Every Australian should visit the Kimberley at least once. The sun creates an ever-changing canvas of colour, and the ancientness of the rock -- it's more than 1.8 billion years old -- is hard to comprehend. The Kimberley, in Western Australia, can be summed up in three words: wild, remote and isolated. The best way to reach it is by boat, so here are five tips you should know before going on a Kimberley cruise.
Tip 1: It's expedition cruising, not cruising
Most days, passengers are up and out on the water before dawn. There's a good chance you will be out there again at sunset because it's the best time of day to see animals like crocodiles and birds. Remember: Never turn your back on the water.
Tip 2: Wear reef shoes every day
Transferring from ship to land on a Kimberley cruise is called a 'wet landing' for a reason. You will be knee-deep in water, so you need footwear that allows the water to escape and dry quickly. Most people opt for reef shoes, while the more fashion-unconscious wear Crocs. On occasion, you will also need hiking boots to make the climb up those steep rock faces.
Tip 3: Invest in a decent camera
A smartphone or point-and-click camera won't do the trick there. To capture the true essence of the Kimberley, you need a wide-angle lens and a good telephoto lens to get in close for the wildlife and plant photos. It's also a good idea to pack a pair of binoculars because sometimes, off in the distance, there might be a whale breaching the Indian Ocean.
Tip 4: Take seasickness medicine
It can get rough between King George Falls and Darwin across the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. If you are prone to seasickness, bring some tablets, as these small expedition ships tend to bounce around in the swell. Be sure to take the tablets early, as they don't work as well once the queasy feeling kicks in.
Tip 5: Bring some books
Your phone won't work, and the Internet isn't great in the Kimberley, so read some books to get over the technology deprivation. Michael and Susan Cusack's 'Our Year in the Wilderness' is about surviving for 12 months in the harsh Kimberley region. It's an inspiring and educational read, and this is the perfect place to enjoy it.