Walking to the Mitchell Falls with young children?

by Duncan

Having a swim on the way to the Mitchell Falls

Having a swim on the way to the Mitchell Falls

I was reading about Mitchell Plateau. How tough is the walk? It sounds like a great place to get to, but I am a bit worried it might be too much for the kids once we get there (4 and 6 yrs old).

Many other places seem to have a range of walks, so there always seems to be 1-5 km type (short ones) as well as longer all day/overnight ones.

I am a bit worried that we may make the effort to get there but not be able to see anything without forking out for a helicopter ride. Long walks we can choose to turn around and come back on, but really tough walks-very steep up or downhill, scrambling over steep rocks etc. will be impossible with a 4 year old, unless I carry Ella in a backpack child thing (which I’d rather not do).

Response to: Walking to the Mitchell Falls with young children?

Hi Duncan,

You are right to be concerned about that walk. You definitely can't get to the bottom of the Mitchell Falls with the kids. That is mostly a scramble and not a walk, and by then the kids will also be awfully tired.

But most people don't go down there anyway, they just go to the lookout and that is enough. The whole walk is so great, it doesn't matter if you skip the last bit.

The rest of the walk should be ok, provided you start early enough, take many breaks (there are many good places to stop for a swim and picnic). The very last part, after you crossed Mertens Gorge, that is the roughest bit with lots of boulders. You will probably have to carry Ella for that (30 min or so).

The Mitchell River crossing itself could be bit slippery for the kids, but it will be late in the year when you get there. The river would have dropped considerably by then. (But it would be a very real concern early in the season. The river flows fast then...)

The rest of the walk is mostly a path with gentle ups and downs, only a few big steps where you may have to lift the kids down, a few rougher patches where they'll need help.

Of course, I don't know your kids and how much they enjoy that kind of thing. It is a long walk for short legs. But by the time you get to the Kalumburu Road turn off you will know whether they are up to it or not and if they will like it. I think they will.

Also, the drive up there is a great experience in itself. The Edward River campsites and the river there are nice, too, for swimming and exploring. Little Mertens Falls is 15 min from the Mitchell Falls camp site. There is so much more up there than just the famous Mitchell Falls.

Sure, it would be a disappointment if you had to turn around because of the kids, but you won't be driving up there for nothing. It's an awesome area.

General information:
Mitchell Falls
The walk to the Mitchell Falls

Related Reader Pages:
Gibb River Road with small kids
Travelling Through Kimberley With Young Children
Travelling With Children To Broome/Kimberley

Comments for Walking to the Mitchell Falls with young children?

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Feb 22, 2012
Safety of the Walk for Children
by: alicia


We are keen to do the walk with a 4 & 6 year old. They are typical curious children and I am a bit worried about the cliffs and other hazards, e.g. the river crossing? We are planning to do the walk mid July, what are peoples thoughts? Am I stressing too much :)

Feb 22, 2012
Young children on Mitchell Plateau
by: Birgit

You will need to keep an eye on them. As long as they listen and you keep an eye on them it should be ok.

There certainly are areas where you should not let them go off exploring on their own. And there are crossings where you need to hold their hand.
I don't think it's too dangerous. It's an adventure :-)

Mar 13, 2013
Worth the Walk
by: Anonymous

We walked down to the falls with all our 6 kids and the two youngest were 7 and 5. We took them down to the bottom of the falls and they, to this day, say it was the best day of our trip (but the hardest) but anything worthwhile you have to work for.

Mar 11, 2019
I have moderate osteoarthritis in knees
by: Kathy

I have moderate osteoarthritis in both knees and have some pain when getting up out of chairs or with stairs (but all fine if I don't rush). Walking distance is not a problem. I don't require any mobility aides. Would the track to Mitchell Falls be okay for me ?

Mar 12, 2019
Mitchell Falls Hike
by: Birgit

Kathy, that is hard for someone else to judge.
This is not a level walking path, it's a wilderness trail and a long one, requiring lots of stepping up and down over rocks.
So it's not so much about the distance itself but about the rough surface and constant up and down.

However, there are several very nice places along that walk. You could start walking and see how you cope, all the time keeping in mind that you have to cover the same ground again if walking back. You should be ok getting to Little Mertens Falls, it's not that far from the campsite and well worth a visit.

If you do make it all the way to the Mitchell Falls then you can take the helicopter back.

If the whole walk proves too much then you can take the helicopter both ways.

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