Our cruise will take you on an awe-inspiring journey to see the Horizontal Falls, a natural wonder known as Garaanngaddim by the Dambeemangarddee Traditional Owners. This ocean phenomenon is created by one of the biggest tidal shifts in the world, which forces itself through two narrow breaks in the Kimberley coastline.
The Horizontal Falls (Garaanngaddim), located within Lalang-gaddam Marine Park in Western Australia’s Kimberley Region, was officially recognised as a sacred site when they were added to Australia’s National Heritage List in 2011.
Why don’t we traverse the falls?
The Dambeemangarddee people welcome visitors to their sacred land, including visiting the Garaanngaddim (Horizontal Falls), however, it is part of their traditional cultural laws and protocols not to travel through the Falls when the tides are rushing through.
The Dambeemangarddee people ask visitors like us to be quiet in this place and not traverse through the gaps.
The traditional owners
The Dambeemangarddee people have cared for their country for thousands of years. As Traditional Owners, the Dambeemangarddee people hold the cultural responsibility to respect ancient protocols and ensure the safety of visitors who venture onto their sacred land. They are Saltwater People who have been living along the coast for more than fifty thousand years.
The Woongudd (Snake)
As senior Traditional Owners have explained, the rushing tide at Garaanngaddim (Horizontal Falls) is ‘the Woongudd (Creator Snake) itself’ and that travelling through the falls at full rushing tide is when ‘the Woongudd is travelling’. Traditional Owners say that it is both disrespectful and dangerous to travel through when the falls are rushing and further, ‘the Woongudd is damaged every time people drive through the gap’. (Lalang-gaddam Marine Park Joint Management Plan 2022)
The path of the Woongudd through Dambeemangarddee Country can be seen on the rocks and land formations. The Woongudd’s scales are in the rock formations around Garaanngaddim and through Dambeemangarddee Country. The Woongudd is still present in the waves, tides and currents of the ocean, islands and reefs. The Woongudd lives in the whirlpools at Garaanngaadim. Woongudd is moving when the salt waters are moving. When the tide slows, Woongudd is at rest.