The ebb and flow of the largest tropical tides in the world form the beating heart of the Kimberley. You can set your watch by the daily rise and fall of the Kimberley’s oceans and rivers, and for local residents and visitors alike, the rhythm of daily life moves with the tides. It signals when to go fishing, when to see exposed reefs and rock formations and when to enjoy that perfect beach swim. It’s also one of the main reasons why the region produces some of the world’s most coveted pearls.
A visit to the coastal town of Derby is one of the best places to see the huge variation between high and low tide, and is easily visible from the town’s wharf. 2017 will see the year’s highest tide in Derby reach a whopping 12.02 metres on April 29.
Kimberley beaches are washed daily by the tides, revealing kilometres of pristine sand at low tide, perfect to stroll or laze on.
On very low tides in Broome, visitors are able to walk out from Town Beach on Roebuck Bay and see the remains of Dutch Catalina flying boats, which were bombed during the Second World War in March 1942.
Further north, where Montgomery Reef stretches for 300 square kilometres across the Indian Ocean, you’ll find a series of mini waterfalls at low tide, where sea water cascades down the walls of the exposed reef.
The Horizontal Waterfalls at Talbot Bay is tidal trickery at its best. As the white tidal waters rush through the narrow cliffs, they create two horizontal waterfalls flowing into the open ocean.
The view from Five Rivers Lookout in the historic port town Wyndham is one of the best in the Kimberley. Looking out across the vast expanse of Cambridge Gulf, you’ll see the unique colouration of its waters, created by the daily movement of the tides and the rivers that flow into the gulf. See if you can spot all five.
How to get there:
Derby tides: The town of Derby is 220 kilometres north of Broome on the edge of King Sound. Easily accessed by sealed road, Derby is the western gateway to the epic Gibb River Road 4WD adventure. Cruises and scenic flights also depart from Derby. For more information contact the Derby Visitor Centre
Montgomery Reef: Sitting between Camden Sound and Collier Bay, the reef forms part of Lalang-garram/Camden Sound Marine Park and is accessible by cruise or scenic flight.
Horizontal Falls: Located in the Buccaneer Archipelago, the falls can be viewed all year round from the air on a scenic flight from Broome or Derby (not accessible by vehicle). A cruise or float plane will get you closer for a thrilling boat ride through the rushing white water.
Town Beach: The town of Broome sits on the edge of Roebuck Bay, and Town Beach is easily accessible by car or bus.
Pearl farms: You can see how pearls are produced in the clear Kimberley waters at Cygnet Bay and in Broome.
Wyndham: The northern-most town in Western Australia is accessed via the Great Northern Highway.
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