In Australia's largest state, red rock desert and unspoiled green wilderness meet perfect white beaches and clear blue ocean.
From the historic port of Fremantle and lively Perth CBD, to the famed wineries of Margaret River and the untouched corals of Ningaloo Reef, WA’s coastline offers amazing cruise experiences.
In Western Australia, ships visit one of the world’s last true wilderness areas - The Kimberley. Covering 424,517 square kilometres of prehistoric savannah, one of the most ancient arid tropical landscapes on earth, there’s nowhere else like it. Here, luxury boutique cruises explore sweeping coastlines and inland waterways. Guests can step from five star suites to swim into freshwater gorges, or snorkel coral reefs. Onboard choppers visit secret Indigenous sites, or go in search of native wildlife.
'A recent Silversea Kimberley cruise from Broome to Darwin exceeded my expectations. The knowledge of the expedition staff made each day so interesting. My favourite excursion was to King George River where I climbed to the top of the cliffs, had a fresh water swim with incredible views, and then finished the day with a zodiac trip under the falls getting drenched from head to toe. The thrill ride through the horizontal falls was another highlight. Everyone wanting a true hands on expedition with breathtaking scenery should put a Kimberley cruise on their bucket list.' Fiona Armaro, Bicton Travel & Cruisefinder.com.au
Day cruises or private drives take passengers into Perth, where dolphins and black swans swim past shady riverbanks and high-rises. This sunny city offers cosmopolitan dining as well as entertainment, shopping, safe beaches, and one of the world's biggest inner-city parks, Kings Park. A half hour drive from Perth is the Swan Valley wine region, or a full day excursion will take passengers to Cervantes on the Coral Coast to visit the yellow Pinnacles desert.
From the port, guests can stroll into the beachside town of “Freo” at the mouth of the Swan River, and soak up the café strip atmosphere and rich convict history. There’s plenty of time to browse boutiques, watch street performers or follow the seagulls to Fishing Boat Harbour for a fresh caught lunch and a local beer.
Margaret River Region
Tranquil Geographe Bay is a cruise base for visiting Margaret River’s 220 wine producers and 100 cellar doors, craft distilleries and gourmet artisans. Travellers may ride the train along the mile-long Busselton Jetty to see the artificial reef, swim on some of Australia’s best surf beaches, visit ancient limestone caves, and drive through a landscape of meandering country roads from lighthouse-peaked cape to cape.
Broome, North West region
In the pearling port of Broome, the gateway to the Kimberley, a cultural melting pot creates fascinating historic attractions and colourful events. On the shore, where red Kimberley desert meets the Indian Ocean, travellers will find 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints, a pearl farm, and the iconic Cable Beach. Take a tour to see crocodiles feeding at the crocodile farm, or a flight out over the breathtaking Buccaneer Archipelago and world’s only Horizontal Falls.
International cruise vessels visit and depart Fremantle on voyages to Asia, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands as well as world circumnavigations.
Short three or four night intrastate cruises depart Fremantle and head south to Albany, Esperance or Margaret River.
Longer Australian circumnavigation itineraries include Fremantle to Margaret River and the south west coast of WA, and east to South Australia, Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney. Some have themes such as food and wine.
Many cruises head north from Fremantle along the coral coast, to Broome and the Kimberley Coast, and around to Darwin, combining itineraries to Port Douglas, Papua New Guinea and Asian ports, or down the east coast to Queensland.
Wildly popular five to 14 day expedition cruises around the Kimberley include eco fishing and adventure or luxury cruises from Broome or Derby (north of Broome), to Wyndham or Darwin. Expeditions depart Darwin and head west into the Kimberley as well.
Fremantle: Carnival Cruises P&O’s Pacific Eden and Cruise & Maritime Voyages: Astor are homeported seasonally
Broome: Eco Albrolhos, MV Great Escape, Lady M, Kimberley Quest 2, Coral Discoverer, True North, Coral Expeditions 1, Odyssey, Silver Discoverer, Caledonian Sky, Ponant
Derby: Kimberley Explorer, Kimberley King Tide
Princess Cruises: Sun Princess, Sea Princess, Dawn Princess Emerald Princess
P&O Cruises: Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Aria
Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Solstice
Royal Caribbean: Radiance of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas
Costa cruises: Costa Luminosa
Cruise & Maritime Voyages: Astor
The World (Broome December 2016)
Cunard: Queen Mary 11