True North Adventures’ Coral Atoll Cruise to the Rowley Shoals truly offers something for everyone. From hard-core sportsfishers to laid-back snorkelers, there is an activity to suit anyone lucky enough to be aboard the luxuriously appointed company flagship True North as it visits the shoals off the coast of north-western Western Australia.
Billed as WA’s premier coral playground, the Rowley Shoals is a haven for exotic underwater life, and is remote enough that it remains relatively pristine and untouched.
The six night/four day Coral Atoll Cruise departs the historic pearling centre of Broome for the overnight 12-hour run out to the shoals, with guests getting their first taste of the five-star luxury and pampering they’ll be enjoying at the hands of True North’s expert and professional crew.
Awaiting them the following morning is the glorious Rowley Shoals Marine Park, where guests are treated to an array of activities designed to captivate and excite. The shoals, comprising Imperieuse, Clerke and Mermaid Reefs, were actually once the peaks of an ancient Ice Age mountain range and rise dramatically from the deep waters of the surrounding Indian Ocean.
Casual snorkelers have a range of options, with the crew transporting passengers on small punts to various featured locations around the shoals to explore the crystal-clear tropical waters. A highlight is a nearby channel where snorkelers can slip into the water and, with the current running at full speed, be transported on a visual smorgasbord over the spectacular coral and marine life below.
Speaking of wildlife, the shoals boast an incredible 233 species of coral and, at last count, 688 species of fish, so there is always something to keep guests occupied when in the water. They are spread out over a diverse wonderland of coral habitats, including maze-like lagoons, caves, coral bommies and surging tidal canyons flanked by breathtaking sheer walls. And, if you’re really lucky, you might even get to see a humpback whale sunbaking on the surface.
Land-bound features include the enticing shores of Bedwell Island, where guests can get up close to the rookeries of red-tailed tropicbirds, relax with a spot of beachcombing, or enjoy sunset drinks and nibblies on the beach.
There are also comprehensive scuba-diving facilities onboard for the more adventurous, and complete daily programs to suit everyone from the novice to the more experienced diver.
Anglers are particularly well catered for and given every opportunity to target the huge range of sports and game fish that call the shoals home. Thrill-seekers can target everything from marlin and sailfish to Spanish mackerel, queenfish, wahoo and yellowfin tuna. But you might need to race the local shark population to the boat, as they like nothing better than to steal your prized fish before you haul it aboard. If you do manage to beat the resident predators, True North’s chefs are more than happy to turn your catch into something mouth-wateringly special from the galley every night.
No matter what you want to try, True North’s crew are always on-hand to make sure you’re comfortable and able to enjoy the experience to the maximum.
When not attempting to sample all that the Rowley Shoals have to offer, guests can simply experience the range of facilities on offer on True North. Sunbathing is a popular pastime, while the al fresco bar, lounge and dining room will keep tastebuds titillated and tantalised.
True North runs its Coral Atolls cruises during the months of September, October and November, during which the seas and winds are at their kindest.
Commissioned in 2005, True North is a 50m ‘pocket cruise ship’ with all of the luxuries of a five-star hotel afloat.
With a shallow draft of 2.2m, it was purpose-designed to be able to access a lot of the more remote parts of the Australian coastline where navigating shallow waters and rivers is required.
With a maximum guest capacity of 36, and a crew of 20, help, advice and service are never too far away.
Guests are able to take advantage of a number of lavish vantage points, including a sundeck, a forward observation lounge, a ship’s lounge and an al fresco bar. Regular presentations are conducted by the ship’s naturalist, focusing on the wildlife and the environment wherever the ship is located, while an internet café offers convenient communication with the outside world.
The lower deck dining room offers the ultimate in comfort and an uninterrupted vista – large panoramic windows ensure guests never miss any of the action, even when they’re enjoying the finest in fine dining.
And when it’s time to retreat for a little down-time, all cabins feature stylish décor, en suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones.
A fleet of punts provides guests with the opportunity to explore beyond the comforts of True North and the onboard helicopter can provide a whole different perspective on the surrounding area.
True North offers an unmatched opportunity to visit some of the world’s most spectacular and remote wilderness areas. For more information, go to: NorthStarCruises.com.au.