AT reader Matt Frost has been to Broome three times now, and while he doesn’t wish to suggest that it’s a place to simply pass through, he’d like to offer his top five spots to visit that are all within cooee of the WA tourism hotspot.
The first thing I want to make absolutely clear is that Broome itself is a fabulous destination. There’s an abundance of activities to enjoy in and around the town, and there is really no need to venture very far. On the other hand, the town sits on the edge of what many consider to be one of the world’s most magnificent wilderness areas: the Kimberley. Awe-inspiring gorges, pristine beaches and a landscape that explodes with colour as the light changes can all be found within a few hours’ drive. So here are five destinations I think should be on everyone’s itinerary.
Cape Leveque sits at the top of the Dampier Peninsula about three hours drive north of Broome. A 4WD vehicle is recommended, as the unsealed section of road can get very corrugated, with sandy sections in places. Broome has multiple vehicle hire options, or alternatively you can choose to travel with one of the many tour operators. There are a multitude of activities available, including fishing, snorkelling, bush walks and whale watching at certain times of the year. The coastline is breathtaking, and the colour and clarity of the water is just stunning. Cape Leveque is a big day trip from Broome, so I’d recommend a minimum of one night’s stay at the beautiful Kooljaman wilderness camp, which has a range of accommodation options.
Details // www.kooljaman.com.au.
Lombadina is one of several Aboriginal communities on the Dampier Peninsula that welcomes visitors. It’s just a short detour off the Cape Leveque road and is a shining example of a self-sufficient community striving to preserve their traditional way of life. Visitors are asked to drop by the community office and pay a small fee and here you can also pick up a mud map and some information on a range of activities. A short track leads down to the beach, which is really too beautiful to put into words; it would have to be one of the most pristine stretches of sand in the country. The mud crabbing tour is an extremely educational experience, where you get a fascinating insight into the community’s way of life – and, best of all, you get to eat what you catch.
Details // www.lombadina.com.au.
One Arm Point
The Bardi people are the traditional owners of much of the land on the Dampier Peninsula, and One Arm Point is another one of their communities that has embraced tourism. Again, there are a variety of activities and tours available, but it’s worth visiting just for the spectacular views out to the Buccaneer Archipelago. The community-managed aquaculture centre is also well worth a look, where visitors get a fascinating insight into the local marine life, along with getting up close and personal with some monster Barramundi.
No visit to the Kimberley would be complete without a visit to one of the many gorges in the region, and Windjana is one of the most accessible from Broome. Located 20km off a well-maintained section of the Gibb River Road, Windjana Gorge is accessible in a conventional vehicle, or alternatively a number of tour operators offer day trips from Broome. The gorge is 3.5km long and has been carved out of the Napier Range by the Lennard River. The walls of the gorge rise to more than 100m in places. Some 300 million years ago, the whole area was under the ocean, resulting in some spectacular rock formations.
James Price Point
Cable Beach sunsets are world famous, but a 50km trip up to James Price Point allows you to experience the same sunset without having to share the beach with several hundred people. We had the entire stretch of coastline to ourselves, and watching the sun turn the cliffs behind us a rich ochre was a magical experience. With the WA government announcing that James Price Point is their preferred site for a massive industrial development in the Kimberley, the tranquillity of this area looks destined for a catastrophe, so get there and see it before it’s too late.
MORE: Australian Traveller’s Ultimate Kimberley Guide