Article by Caravan World

The Horizontal Waterfall in the Buccaneer Archipelago, WA, is a sight to behold by Air and Sea. Both The Great Outdoors television show and the BBC's David Attenborough have acclaimed the Horizontal Waterfall north of Derby, WA, as one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. In all our travels, and out of all the places we have visited in Australia, the Buccaneer Archipelago (including the Horizontal Waterfall) is the one we talk about the most and the one we feel really is a 'must do'. The archipelago is named for English buccaneer and privateer William Dampier, who chartered the area in 1688 on one of his three circumnavigations of the world. Captain James Cook described him as a magnificent navigator, and it is interesting to ponder how he negotiated the hundreds of islands and ferocious currents in this area with its tidal range of up to 11m - hence the many rips, including the Horiztonal Waterfall.

You can only visit the waterfall in a plane or boat and there are several tour operators who are only two happy to help. We chose to go with Kimberley Extreme, (08) 9192 6208, www.kimberleyextreme.com.auIt offers several alternatives, such as flying out from Derby or Broome, and overnight or extended boat cruises, and all the trips include a boat road through the falls on the purpose built fast boat. The owner told us that RVers make up the vast majority of his guests.

THE FLIGHT Denyse and I chose to do the half-day flight from Broome. Our float plane gave us a good view over the flat, desolate, countryside and then passed over King Sound. As we flew over the falls, we were ablee to take good pics from both sides of the plane. When we landed at Talbot Bay, we passed over a pearl farm, complete with rows of floats which hold racks of pearl shells. We had a perfect landing on a very sheltered bay and were transferred by boat to the 65ft yacht Starsand, where lunch was provided.

CYCLONE CREEK We were fortunate enough to be in Talbot Bay at high tide. After lunch, the fast boat Ocean Prowler took us for a sightseeing journey up Cyclone Creek which was beautiful and stretched for miles, with many red bluffs and escarpments. As teh tide changed, we negotiated some dramatic whirlpools. The boat held 12 people, with 10 sitting astride with handgrips and two sitting on higher seats up the back, and had two 220hp outboards and floatation chambers around the outside. It was more than up to the task.

THE FALLS The tide had not yet fallen much and there was very little run in the falls, so we went back to the Starsand for a comfort stop and a cold drink. Soon it was time for our adrenalin-fuelled ride through the Horizontal Waterfall. The skipper helped us to put on our lifejackets and made sure we were securely seated before moving off. There are two falls, but due to safety issues all commercial boat trips only go through one. The second has a much narrower gap for the water to flow through, making it a lot more dangerous. We were, however, taken right up the second falls, giving us a great view of the ferocity and velocity of this wonder. We made several trips through the first set, as well as more approaches to the second. I think none of us would have been game to go through the second falls, though our skipper told us he had been through with another skipper the day before. The operators check tide times and know when things are suitable. At neap tides the falls are not so spectacular and the tours may not go, but when we went, there was an 11m tide at Derby, so there were waterfalls, whirlpools and great currents. We had many great photo opportunities.

RETURN FLIGHT All too soon it was time to return to Broome. We were in for another treat though, as the pilot flew us out and over Buccaneer Archipelago, known as the 1000 Islands. he flew low, and as ex-boaties we were amazed at the currents, which can flow at 16 knots. The number of islands, clear waters, waterfalls and general scenary added another highlight to this amazing tour. But that wasn't all; as we turned for home, we crossed over and around Cape Leveque and got some good photo oppotunities of the red cliffs, white sand and turquoise water. Continuing down the coast, the pilot explained the sights and places such as Beagle Bay and Willie Creek Pearl Farm. As we cam into land, the sun was setting - time for another fabulous photo shot over the ocean. The trip we did varied from the brochure description, but tide and weather conditions in this part of the world can dictate what is coverred on any particular trip. We found our trip to be good value and hope to do it again one day.

Article - About the Kimberley

Crocodile Creek

Crocodile Creek is an attraction visited by many tourists every year exploring the Kimberley Region. The Creek has a fresh water pool with scenic falls flowing down from above. You definately need to explore this area its amazing.Take in the fascinating hill views and you can even have your lunch beside the superb fresh water pool.
Many a visitor has left unique momentos of their visit to Crocodile Creek

 

Buccaneer Archipelago

Many people have said over the years that great explorers such as Vlamin and Flinders never even noticed these beautiful and mainly unihabited islands. Buccaneer Archipelago was named by Phillip Parker King in 1820 in memory of the famous William Dampier, a supposed Buccaneer for the King of the time. With over 800 IslandsIt is only a short plane or boat ride away from Derby or Broome. It is home to the world famous Horizontal Falls and many South Sea Pearl Farms. Also calling it there home are many different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, bats and crocodiles.

 Talbot Bay

Talbot Bay is home to one of the many pearl farms in the Kimberley and better yet home of the magnificent Horizontal Falls. Access to Talbot bay is only possible via boat or sea plane. Sea-Planes fly from Derby or Broome landing in Cyclone Creek if the tide is high or on a landing near Horizontal Falls if the tide is low.

 

Horizontal Falls

Horizontal Falls is a natural phenomenon David Attenborough described it as "One of the greatest natural wonders of the world" and people from all around the globe visit one of the Kimberleys most stunning attractions. Located deep within Talbot Bay and a part of the Buccaneer Archipeligo. Unlike waterfalls as we know it, Horizontal Falls passes horizontally as it's name suggests. The falls consist of intense tidal currents pushing through two narrow gorges about 300 metres apart which are part of the McLarty Ranges. These tidal movements create a waterfall effect as water banks up against one side of the narrow cliff passage, which is then repeated again on the turning tide.It is best explained as the waterfalls being created by the tide building up in front of the gaps faster than it can flow them. Hence producing a true wonder for all eyes to see.

 

Montgomery Reef

 

Montgomery Reef is an immense reef spanning more than 300km, it is Australia's largest inshore reef and the magical waterfalls than can be seen as the reef rises out of the water is definately something, like many of the other beautiful attractions that the Kimberley region has to offer. Fairytale lagoons are born as the tide drops and this is when you are able to notice the marine life; dugongs, manta rays, turtles and a number of birds that call this place home.

 

Raft Point

 

Make sure when you visit Raft Point that you get the chance to view the amazing sight of Aboriginal Art that tells the story of an ancient race of water people that lived in the area approximately 1000 years ago.

 

Kings Cascades

 

King's Cascades are located on the Prince Regent River and are photo worthy waterfalls cascading over brilliant rock formations. This is a view not to be missed on your tour through the Kimberley Region just after March/April.

 

Silica Beach

 

Silica Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in the world, the sand is so soft you could almost sleep on it. The crystal blue waters allow even those people who aren't particularly fond of the beach a chance to swim in beautiful clear water. It is just another part of paradise hidden within the Kimberley region.