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This year, luxury French expedition line Ponant will have three vessels exploring the Kimberley region of Western Australia. One is 32-person superyacht Le Ponant. Let the countdown to June begin…
There’s a moment at sunrise, when the rest of the world seems to fade to insignificance. All that matters are the iridescent kingfishers skimming over the surface of the sea; the dragonflies flitting by the ship’s bow; the intense hues of the morning’s rays casting golden glitter over the horizon.
This is how every day begins in the Kimberley, a remote and ravishing pocket in the northwest of Australia. And if you’re on board Le Ponant, you only have to share the ‘pinch-me’ moment with 31 other guests — and your magnificent crew.
New Ponant horizons
In 2023 and for one season only, French-flagged luxury expedition line Ponant will sail Le Ponant into Australian waters, the dreamy 32-guest yacht spending the season drifting along the end-of-the-earth Kimberley coast, visiting far-flung islands, exploring natural wonders and discovering ancient cultures that have remained largely untouched for millennia.
Her three masts gracefully capturing the wind, Le Ponant will cast a dramatic form over the Kimberley countryside. The ship offers a return to the skilful manual art of sailing — the picture of comfort, elegance, intimacy and sustainability.
While exploring the coast, guests can flit between Le Ponant’s Sun Deck, Bar Émeraude and Le Diamant panoramic restaurant, where talented chefs prepare fine organic cuisine paired with Veuve Clicquot champagne and artisan wines. All interiors are designed by French studio Jean-Philippe Nuel and exude timelessness, perfectly complementing the scenery and landscapes the ship visits. Inside, the palette is neutral — a calming blend of taupe, off-white and caviar grey — allowing the dazzling ocean views to take centre stage.
This understated yet elegant design allows guests to feel as if they’re travelling on their own private yacht. With only 16 suites, they practically are.
As comfortable as Le Ponant is, the real reason to be here is your setting. The scale of the Kimberley is hard to fathom. It’s one of the most sparsely populated places on the planet, but also one of the most diverse, a wilderness frontier where waterfalls seem to pour off every cliff edge, vast caves are decorated with the world’s oldest rock art, gorges carve through two-billion-year-old sandstone escarpments, and epic tides tumble over reefs, transforming ecosystems in minutes. Amid it all are sprinkled tropical forest-topped islands (thousands of them) and impenetrable ochre chasms enveloped by bottle-shaped boab trees and tall stands of grass.
Often the only way to take in the spectacle is by sea. The ideal way to do just that, in serious style, is aboard Le Ponant.
From June through September, Le Ponant will set sail on 14 expeditions between Broome/Wyndham and Kuri Bay, taking in frontiers few other vessels get to venture, including the opaline corals of Rowley Shoals. Along the way there are the record-breaking tides of the Horizontal Falls and Montgomery Reef, as well as the wildlife of the Lacepede and Buccaneer archipelagos. And then there are the off-the-chart experiences, like sunset champagne moments enjoyed while drifting in a tender, or enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the region aboard your private charter flight, a Paspaley Grumman Mallard flying boat.
If you’re been looking for a reason to visit the Kimberley in 2023, make Le Ponant it.