The Kimberley is home to some of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes – from the endless sweep of sand of Broome’s Cable Beach, the rugged gorges and waterways along the Gibb River Road and the otherworldly rock formations of the Bungle Bungles.
It’s impossible to fully appreciate these landscapes from the ground and a scenic flight is a “must-do” of any visit to the Kimberley. Treat yourself to a helicopter flight or air tour for some jaw-dropping views and new perspectives of these incredible landscapes.
Flights can be expensive, but they are well worth it and are an experience you will definitely remember for the rest of your life.
Helicopter and scenic flights are available at a number of destinations in the Kimberley. The most popular flight tours are at the Bungle Bungles and Mitchell Falls.
Flights are also available over Dampier’s Horiztonal Waterfalls, in Broome and at points along the Gibb River Road.
The thrill of your first flight is something you won’t forget in a hurry, and even for those who are lucky enough to experience a couple of scenic flights, you’ll always come out buzzing with a huge smile on your face!
The Bungle Bungles
Already incredible from the ground, viewing Purnululu National Park from the air elevates this World Heritage area to a whole new level.
Only a very small part of the Bungle Bungles is accessible by land, and it’s not possible to fully understand the scale and size of these spectacular rock formations from the ground.
As you fly over the many gorges that criss-cross the Bungle Bungles you’ll be treated to views of hidden waterways and pools and a unique perspective of the distinctive beehive dome formations along Picaninny Creek. From the air, the colours and natural patterns of the Bungle Bungles are nothing short of amazing!
On longer flights you’ll also be able to view the Valley of the Giants in the remote northern area of the national park. Hidden by their remoteness and inaccessibility, this area is filled with massive versions of the Bungle Bungles’ unique rock formations. It is a truly spectacular and a part of the world that very few people will ever see.
Flights depart from the Bellburn Airfield within the Purnululu National Park, from the Bungle Bungles Caravan Park, Warmum Roadhouse (Turkey Creek) and Kununurra.
Best Flight – the spectacular 42min “Long Look” helicopter flight from HeliSpirit ($495), which takes in every incredible aspect of the Bungle Bungles.
Budget Option – the 18min “Domes Special” from Helispirit ($250).
Operators – Helispirit, Bungle Bungle Expeditions, Kimberley Air Tours
Separating the turquoise waters of Roebuck Bay from the red dirt of the desert, is the pristine white sand of Broome’s Cable Beach. The sparkling water, wide expanse of beach and sunset camel tours have made this one of Australia’s most iconic stretches of coastline.
There’s a wide range of scenic flights available, with most of them departing from the Broome airport. You can take in the view of the town and port before flying north along Cable Beach towards Willie Creek Pearl Farm. As you fly along Cable Beach you’ll be treated to a bird’s eye view of sunbathers and walkers, horses from the Broome racecourse taking a refreshing dip and the spectacular tidal patterns at Willie Creek.
Depending on your budget you can opt for a longer flight along the coast all the way to Cape Leveque. Heli-fishing tours and romantic sunset picnics are also available.
One way trips are the ultimate way to arrive in style and can be arranged to and from Willie Creek Pearl Farm and Eco Beach Resort. Charter flights to Kooljaman and Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm at Cape Leveque are also available.
Extended trips to Dampier’s Horizontal Falls, up to the Mitchell Plateau and even full day tours of the Kimberley and the Bungle Bungles are available.
Best Flight – Try a Romantic Sunset Tour with Broome Helicopters, which includes a luxury picnic and champagne. 40min flying time, 3 hours experience ($575)
Budget Option – Shorter 15min flights which take in the town, port and beach are available from most operators and start from $160.
Something Different – Charter a helicopter for a heli-fishing tour with Broome Helicopters (from $850) or take an extended trip to Cape Leveque and stop for a swim at secluded beaches along the way (2 hours flying time from $990).
Operators – Broome Helicopter Services, Catalina Adventures, King Leopold Air, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, Broome Aviation, Kimberley Aviation, KAS Helicopters
The Horizontal Falls
Described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”, the Horizontal Falls are one of the Kimberley’s most amazing natural features. Located in Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago, a visit here is only possible by air or sea.
Despite their name, the “falls” are actually a fast moving tidal flow through two narrow gorges, and the direction of the water flow reverses with each change of the tide. Massive tidal movements of up to 10m creates a waterfall effect as water banks up against one side of the narrow cliff passage and rushes through the narrow gap in the rock face. At times there can be up to a 4m high waterfall between the bays.
On slack tides, it’s actually possible to drive boats between the narrow passages to the bays behind.
This spectacular natural phenomena is best viewed from the air and most air tours also include a jet-boat tour of the “falls” and the surrounding bays. Overnight stays on a luxury boat are also possible.
From Derby – Day tours start at $695 which includes return seaplane flights and jet boat ride.
From Broome – Day tours start at $745 and include a tour of Cygnet Bay Peark Farm on the Dampier Peninsuar, helicopter flight to the Horizontal Falls and jet boat excursion.
Something Different – for the brave, there’s cage diving with sharks and crocodiles! Or opt for a luxurious and relaxing overnight stay on a luxury houseboat.
Operators – Kimberley Extreme, Catalina Adventures, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, Kimberley Aviation
Western Australia’s highest waterfall, the four-tiered Mitchell Falls are an incredible sight from the air and scenic helicopter flights over Mitchell Falls are very popular.
Flights are offered by HeliSpirit, and the helicopter base is located right next to the national park campground. Flight options range from short tours which offer a quick view of the falls, to more extended trips which also fly over the Mitchell Plateau and Admiralty Gulf.
Many people choose to take a one way flight and be dropped off or picked up by the helicopter at Mitchell Falls. This is the most affordable option and also has the benefit of saving you half the walk!
For those who don’t want to drive into Mitchell Falls, flights are also available from Drysdale Station.
Best Flight – the 48min Coastal Flight along the Admiralty Gulf and upstream following the Mitchell River (from $435)
Budget Option – a 6min one way Falls Transfer flight between Mitchell Falls and the campground ($130)
Operators – Helispirit, Shoal Air/Kingfisher Tours
Gibb River Road
Scenic helicopter flights are available at El Questro and Home Valley stations, giving you an aerial perspective of inaccessible gorges, waterways and ancient landscapes.
Heli-fishing tours are also very popular, with monster-sized barramundi on offer at secret fishing spots!
At El Questro, the most spectacular landscapes accessible by helicopter are the multi-tiered Amaroo Falls and Miri Miri Falls. Flights over the Cockburn Ranges are possible from both El Questro and Home Valley Station.
Operators – El Questro Station, Helispirit
Air tours and flights from Kununurra
The largest town at the top end of the Kimberley, Kununurra is the base for many scenic flight operators.
From here, tours over Lake Argyle and down to the Bungle Bungles can be arranged. Tours over the northern coastline and to King George’s twin waterfalls are also available, as well as extended journeys throughout the Kimberley. Some of these longer trips include land based tours at the destination.
Operators – Kimberley Air Tours, Kingfisher Tours, Shoal Air, Helispirit, Aviair
Complete list of scenic flight companies
|Aviair||East Kimberley tours of the Bungle Bungles & Kununurra|
|Broome Aviation||Scenic airplane tours of Broome, Cape Leveque and extended trips throughout the Kimberley|
|Broome Helicopter Services||Helicopter flights and tours from Broome Airport and Willie Creek Pearl Farm|
|Bungle Bungle Expeditions||Scenic flights operating out of the Bungle Bungles Caravan Park|
|Catalina Adventures||Broome based air tours|
|El Questro||Helicopter tours at El Questro Station|
|Helispirit||Bungle Bungle, Mitchell Falls and Kununurra helicopter tours|
|Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures||Seaplane tours of Broome and Dampier’s Horizontal Falls|
|KAS Helicopters||Broome and Derby helicopter and heli-fishing tours|
|Kimberley Aviation||Airplane tours of Broome and the Kimberley|
|Kimberley Air Tours||Bungle Bungle, Lake Argyle and Coastal Tours|
|Kimberley Extreme||Combined seaplane and jetboat tours of the Horizontal Falls|
|King Leopold Air||Air tours of Broome, Cape Leveque, Bungle Bungles and the Bucaneer Archipelago|
|Kingfisher Tours||Fixed wing aircraft tours from Kununurra and Drysdale Station in conjunction with Shoal Air|
|Scenic Helicopters||Broome and Eco Beach helipcopter tours - helifishing, romance, cultural tours and more|
|Shoal Air||Fixed wing aircraft charter tours from Kununurra|