Mitchell Falls, a spectacular series of 4 waterfalls, is the main natural attraction of the Mitchell Plateau
region. It is accessed via the Mitchell Plateau
Road that heads in a westerly direction off Kalumburu
Road in the northern Kimberley
. The main walk to the head of the Mitchell Falls is 5km one way, taking about 1½ hrs from the campground. The walk is not difficult, but quite long given that once you've made it there you have to turn around and come back. Along the walk, you can stop to swim in Little Mertens Falls (now renamed to Mertens Falls), Big Mertens Falls (now renamed to Mertens Gorge) and other rockpools.
The alternative is to walk one way, and take a helicopter flight the other (bookings are required and can be made at the campground). Although there are no permanent buildings or infrastructure
, the level of tourism is so high that during the 4 month peak season a heli-flight service operates from a temporary base, giving 4WDrivers the opportunity to get up above the trees and escarpment to view this incredible area from the sky. No trip to the Kimberley
should be done without getting up in the air, whether by plane or helicopter. The unique aspect of this particular heli-flight however, is that it is a "no-door chopper", giving unobstructed views and an exhilarating 'wild thrill’. Flights by plane are also available from Kununurra and Drysdale River Station
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The Mitchell River is a massive channel of water that flows through an ancient gorge from the Admiralty Gulf and there are a number of good waterfalls that can only be accessed on foot or by air.
The plateau is rugged with slopes, escarpments and eroded joints that have created narrow and deep gorges containing waterfalls and permanent pools. The most striking living feature on the rugged sandstone and volcanic plateau is the Livistona Palm, evidence of a past rainforest period. From the air, you can see the varied terrain of the Mitchell Plateau
as it changes from dense valleys, 200 metre-high escarpments, narrow gorges, rivers and falls and slopes that run out to tidal mudflats along the coast.
From the ground, the sandstone plateau and tropical climate makes vehicle access challenging and seasonal in a remote and rugged area with little facilities. It's important to note that firewood is not to be collected within the boundaries of the national park reserve. Signs indicate where firewood can be collected on the way in and there's plenty of it! Bring an axe.