We have had the most wonderful couple of weeks exploring the Dampier Peninsula, up to Cape Levique and then to Broome. With sea views at every stop, we were extremely lucky.
Arriving at the Roebuck Bay Caravan Park in Broome, we were delighted to find that the site we had been encouraged to book by fellow travellers a week prior, was as wonderful as they had described. On a little reclaimed peninsula, our site (C10) was within touching distance of the mangroves and the high tide of City Beach. Whilst in Broome we had lunch with Steve Angoorly, a musician mate of my brother’s, at Matso’s Brewery and of course tried a range of the delicious local brews, the Mango Beer being our favourite. We visited the oldest outdoor picture theatre in the world, the Sun Picture Theatre and explored ‘China Town’ which was the old part of town where the various nationalities who came for the pearling industry lived and played. It used to be called Jap Town as the Japanese were heavily involved in the industry. It is now the centre of town and has been beautified. A trip aboard a hovercraft at extremely low tide took us out to unique dinosaur footprint fossils. Each of us was able to stand in a fossilized footprint of a Brachiosaur and look down to see the imprints of its young as it would have walked beneath its parent.
Like all tourists to Broome we headed out to Cable Beach to watch the sunset, returning camel trains and the preparations for the Sand Polo that was to occur on the weekend. Stunningly beautiful sunsets could only be matched by equally colourful sunrises that Noelene would rise early to capture. After a big feed from Bluey’s Fish and Chips, we spent the early evening tracking the scores of hermit crabs scrabbling about our feet. Before heading up the Cape Levique road through the Dampier Peninsula, a half day at the auto electricians to sort out an earthing problem with the camper, set our day’s plans back a few hours.
Whalesong Cafe and Camp Ground
With the slight delay in heading off, we were pushing it to arrive in the daylight. The Whalesong Cafe and Camp ground had been recommended to us at the Broome Visitors’ Centre as being a unique and special destination……we were not disappointed. The Cape Levique road was a mixture of corrugations, flat red and half pipes of dust, but in all a pretty reasonable road, the Middle Lagoon turnoff was something else entirely, taking us an hour to sneak along the 35 kms which included 5 kilometres of huge ‘whoop-di-doos’. Arriving at the camp ground in the dark is never ideal……ants have all gone to bed and you only discover your are on their nest in the morning, you all don’t know the direction of the rising and setting suns to ensure you have shade. But with the arrival of the dawn, we were ant free and facing the glorious view of Pender Bay. A reconnoiter of the camp ground was a quick process as there are only 6 sites and we were the third to arrive. The 3 sided, elevated drop dunny allowed uninterrupted views of the bush and wildlife, while the clever design of the mud daubed shower enclosure was an architectural delight. Our first walk along the Pender Bay sands and we were astounded by the number and variety of hermit crabs scuttling before our approach. The second day’s walk and we were accompanied for an hour by a 6 foot shovel nosed shark that swam in the shin deep shallows as we walked northwards along the bay. The welcoming family that managed the camp ground had invited us to a cultural festival at Lombadina an hour further north. We decided to visit the much publicized and awarded Cape Levique, paid our $5 a head to visit their beach! And took a look around. My impressions were that the swimming beach on offer was much too far away from the camping area and was extremely rocky……I felt we had very much made the right choice in staying at Pender Bay. This first ever Lombadina Festival was a celebration of the communities of the Dampier Peninsula, showcasing local musicians, art, handicrafts, skills and food. Our hosts girls were part of an all female dance troupe that performed a number of dances incorporating both traditional and contemporary choreography and music.
Quandong Point and another perfect spot
On our return to Broome we stopped off for a couple of nights of ‘free camping’ and were lucky enough to find the perfect site at Quandong Point. Firewood had been left, there was shade and a beach access track at our site with no-one else around. It was remarkable to head into the delicious, turquoise ocean which was so close to our site and find that by the afternoon the tide had retreated some 200+ metres exposing rocks, corals, sea urchins, sea slugs, crabs, manic hermit crabs, nudibranchs, fish and some sort of mysterious rock ‘snot’ clinging to the rocks! Ugh. Our site was so good, that as we were leaving, a couple from further behind were already bringing their chairs down to claim it!
Back to Broome and C10
We returned to Broome in order to wash, wash and wash some more clothing and have the Navara serviced as we have done 10 000 kms since leaving Mt M. The bonus was that we would be there for the 3 nights of the ‘Stairway to the Moon’. A unique coincidence of extreme low tide and a full moon rising which creates the effect of steps climbing toward the moon. It also gave us the opportunity to see and hear Steve Angoorly performing (as Molly would say: “Do yourself a favour and check his You tube vids”. The ‘Stairway’ is something of an event and the foreshore at City Beach was packed with people who also moved across to the market stalls that offered local products, crafts and food.
Moving onto the Pilbara area now and well and truly leaving the Kimberley region behind. We have loved it…our lasting impressions of the Kimberley area….rock, red, biting bugs, water, vast tides and old blokes with no shirts!!