The Kimberley in Western Australia is unique because, unlike most other areas in the world, very little geological activity has occurred since the rock layers were formed. The last period of intense mountain building in the Kimberley was 1700 million years ago.
The Kimberley is one of Australia's most remote and hidden treasures. It is a vast and complex landscape that encompasses rugged ranges, dramatic gorges, impressive seasonal waterfalls and cave systems, pockets of lush rainforest and a diversity of wildlife. Wild and wonderful, the Kimberley is one of the last wilderness areas of the world.
The Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia is isolated and largely untouched. It covers an area of approximately 423,000 square kilometres. Its almost twice the size of the State of Victoria, and three times the size of the United Kingdom. There are only three towns with a population over 2,000 - Broome, Derby and Kununurra - making these towns major supply centres for the region. Perth is more than 2000 kilometres from Broome.
Culturally rich, approximately 40 percent of the population in the Kimberley comprises Indigenous people, which represent more than 30 language groups and several Native Title areas.
We visit Balanggarra country. This area in the far north includes attractions such as Cape Londonderry, King George River and Falls (Oomari), the Berkeley River and the township of Wyndham.
Balangarra country is home to the oldest known rock painting, dating 17,000 years old.
We also visit the lands and waters of the Wunambal Gaambera people on the north-west coast of the Kimberley. Such locations as the Hunter River (Yirinni), Careening Bay (Wunbung-gu) and Winyalkan Island. You may also fly over Mitchell Falls (Punamii-Uunpuu).
Dambimangari country stretches from King Sound, Camden Sound and Montgomery Reef across the islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago through to Horizontal Falls. Other popular locations that we often visit include Ruby Falls and Crocodile Creek.
Visitor Passes are required in many areas.
Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout the Kimberley and recognise their continuing custodianship of the land, waters and culture for over 40,000 years. We pay our respects to them and their elders past and present. We are privileged to learn from them in the way we care for and share these special lands.
Montgomery Reef, between Camden Sound and Collier Bay, is a particularly outstanding, biologically diverse coral reef covering some 300 square kilometres. Montgomery Reef is remarkable for its diversity of marine life, as well as the tidal changes – often over eight metres (the second biggest tidal change on Earth) – that create this spellbinding spectacle.
The spectacle of Montgomery Reef emerging from the sea at low tide, the water cascading from the reef top, and the abundant wildlife that is regularly observed, is a truly amazing sight. When the tide recedes, the coral reef appears to rise from the ocean in a torrent of cascading water and a plethora of marine life makes its escape. The Marine Park is home to six species of threatened marine turtles, Australian snubfin and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, dugongs, saltwater crocodiles and several species of sawfish.
The marine park is the most important humpback whale nursery in the Southern Hemisphere. Whale species recorded in the marine park include the humpback whale, the minke whale and the false killer whale. From June to November each year humpback whales migrate from their Antarctic feeding grounds to their breeding grounds in the Camden Sound. The warm, shallow waters are ideal for newborn humpback calves. It’s believed up to 20,000 whales make the annual migration to the Kimberley Coast.
The reef was named in 1818 by Philip Parker King after the ship surgeon aboard the Mermaid, Andrew Montgomery.
Montgomery Reef, in the Lalang-garram/Camden Sound Marine Park, is one of the most spectacular places in the Kimberley. Covering some 300 square kilometres across the Indian Ocean, and 15 kilometres from shore, Montgomery Reef, (Yowjab) dramatically rises from the middle of the ocean as the 10-12 metre tide recedes. Birds circle overhead looking for easy prey as gushing rivers of seawater form waterfalls rich with marine life. This phenomenal sight was described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.”
“In the north-west of Australia is the remote and fascinating region of the Kimberley. It has a jagged coastline with many inlets that reach deep inland. The tide sweeps into them with amazing speed and ferocity,” chimes the familiar voice of David Attenborough in the 2002 BBC documentary Great Natural Wonders of the World.
“Talbot Bay forms part of one of the larger inlets,” Attenborough continues. “The inland exit of the bay narrows to 20ft at water level, funnelling the tide as it ebbs and flows. It’s this twice daily event that makes Talbot Bay Australia’s most unusual natural wonder” he exclaims.
There are two horizontal waterfalls in the World, and they are both located in Western Australia in Talbot Bay in the Kimberley.
The Captain takes every group to Horizontal Falls. He will consider the tides and where possible arrange to arrive to provide you with the ultimate experience.
There is an optional extra speedy jet boat ride through Horizontal Falls for those that are seeking more adventure. The Captain makes these arrangements for passengers once onboard Discovery One.
2002 BBC documentary Great Natural Wonders of the World.