In 1819, 1820 and 1821-22 Lieutenant Phillip Parker King became the first person to accurately chart the Kimberley coast in the Mermaid, an 84 tonne cutter, and the Bathurst.
Due to a leak in the hull of the Mermaid King was obliged to beach the vessel in what is now Prince Regent National Park for repairs. On 8 October 1820 he wrote: “The country in the vicinity of the bay, which, from the use we made of it, was called Careening Bay, is only slightly covered with a poor, stony soil; but notwithstanding this drawback, the hills are well wooded, and vegetation… abundant.”
King described the Aboriginal huts near their encampment: “Besides the huts on the beach, which were merely strips of bark bent over to form a shelter from the sun, there were others on the top of the hill over the tents, of a larger and more substantial construction… The fire-places near them were strewed with the nuts of the sago palm, the fruit of which appears to be generally eaten by the natives of the north and north-west coasts".
The Kimberley area is home of saltwater and freshwater crocodiles so visitors need to be careful and take notice of all advice and warning signs.