Head north of Broome to enjoy the coastal and cultural pleasures of the Dampier Peninsula.
Travelling in 2020?
The Cape Leveque Road is open to traffic, and work is underway on sealing the road. While visiting remote Aboriginal Communities is currently restricted under bio-security regulations, there are still places you can visit.
This itinerary will be most useful for planning trips in 2021 and beyond, but read on for details on accommodation and tours at Kooljaman at Cape Leveque and Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, both of which are open in 2020. Alternatively, join a 4WD or scenic flight tour from Broome to take in the beautiful sights and experiences of the Dampier Peninsula.
1. Broome to Pender Bay
Follow the partially unsealed Cape Leveque Rd north of Broome for approximately 1.5 hours, and once back on the sealed section of the road you'll see a sign for your first stop at Beagle Bay. Here you find one of the most historic and charming churches in Australia - the Beagle Bay Sacred Heart Church with its whitewashed walls, inspiring mother of pearl shell altar and three-storey square bell tower, it’s not to be missed. The Church was built entirely by hand by the local Aboriginal people (the Nyul Nyul people) and the Pallottine monks more than 100 years ago. Information boards are dotted around the church grounds with the history of Beagle Bay and the story of the Catholic mission which started in the late 1800s. A gold coin donation is welcomed to visit the church and photos are permitted inside.
The community's outback-style bakery has a great reputation for its freshly cooked high-top bread loaves that make for the perfect morning tea. Fuel can also be bought at Beagle Bay.
After your visit to Beagle Bay drive another 25 mins north and turn left onto the unsealed Middle Lagoon Rd for another 30 mins to find your first bush camp accommodation at Whale Song Campground, one of the many Aboriginal-run campgrounds on the Peninsula and overlooking the spectacular Pender Bay. While you're there take a tour and taste the famous Australian native bush tucker, Gubinge, which is known for being one of the world's newest superfoods.
Fish, swim and read the days away while watching out for the mighty Humpback whales and their calves in Pender Bay, one of the largest nurseries and resting places for these gentle giants during their annual migration.
Advance bookings are recommended for Whale Song Campground. Whales are found in the Kimberley region from June to September.
Allow 3 days to 1 week
2. Pender Bay to Cape Leveque
Head back to the Cape Leveque Rd and make your way north to the community of Lombadina. Visit the office on your arrival to obtain your day pass, then visit the historic bush-timber church and the art and craft centre, swim at one of the beautiful beaches or take one of the many tours on offer including offshore fishing and community tours. Cabin and camping accommodation and 24-hour fuel is also available.
After your relaxing day on the beach at Lombadina make the 30 min drive to your camp at Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, just in time for sunset. Choose to camp under the stars in one of their beach shelters or treat yourself to an ocean-view safari tent with your own kitchen and bathroom and a large balcony to watch the sunrise or set.
After sunset take your favourite bottle of wine down to Raugi’s Restaurant and choose from one of the many outstanding Australian outback dishes on the menu, or cook your own BBQ on the deck of your safari tent or back at your campsite.
Kooljaman is 100 per cent owned by the local Aboriginal communities and offers many guided Indigenous tours including tag-along tours, spear making, island cruising, storytelling and mud crabbing tours. Make sure you drop into the reception to see what they have on offer, or better yet book your tours before you go as numbers are limited.
Advance bookings are essential for Kooljaman.
Allow 1 day to 1 week.
3. Cape Leveque to Cygnet Bay
Set off north once again to the tip of the Peninsula and spend the morning at Ardyaloon (One Arm Point community). First, drop into the community store to pay your entry fee which includes your entry to the Ardyaloon hatchery to see the workings of the aquaculture centre. Take a drive to the lookout and watch one of the biggest tides in the world wrap itself around the many islands just off the coast in the Dampier Archipelago. Fuel is also available at Ardyaloon (24hr).
Make your way back to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm for lunch and a swim in their infinity pool. After lunch check in to your accommodation. Choose from one of their caravan and camping sites, safari tents or their air-conditioned pearlers shacks, or treat yourself to the Master Pearler's Retreat overlooking your own private beach.
Over the next couple of days make sure you join one of the Pearl Farm tours and learn how they cultivate some of the most sought-after and beautiful pearls in the world, and in the afternoon jump onto one of the amazing water tours and experience the natural surroundings by sea with your own private tour guide.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying at the farm on a full moon, don’t miss the natural phenomenon of Staircase to the Moon and why not join them for one of their harvest parties or long-table dinners overlooking Cygnet Bay.
Advance bookings are recommended for Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm.
Allow 1 day to 1 week
4. Cygnet Bay to Broome
Before heading south back to Broome along the Cape Leveque Rd, spend the morning with Terry Hunter, a fourth-generation pearler and proud Bardi man, and let him take you on a guided tour of his home and country at Cygnet Bay.
Allow 1 day
Tours on the Dampier Peninsula
Places to stay on the Dampier Peninsula
Cultural Experiences on the Dampier Peninsula
Go with the flow and share a cultural experience with the local Bardi Jawi people while you are visiting the Dampier Peninsula - learn traditional fishing and hunting techniques, taste bush foods, learn useful bush medicine and hear about the special relationship between the surrounding land and sea. Here are just some of the wonderful tour guides and tour options you'll have to choose from!