This is sponsored content for APT.
The Kimberley is one of the most remote, most untouched landscapes on Earth, and there's a very real feeling that you have it all to yourself. Especially if you choose to explore this vast and unique region by small ship, accessing natural phenomena that are otherwise tricky to find. This is the Kimberley at its wildest and most powerful. All you need is a way in.
King George Falls
The Location: There's no sight that captures the magic and the grandeur of the Kimberley quite like King George Falls. Even the approach is spectacular, through a corridor of towering red cliffs and moody, deep waters. From the river's mouth at one of the northernmost points of the Kimberley, the King George River snakes 12 kilometres through ruggedly beautiful terrain, where mangrove-fringed coves hide in the river's lees, white water cascades from tributaries, and birds flit through the warm air.
King George Falls. Photo: Shutterstock
The Moment: The best way to get up close and personal to the thundering King George Falls, to hear its roar, to feel the spray on your face, is in a Zodiac. These nimble watercraft allow visitors to appreciate the size and the power of the falls, cruising in below them for an unforgettable experience of what the Kimberley has to offer.
The Location: Though the Kimberley is an area you often think of as being part of the Australian mainland, there are plenty of islands just off the WA coast that provide yet more unique experiences of this beautiful land. One of the best of those is Bigge Island, which boasts more than 5000 years of human history. Lying about six kilometres off the coast, this rocky outcrop is the second-largest island in the Bonaparte Archipelago, a place of weathered sandstone surrounding reef-filled bays, where native mammal species such as monjons, a type of wallaby, and rare northern quolls can be spotted.
Bigge Island Photo: APT Touring
The Moment: The most fascinating sight on Bigge is undoubtedly the Indigenous rock art, which tells stories of the local Wunambal people, including their first contact with European tall ships. A walk through the caves of this island also reveals the mysterious Wandjina figures that have been painted and repainted over 5000 years and are unique to the Wunambal people.
The location: When you conjure a picture of the Kimberley in your mind's eye, this is probably what you see: soaring red cliffs, cascading waterfalls, clear blue skies filled with native birdlife. And this area, around Prince Frederick Harbour, has all of that. And more. There are spectacular rock formations here, and extensive mangrove tracts, as well as a huge range of wildlife that inhabits the area, from crocodiles to mudskippers, through to kingfishers, egrets, herons and sea-eagles.
The Moment: Though the Zodiac is perfect for exploring this beautiful part of the world at ground level, there is another unforgettable way to view the Hunter River Region's main drawcard, Mitchell Falls, and that is with a scenic flight in a helicopter. Soaring high about the falls, you can appreciate the rugged beauty of the Kimberley, as well as the majesty of the four-tiered, 80-metre-high falls.
The Location: Montgomery Reef is a stunning sight, a coral outcrop that rests submerged in the ocean when the tides are high, but is then revealed in its full glory as the waters recede. On a visit to this area there's the chance to cruise through Doubtful Bay, keeping an eye out for whales if the season is right. But it's the reef itself that is one of the Kimberley's great drawcards: this is an area that covers more the 400 square kilometres, and the ebb of the powerful tides here creates lagoons, islets and even mangrove swamps that are invisible when the water is high.
Montgomery Reef Photo: Shutterstock
The Moment: The sight of the ocean receding around Montgomery Reef is one of unique beauty, as countless small rivers form and drain and reveal the vast array of rocky outcrops beneath. The ultimate way to see this phenomenon is aboard a zippy Zodiac, which can take you into the reef itself to see the landscape that is uncovered first-hand.
Talbot Bay, Horizontal Falls
The Location: The famed naturalist Sir David Attenborough once described the Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay as "one of the greatest natural wonders of the world", and it's easy to understand why. This area experiences huge tides of up to 12 metres, which creates a rush of water through narrow gaps in the surrounding gorge, a phenomenon that results in the appearance of a horizontal waterfall. It's a unique natural wonder, and one of the highlights of any visit to the Kimberley.
Horizontal falls in Talbot Bay Photo: Shutterstock
The Moment: It's one thing seeing the Horizontal Falls from afar; and even viewed from above this natural spectacle is amazing. It's another thing entirely, however, climbing aboard a high-powered fast boat and riding right through the torrent. That's an experience available to APT guests, and it's one you won't readily forget.