Broome to Derby: 203kms
After arriving, I’m convinced by all around me to take the day trip Broome to Horizontal Falls. Aptly named, these are huge tidal surges and whirlpools created as water rushes through two narrow gorges on a rapidly changing tidal pattern unique to the area.
After making some phone calls to local operators who run tours from Broome to Horizontal Falls, I’m told they’re all booked out. I’ve only got a couple of days here, so it has to be tomorrow. One call leads to another, and to my absolute joy I find there’s a day tour with a spare seat on a tour! The only downside is it departs from Derby, 200 kilometres away. It’s on my must-see list, so that’s it. It’s a drive to Derby.
Horizontal Falls Tour From Broome
I leave very early for the 2-hour drive from Broome to get to Derby airport for one of the Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures excursions.
The aerial views from the 14-seater sea plane during the 40-minute flight are spectacular as we make our way towards the Lalang-Garram/Horizontal Falls Marine Park. Accessible only by air, it was created in 2016 as part of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.
Before descending to the landing pad in the turquoise waters of Talbot Bay, Alex, our pilot, circles above this famous natural phenomenon.
Horizontal Falls Facts
The twin gorges form part of the McLarty Ranges, which have two ridges running parallel approximately 300 metres apart. The towering walls on either side of the gorges descend to nearly 50 metres below the surface of the water. Whilst the smaller of the two gorges is about 7.5 metres wide, the bigger opening, at three times the width, can create a water surge as high as 5 metres high on a spring tide. The speed boats that dart through these gorges guarantee an adrenalin rush like no other and are one of the main attractions to this remote area.
The skill and expert timing with which our skipper, Brian manoeuvres the 1200 HP speed boat is nothing short of amazing, almost to the point of my believing that he must be the new James Bond. He propels the boat through the first gorge at such speed that no-one has time to utter a sound. He takes us in a wide circle before making for the second gorge at an even greater speed. I hold my breath as the boat heaves in the turbulence and comes within a hair’s breadth of the cliff face.
With the boat weaving from side to side, and the loud rumble and rush of white water plumes my attempts to capture this epic event on camera fail dismally. All the re-play can offer is a scene more likely to be out of an X-rated zombie movie with head-bobbing and arm-flailing to a blood-curdling soundtrack.
In between these exhilarating rides, we are offered a delicious meal of Barramundi and an opportunity to get up close to several grey nurse sharks that frequent the pontoon’s enclosure for controlled feeding.
Exploring the Nearby Area
After lunch our skipper takes us on a leisurely cruise through nearby Cyclone creek. The boat meanders through mangroves teeming with marine life and home to a few saltwater crocs. We can only marvel at the surrounding rock formations and the stunning reflections that are cast in this crystal-clear water paradise.
All too soon it is time to board our sea plane for Derby. The flight path is low and treats us to breathtaking views of the Buccaneer Archipelago. My day ends with the 2-hour return drive to Broome, allowing me time to reflect on the day. The Broome to Horizontal Falls tour has etched another unforgettable experience in my memory.
Read about the stopover in Broome here – Broome – A Completely Different Experience
Read about our Top 5 Places to Visit in Western Australia