek, on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. Halls Creek was the site of Western Australia’s first gold rush which lasted for a mere three months, when the diggers left for the more lucrative southern goldfields of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.

Arriving at the Kimberley Hotel, Halls Creek (Ph. 08 9168 6101) we have time to settle in.

Day Ten – SUNDAY 1 AUGUST 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Our experience across the Kimberly continues today, as we travel west along the Great Northern Highway to Mary Pool. This secluded rest area off the highway and on the banks of the Mary River, is where we will enjoy our morning tea.

Back on the road we continue our journey to Fitzroy Crossing, a small town surrounded by the vast floodplains of the Fitzroy River.

We enjoy lunch before departing to experience another tour highlight, a cruise through Geikie Gorge. Carved between the Geikie and Oscar Ranges in the Devonian geological period, this is one of the most famous gorges in the Kimberley region. During the wet season, the gorge floods and leaves bleached markings along the colourful gorge walls, making this a natural marvel. We board a cruise vessel that will take us through the  gorge, while we hear about the fascinating geology of this ancient reef and discover the huge array of wildlife including freshwater crocodiles, birds and fish.

After our scenically spectacular cruise, we make our way back to Fitzroy Crossing to check-in to our accommodation for the evening at the Fitzroy River Lodge (Ph. 08 9191 5141).

Day Eleven – MONDAY 2 AUGUST 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Today we travel to our final Kimberly destination, the coastal town of Broome. After breakfast we depart Fitzroy Crossing on the Great Northern Highway and as we journey west, we will stop for morning tea near Mount Hardman. This is close to the site of the old Ellendale Diamond Mine, which was the world’s leading producer of ‘fancy’ yellow diamonds.  While the mine ceased operation in 2015, recent exploration has unearthed large alluvial deposits that provide hope for renewed production in the future.

Our next stop is Willare, a small town that sits on the eastern side of the Fitzroy River and south of King Sound Gulf where the river flows out to the sea. It is here we stop for lunch and the chance to stretch our legs before the final leg of our journey.

We arrive in Broome by late afternoon. Situated on the coast at the southern tip of the Kimberly region, Broome is bound by wide sandy beaches and turquoise water. The discovery of rich pearling grounds off the coast in the 1880s led to the foundation of the township in 1883 and by 1910 it had become the world’s leading pearling centre. Today the pearling industry remains a vibrant part of the community.

Our home for the final three nights on tour is at the Oaks Resort Broome (Ph. 08 9192 9500).

Day Twelve – TUEDSAY 3 AUGUST 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Today we spend a relaxing day in Broome, getting to know the area and understand the town’s rich history. We start with a guided tour around the city, taking in the sights and sounds of Broome with the expertise of a local.

It is often said that Broome’s pearling industry is as rich in culture as it is in pearls, so at Pearl Luggers Experience, we discover the impact pearling has had on north-Western Australia and the character of Broome. We see an intriguing array of pearling equipment and memorabilia, from actual hard hat diving suits to the hand-powered pumps which fed precious air to the divers below. Also on display are Broome’s last remaining wooden pearling luggers; the Sam Male and DMcD, as well as rare artefacts and archival footage of the divers at work. Be sure to see the pearl on display valued at over $100,000!

Following our lunch in town, we have some free time to explore beautiful Broome. We can spend time walking along one of the stunning beaches, perhaps browse the shops in town or simply relax at our accommodation.

This evening we have special plans. Just before sunset we will depart for Cable Beach. This 22 kilometre beach of pristine white sand and turquoise water is the ideal spot to view a perfect Broome sunset. To make the most of our time here, we have dinner at a local restaurant overlooking the water.

Day Thirteen – WEDNESDAY 4 AUGUST 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Today we visit the multi-award winning Willie Creek Pearl Farm to see how the stunning and rare Australian south-sea cultured pearl is produced. We board their vehicle for the journey to the farm where we will have a guided tour and cruise to show us the intricate process, from the seeding of an oyster, to the harvesting and grading of a pearl. We enjoy lunch here and have time to visit the showroom where we can see these magnificent pearls set in beautiful pieces of jewellery.

When we return to Broome this afternoon, there will be time for those passengers wishing to take a camel ride along the beach (at passengers own expense) or to simply enjoy another spectacular Broome sunset, before returning to our accommodation for our last dinner together on this tour.

Day Fourteen – THURSDAY 5 AUGUST 2021

(includes cooked breakfast and light lunch)

After breakfast we make our way to the Broome airport arriving with plenty of time for a relaxed check-in. We are assisted through the process and to the departure gate ready for our Qantas flight to Perth.

At the Perth Airport we are met by a guide who will provide assistance, taking us to the next gate for boarding our flight home to Adelaide. There will be time to relax at Perth Airport before our flight departs.

On arrival in Adelaide we are met by the cars and drivers who will take us home to our doors after our incredible journey from Darwin to Broome, exploring the breath-taking region of the Kimberley.