Cruising Western Australia’s Kimberley coast is one of the most enjoyable holidays you’ll ever take – a bucket list item for many people in Australia and worldwide (if it’s not on your bucket list yet, add it on there!).
Image source: Broome Kimberley & Beyond
If you’re considering a Kimberley cruise, here are some helpful insider tips to make this magical holiday even more enjoyable.
Request a cabin facing the land
One of the great things about Kimberley cruise boats is that there are no ‘inside’ cabins (that is, cabins in the centre of the boat that don’t have any windows) – all cabins are along the sides of the boat – so at the very least you’ll get a porthole so you can see outside.
Since you’re there to see the spectacular Kimberley coast, you might as well enjoy the views when you wake up in the morning, so make sure to request a cabin facing the land. If you’re travelling, say, Broome to Wyndham (headed North up the coast), that would be a cabin on the right-hand side of the boat (starboard), and vice versa if you are travelling from the top of the North West (Wyndham, Darwin or Kununurra) down towards Broome – in which case you’d want a port-side room (i.e. a room on the left side of the boat).
If you don’t know or have trouble remembering your starboard from your portside, don’t worry – just ask for a land-facing cabin and the booking staff will know what side to assign.
If you have a special interest, let them know beforehand
If you’re into photography, birdwatching, Aboriginal art or something else, say so at the time of booking or on your cruise form. The smaller boats are usually able to work around their passengers’ interests and will make sure you’re at the best spot for a King George Falls panorama, you go a bit further into the bush to spot a rare bird, or they’ll point out a piece of rock art that you would have otherwise missed.
If you’re trying to save money, choose the cheapest cabin on the best cruise
Being an expedition cruise, you spend most of the day off the boat and exploring the region. Even when you’re on the boat, the best experience is on the upper decks, enjoying the scenery with a cold drink in hand. Invest in the boat and itinerary that you want, rather than the cabin.
Bring a good camera (and figure out how to use it beforehand)
It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll return home and tell friends, “photos just don’t do it justice!” – But you may as well try. There’s no internet access, so make sure you know how to use the camera in advance as you can’t quickly look up an answer! And bring a backup memory card and then another back up memory card just in case. If you can, also bring a Go Pro so that you can film the time the boat cruises under the waterfall, or the climb you took to get the most incredible views.
Fly in a day early
While some cruises don’t leave until the evening, don’t be tempted to fly in the day of departure. It’s not unusual for flights to the North West get delayed due to bad weather, and unlike regular cruises, there’s no major ports between the beginning and end of your cruise to join fellow passengers. Arrive a day early and get settled into Kimberley time instead.
Louise Sandow lives in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and writes independent travel advice and news for Broome Kimberley & Beyond. The staff at Broome Kimberley & Beyond have been living in and travelling around the Broome and Kimberley region for more than 20 years, so you can rely on their expert local advice.