5 Must See Wet Season Waterfalls In Kununurra, The Kimberley Region - Western Australia

Wet season is the most beautiful time of year to visit the East Kimberley in Western Australia, and Kununurra is the perfect location to base yourself for your tropical summer adventures. The typical tourists visit during the dry season, but if you want to experience this jaw-dropping part of Australia at it's best, with waterfalls, and lush greenery galore, this is what you need to know!

Where is Kununurra, and when is the best time to visit?

Kununurra is located approximately 2220km Northeast from the Perth, and it will take a 3.5hr flight, or around 3 days driving to reach by car from Perth.

Wyndham is another nearby town, 100km to the west of Kununurra. Other nearby landmarks include Lake Argyle, and the Northern Territory/Western Australia border. Kununurra is the perfect base to explore the East Kimberley, with easy access to many incredible natural attractions.

The best time of year to visit Kununurra will depend on how you would like to experience the Kimberley.

- Between November and March is the wet season. The days are warm (temperatures often in the mid to high 30's)  and humid, however with this humidity comes rain, and with rain comes waterfalls! With the warm temperatures & abundant crystal clear swimming holes looking so inviting, you will need a lot of will power not to dive in! If you want to experience the wet season waterfalls in full force it is generally best to visit between mid-late January & early March.

- Between April and October is the dry season, and the main times when tourists flock to see the natural wonders of the Kimberley. The temperatures are pleasant and sunny days consistent.

Each season has it's pros & cons. For example, with the dry season weather being so predictable, and all of the main natural attractions open to the public, you're unlikely to experience the same serenity as you would in the wet season. The town of Kununurra can become very busy (borderline overrun) with visitors in the dry season. Visitors in the wet season will need to have more tolerance for the high temperatures and a sense of adventure, but the unique experience of having a secret tropical oasis all to yourself is worth it to me! If you agree, read on!

How accessible are the waterfalls?

There are so many waterfalls in the East Kimberley during the wet season and accessibility varies greatly. For the purpose of this guide I will only be including locations that are achievable to most people. If you are adventurous enough it is easy to find your own waterfall for the day with some off-track hiking, but it is important to be respectful of the environment and potentially culturally sensitive areas in the Kimberley. As a general rule, if you're not sure whether you should be somewhere, then you don't go!

A good level of hike fitness and a 4x4 vehicle is recommended for the best Kimberley experience. You don't need to be running marathons, but if you have never been hiking before, you may struggle to visit and enjoy some of the locations mentioned.

Here are 5 waterfalls in Kununurra that are safe to swim at! Ordered in easiest to access (No. 5) to most difficult (No. 1) in this guide.

If you intend on flying to Kununurra and hiring a vehicle, I can highly recommend both Kimberley Adventure Hire and Dirt Trax Campers. Both have well equipped 4x4 vehicles that will get you anywhere you need to go, even in the wet season!

5 Must See Wet Season Waterfalls In Kununurra.

5. The Grotto

The Grotto is the easiest waterfall to access in the East Kimberley, with a sealed road taking you all the way there!

It is located 45 minutes West of Kununurra. Follow the Victoria Highway (signs to Wyndham), until it turns into the Great Northern Highway, and then turn left onto Grotto Road. There is no toilet or facilities at The Grotto - closest facilities are at the Cockburn Rest Area (intersections of Great Northern Highway & Victoria Highway).

When you arrive there is a "carpark" at the top, easily enough room for 10 cars or so (it doesn't usually get that busy), with roadside parking an option if need be. You will be at the top of the falls and there is a viewing area on the side of the gorge, along with a steep rocky staircase to take you to the base of the falls.

The Grotto is one of the first waterfalls to start flowing in the monsoon season, and one of the last to dry up (it sometimes keeps flowing a little into the dry). It is considered safe and free from saltwater crocodiles by locals and tourism to swim in the large pool at the bottom of the falls.

The large waterfall at The Grotto is a two-tiered cascade with a beautiful freshwater pool at the base. If you are lucky to visit after some heavy rain, there are sometimes multiple waterfalls flowing into different parts of the gorge!

Other sources state that the height of the falls is 120 metres, but that is not true. I would estimate it to be much closer to a 30 metre drop, which is still very impressive! See for yourself below. 

4. Molly Springs

Molly Springs is a 28 minute drive West from Kununurra, along the Victoria Highway. It is signposted on the righthand side of the road (heading away from Kununurra) and a short dirt road will take you into the gravel carpark. If you reach the Cockburn Rest Area (intersection of Victoria & Great Northern) then you have passed the turn off. Turn around & the entry road will be approximately 15km on your left.

This is a great spot for a dedicated trip, or when heading to/from The Grotto. Molly Springs was the first Kimberley waterfall that I ever visited and it is still a must see every time I go! There is a drop toilet & picnic facilities at the carpark.

Molly Springs will flow for majority of the wet season, and if it is a good year it will continue to do so well into the dry season too. The hike in is seriously short at less than 100m, but be prepared to get your feet wet. You actually cross and then walk through the creek (it is very shallow apart from the first crossing). Be prepared for uneven and slippery surfaces.

The small freshwater pool at Molly Springs is completely saltwater croc-safe, you can go for a swim without any fear of this.

3. Black Rock Falls

Black Rock Falls is accessed via Valentine Spring Rd West of Kununurra. Note that the navigation times (google maps suggests 35 minutes from Kununurra) can vary a lot based on recent weather events and how much traffic has used this road. Valentine Spring Road is gravel (usually corrugated) and in the wet season when waterfalls are flowing there will be water crossings to pass.

I only recommend visiting this area in a reasonably well equipped 4x4 vehicle (good tyres for off road driving, decent underbody clearance, and if possible a snorkel fitted). The depth and current of the water crossings can vary greatly, with the most exciting crossing usually being at Valentine Springs.

(PLEASE NOTE - Saltwater Crocodiles are frequently spotted in this particular waterway at Valentine Springs during the wet season! You might see locals splashing in the water here, but why risk it? Especially when there are more inviting and CROC-SAFE waterholes just up the road!)

Access is generally quite easy for anyone with some 4x4 driving experience and knowledge, but if you are unsure you could possibly drive behind someone more confident (just wait, there are often other people driving in this area, on weekends especially!) or book a tour with a local guide instead.

Follow signs to Black Rock Falls and be prepared for a few more wash outs and water crossings on the way into the gravel car park. It's likely that you will spot the large 70m waterfall cascading off of the escarpment on your way in. There is no doubt that Black Rock Falls is the most impressive waterfall on this list, and likely one of the best in the whole Kununurra area!

Once you arrive at Black Rock Falls there is picnic tables with shade but no toilets available. The walk in is only about 150m with a little scramble at the end to reach the bright blue pool, get ready to be in awe! The pool below the waterfall is safe to swim in and usually very fresh if the falls are flowing!

To see this waterfall at it's best you really need to get here quickly after a good amount of rainfall in the area (ideally 1-3 days after a big storm). Unfortunately this also means the water at the Valentines Spring crossing will be deeper, and the current will be stronger than usual. Take care and never attempt to drive through any water you are unsure about. (Don't attempt to walk through to check the depth/current (even though some people do!), there are salt water crocodiles in this area! Let someone else go first if you must)

2. Middle Springs

Middle Springs is accessed via Valentine Spring Rd West of Kununurra. Note that the navigation times (google maps suggests 37 minutes from Kununurra) can vary a lot based on recent weather events and how much traffic has used this road. Valentine Spring Road is gravel (usually corrugated) and in the wet season when waterfalls are flowing there will be water crossings to pass.

I only recommend visiting this area in a reasonably well equipped 4x4 vehicle (good tyres for off road driving, decent underbody clearance, and if possible a snorkel fitted). The depth and current of the water crossings can vary greatly, with the most exciting crossing usually being at Valentine Springs.

(PLEASE NOTE - Saltwater Crocodiles are frequently spotted in this particular waterway at Valentine Springs during the wet season! You might see locals splashing in the water here, but why risk it? Especially when there are more inviting and CROC-SAFE waterholes just up the road!)

Access is generally quite easy for anyone with some 4x4 driving experience and knowledge, but if you are unsure you could possibly drive behind someone more confident (just wait, there are often other people driving in this area, on weekends especially!) or book a tour with a local guide instead.

Follow signs to Mayiba (Middle Springs) and be prepared for a few more water crossings on the way into the gravel parking area. No need to drive fast through the water as all the creek crossings usually have a solid bottom. Again if you are unsure just wait for someone else to go through first.

Once you arrive at Middle Springs there is a picnic table with shade(no toilet facilities), and a large crystal clear freshwater pool at the base of a nice cascade! I highly recommend going for a swim (it is safe to do so) and even hiking up the left-hand (southern) side of the pool to the upper cascades, where the waterfalls and infinity pools are seemingly endless!

1. Spring Creek (Secret Springs)

Last but definitely not least is Spring Creek. Known by the locals as 'Secret Springs', to get here you need to continue on along Valentines Spring Road beyond Black Rock & Middles, the road turns into Parry Creek Rd, keep going until you get to the sign for Spring Creek on the left-hand side (approximately 6.2km from Black Rock Falls.

To reach this destination you need to be well prepared and experienced with a good 4x4 vehicle, there are some deep water crossings (I have had water over the bonnet of my 4x4 in the wet season). It is a slow going, low-range drive, for 9km, usually it takes about 45 minutes from the turn off to reach the pool. There is a picnic bench by a boab tree at the beginning of the trail, you need to keep following the track well beyond this.

This is the sort of location that I would visit once all the other waterfalls start to slow after a few weeks of no rainfall. It flows all year round, so there is no need to rush in after rainfall, and the track is enough without the extra thrill of flash flooding! I highly recommend contacting the visitor centre or talking to a few locals to check conditions before heading in. If you can find someone to go with on your first time visiting that is also a bonus for safety. If anything goes wrong out here there is no mobile service. There are also no toilet facilities.

The reward for this one is well worth the effort to reach it, with multiple freshwater pools lined with pandanus and livistonia palms cascades to explore! This area is also home to what I consider the best natural infinity pool in all of Western Australia!

Thanks for reading!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this Guide to 5 Must See Wet Season Waterfalls In Kununurra!

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Important Notes:

  • I recommend doing your own research and visiting the local visitor information centre for the most up to date information, as the conditions can change quickly in this region.
  • Get the most enjoyment out of your visit whilst staying safe. Prepare for natural hazards (such as weather conditions & wildlife encounters) and other outdoor risks. When swimming check for submerged objects. Only you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.
  • Wear suitable footwear and appropriate clothing to protect yourself during your planned activities..
  • Plan ahead and ensure to take enough food, fuel and water for your journey. It is always recommended to let a responsible person know  your plans and report back into them once you have finished.
  • Stay on the marked trails whenever possible and obey signage wherever possible.
  • Always look after and prioritize the environment. Take your rubbish with you or place in bins if provided. Lack of respect for the environment gets these places closed down & ruins other visitors experience.