Tides of the Kimberley

Kimberley Coast Giant TIdes

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.

Tick it off your bucket list with:

Willie Creek Pearls 

Willie Creek Pearls
The water colour at the Willie Creek Pearl Farm has to be seen to be believed. Book your tour to see this azure blue for yourself. More information and bookings. 

Berkeley River Lodge 

Berkeley River Lodge
In one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth, the ultimate Kimberley adventure and refined indulgence awaits. More information and bookings. 

Aurora Expeditions Kimberley Cruising 

Aurora Expeditions 

From the thrilling currents of the Horizontal Waterfalls to Montgomery Reef’s magical wonders that appear at low tide, the Kimberley’s tidal phenomena are not to be found anywhere else on the planet. See it all on Aurora Expeditions small-ship coastal adventures! More information and bookings. 

Cygnet Bay Pearls 

Cygnet Bay Pearls
Have you ever seen a waterfall in the ocean? Discover the rush of the largest tropical tides at Cygnet Bay. More information and bookings.


Where the rivers meet the sea. The 12m tides in Wyndham result in astonishingly beautiful patterns in the mudflats. View them on an epic helifishing adventure. More information and bookings.

Broome Hovercraft Tours - Sunset 

Broome Hovercraft
Experience Roebuck Bay’s famous Dinosaur footprints, the extraordinary marine ecosystem and the incredible tidal movements by hovercraft. More information and bookings. 

Horizontal Falls scenic flight 

Kimberley Aviation
Fly our full day Giant Tides air safari showcasing the Horizontal Waterfalls, the Buccaneer Archipelago, Cape Leveque & the Giant Tides fast boat tour at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm (meals, fast boat tour, pearl farm tour & swim included!). More information and bookings.

Kimberley Air Tours Buccaneer Arch 

Kimberley Air Tours
Discover the amazing Horizontal Waterfalls and Buccaneer Archipelago on our 2.5hr air tour from Broome! More information and bookings.

Absolute Ocean Charters 

Absolute Ocean Charters
Enjoy outstanding fishing on a Half or Full Day fishing charter aboard our 65ft vessel Contessa C! More information and bookings.

Horizontal Falls Seaplanes 

Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures
An adventure you’ll never forget! Witness the incredible Horizontal Falls, travelling by land, sea and air. More information and bookings.

Best of the Kimberley 

Best of the Kimberley
Experience the stunning effects of the tides on the Kimberley coastline, including the phenomenal Staircase to the Moon. More information and bookings. 


Wandjina Tours 

Wandjina Tours
Remote, unique and authentic. Ecotourism meets Aboriginal culture. Experience Montgomery Reef and it’s tidal waterfalls with us. More information and bookings.

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