The Big Lap - Derby & Horizontal Falls



Sculpture in the Marsh.  More about that later.

Derby was hot!  Thank goodness for air-con.  The infamous Gibb River Road starts here.  There are many other reasons to visit Derby.  The Prison Boab Tree, the Dinner Tree, the longest water trough in Australia, Sculptures in the Marsh and the Horizontal Falls just to mention a few.

We found the Spinnafex Hotel in town to be the best place for a coldie and feed, being nice and big and spacious with friendly backpacker staff.

It's interesting to learn that Derby has humungous tides with the difference sometimes between low and high tide being around 11.8 metres.  

We stayed at the Caravan Park in town.  The resident white peacocks visited us every day and were even enquisitive of Tookie.  There is another caravan park just out of town that is adult only and secured by a fence and gated every night.  That is because the local Aboriginals are on the prowl every night to see who they can rob.  Sad isn't it.  There was a lady in our caravan park that got robbed.  So we made sure that we locked everything at night, windows and all and stuck the air-con on.



Quite an amazing big boab tree thought to be about 1,500 years old.  It was used to lock up the Aboriginals on the way to Derby for sentancing.



This is where the Drovers brought their cattle to wait for shipment.  They would have their dinner here and when ready, walk across the mud flats to deliver their cattle to the dock.

When you look out over the mud flats to the horizon it looks like water in the distance.  That's a mirage.  This is a hot and dusty place during the winter months.  In summer it's hot and wet.  The only seasons here are dry and wet.... amongst the heat.

You'd have to be a hard nut to live here I reckon.  Or insane.



Located at the Boab Prison Tree, this is the longest water trough in Australia.  It was used as a water point for the cattle before shipping.  



This tour should be on everyone's bucket list.  It is up there with the best that we have ever done.  Words cannot describe it - gobsmacked, awe struck, jaw dropping... to name a few. 

We booked it in Broome.  It can be done from Broome or Derby.  The reason why we chose Derby is that the tide was higher.  It seems that tides up north vary so much that there is quite an emphasis on watching out for them.  Bit like us watching the weather temperature on a daily basis.  Anyway the Horizontal Falls are very much based on the tides.  I will try to explain later.

This is a unique phonomenem found only here in the Kimberely and one of the world's greatest natural wonders.  The falls are located in a place called Talbot Bay which is above Broome and Derby.  We flew 45mins from Derby and landed in the bay beside a pontoon.  You can also stay overnight which a lot of people that we met in our caravan park were doing.

David Attenborough was enchanted by the gushing waters here.  He said they are unusual, almighty and one of a kind.  So true.

Our Caravan Park

Mud flats each side of town



As I said before, the falls are dictated by the tides so when we arrived we had coffee and cake or biscuits and then straight out on the fast boat that you see above to hit the falls. 

However I will leave the best until last and make you wait. 😋

Once back we were given time to change into our swimming costumes to swim beside the sharks and watch them feed.  Of course the swimming area was protected.  Hubby chose to do this.  I decided to take shots from the safety of the pontoon above.  The shark video below was taken by hubby who didn't last too long in the water but came back up on the pontoon to shoot GoPro footage from above.

I like my funny photo of the upside down shark showing his gummy teeth. 😁
These sharks are wild and came in when the commentator banged on the side of the pontoon.

Sea planes were coming and going and I managed to capture some good video footage. 




After the shark feeding frenzy we boarded the boat again.  This time for a cruise up the creek.  Cyclone Creek is named after being a hiding place from cylones.  It is a sheltered area with a small opening like the openings in the falls, however does not have the tidal rapids like the falls. 

Our guide told us that every year after the falls season, the whole pontoon is disassembled into 6 pieces and transported to Cyclone Creek and left there to hopefully survive until next season.  

Our guide also told us interesting information about the iron ore in the area.  See video below. The stunning rock colours and vein like patterns are due to pure iron ore found here.  

The last 2 photos are of the Kimberely Desert Rose which only flowers about 3 weeks every year.
We were lucky enough to see this. 

By the time we got back, we were hungry.  Well they put on a great feast of fresh barra and salads.  Unfortunately, there was no beer.  A coldie would have been good at this point in time.



And now for the star of the show!  

We did 2 fast rides to the Horizontal Falls.  One at the beginning and one after Cyclone Creek and lunch.  That is what made it worth the money.  They packed in so much adrelenin.  And the second time at the falls was pure adrelenin!  

The boat had 3 motors and I don't know what thrust, but it powered through the big opening easy and then the little opening.  The second time though, we did not do the small opening because if we had have gone through that, our guide advised that we would be waiting a further 2 hours for the tide to change to get back out.

Some stupid person asked do they do white water rafting here?  Are you serious?!!
No, the guide responded that if they did..... they would just die.

Because of the tides and small openings in between the gorges, the water rushes at 30 knots resulting in horizontal waterfalls on either side.  The water flows both ways twice each day.  We could certainly feel the power here.

And what a rush!!  Wow!!  Then there was the dangerous bit!  As if we had not have had enough danger so far.  No....  we entered the falls backward and just hung there, experiencing the loud rush of the water and thrust of the motors holding us there.  What a thrill!  Our guide certainly knew what he was doing and I made sure that we all clapped loudly when we got back.  

I got a pic with him as well.  What a hero!  😉



I sat behind hubby.  That was probably a bad move.
Most of my video was ruined by hubby's big head and GoPro in the way.

In the video below,  the last footage is hubby's.  I had to remove the sound because the GoPro was out there in the wind.



On the way back to Derby our sea plane pilot gave us an arial view of the falls.  He flew over both directons so that we could take pictures from our side of the plane

Boab Runway - Derby

I just want to say a big Thank You shout out to the crew of the Horizontal Falls Sea Plane adventure.  They are professionals who obviously love their job and so knowledgeable.  There wasn't a question they could not answer.  Keep up the great work guys!

You guys rock!! 



This is a relatively new attraction to lure more tourists to Derby.  This is the work of local artist Mark Norval.  There are 4 sculptures that are erected on the marsh lands surrounding Derby.  They work the best when taking sunset shots.

When we were there a dude was flying his drone and as you will see from the video below, we were not too bothered.  We learn't later that this was an aquaintence of Mark who was using drone footage to assist him in advertising his sculptures.  Guess we may be famous one day on drone camera lol.



As if the above is not enough.  Just think of a sunset where there is no cloud.  Yep, that is when a big shiny red ball descents on the horizon.  

Next day I decided to walk down to the back of the van park to check it out.  Just what everyone loves, a big ball of flame going down in the distance.

Unfortunately between me and the big red ball was a high fence.  So I had to engage my photography technical skills and hit manual mode to focus on the sun.  That way, the fence obstruction should disintergrate.  Not quite.  You can see it on the right hand side of my photos.  

But shhhhh, if I had have not told you.....  you would be none the wiser, yeh?



And a funny story.

Next day I had a lot to do.  My day went so fast that I was confused as to either I was slowing down, or time was increasing..... or maybe I was entering altimers zone.  I don't know.  

The thing is, I had spent the whole day doing housework, washing, cooking, and working on my Derby page/uploading videos etc.  I was just beginning to see the light when hubby suggested that we go try out the drone over the sculptures at sunset.  Well I had not planned to fit that into my busy retirement schedule lol.

Anyway, down we went.  

I was busy taking some awesome shots and hubby had got the drone working but was having trouble videoing.  It seems that he could take still shots but had not worked out the video mode yet.

In between that dilema, a nice lady and young daughter and dog came along and we started chatting about local life in Derby.  I learnt a lot of info and we were getting along real well.

Just at that moment I heard hubby yelling that he had lost the drone!....  Groan!!!  Lol.
We all ended up walking around the savannah grasses and mud flats looking for our drone that had crashed landed because the wind had picked up.  

Finally, hubby spotted a light in the distance.  Thankfully the drone was still giving off light and we had almost entered into darkness so that he could see the light.   Phew!  After a few desperate minutes, we finally were releived to have the mini dji back and in order.  Hugs and thanks all round.

So here are my photos before chaos erupted.  



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