Cruising through the Kimberley is the ultimate bucket list item for many West Australians. I took a sneaky peek onboard the boutique cruise company Kimberley Quest for a taste of luxury.
As the sun dipped into the Indian Ocean at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, casting peachy hues across the expansive horizon, the Kimberley Quest lived up to the hype. My main reference to luxury yachting has evolved from Bravo TV’s reality show Below Deck, where the crew’s misadventures often surpassed their cashed-up guest’s cruises through the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
After speaking to the crew on board, I’m pleased to report that guests of the Kimberley Quest experience none of the drama aired in this ‘unreal’ depiction of luxury yachting. The most dramatic event we experienced that night was when the vessel’s helicopter flew off into the sunset.
This sleek vessel is the most idyllic way to explore the many awaiting adventures of the Kimberley. Ancient Aboriginal rock art, rugged cliffs, secret river systems, wildlife galore, natural caves, hidden rainforests, pristine beaches, mighty waterfalls and breathtaking sunsets are just some of the sights you’ll get to experience onboard.
The cruising options are numerous, spanning from the four-day Taste of the Kimberley, which includes a Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm tour, to the extensive 21-day Beyond Adventure cruise for an epic voyage. Luxury aside, it’s the only way to explore the Kimberley as much of this remote region is only accessible from the coast with experts guiding the way.
Certified as an Advanced Eco-Tourism company, itineraries run from February to October. There will never be more than 18 guests on board with nine cabins, plus the professional crew to wait on you hand and foot and a local naturalist.
The spacious cabins come in various configurations with ensuites, air-conditioning, quality linen and large viewing windows. Minimalistic in style, you don’t cruise the Kimberley to sit in your cabin, no matter how comfortable it is. However, they offer the perfect retreat for a bit of downtime.
While the helipad defines the pinnacle of luxury (what a way to make an entrance or exit), the spa, alfresco decks, outdoor dining, a widescreen plasma TV, extensive library, internet and open wheelhouse are available in between the excitement. Tender excursions include guided walks, fishing, swimming, fishing, discovering ancient rock art, speedboating, beaches, scenic heli flights, humpback whale watching from July to September or exploring the underworld world.
As you’d imagine, food plays a big part in the experience and the menu features freshly caught seafood, some that you might have even caught yourself, as well as WA’s excellent fresh produce, including premium meat, freshly baked goods and decadent snacks. Caffeine addicts needn’t worry either, as there’s an espresso machine available at any time of the day or night, and the vessel is fully licenced; beverages can be pre-ordered or you can BYO tipples.
Ok, so let’s get down to the delicate matter of cost. Remembering this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, and it’s all-inclusive (excursions, food, drinks and board), it works out to be around $1,000 per person per day. With 25 years of experience and countless awards and accolades, the Kimberley Quest offers the ultimate bespoke and unique adventures.
Now has never been the more perfect time to explore the unspolit wonders of the Kimberley. General Manager Clare Marquis said the last-minute availability was due to WA’s ongoing border restrictions, providing discerning West Australian travellers a rare opportunity, “Our tour schedule is usually sold out many months in advance, so it usually requires much forward planning.”
Fancy a last-minute opportunity to tick off this bucket list adventure? They have rare availability on two expeditions in March 2022 on the 21 Day Beyond Adventure and the 8 Day Northern Quest departing from Kununurra in May 2022.
Carmen Jenner was a guest of Kimberley Quest.