From a trip into the Australian wilderness to snorkelling alongside dolphins in the seas off Mexico.
The Kimberley is Western Australia’s northernmost region. It is larger than three-quarters of the world’s countries, and much of it is an “unreconstructed wilderness”, says Wanderlust magazine. It features “rugged desert, tumescent boab trees, washboard mountains and bristly spinifex plains”. Since the roads there are best enjoyed in “bone-juddering bursts”, visiting by cruise ship makes perfect sense.
Trips tend to inch their way along the coast from Darwin to Broome, “past the gravity-defying Horizontal Falls and the shrinking tides of the Montgomery Reef”. There’s no shortage of things to do on land. Classic stops include Bigge Island, with its “first contact” rock art depicting the Wunambal people’s initial encounters with European explorers; and Vansittart Bay, with its wreckage of a World War II transporter plane. Take a boat ride up the King George River and “teeter towards the thundering cascades” of the Horizontal Falls. (From A$10,695 per person until October for ten nights aboard the new Coral Adventurer. See kimberleycruises.com)
Explore the Sea of Cortez
Hurtigruten’s brand-new expedition ship, the 530-passenger Roald Amundsen (pictured), is named after the Norwegian explorer, and is kitted out with cool gadgets, says Sue Bryant in The Sunday Times. It comes equipped with underwater drones that beam images back to passengers wearing digital goggles, while in the science lab you can use microscopes and contribute to research projects. There’s also an infinity pool and a sauna with a viewing window. As the world’s first hybrid propulsion cruise ship, it claims to be eco-friendly and quiet – a bonus when you’re sailing on the Sea of Cortez, off Mexico, where “superpods” of dolphins are a common sight. Snorkelling, desert hikes and birdwatching can also be arranged as the ship sails from La Paz, Mexico, to San Diego in the US. (From £2,990 per person, including flights, excursions and drinks with dinner, hurtigruten.co.uk)
Must-see hotspots in Indonesia
Aqua Expeditions has long set the bar for curated adventures on the Peruvian Amazon and the Mekong between Vietnam and Cambodia, says Maria Shollenbarger in the Financial Times. Now its owner has set his sights on exploring the ancient spice-trade routes that crossed Indonesia’s Ceram and Banda seas. The vessel, Aqua Blu, is a long-range expedition-class yacht and the first such boat to be based in Indonesia with the power to move between the must-see hotspots of Raja Ampat (pictured) and the Komodo archipelago via Ambon and Banda Neira. “All this with a near one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio and top creature comforts.” (From $7,525 per person for seven nights, aquaexpeditions.com)