Preparing for your Kimberley Cruise

You’ve booked your Kimberley cruise of a lifetime and as you get closer to departure it will be time to start thinking about whether you need to purchase any new travel gear and how to prepare yourself for the trip.

Here’s a little summary of everything you need to know to ensure you arrive at the ship fully prepared.

Physical Fitness for Kimberley Cruises

The good news is that you don’t need to go through any rigorous, army-style bootcamps to get yourself fit for a Kimberley cruise. As long as you are in relatively good shape and able to walk unassisted over undulating and sometimes rocky terrain you will be fine. Keep in mind that these expeditions are generally most appealing to a more mature age bracket (45+) and the activity levels are designed accordingly.

On occasion, there may be some walks that those who are limited in their physical capabilities may find difficult, such as the hike up to Raft Point. The expedition leader will always be on hand to let you know if he/she thinks a particular walk may be a little beyond your capabilities. Often, they will also plan an alternate activity such as a zodiac sightseeing tour in cases such as this.

Of course, it never hurts to be in tip-top physical shape. so if you can fit in a bit of exercise before your trip I am sure you will enjoy the benefits.

Kimberley Pearl bush walk

What to Take - Packing for your Kimberley Cruise

When travelling in warmer climes such as the Kimberley Coast, shorts and lightweight shirts are most comfortable. Loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants in a breathable fabric offer great protection against the sun and insects. They can also stop your legs copping a beating from spinifex and other shrubs during walks ashore.

Believe it or not, as you’re at sea evening temperatures can be quite cool on occasion. So it is advisable to bring a light jacket and clothes that can be layered.

Wet landings (where you step from a zodiac onto the beach in ankle deep water) are very common in the Kimberley. ‘River / reef walkers’, ‘crocs’ or other shoes that have a rubber sole but can dry easily are recommended.

When packing, make sure you’ve considered all of the items below:

  • Long, lightweight pants for hikes and walks
  • Rain jacket, lightweight

  • Swim shirt / rashie for sun protection

  • A jumper (pullover), sweatshirt, jacket, or light wrap that you can layer
  • Sunhat with brim
  • Bathing suit and / or board shorts (for swimming opportunities)
  • Personal hygiene products and any prescription medications
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent – most ships provide this on board, but if you have brand preferences or sensitivities you may wish to bring your own
  • Good walking / hiking shoes, rubber-soled
  • Sunglasses for protection from sea glare. A backup pair is also a good idea
  • A backup pair of prescription glasses if appropriate – imagine if your only pair of glasses broke early in the trip!
  • Rubber sandals or Tevas / wet sandals called ‘river walkers’ or ‘aqua soles’ – thick-soled mesh socks for wet landings on the beach
  • Sandals or thongs for on board use – note that some ships such as the True North have a ‘barefoot’ policy on board so these may not be required
  • Binoculars (essential for bird watching)
  • Small torch
  • Backpack (preferably waterproof) suitable for carrying your photographic equipment
  • Refillable water bottle or canteen

Also keep in mind that lightweight fabrics dry quickly. So if a quick hand wash is required in your cabin your laundry will dry quicker.

Camera Gear for Kimberley Cruises

These days there are some great lightweight ‘point and shoot’ options that offer comparable results to traditional SLR camera.

If shooting digitally be sure to bring sufficient memory cards for the voyage. We recommend that a minimum 1GB memory card is appropriate. And you may want to consider a backup card as well (in the event the first one fails or is full). Importantly, don’t forget your camera charger!

If shooting using a traditional SLR set up, you may want to bring some lenses of varying sizes, and possibly some filters. If you prefer to shoot with film (rather than digitally) please make sure you bring more than enough for the whole trip as it won’t be available to be purchased onboard once you’re underway.

Coral Discoverer lecture lounge
Pre Cruise Reading about the Kimberley

f you’re keen to get a head start and arm yourself with a bit of knowledge about the Kimberley and what you will be seeing ahead of time, there’s several great books that you might want to consider purchasing (or borrowing from your local library) before you set off.

We suggest the following publications are well worth a read:

A Guide to the Kimberley Coast Wilderness: North Western Western Australia – Len Zell

A Traveller’s Guide Kimberley Coast: Bays, Basins, Islands and Estuaries – A.W (Sandy) Scott

Australian Geographic The Kimberley – David Hancock

Phillip Parker King 1791-1856 – Brian Douglas Abbott


Lost World of the Kimberley – Ian Wilson


Ancient Rock Paintings of North-West Australia – Grahame Walsh

The Art of the Wandjina – I.M. Crawford

Now, if you’re not a big reader, or simply lack time, don’t fret as there won’t be a test onboard to check on your knowledge! And remember, your expert guides will be imparting a wealth of knowledge right throughout your voyage. So you will pick up lots of information as you go along.

Do you have any specific packing or preparation questions ahead of your cruise? Call our Kimberley Cruise experts on 1800 90 20 80 today and we will be delighted to help!

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