GETTING THERE: Guests will need to fly to Exmouth in Western Australia on the morning of day one of the tour. Qantas and Virgin operate regular flights from Perth to Exmouth. Flights from Perth to Exmouth are 2-hours duration.
ITINERARY: Welcome to Western Australia. Guests will need to fly today from Perth to Exmouth anytime during the day. Make your own way to your accommodation at Ningaloo Lodge, Exmouth which will be home for the next two nights. This afternoon enjoy an optional tour to see the unique features of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage. Meet in the hotel foyer at 2.30pm to take a short tour of Vlamingh Head Lighthouse and the Jurabi Turtle Centre where you will walk along turtle breeding beaches that line the coast. Tonight you’ll enjoy dinner featuring modern cuisine served with wine.
ITINERARY OPTIONS: After breakfast, we head out on today’s adventure. Today you can choose from several options on land or in the sea.
ON THE REEF:
Option 1: Swim with the gentle Whale Sharks
For adventure-lovers and nature-lovers, nothing compares to the exhilaration of swimming with the gentle giants of Ningaloo Reef – the whale sharks. The World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is one of the largest, most reliable and best-managed whale shark aggregations in the world. An estimated 300-500 whale sharks make their way to Ningaloo annually between March and August.
Option 2: Reef Snorkelling Trip
A reef snorkelling tour is also available. Ningaloo is one of the longest and most pristine fringing reefs in the world and is home to manta rays, turtles, and a plethora of colourful fish and corals. While today’s reef tours are optional they are highly recommended.
Option 3: Glass Bottom Boat cruise
For those that would prefer to stay dry a glass-bottom boat cruise on Ningaloo Reef is also available. Discover beautiful coral gardens and colourful fish as well as the habitat of the green turtles.
ON THE LAND:
For those who like to keep their feet firmly planted on land, you can explore the ancient, limestone gorges of Cape Range National Park, home to the rare black-flanked rock wallaby. The walks include Mandu Mandu and Yardie Creek gorges which offer amazing views from the top of Cape Range highlighting the dramatic contrast between the arid landscape and the rich blue of the Indian Ocean. There is also the opportunity to explore some of the park’s pristine beaches and coastal areas.
TRAIL NOTES: Walk 1: Mandu Mandu Walk: 3km, 2 hours. Moderate Grade followed by Yardie Nature Walk and Gorge Trail: 2km, 1 hr 40 minutes. Moderate Grade.
TERRAIN: Uneven, rocky and unmodified terrain. Sections of good, well defined track but also sections of bouldery and sandy riverbed. Largely flat walks with some small ascents and descents.
WALK ITINERARY: For those who are keen to walk today, we start the day with the Mandu Mandu walk, a moderately difficult trail that winds its way along a rocky creek bed, deep into the gorge. A steep path takes you up to the gorge rim where, on your return, you can enjoy the views over Ningaloo Reef and the surrounding country. On your walk, keep your eyes peeled for black-flanked rock wallabies. There are steep gradients and rough, uneven surfaces along this trail. This walk is along a gentle, well-defined path that winds along the edge of Yardie Creek with views of the gorge, creek mouth and Ningaloo Reef. Along the walk, you may see emus and euros and a variety of birds. The trail then meets the more difficult Yardie Gorge Trail taking you high above Yardie Creek.
After our day’s activities all guests return to our accommodation at Ningaloo Lodge, Exmouth with the remainder of the day at leisure. Tonight enjoy dinner in the restaurant served with wine while you talk about our day’s adventures.
TRAIL NOTES: Shothole Lookout Walk – 6km, 2 hours. Moderate Grade.
TERRAIN: Uneven, rocky and unmodified terrain but a good, well defined track. Largely flat walk with some small inclines.
WALK ITINERARY: After a hearty country breakfast, today we head it will take you much of the day to drive but there is plenty to see along the way, particularly Western Australia’s famous wildflowers. While wildflowers vary in abundance with the seasons, and from year to year, there is always something interesting and colourful in flower and this section of road is renowned for its swathes of purple Ashburton pea, yellow flowering sennas (cassias) and acacias, purple mulla mullas and the iconic Sturt’s Desert Pea. On route, we will also visit the spectacular Charles Knife Canyon and stretch our legs with a flat walk to a lookout over Shothole Canyon. We then continue on to our accommodation at Cheela Plains Station (5-hour drive), a family-owned and managed cattle station located in the semi-arid, pastoral rangelands of the Pilbara with a unique environmentally-centred grazing system. We enjoy traditional country hospitality and a fabulous home-cooked meal with wine.
TRAIL NOTES: Hancock & Weano Gorge Walks total – 2km, 2 hours. Moderate Grade.
TERRAIN: Like the other gorge walks, there are some good sections of dirt paths but also some uneven, rocky and unmodified terrain. Be prepared for some scrambling over rocks and a small amount of ledge walking.
WALK ITINERARY: After a hearty breakfast, we’ll head out to explore two of Karijini’s finest and most famous gorges – Hancock and Weano. The drive will take approximately 3-hours. The walks are challenging in places, with some wading through water and clambering over rock ledges, but these are not difficult walks and the gorges are truly amazing. At times, the gorge walls are just an arms-length apart and the rich red colour and banding of the rock is simply breathtaking. You will discover beautiful jade pools nestled deep within the gorge complex, including the famous Handrail Pool. These walks are a photographer’s paradise. After a glorious day exploring you check into your luxury glamping accommodation at the Karijini Eco Retreat which will be home for the next three nights. Then, enjoy a fabulous dinner with wine at Alfresco Restaurant while watching tonight’s rich, colourful, long-burn sunset typical of outback Western Australia.
TRAIL NOTES: Mt Bruce Walk – 9km, 6 hours. Difficult Grade.
TERRAIN: The trail varies from easy, gentle gradients to sections of steeper terrain and one short section that requires scrambling up a rock chute, with some exposure. Overall it is a clear and well defined trail, with sections on uneven, rocky and unmodified terrain. Total climb is 450m in elevation change.
WALK ITINERARY: You will rise above it all today, for spectacular views across the Spinifex-clad Pilbara landscape. You will climb to the summit of Mt Bruce, Western Australia’s second-highest peak, at 1,234 metres above sea level. The Aboriginal name for Mount Bruce is Punurrunha and while the summit trail has some steep and rocky sections many walkers regard this as one of the finest and most exciting mountain walks in Western Australia. It is also a great chance to see some of Western Australia’s unique wildlife including the Pebble Mound Mouse and Rothschild’s Rock Wallaby. After our walk, we make our way back to our accommodation to relax before enjoying dinner and wine in the restaurant.
TRAIL NOTES: Knox and Joffre Gorge Walks – 5.4km, 5 hours. Kalamina Gorge and Falls Walk – 3km, 3 hours. Moderate to Difficult Grade.
TERRAIN: There are some good dirt paths but today’s walks are largely on uneven, rocky and unmodified terrain. Be prepared for some scrambling over rocks and a small amount of ledge walking. In and out of the gorge’s are steep, short ascents with steps.
WALK ITINERARY: After a hearty breakfast our guides take you on a series of short but challenging walks today as you explore Knox Gorge and Joffre Gorge before driving to the more remote, and less visited, Kalamina Falls. Today you will witness how the power of water has shaped Karijini. There are impressive waterfalls, and deep, cold pools as well as spectacular lookouts. This is an ancient part of our Earth where the slow but impressive process of erosion has carved out a unique landscape from rocks that are more than 2,000 million years old. Afterwards we return to our accommodation for relaxation followed by dinner served with wine.
TRAIL NOTES: Dales Gorge Walk 4.8km, 3 hours. Moderate to Difficult Grade.
TERRAIN: There’s a short descent into the gorge, which is steep but has some stairs and handrails. Then there’s a similar short climb back out of the gorge. Expect some rock-hopping and uneven ground but a well formed trail.
ITINERARY: After breakfast, before you catch your flight home you will head straight to the awe-inspiring Dales Gorge. Your walk today takes in the contrasting ecosystems of the Pilbara, as we descend from the dry plains into the cool, shady greenness of the gorge where you will marvel at the contrasts between the red rock, lush ferns and the clear pools hidden below. You will pass Fortescue Falls, the park’s only permanent waterfall, before relaxing beside the beautiful Fern Pool. There are several lookouts giving spectacular views of the Karijini gorge system. After this spectacular last adventure we’ll drive 2-hours to Paraburdoo where guests can fly onto Perth to end this fabulous journey.
DEPARTING: Early afternoon flights are available from Paraburdoo to Perth (flying time 1h 45mins). See recommended flight times for your preferred departure on our Departures page. From Perth flights can be booked to your home port.