The next stop on my fabulous Kimberley cruise was the Hunter River region. Once again, the scenery was stunning and the day was shaping up to be fantastic; clear blue skies, sunshine, light breeze and a helicopter flight!
The Hunter River region is another scenic area of the Kimberley that some argue is the most spectacular river system of the Kimberley coast. This 30km long river is said to have the highest proportion of saltwater crocodiles of any other river in the Kimberley.
The region is home to an immense mangrove system surrounded by soaring red sandstone cliffs. Narrow mangrove channels shelter numerous bird species, mudskippers, fiddler crabs and the infamous saltwater crocodile.
Naturalist Island at the mouth of the river has a stunning stretch of sandy beach that makes a perfect landing site for the small helicopter that was picking me up for the flight over the Kimberley’s vast interior and the beautiful Mitchell Falls. The North Kimberley with its untouched, remote coastline hides its secrets well until you take to the air.
The inland highlight is the famous Mitchell Falls where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the mighty Mitchell River. The view over the gorge is simply spectacular and is a perfect example of the Kimberley region’s most famous and dramatic scenery. The falls are among the most photographed attractions of the Kimberley.
Also known as Punamii-unpuu to the Wunambal people, the falls were carved through sandstone by the waters of the Mitchell River, producing layers of mesmerising emerald water pools from which the waters tumble from one to the next.
At 80 metres tall with four stages of water flow, the Mitchell Falls is truly a sight to behold. Even from a substantial distance away, you can clearly hear the roar of water as it cascades from level to level. Despite the effort required to get to the Mitchell Falls, it is very popular and photographed by thousands of visitors every year. Located in the Mitchell River National Park, you can access the falls in two ways; walk or fly in by helicopter. Whichever way you choose to visit, Mitchell Falls will be an unforgettable experience.
After my morning adventure exploring the plateau and falls it was time to take to the water for some further exploration and some up-close viewing of the famous saltwater crocodile. l enjoyed the afternoon zodiac cruise of the aqua waters, taking in the scenic headlands, cliffs and draining streams from the small mangrove creeks which form spectacular patterns as the water recedes on low tide. The dense and ecologically important mangrove communities in Porosus Creek provide excellent wildlife viewing.
I have travelled to some amazing places around the world but none have amazed me more than the Kimberley – it truly is spectacular.