When we first decided that we were going to Western Australia we both agreed that we were going to do the Horizontal Falls tour. We had heard about it from other people and seen it on 4WD shows and although at $1,700 it was an expensive day, we just had to do it.
We decided to book in for the full day adventure which leaves from Broome and involves travelling by 4WD, Seaplane and boat.
So the tour was booked in and paid for months ago and the day finally arrived ……… and wow, it was amazing and by far the best tour we have ever done in our life, worth every cent. The Horizontal Falls are located within the Talbot Bay area in the Buccaneer Archipelago. They are located in a remote area of the Kimberley region of WA and can only be seen by sea or air. This amazing phenomenon is considered as one of those ‘must see’ places that you just have to visit.
Consisting of a pair of gorges in the McLarty Range that run parallel to each other, they stand approximately 300 metres apart. The first gap is around 20 metres wide, and the second gap is a smaller 10 metres wide. As the tide rushes through them, the water builds up in front of the gaps faster than it can flow through, therefore creating a ‘horizontal’ waterfall effect. Apparently sometimes the variation in the tides can be up to 10 metres, making it one of the largest tidal changes in the world.Our day started early with us being picked up from the caravan park at 5.15am and driven to the airport to board our seaplane to fly to the Horizontal Falls. The flight was about 1 hour and we had some great views, including watching the sun rising, before landing on the beautiful Talbot Bay.Shelly was co-pilot for the day and got to chat with the pilot and get inside information on the area and what we were flying over, aswell as her favourite part of evesdropping in on all the pilots speaking to each other and traffic control!After landing on Talbot Bay, we departed the seaplane and boarded the houseboat. This is a purpose built area consisting of numerous houseboats, pontoons, helicopter landing pads, shark free cage pool, all just sitting in the middle of Talbot Bay with nothing else around. It’s like their own little floating mini city! They’ve done an awesome job with it. They do also run overnight trips so the houseboats include quite a few rooms downstairs aswell.After being welcomed aboard the houseboat we were ready for the main event …… jet boating through to the two falls in their 900hp jet boat – AMAZING! The adrenalin rush was great and to speed through the small gap when it doesn’t look like you will even fit is quite something.After our adrenalin rush it was back to the houseboat for our freshly cooked breakfast of fruit, cereal and bacon and egg rolls.
After breakfast we heading into the pontoon of the houseboat to feed their ‘pets’, also known as sharks! A few people went swimming in the croc and shark free cage while the feeding was happening, but it was still a bit cool for us!After feeding we boarded the boat for a leisurely cruise around the area to see the remote bays. The views were spectacular, the colour of the water and the huge rock walls is stunning, this is one of those untouched areas that you just sit in silence and take in the surroundings, feeling fortunate to be able to view it.We then got back in our seaplane for a fly over the Buccaneer Archipelago to One Arm Point. Shelly was co-pilot once again! This part of the flight was very scenic and the plane flew over very low so that we could see the thousand islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago. We looked at the secluded beaches lining the islands looking for crocodiles that can quite often be seen sunning themselves.
Then it was time for the 4WD part of the trip and this started with us being taken from the runway to the remote Aboriginal community of One Arm Point for a tour of their Ardyaloon Trochus Hatchery & Aquaculture Centre. The hatchery is located right on the edge of the peninsular and the King Sound. ‘Barry’ was our tour guide, very informative, but a funny old fella, one of those true Aussie characters you can’t help but laugh with!
After our tour we jumped back on the bus for the short trip to Cape Leveque for a lunch. We called into the Kooljaman at Cape Leveque and had a great barramundi lunch. Kooljaman is a remote wilderness camp owned and run by the Indigenous Bardi Jawi Communities, it’s in a great spot and looked like a well run and well kept campground. Cape Leveque is a remote area about 250km north of Broome. It’s the northernmost tip of the Dampier Peninsula. After lunch we took a drive down to the beach, this area is truely stunning. The backdrop of the rich red cliffs, the bright white of the sand and the blue water and clear blue skies is spectacular, photos just don’t do it justice. Part of the old ‘I Still Call Australia Home’, Qantas ad with the choir was filmed at Cape Leveuqe.Our last stop for the day was the famous pearl shell church at Beagle Bay, The Sacred Heart Church. This is famous for its alter which is lined with mother of pearl shell and other shells from the local waters. The church was built by Pallotine monks and local aboriginals and finished in 1918. One step inside this church and you’ll be amazed at how much work has gone into this. The shell and mother of pearl that decorate the whole church are beautiful, we’ve never seen anything like it.
This visit was followed by a tea and coffee break before we started our journey home via the unbelievably corrugated Cape Leveque Road!
We were safely delivered back to camp about 5pm after a very tiring and full on day! This company, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures is amazing and so organised, friendly and informative …… best day EVER!