The four-tiered Mitchell Falls is an iconic Kimberley attraction, and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Australia.
Also known as Punamii-unpuu to the Wunambal people, the falls were carved through sandstone by the waters of the Mitchell River, producing layers of mesmerising emerald water pools from which the waters tumble from one to the next.
These impressive waterfalls can be viewed by air, or get up close and walk the track to the falls. Whichever way you choose, your visit to Mitchell Falls will be an unforgettable experience.
A great time to see the falls at its peak water capacity is with a scenic flight in February and March. Fixed wing scenic flights operate year round from Kununurra, with seasonal scenic flight tours from Drysdale River Station and helicopter tours from the campgrounds within the national park. Road access is via the 4WD only Kalumburu road and Mitchell Plateau track. A number of extended coach tours to the Kimberley include Mitchell Falls as part of their itineraries, and on some Kimberley cruise itineraries, guests may also take a helicopter trip over the falls.
Hiking the Punamii-unpuu Trail
The Punamii-unpuu walking trail to the Mitchell Falls departs from the trailhead at the campground, where visitors will also find useful rock art and trail notes. The trail is a moderate to difficult 8.6km return walk, requiring some rock hopping and with some areas with little shade. Allow four to six hours for the return journey, including some time spent at the Falls.
There are some attractions along the way, including Little Mertens Falls 800 metres along the trail, and Mertens Gorge with its dramatic waterfall, a further 2.3 kilometres along. Some Aboriginal rock art sites are also located close to the trail, and the trail notes will help to identify and provide some insight on these locations.
Swimming is not permitted below the falls, however there some good swimming spots along the trail itself. Take care when walking, particularly when close to cliff edges.
Helicopter flights to the falls may be booked from the day use area alongside the campground.
The Mitchell Falls is located in the remote but accessible Mitchell River National Park, which encompasses over 1150 sq km of land on the Mitchell Plateau. The Worrora, Wunambal-Gaambera and Ngarinyin people all have traditional lands within the park.
The park is biologically significant, home to over 50 species of mammal, and 86 species of amphibians and reptiles. The area’s tropical savannah habitats are also important for many bird species and over 220 bird species have been recorded.
Another attraction to visit in Mitchell River National Park is Aunauyu (Surveyors Pool), a scenic pool surrounded by blocky layers of King Leopold sandstone. It is located approximately 37 kilometres from the campground, with a moderate 2km return walk to the pool and falls (allow approximately one hour).
How to get there:
Mitchell Falls is located in the remote but accessible Mitchell River National Park in the Kimberley, Western Australia.
Drive: Departing the Gibb River Road, take the 4WD only Kalumburu Road and then the challenging Port Warrender Road to the Mitchell Falls campground carpark. Walk the track to the falls or take a helicopter ride there or back or both ways.
Coach: A number of extended coach tours to the Kimberley include Mitchell Falls as part of their itineraries.
Fly: The option of light aircraft or helicopter gives you a birds eye view of the Mitchell Falls. Scenic flights are available from Kununurra, Broome or from the Mitchell Falls Campground.
Cruise: A helicopter scenic flight from a cruise ship is also an option.