Mitchell Falls in the Kimberlies
This is (was) a really nice area to visit.
Was - because too many people visit now - and even helicopter rides...
Probably the best time now is to go just after the wet when the crossings are still deep enough to scare off average-joe.
These pictures are from a trip in 1984 when the Mitchell Plateau had yet to get too much fame. Hence there were very few people visiting at that time. We spent about 1 week camped at the track end (about 1 hour hike to the falls shown in the pictures below) and about 1 week down at Port Warrender (at Walsh Point). Walsh Point has a tiny creek with fresh drinking water - quite a find considering that it overlooks large inter-tidal mudflats and mangroves. During our time at the falls and Walsh Point we saw about 4 other vehicles.
At that time there was a bauxite lease active (AMAX since 1965) and a husband & wife team as the caretakers (to keep the lease active). Interesting people, they actually stayed there through the wet season - completely cut off by flooded rivers. Their only contact was fly in via their dirt runway - when it wasn't bogged completely. The husband was my kind of guy - gave us permission to shoot a calf for food and any other nasty creatures that we encountered - he didn't like the crocs up there either (at Port Warrender).
This is a picture attempting to catch all four levels of the main falls. It's always hard to get a size perspective, but trust me they are quite large and spectacular. The second last picture gives some idea of the size of a person, from which you can get some idea of the scale of this picture. It is possible to climb down to the large pool level from the far top right area (not visible in the picture), if you aren't scared of heights. You just need a rope to drop down 7' or so from which the rest is just steepish rock...
Similar picture, but taken in 1987 - a little later in the season and a little less water going over the falls.
The following picture catches the lower fall that can be partially seen in the above picture at the bottom left. This view is from a slide area, takes a bit of work to reach it, but it allows you to hike all the way down to the bottom. Nice swimming and some fishing. We caught a few small fish and made a fire down there and cooked them up for lunch.
Another shot from our 1987 trip. This one gives you some size perspective. That's my mate at the top of the last tier and no, he didn't do a tarzan over the falls.
The following picture is of me down at the lower falls. You can actually walk under and behind them - there is a hollowed out area right at the back of the falls. I wouldn't want to be here in the wet season! This is right at the beginning of June. The weather is brilliant, 30°C most days - perfect swimming temperature!
On our 1984 trip we met and talked with a guy that used to be the butcher at the basecamp when the lease was active and the geologists etc were actively exploring the area. He was planning to hike about 10k or so down from the Mitchell Falls to another set of falls. That has always stuck in my mind and it's been a trip that has always remained as a goal for some future date. Though I was intrigued how he planned to do it since the whole area that we'd seen was quite a hiking challenge.
On my third trip to the Falls in the early 90's we followed the creek feeder to the falls but took the wrong branch and after a small distance climbed out of the dry creek bed and discovered easy walking and relatively clear open fields. We walked several kilometers down river (about 1k in from the river, on the east side) and the terrain remained the same - quite a pleasant change. For people that have been to the Mitchell Falls area, you are aware just how tough the walking is there - lot's of rocks, boulders and tall grasses. Having discovered this clear area, I'm quite confident that prepared with a backpack a detailed topo scan and a GPS it would be an easy and enjoyable hike down to the lower falls - and you would have the place to yourself!! Plan to spend a couple of days doing it and sleep over at the lower falls.