Horizontal Falls and Cockatoo Island Tour – at $843 it’s not the cheapest tour I have been on but it’s the cheapest way to get anywhere near this region of Australia. It starts with arriving at the airport at 0625, a short briefing and then 13 passengers and one pilot get on the Cessna Caravan, we left at 0705 . Seats are allocated based on your weight and if you weigh over 120 kg you cannot do this tour. They only run these tours when the tide is at least six metres or the water rushing through the gaps will not be very forceful. This week has the highest tides of the month so tours are on every day.
One hour flight and we landed on a dirt strip at the very top of Cockatoo Island (population 7). Off the plane and onto a small 4wd bus to drive to the beach and board a boat for a 70 km trip to the Horizontal Falls which took two hours. The journey took us through Buccaneer Archipelago which has around 800 islands, we saw a crocodile and had brief sightings of dolphins and turtles in the mangroves, a very scenic journey.
Don life jackets and then we were taken through the first gap which is 20m wide and back again several times a bumpy ride which I think would be similar to the rapids in a river. There is a noticeable difference between the water levels on both side of the gap but its not huge. The second gap is only 12m wide and the current is too strong for the boat to get through plus the way the boat get pushed around going through might just mean we crash into the walls and go for an unscheduled swim.
On the way back we stopped in the Mangroves for lunch on the boat and then a small beach on one of the islands. Finally a beer at the Iron Bar on Cockatoo Island and the flight home which took us over the Falls for a view from the air arriving back in Broome at 1700.