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.
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. The remnants of when dinosaurs roamed the earth are also uncovered at low tide, along the Dampier Peninsula & Broome coastline.
At high tides, Broome's town centre, known as Chinatown, would once flood including the outdoor cinemas, where patrons would lift their legs to avoid getting wet. At very high tides, you can still witness the tides rolling into town, though no longer as far as the cinemas.
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 seawater cascades down the walls of the exposed reef. Similar at Waterfall Reef reached from Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, where the exposed reefs at low tide create a waterfall in the middle of the sea.
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 of 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.