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Tour boats will be banned from traversing Horizontal Falls in the Kimberley

Sir Richard Attenborough called the Horizontal Falls one of the world’s greatest natural wonders
The West Australian government will ban boats from traversing the Horizontal Falls, 250 kilometres north east of Broome in Talbot Bay on the Kimberley coast.

The ban will come into effect for all tour operators from 2026, except for Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures which will be allowed to continue operating until its licence expires in 2028.

Tour operators will still be able to access the waters and airspace surrounding the falls after the ban is in place.

Accident and sacred area

The move follows an accident in May 2022 when a boat crashed into rocks, seriously injuring some passengers, and a push by the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation to stop the boat pass tours on a sacred area.

‘This decision reflects the government’s dual responsibilities to respect the cultural views of traditional owners and the need to protect and support WA’s tourism industry,’ Environment Minister Reece Whitby said.

One of the world's great natural wonders

The Horizontal Falls are a powerful tidal flow rushing through two narrow, closely aligned gorges, creating a horizontal waterfall effect.

They were described by Sir Richard Attenborough as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.