Viewing the Horizontal Falls from a jet boat is one of the most popular things to do up north in the rugged Kimberley region. Powerful tides of up to 11 meters squeeze through two narrow gorges to form this curious natural phenomenon, which is also one of the top outdoor adventures in Australia. The only way to experience this remote attraction is on an organized tour by seaplane and/or jet boat. Tours usually depart from Broome or Derby and include a scenic flight over the jaw-droppingly beautiful Buccaneer peninsula, a wild stretch of red, cliff-fringed coast washed by turquoise water and dotted with hundreds of tiny uninhabited islands. Tours usually involve a water landing on Talbot Bay; a lunch of fresh-caught seafood; an exhilarating jet boat ride through the falls; and, for the more adventurous, an optional shark swim. Others also include a stop in nearby Cape Leveque, an achingly gorgeous area of wild beaches, blue sea, and vermilion-hued cliffs.
The falls are formed when water pours horizontally through two narrow gorges, about 300 metres (980 ft) apart, in the coastal McLarty Ranges situated within Talbot Bay (Ganbadba) in the Buccaneer Archipelago. The falls occur after water backs up behind the range during tidal flows in each direction, when tides of up to 10 metres (33 ft) regularly occur. The seaward gap is about 20 metres (66 ft) in width, while the landward one is about 10 metres (33 ft). The natural phenomenon is created as seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, creating a waterfall up to 4 metres (13 ft) With each change of the tide, the direction of the falls reverses. The Horizontal Falls have been described by naturalist David Attenborough as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world”. Boats are able to traverse the gap, and thrill-seeking tourists are catered for by several tourism companies.