Cruising the Kimberley: The Horizontal Falls

The Thirsty Travellers have returned from the trip of a lifetime: a 10-day cruise through the Kimberley aboard the Reef Prince.

The Kimberley is one of the world’s most majestic wilderness regions. Spread over Australia’s vast north-western corner, it’s filled with native wildlife, ancient indigenous art, dramatic rivers and canyons, pristine beaches, waterfalls and freshwater swimming holes.

We travelled aboard the 38-metre expedition vessel MV Reef Prince, which features 18 ensuite cabins, gourmet meals and spacious common areas for relaxation, either in air-conditioned comfort or on deck.

Our trip took us from Broome in Western Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory, with the first day spent at sea and the second dawning in picturesque Myridi Bay. We woke to a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, surrounded by pristine wilderness.

After breakfast, the Reef Prince motored to Dugong Bay, where we clambered into two tenders to gaze at waterfalls and remarkable ochre-streaked sandstone cliffs, before exploring tributaries among the mangroves, filled with crabs waving giant red claws and jewelled kingfishers.

After lunch, the Reef Prince set course for Horizontal Falls (pictured main), in the turquoise waters of Talbot Bay. The falls are named after the fast-moving tidal current that squeezes through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range, pushing the water into rapid-like formations that produce waterfalls turned on their side.

Located in the Buccaneer Archipelago, the Horizontal Falls are not accessible by vehicle, only by boat or seaplane.

We climbed into the tenders again and took turns speeding through the first, narrow set of falls. However, the Captain deemed the second set too dangerous due to the tides.

It was thrilling when our boat became airborne, then crashed down into the tumultuous current. We took two runs back and forth through the falls, before climbing into a support vessel to watch as the next group had their turn on the narrow, swirling channel.

Then we motored upstream to enjoy sunset drinks. Three tenders were tied together in the middle of Cyclone Creek and we sipped complimentary glasses of prosecco as the sun went down, a truly magical experience.

On the way back to the Reef Prince, we asked for one last glimpse of the Horizontal Falls, which were bathed in glorious, dusky light.

After a dinner of butter chicken, we wandered to the back of the boat to watch sharks circling in the water. One crew member even reached out to pat a toothless terror on the head. It was an unforgettable way to end an amazing day.

TOMORROW: Montgomery Reef, described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”. Click here to read more.

Click here to read more about protecting the Horizontal Falls.

The Thirsty Travellers booked their adventure on the Reef Prince with Expedition Cruise Specialists.

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