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All research & words by our North-West correspondent @alex.vp.photography (give her a follow on Instagram).

It’s peak waterfall time in the North West and with so many waterfalls forming after the recent wet-season rains that are flowing over the red escarpment or carving into deep rocky gorges, it’s truly an impressive sight. It’s no surprise that the Kimberley is home to a host of extraordinary remote waterfalls, from the imposing Revolver Falls to the terraced falls of King Cascades along the coast. While now might be the best time to see them with seasonal waterfalls drying up quickly, many flow year round. Either way we’ve rounded up 10 must-visit waterfalls in the North West for you to pop on your road trip bucket list!

Punamii-Uunpuu (Mitchell Falls)

One of the most impressive and iconic waterfalls in the North West is Punamii-Uunpuu (Mitchell Falls). Comprising of four tiers with pools of deep, emerald-green water, and spilling over a total height of 80 meters, this waterfall is a beauty. Well worth the extra effort to get there, it’s accessed via Kalumburu Road and the Mitchell Plateau Track off the Gibb River Road, or by a scenic helicopter flight. There are a number of vantage spots to view and photograph the waterfall but swimming is not allowed below the falls (not only due to the presence of saltwater crocs, but it’s also a culturally significant place for the Wunambal people). 

 

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Bell Gorge 

A highlight of the Gibb River Road is Bell Gorge, a stunning horse shoe-shaped waterfall. It’s one of the first waterfalls you’ll come across when heading east along the Gibb (from Perth/Derby) and this is a must-stop spot! Swim up to the edge of the top of the falls and enjoy the view of the impressive red sandstone gorge from the infinity pool, or continue trekking on to get the bottom of the falls to soak up the views (and the sun!) from the plunge pool below. Read our full guide here.

 

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Dales Gorge, Karijini

Deep in the heart of the Pilbara you’ll find Karijini; an absolute gem of a national park. While all the gorges are great for exploring and swimming, head straight to Dales Gorge to get your waterfall fix. After clambering down a bunch of stairs you’ll be greeted by Fortescue Falls where the water cascades down the terraced step-like gorge into a deep pool below before continuing downstream to Circular Pool. Follow the trail upstream and you’ll find the picturesque Fern Pool (Jubara); here the small waterfall spills into the crystal clear waters of the lush, small fern-lined pool. There’s no better way to spend the afternoon than swimming over to sit on the rocky ledge behind the falls. Fern Pool (Jubara) is a significant site to the local aboriginal people, and visitors are asked to treat the area with respect.

Read our full guide here.

 

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Garaanngaddim (Horizontal Falls)

Not your typical waterfall! WA is home to the only horizontal waterfall in the world – Garaanngaddim (Horizontal Falls). Located in Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago along the Kimberley coast, the fast moving tides rush through a gap between two narrow gorges creating this natural phenomenon. You’ll need to take a scenic flight or boat ride from Broome or Derby to see it. Horizontal Falls was also once described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”. The site is important to the Dambimangari traditional owners.

 

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The Grotto

You’ll find The Grotto along the road from Kununurra to Wyndham and this fab spot is 2WD accessible. The seasonal waterfall flows into a deep, rocky gorge and natural amphitheatre and it’s an incredible sight to see during, or just after, the wet season. You can access this spot by clambering down 144 steep steps to get to the deep pool below which is a great spot to jump in for a swim year-round (though it can get stagnant towards the end of the dry season). 

 

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Manning Gorge 

You’ll find this beautiful, cascading waterfall about half way along the Gibb River Road. After crossing over Manning Creek, which is just a few minutes walk from the campground, you’ll come across the trail for Manning Gorge. It’s a well marked track (about 6kms return) that leads you to this pristine gorge and waterfall. Spend the day swimming, floating away or plunging into the deep, crystal clear pool. Keep an eye out for Gwion Gwion aboriginal art on the gorge walls as you enter. Manning Gorge is privately owned by Kupungarri Aboriginal Corporation (so National Parks Passes don’t apply here).

Read our full guide here.

 

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King George Falls 

King George Falls is an incredible sight and WA’s highest twin waterfalls. Found along the Kimberley coastline and accessible by a cruise to the King George River gorge or scenic flight, this dual waterfall plunges 100 meters over the sandstone cliffs. The area is culturally significant to the local Balanggarra people, and it’s said that the twin falls are female (western waterfall) and male (eastern falls) Wunkurr/Rainbow Serpents. The tidal waters below at the base of the falls can be home to saltwater crocs, and sharks, and the top of the falls is a culturally sensitive area so no swimming here, but during the dry season boats are able to pull up at the base of the falls for a shower!

 

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Emma Gorge

You’ll find a few fantastic waterfalls at El Questro Wilderness Park, but Emma Gorge is a must-see and it’s easily accessible. Follow the rocky creek and pandanus lined trail for about 45 minutes to the top of the horse-shoe shaped gorge. The water’s cold at the base of the 65 metre droplet waterfall, but it’s worth braving the icy water to float away while watching the droplets cascade slowly down towards you.  While the waterfall’s one of the coldest along the Gibb River Road, there’s a hidden hot spring along the gorge wall that’s well worth searching for (our tip: head there after your icy swim!).

Read here for more things to do at El Questro.

 

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Galvans Gorge

Another Gibb River Road waterfall that’s located not far (about a 30 minute drive) from Mt Barnett Roadhouse and Manning Gorge. This little waterfall has it all: A picturesque boab standing guard at the top of the falls as water tumbles down the escarpment into the deep plunge pool below. If you’re not content with swimming or floating away, there’s also a rope swing in the tree on the right hand side of the pool. Keep an eye out for Wandjina rock art on the escarpment walls. Galvans Gorge is also one of the most easily accessible along the Gibb and it’s only a short walk alongside a water lily-filled creek to reach the waterfall. 

 

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Kununurra based waterfalls: Black Rock Falls & Middle Springs

So, we’re cheating a little here and chucking in a few extra waterfalls at the same time that are all located within a short drive from Kununurra (making the town a fantastic base for a February/March waterfall trip). Thegooyeng (Black Rock Falls), is a towering seasonal waterfall that you’ll need to get in quick to visit during, or at the end of, the wet season to see flowing and jump in for a swim. You’ll need a 4WD to access this spot as well as others also located nearby in the Ngamoowalem Conservation Park where where you’ll find a few other gems including Middle Springs (Mayiba), and Molly Springs. Molly Springs is located just off the highway and not far out of town (keep an eye out for the sign along the highway), this little spring-fed waterfall flows all year round, making it a great little spot to visit on your way to/from Kununurra. 

 

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* Saltwater croc warning:

While we agree there’s nothing better than jumping in for a swim after a hike to check out a waterfall, the Kimberley is home to both estuarine (saltwater) and freshwater (the friendly type) crocodiles. We’ve listed where you’re likely to find saltwater crocs at the waterfalls listed above (so you can keep out of the water and stay safe!) but conditions and the presence of salties can change and if you’re unsure please check before entering the water.