Cruising the Kimberley: Kings Cascades

We wake on day five of our Reef Prince cruise in the Prince Regent River and wander onto the deck to watch the sun rise. It’s such a serene, beautiful time of day,

After breakfast, a boatload of passengers go fishing, while another group head off on a scenic tour of Camp Creek. The fishermen return empty handed, but the scenic tour is a treasure trove of birds, including egrets, eagles and kingfishers. There are also hundreds of red clawed crabs perched on the river banks, while the water is filled with golden bell jellyfish and a lone crocodile lurks near the shore.

At the end of Camp Creek is a small, picturesque waterfall that Tour Director Paul tells us only around 100 people see each year, as few tour boats venture along the waterway.

Chef Jayden is a master of salads and our lunch includes a delicious ceviche of yesterday’s Spanish mackerel catch, tossed with avocado and tomato.

In the afternoon, we wait for the tide to rise so we can climb into the tenders and motor up the shallow river to Kings Cascades. Finally, the tide is deemed high enough and we begin our journey along the southern hemisphere’s longest fault line river.

At the halfway mark, we stop at an indigenous art site. It’s off the beaten track and the path is so overgrown that our guides have difficulty finding it. Eventually, we clamber up the rocks to discover an overhang filled with paintings, some of them 25,000 years old.

We lay on our backs and gaze up at the ochre figures painted above us.

Then it’s back in the tenders and we head for the falls. We have the site completely to ourselves and the guides nudge the boats under the falls to douse us with the cascading water.

They also tell us the story of American beauty queen Ginger Meadows, who was visiting Australia for the America’s Cup. She made the mistake of swimming in the water below the falls and was taken by a crocodile. The croc stashed his catch under the mangroves to eat later, so rescuers were able to retrieve her body. They placed it in a bag on the prow of the ship and the croc spent the night trying to launch himself onto the boat to retrieve his meal. It must have been a terrifying and traumatic night for everyone on board.

There is no sign of the croc on our visit, but we clamber very carefully ashore and make our way up the side of the waterfall to the waterholes above. It’s the most incredible feeling to take a dip together as a group of 15, with not another soul around us.

The sun is setting as we begin our journey back to the tenders. The views across the Kimberley are sublime as the sky streaks with pink and gold.

We take one last look at the falls then begin our journey back to the Reef Prince, as the last golden rays illuminate the river. It’s a glorious end to amazing day.

Aboard the Reef Prince, chef Jayden has prepared another fabulous feast for our dinner: roast pork with perfect crackling and prawn beignets. Laughter and animated conversations fill the room as we eat. The group are in a relaxed and social mood after spending five days together exploring such an incredible part of the world.

The Thirsty Travellers booked their adventure on the Reef Prince with Expedition Cruise Specialists.

Main image courtesy of Kimberley Expeditions.

YESTERDAY: Fishing & beachcombing

TOMORROW: Boabs, brolgas & The Mermaid

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