JULY 2023 ISSUE
IF YOU’RE looking for something beyond memorable, the natural phenomenon of Horizontal Falls is it.
There’s something magical about flying over the Kimberley coast. The colours are simply dazzling as they morph from sandy white beaches being kissed by an aquamarine ocean, to the deep, leafy greens of forested land, slashed by ochre roads.
Soaring over the Buccaneer Archipelago, tiny islands punctuate the multi-hued ocean and mangroves seem to drift on the waves, they stand so distant from the shore. Blink and the scene changes in a slideshow of natural splendour.
Horizontal Falls isn’t accessible by vehicle; instead, take off from Broome, Derby or Cygnet Bay with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, Australia’s most awarded adventure tour operator.
As you soar in a seaplane over Talbot Bay, witness rippled land that looks as if it’s been lifted from The Lord of the Rings.
The Traditional Owners, the Dambeemangarddee peoples, believe much of Dambeemangarddee Country was created by the writhing actions of a female Woongudd Snake. The undulations in the landscape bear witness to this creation story.
As you circle over the Horizontal Falls, whirlpools of white, swirling water provide clear evidence of the power of the tide as it squeezes through the two gaps in the ridges of the McLarty Range like air whooshing to freedom from the neck of a balloon.
Sir David Attenborough wasn’t wrong when he described this as one of the world’s great natural wonders and after your adventure with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, we’re sure you will too.
This isn’t the end of the journey, though. On an overnight package with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, the aerial view of the Falls is just the start.
The seaplane glides across the surface of the water, pulling up at the main pontoon, which sits in the middle of Talbot Bay. Framed by a rocky escarpment with a mantel of greenery that tumbles to the water’s edge, it’s a rather spectacular place to land.
Zip through the aquamarine waters of Talbot Bay on a boat ride, salt on skin and excitement in the air.
Fast-moving tidal currents rush beneath the boat, squeezing through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range to create the horizontal waterfall effect. This is nature’s magic at play.
The rest of the day is packed with adventure, whether it’s taking a low-level heli-flight, cruising down Cyclone Creek, watching for crocodiles lurking in the mangrove fringe, fishing for dinner or taking a dip in the pool at the marine viewing platform, sociable tawny nurse sharks gliding passively close on the other side.
While you can explore Horizontal Falls by day, the best way to experience Talbot Bay is to stay overnight.
As the day sinks towards the horizon and a blanket of stars scatters across the night sky, dinner is served.
Staying on the main pontoon, there’s an al-fresco barbecue on the outdoor deck, local barramundi as the star.
At Jetwave Pearl, the luxury overnight houseboat, it’s a more refined affair, a private chef dishing up a three-course menu to delight even the most refined palate.
Lulled to sleep in the private air-conditioned cabin, morning creeps in like a watercolour painting, gentle pinks and soft blues heralding dawn.
By the time breakfast is done, the cliffs have turned ochre, glowing in the burgeoning sunlight, providing a final spectacle as a Kimberley-style farewell.
Then it’s one last flight, taking you over and above; one final opportunity to witness the untouched beauty of this part of the country; one last moment to sear this moment into your memory.
This is what overnight at Horizontal Falls is all about – sheer wonder.
To soar, cruise and stay with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, see horizontalfallsadventures.com.au