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David Attenborough, Pat Callinan and the Horizontal Falls

Thanks to Sir David Attenborough the Horizontal Falls have a snazzy name and even locals don’t call them “gaps” anymore. What David Attenborough realised is that these amazing natural occurences require a name that reflects their astonishing and surprising character.

What are these things, you wonder. In the far western part of The Kimberley, on the water’s edge two huge water basins are filled and emptied by the tides. The basins have a tiny access point through which the water gets pushed with up to 40 kilometers per hour (= freaking fast). This swell doesn’t flow across any stones though, in fact these access points are 30 meters deep. In other words, nature has created something that looks like a horizontal Fall when the tides empty the basins.

We decided to use the opportunity and go for a visit. The closest town is Derby, from which we took a little 12 passenger plane to fly up, land near the company’s boathouse, jump on a speedboat and explore the occurrence first hand.

Speedboat racing definitely now rivals helicopter rides for me and on top of the awesomeness of this experience Pat Callinan ( and his film crew were on the same ride as us. This meant instead of traversing through the Horizontal Falls twice we took the journey what felt like 20 times – just to make sure all angles were covered by the camera man.

The locally operated company gave Pat and his film crew a snapshot of all of the highlights (and we were sitting in the same boat, literally). One of the staff introduced Pat to his “pets”, giant Moonfish, which he had trained to take out of the water and feed –  true story! You can watch it on TV at the end of the year when the episode gets broadcasted!

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Little Miss Moi #

    Wow it looks so beautiful, I’m jealous! Were there swimming opportunities, or are stingers / crocs and issue?

    • Yes, it was so tempting to jump in, but there’s sharks and crocs…apparently locals don’t care, but I was too scared!


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