(9:30 p.m. AEST) — French luxury expedition ship L’Austral will undertake an inaugural series of voyages to Australia’s Kimberley region in 2017.
Ponant’s environmentally accredited, 264-passenger yacht, set to be the youngest vessel in the outback destination, has 14 Zodiacs, electric propulsion for reduced emissions and 3D sonar to avoid dropping anchor in sensitive environments.
The four 10-night cruises between Darwin and Broome will be led by photographer and adventurer Mick Fogg, a veteran of 120 Kimberley expeditions, along with 12 marine biologists, naturalists and conservationists.
“Larger than 75 percent of the world’s countries, the Kimberley is a national biodiversity hotspot, listed in the top 3.7 percent of least impacted marine environments worldwide,” Fogg said. “At 1.8 billion years old, much of the Kimberley pre-dates life as we know it.”
Attractions include Montgomery Reef, Horizontal Falls, the Hunter River, King George Falls, Mitchell Falls, saltwater crocodile and whale sightings, and indigenous rock art featuring the world’s oldest known depictions of the human form.
Ponant is offering an early booking bonus of up to 30 percent.