Packed with maritime history, unique wildlife, and geological wonders, cruise line Ponant will offer new luxury expedition itineraries that explore the many landscapes of Australia this year.
For Australians eager to explore their own backyard, Ponant will return two of its modern small luxury expedition ships, Le Lapérouse and Le Soléal, to Australian waters in 2021. The two vessels will offer an exciting new collection of eight immersive ‘must-do’ itineraries featuring Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland coasts.
True ‘Australia for Australians’ adventures, these new itineraries – each offering tempting back-to-back voyage opportunities – showcase the fascinating and multifaceted diversity of wilderness, wildlife, heritage and cultural encounters, many unique, found along Australia’s coastline.
Each voyage captures the heartbeat of Australia. From early maritime encounters along the west coast, aptly exampled by visits to Dirk Hartog Island, Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Islands, to ancient cultures stretching back much further in time, some 40,000 years or more, the petroglyphs of Murujuga (Dampier archipelago) the largest, densest and most diverse collections of rock art in the world, these luxury expeditions reveal multiple facets of the Australian continent that will surprise.
Whether photographing rare Australian sea lion colonies, experiencing the emotive National ANZAC Centre in Albany, exploring the penal colony at Maria Island or viewing Australia’s highest sea cliffs at Cape Huay, this range of 7 to 15-night itineraries, created by Ponant’s highly regarded Australian expedition leader and marine biologist Mick Fogg, showcases the coastline of his homeland.
“Most people don’t realise that 45% of our birds, 83% of our mammals and more than 90% of our amphibians, reptiles and fish are only found in Australia, and that makes us pretty unique,” says Fogg. “Add to that the age of the landscape, diversity of habitats and the world’s oldest continuing culture and you have the perfect recipe for creating remarkable immersive experiences as encapsulated in this collection of voyages.”
The new itineraries include the 10-night Jewels of the West Coast, from Broome to Fremantle (departing September 22), which visits Rowley Shoals, Montebello Islands, Ningaloo and Shark Bay; the eight-night Highlights of South Western Australia, roundtrip from Fremantle (departing October 2), which will include Albany, Esperance, the Recherche Archipelago and Busselton; the 13-night Along Australia’s South Coast (departing October 30 and November 8), which stops in at Esperance, Recherche Archipelago, King Island and Port Lincoln; and the nine-night Tasmania Circumnavigation (departing October 30 and November 8) which travels roundtrip from Hobart to Port Davey, Maria Island, Tamar Valley and Albatross Island.
Many of these all-new itineraries visit World Heritage-listed areas and Marine Parks including coastlines and reef areas that large ships simply cannot manage yet are perfectly suited to Le Lapérouse and Le Soléal, their compact dimensions and manoeuvrability allowing access to the tightest places – the Hawkesbury River, for example, as well as some of Australia’s world-famous tropical reef areas including Rowley Shoals and Ningaloo, and parts of Queensland’s 3,000 coral reefs and 2000 or so islands.
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