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Western Australia government to shut down iconic Horizontal Falls tourist experience

by Staff

The Horizontal Falls are just one of the highlights of Western Australia’s Kimberley region. Photo / Tourism Western Australia

One of Australia’s most beautiful nature sites will only be allowing tourist visitors for the next four years, before closing to the public for good.

Horizontal Falls in Western Australia was once dubbed one of the greatest natural wonders of the world by Sir David Attenborough. Now, the state government is phasing out the tourist hub and closing it indefinitely in March 2028.

The move comes as the WA government hopes to “strike a balance between promoting tourism and protecting the environment at the famous tourism attraction”, reports

Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, the marine park’s biggest licensed tour provider, will continue to travel through the large gap of the falls until 2028.

However, all other operators will phase out of their tours and cease at the end of 2026. The water and air surrounding Horizontal Falls will still be accessible.

Despite the controversy surrounding the phase-out, Reece Whitby, the Australian Environment Minister, backed the decision as a “positive change” founded on “mutual respect, understanding and a shared vision”.

Bell Gorge in Western Australia’s Kimberley region may become more popular for visitors once the Horizontal Falls become off limits. Photo / Getty Images

“This decision reflects the government’s dual responsibilities to respect the cultural views of traditional owners and the need to protect and support WA’s tourism industry,” Whitby shared.

“We want people to experience indigenous culture as an essential, vibrant part of visiting jointly managed national and marine parks across Western Australia.”

Australian Tourism Minister Rita Saffioti chimed in with Whitby’s statement, revealing the government was looking forward to “working with tourism operators and traditional owners over the coming years to develop new attractions and products, so visitors can continue enjoying this incredible experience”.

The Horizontal Falls, nicknamed the “Horries” and known as Garaanngaddim by the local indigenous people, are an unusual natural phenomenon found on the coast of the Kimberley region in Western Australia, where tidal flows cause waterfalls.

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