King George Falls

By May 18, 2019 June 13th, 2019 Australia, Travel Stories
Alan Halliwell

King George Falls

The King George River plunges over an ancient sandstone cliff into tidal waters, creating a truly astounding spectacle and Western Australia’s highest twin waterfalls.

After our amazing flight over the Ord River and Bungle Bungles I thought that it would be difficult for any other natural spectacle to take my breath away.  However, the King George Falls would just emphasise what a special place the Kimberley Coast is and was a precursor of other natural wonders that make a visit to this region genuinely unique.

The river is of high cultural significance to the Balanggarra people, for whom the falls represent the male and female Wunkurr (Rainbow Serpents). Inaccessible by vehicle due to its remote location, the best way to see this inspiring natural wonder is by water or scenic flight.

From its mouth the King George River starts with a sandy shoal leading into thick mangrove country. Soon sandstone canyons appear which climb upward further into the river system. The landscape has a grandeur which is often referred to as the Kings of the Kimberley. The vertical canyons cut into the almost flat plateau and some twelve kilometres from the river mouth the twin falls appear. Fed by wet season rains draining from the Gardner Plateau the cascading torrents eventually fall silent during the dry season.

Alan and I experienced this magnificent scenery whilst on our Silversea Silver Discovery cruise from Darwin to Broome.  Anchored in Koolama Bay which is named after the ship that had been beached there after a Japanese aerial attack during World War II, we set out towards the mouth of the King George River.

On board our zodiacs the exploration upstream to the falls saw us at the face of the twin cascades after weaving through an amazing landscape of near vertical red rock formations that paraded a palate of wildlife including saltwater crocodiles and amazing birdlife, including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite.

The suns reflected gleam from the massive cliff faces was interspersed by brilliant reds and black algae stained ochre. Our expert guides highlighted the birds, crocodiles and geology of the rock structure. The Silversea expedition team had an amazing understanding of the area and were keen to share their extensive knowledge with us.

Alan and I elected to take the two hundred metre climb to the top of the plateau where a breathtaking vista of the river spread below. It was a truly humbling experience to be able to appreciate the immensity of the remote Kimberley landscape.  After the climb to the top we were rewarded with a refreshing dip in the waterholes and not a crocodile in sight!

The challenging decent back down the steep slope saw us on board our zodiac where we refreshed ourselves underneath the cascading shower of the falls when our helmsman noses the zodiac in close and under the splintering water.

It’s pretty hard to find anything more outstanding than this, but!