and the Dampier Peninsula
All of a sudden it hit us. This thick tropical heat, like we’d crossed over into another land. We’d been getting acclimatised to the heat as we ventured up the Western Australia coast, but now the humidity was joining in. Welcome to Broome.
WE ARE HERE
You know, travelling is fantastic. It’s an incredible experience. The people we’ve met, the places we’ve been and the endless things we keep learning; about this great land, nature, history and ourselves. But it’s also exhausting at times too. And often we don’t say that because, well, we’re travelling and living the dream, who wants to hear about how tired we get? Just like everyone, every now and then we need a day, just to ourselves. To recharge our batteries ready for more exploring and adventures. So we took a beach day, at Cable Beach for day one in Broome.
Did you know that Cable Beach is a well known nude beach? Well we didn’t! So when we started driving north along the sand we were treated with some jiggly surprises! We headed past the life savers, nudes and a little further until we reached a spot far enough along the sand that it was all ours. We’d brought the Tvan along too, so we popped the Skyward deck, flipped out the batwing awning and relaxed. We sat, we read, we kicked the footy, zoned out and let our bodies and minds catch up with all the recent fun we’d had.
Broome is a destination. There’s a lot to see and do around town and the wider Dampier Peninsula. So after a day of recharging and watching the famous Broome sunset on Cable Beach, with camel trains in the foreground, we set off to explore what else was on offer!
If you’re lucky enough to be in Broome when the full moon comes around on the calendar (or extend your stay to make sure you are) then staircase to the moon is a big drawcard. At Town Beach you’ll find a market on for a few days around the full moon timing. Check out some art, eat some market food and listen to some tunes before finding a spot among the crowds to watch the full moon rising above the mud flats.
While you’re in town you can also check out the famous pearl shops. We didn’t spend much time here, because to be honest we don’t have money that we want to spend on pearls and it all seems like a bit of a wanky gimmick. Expensive pearl shops set up right next to a local ghetto, pushing the locals further off their land and out of touch. Something isn’t right.
But let’s not get too political, instead if you want to see something historical head to Gantheaume Point where you can see dinosaur footprints – for free! Before you head down the path to a distant past, there’s some great information boards on what dinosaur footprints you can find, and a history of the ages. But you’ve got to get your timing right. They footprints are only visible on particularly low tides. For us, this meant we were fumbling around down the cliffs at sunset, not ideal but fun! It’s a bit like a treasure hunt trying to find the footprints and there’s plenty of other goodies to spot in the rock pools as you go.
After our few nights of utter luxury at the caravan park in Broome, having hot showers and refreshing ourselves, it was time to check in to a free camp. The south of the Dampier Peninsula has a number of free camps dotted along the west coast and our first stop was Barred Creek.
Along a sandy track we drove out to the ocean where the shrubs and dunes opened up to a long quiet stretch of sand where the creek meets the ocean. Micky remembers camping here as a kid and the sound of hermit crabs scratching around the tents at night, revealing an army of tracks at sun up.
Pulling up in the dunes we ended up staying an extra night because we just didn’t want to leave! Fishing for Barra at the mouth of the creek, spotting turtles, far reaching tides and hours of curious beach combing were too good to pull ourselves away from.
Once we left Barred Creek we meandered further along the sandy tracks (that mind you some big caravans and buses had made it along to camp!) past Quondong and James Price Point until we reached Coulomb Point just south of the Conservation Reserve. Well gosh dang it, if we thought Barred Creek was great, this place was the whole cake, icing and cherry on top!
The sand was soft and boggy but with tyre pressures down a tad more, we punched on through and parked up on the shore. Natures divine infinity ‘rock’ pool right at our doorstep. The coral was fluorescent, the night was warm and the sea just right. Staring into our campfire, Tvan parked with a view out to the ocean and a sky of magic shooting stars, it was a true moment of “geez, how incredible is it that this is our normal life right now!?”
The road running further up north is under work, but currently still a mish-mash of corrugations and freshly graded goodness. If you really do want to see the top of the peninsula, absolutely go for it. But it’s a long haul up there and back. A really looong haul. After 3+ hours drive with the Jeep and Tvan our first stop was One Arm Point.
One Arm Point
Ardyaloon as it’s known to the traditional owners is an Aboriginal community to the east of the tip of Dampier Peninsula. This community is only a place to day trip, open to visitors until 6pm and requires a permit to enter (which is super easy to purchase for $17pp from the community office or shop on arrival).
Admittedly we drove up here with not much knowledge of what was here. Cape Leveque was the name that drew us up here, and we didn’t even really know what that was all about! So we hesitated at $17pp to have a look around, but let us tell you it was worth it! The permit includes access to the Aquaculture Hatchery where we were entertained with humour and wit as we got an interactive talk and tour learning about the creatures in the tanks and traditional Aboriginal fishing techniques.
Another spot you’re granted access to is Jologo Beach. Don’t think you can get away with a quick look here. Bring your picnic and bathers, and enjoy the perfect spot for lunch and a dip.
Since we were all the way up here we popped into Kooljaman Beach Resort which encompasses that famous name ‘Cape Leveque’. This place is locked down. You can stay and pay, drive and pay, or walk and pay for the opportunity to see the famous red cliffs of Cape Leveque. We opted to pay $5pp to walk around the grounds and soak in the afternoon sun.
It’s beautiful, and we don’t regret driving all the way up to Cape Leveque, but truthfully our favourite spots were the free camps. We had amazing views with great people and that’s exactly what we love. As they say, the best things in life are free!
Our next blog will be from: Mitchell Falls
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky