| May 22, 2017
The Dampier Peninsula or Ardi as it known in Bardi language is one of my favourite spots in the Kimberley. Yes that’s a big call but every time I road trip (or fly) the 200km there from Broome I’m wowed by the breathtaking colours of the landscape and the friendly vibe from the people that live there.
Today I was flying with King Leopold Air to experience Bundy’s Cultural Tour. Bundy pops into our Broome office every so often, but I hadn’t had the pleasure of touring with him and it was definitely on my bucket list!
Pilot Leigh from King Leopold Air greeted me at their office and while we were waiting on the other three passengers, he told me how he used to be a chef, worked as a pilot for a sky diving company and loved aeroplane acrobatics (Cheers Leigh for not throwing an acrobatic move in on this flight!) I was to discover that Leigh was a bit of joker and thoroughly entertained us. I think he should add amateur comedian to his resume!
Leigh briefs us before we board.
After the safety procedures we climb aboard the Cessna 210 and with a smooth take off we are cruising above the Kimberley coastline. The great thing about this particular King Leopold Air plane is that it can fly low, getting us up close and personal with the natural attractions – perfect for photographing the stunning landscape below.
Leigh pointed out all the natural attractions and buildings, including West Seven owner Kerry Stokes’ sprawling house overlooking Cable Beach. Leigh told us to rock up for dinner and say that he sent us (did I mention Leigh is entertaining!)
Once we landed we met up with Bundy, a traditional owner who lives in Lombadina along the coast of the Peninsula.
Bundy encouraged us to see a familiar landscape with fresh eyes.
While there are many more reasons to enjoy the combination scenic flight and Bundy’s Cultural Tour these are my Top 5 highlights:
1. Dampier Peninsula Aerial View
I’ve done a few scenic flights in my time in the Kimberley, but this was seriously awesome! Leigh from King Leopold Air knew his stuff and reeled out facts and figures, but what I loved was that he was intent on giving everyone a great view. And what a view it is it! So beautiful. The layer of red pindan earth, pristine white sand and that turquoise water takes your breath away. Given the tides are so massive in the Kimberley (up to 12 metres in some areas) the landscape looked completely different on the way back.
Ahhh I never get sick of the colours of the Kimberley coastline
2. Secret Swimming Spot
This is one of the beautiful bays of Lombadina that Bundy took us to in his 4WD. As we lay back in the shallow, tranquil water, Bundy told us to dig our hands and feet in the sand in the water and as we did we experienced a soothing tingling sensation and tiny bubbles arose. That’s the beauty of touring with Bundy. He knows the land intimately and we would never have known about this natural spa without him. It was difficult to leave this amazing spot, but we had more to explore.
Look how tranquil this bay is! The bubbling sand beneath the watercreated a natural spa where we all cooled down before having lunch.
3. Ancient Footprints
Bundy took us to an area near Lombadina and had us look at the rocky ground asking if we can see anything unusual. Umm no. And then he pointed it out. Fossilised human footprints preserved for thousands of years! It really drummed home to me just how long the Aboriginal people have inhabited this ancient country for.
4. Connect with Nature
Sometimes the things you can’t see leave you with the greatest impression. It was hot and humid when we visited the peninsula. We were standing with Bundy and he could see we were feeling the heat and so with a wave of his arms he summoned cloud cover. Lo and behold the wet season clouds moved to exactly where he waved it to.
Even though I have travelled the peninsula many, many times, Bundy gave me a completely different insight and understanding of the land I was standing on and the surrounding scenery. I know this sounds kind of hippy and spiritual but it kind of hits you in the heart as you absorb the sights and sounds of the Kimberley through his eyes.
His connection with nature was evident from predicting changes of wind direction to what fish were hungry in the nearby sea. He spoke passionately about how the wet season gives life to the landscape and the sea.
While we have four seasons the Bardi have six and it was fascinating to hear Bundy explain the way in which his people used to only live of the land. By foraging, fishing and crabbing the Bardi people never wanted for any food as by eating only what was in season, their diet was healthy, varied and replenished by nature each year. Bundy still uses his bush tucker and medicine skills to hunt and eat like his ancestors and continues to pass this knowledge on.
Seeds from a ‘Wongi’, commonly used on the Dampier Peninsula to refer to this wattle species. The seeds can be dried and used for flour; they are also good to pick green, roast on the coals and eat. They taste good. Bundy said one bush medicine use of the seed is that they are good for constipation! During June, July and August the honey from the wattle flowers is good for fighting colds.
Humour may be an odd thing to list as a highlight, but it made both tours super fun! Leigh had us all smiling from the beginning with his anecdotes up in the air. Bundy may be serious about his culture, but his sense of humour revealed itself throughout the tour. I love tours where you not only learn heaps, but have a great time doing it.
The combination King Leopold Scenic Flight/Bundy’s Cultural Tour is $595 per person (minimum of 4 passengers with a maximum of 5 passengers) The tour lasts 5 hours and can be booked with King Leopold Air on 08 9193 7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.