King George Falls: Tourism WA Thanks to one of the biggest wet seasons on record the Kimberley is literally awash with spectacular waterfalls in what is traditionally a quiet tourism period. But the traditional wet season could soon be rebadged the ‘waterfall season’ with the tail end, late March to early April, providing the perfect opportunity for you to access the stunning falls as roads reopen, and before the once thunderous cascades dry to a trickle. Flexibility is the key if you’re planning on discovering the best north-west waterfalls before they dry out. We’ve picked five of our favourite Kimberley waterfalls that you won’t want to miss. We’ve also got some handy tips on the best ways to reach them.
Let’s Go Chasing WaterfallsWhether you fly overhead, cruise underneath or camp nearby, here are our favourite Kimberley waterfalls:
King George FallsOne of the stars of this year’s wet season, King George Falls (pictured above) are the highest waterfalls in Australia with an elevation approximately 84 metres above sea level. Part of the King George River, these falls are a perennial tourist favourite due to their spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife in the area. The river is of cultural significance to the Balanggarra Aboriginal people, for whom the twin falls are the male and female Wunkurr (rainbow serpents). In full force from late December through to early May, a shower under the falls is a highlight of many Kimberley cruises. If you’ve seen any news story, Instagram picture or aerial video of Kimberley waterfalls in the wet season, portrayed widely in media earlier this year, you’ve probably seen King George Falls.
Mitchell FallsThe Mitchell Falls are among the most photographed features of the Mitchell River National Park and are made up of multiple waterfalls and plunge pools. These multi-tiered falls are quite remote and best seen by air with the nearby Mitchell Plateau providing the perfect natural helipad. However, there’s much more than just the falls in the area, with rainforest along the edge of Mitchell Plateau home to hundreds of mammals, birds and reptiles (including saltwater crocodiles!). Camping, trekking and 4WD adventuring are all popular in the park at various times of the year.
Kings CascadeThis one is a bit different from the usual towering waterfalls you see along the Kimberley coast. Instead, this comprises terraced falls that fan out across the rocks. During the wet season, the falls are huge, covering the entire rock face and as the dry season progresses, the falls reduce day-by-day until they become a trickle with lush plant life taking up the space. While beautiful, Kings Cascade also has a sad history. It was the place where an American model, Ginger Meadows, was taken by a crocodile in 1987. Obviously, we recommend staying on board your vessel when visiting this waterfall.
Horizontal FallsTalbot Bay in the Kimberley is the only place in the world (that we know of) where you can see a horizontal waterfall. The result of huge tidal movements in the North West, the waterfalls occur twice a day. As the high tide recedes but is trapped between gorges, the tidal movement creates a clear waterfall effect. With each change of the tide, the direction of the falls reverses, creating tidal whirlpools. These spectacular falls were once described as one of Australia’s greatest wonders of the natural world and are certainly a natural phenomenon not to be missed.
Bell GorgeA recommended stopover for people driving the Gibb River Road is the secluded Bell Gorge. A short walk from the nearby campsite, you first view the falls from above. Hike down the gorge and you can swim in the refreshing natural pool and shower under the waterfall. You can spend a whole day swimming, sunbathing on the rocks and spotting goannas.
Three Ways to See our Favourite Kimberley WaterfallsIf you’ve decided to visit our favourite Kimberley waterfalls, you may be wondering about the best ways to see them. We recommend:
- Take a scenic flight from Broome or Kununurra. Depending on distance and time of year, you can choose between taking a charter with a fixed wing plane, or you can take a helicopter to get right up close.
- Join a Kimberley cruise. Many of the falls are located along the Kimberley coast and a small cruise boat or tender vessel will get you up close to each waterfall.
- Stay nearby. Each of our favourite waterfalls has accommodation nearby so you can truly explore the areas. Choose from eco retreats (such as Faraway Bay near King George Falls), glamping in safari tents (such as APT’s Bell Gorge camp) or even stay on a houseboat (with Horizontal Falls Adventures cruises).