Photos of the famous multi-tiered Mitchell Falls can be found on any Kimberley travel site.
They all look pretty much the same because all were taken from the same lookout point, next to the helicopter landing pad.
Below you can find more Mitchell Falls photos, but also pictures of all the other waterfalls, rock pools and rock art which the helicopter tourists missed when visiting the Mitchell Plateau.
You need to dedicate a few days to this trip. The Mitchell Plateau is well off the beaten tourist path and not easy to get to. And then there is the actual hike to the Mitchell Falls themselves. Ideally you'd have a full day to make the most of that.
Of course, if you don't have the time you can fly to the falls by helicopter. You'll miss most of what I show on this page, but at least you will be able to see the Mitchell Falls for real in all their glory. And even that is worth it.
So lets first look at what you'll see as a helicopter visitor.
As I said above, most every other online picture of the Mitchell Falls was taken from a site near the helicopter landing pad. You can see that well in the photo below. On the right hand side is the helicopter, on the left hand side you see the two middle tiers of the Mitchell Falls.
The following photos give you an impression of what it's like to walk to the edge and then follow the cliff downstream.
(You can only get right to the edge at a couple of marked lookout points.)
Initially you can not see all of the falls, the top tier is hidden behind the rocks.
As you follow the path along the cliff the top tier appears, but now you are further from the edge, so the bottom tier is hidden behind the vegetation.
If you continue and position yourself just right, you can get all four tiers in a picture. Don't worry, you will manage to get a perfect picture. One of the official lookouts is of course in the perfect location for that.
Bored already with looking at a bunch of pictures all showing more or less the same thing?
I would be!
It's the most photographed view of the falls. Because of the way the river winds through the rocks it's impossible to get photos that show all tiers from any other angle.
As impressive as the Mitchell Falls look in those photos, the pictures can not convey the sheer size of the falls and they also can not capture the grandeur of the landscape that surrounds them. Photos are one thing, but actually being there is another.
So if you do come all the way up here, I strongly recommend you do some exploring. Let's do that, and do it properly, starting at the beginning...
Rather than taking the helicopter we take the walk from the campground. Here you see examples of the landscape you will be walking through:
Lots of Mitchell Fan Palms...
... and lots of water and pandanus palms...
The photo below is very typical of the country that you will see: sweeping views of the Mitchell Plateau, steep cliffs, narrow gorges, streams and waterfalls...
(By the way, disregard my footwear. This is a serious hike.)
The first waterfall you come across is called (Little) Mertens Falls, which is not little at all.
Little Mertens Falls is a magical place. It's not far from the campground and it's easy to spend a couple of hours just here.
You can swim above the falls ...
...or sit in the natural spas ...
...or you climb down to the cave below the falls.
Look to your left and high up as you enter the cave so you don't miss the ancient Bradshaw paintings.
Little Mertens Falls is only one of many places where you can stop for a swim on your way to (or back from) the Mitchell Falls. I particularly like this rock pool.
It's great for swimming...
...but also, just like at Mertens Falls, if you keep your eyes open you can find ancient rock art here.
Here is another waterfall you will pass on your way: Big Mertens Falls (now called Mertens Gorge).
You will walk across the top of it to the other side.
Once you reach Big Mertens you realise why Little Mertens is considered little... It's an aweinspiring landscape, isn't it? The whole walk is like that. It leaves you breathless, and not just because you may find it demanding.
It's not long after crossing the top of Big Mertens Falls that you arrive above the Mitchell Falls. You may initially not realise where you are.
Here we are, standing at the Mitchell River, looking right...
... and this is what you see when you look left...
Yes, you are standing right atop the Mitchell Falls!
You will cross the river above the rapids and then make your way past the helicopter landing pad towards the official lookouts.
We already covered the view from the lookouts in exhausting detail, so we could end things here. But there is one more thing...
Few people do, but you can, walk right to the bottom of the Mitchell Falls...
And here we are, standing below the Mitchell Falls. Walking upstream along the right hand side of the river it's possible to get fairly close, close enough to feel the spray drift. (At least when the falls are flowing as strongly as in the photo.)
Below is my mother, well over 60 years of age in that photo, looking forward to hiking all the way back to camp.
Which you don't have to do. Take a helicopter taxi. One-way that's ok. Just don't limit yourself to just the heli flight and the lookout. That wold be a crime.
Go here to learn more about the Mitchell Falls, including how to get there, the campground, more info on the walk etc.
More Kimberley Photos:
More Kimberley Photos: