| Aug 28, 2014
Our guest blogger Stephen Swabey continues his trip into the Kimberley:
You remember that Prado I mentioned on Day 1. Well it earned its keep. You see the road up the Dampier Peninsula from Broome
isn't sealed all the way. The middle section is a sand highway, alternating between smooth Pindan hard pan and tyre-sucking sand. It's not difficult driving, but lumpy with occasional corrugations. The Prado suspension dealt with it all calmly and, with the northern half in tarmac, we covered the roughly 200 km to our accommodation at Kooljaman
in good time.
Driving in to Kooljaman, the low-key buildings, camping areas and tracks are set back discreetly from the star attraction here - the glorious coast. We peeked over the rail of the dining area around the pizza oven and glimpsed the striking red-purple of the low cliffs, before checking in. Then as we drove to our safari tent, perched on the hill just below the working lighthouse, we saw visual snippets of golden beach, red rocks, blue ocean and green forest. This classic palette of Aussie colours and hues is rarely found in one place. Our excursion tomorrow was going to be stunning, we could see.
We met our guide for the morrow, Brian Lee, at the Kooljaman restaurant. Brian runs Tagalong 4WD Tours
on the eastern beach at Kooljaman, but is involved in so much more, including the creation and management of Kooljaman itself. The first thing you notice about Brian is his magnificent mane of silver hair and his full beard. These lend him a mystic air, but Brian is anything but mystic - his interest in the world around him and his obvious delight in sharing his understanding with others is practical and engaging.
Brian took us off in his beaten up Landcruiser to the settlement of One Arm Point, where he explained the settlement history of the area. Also at the point is the community hatchery, where the operators showed us the large tanks filled with various fish, seaweed and shell species. The ocean at the point was roiling as tides and currents battled through the islands, driven by the 14m range experienced four times daily. We knew we'd see more of this in a couple of days.
We returned to Kooljaman for a dinner of great inventiveness, execution and taste. The menu features both western and traditional ingredients assembled in visually appealing ways. We'd been told previously that, although the local communities are dry, the Kooljaman restaurant is BYO, so we'd come prepared.