Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park – National Parks of Australia – Cruise Traveller

Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park – National Parks of Australia

Horizontal Falls, the Kimberley – aerial view by Nick Rains – PONANT cruises.

by Noah Patton

The Horizontal Falls Marine Park includes the name “Lalang-garram”. This is the word in Worrorra (one of the Dambimangari native languages) that best describes “the ocean”. That may seem like a mighty title to be given to a marine park, after all how can one park encompass the ocean?

The park contains a diverse seascape, including coral reefs, mangroves, creeks and bays, gorges, rivers and beaches. But that is not what makes it so special, it is the titular Horizontal Falls which give this park the deserving title of Lalang-garram. 

Zodiac speeding through the Horizontal Falls, The Kimberley, Australia – by Silversea Expeditions

Sir David Attenborough did a short piece on the Horizontal Falls, a tidal oddity caused by two narrow channels leading towards Talbot Bay. The tides race through these natural funnels at incredible speeds, and twice daily they change with the tides reversing the flow frighteningly quick. 

Approaching the Horizontal Falls by speedboat – image by Paul Patton

The name Horizontal Falls arises from the speeds that are typically ascribed to normal waterfalls, the narrow inlet with the rushing white-rapid like water looks as if the water is flowing in the same way but horizontally. The raw power is clearly visible, and as Sir David Attenborough puts it “ […] are a compelling reminder of the colossal power of the ocean’s tides”.