ROAD TRIP SERIES – Cape Leveque

Some of Australia’s most pristine and untouched coastline.  Imagine rugged red rock cliffs, untouched pearly white sand, and the most crystal-clear water you have ever seen.  This is the coastal region of the Kimberley’s.

You cannot go to Cape Leveque without sussing out Broome first.  Broome itself is a small beachside town in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.  The town overlooks Roebuck Bay with the surrounding areas known for its pearl farms, dinosaur tracks, camels and the all famous Cable Beach running 22kms North-South along the Indian Ocean coastline north of Broome.

Broome

Popular sites around town include Matsos Brewery, famous for its ginger beer (highly recommend) although take note it is alcoholic, the pearl shops are a must see and the local outdoor cinema is certainly full of character.

Broome offers plenty of accommodation, but the Cable Beach Resort is a popular choice among travellers – located pretty well on Cable Beach, with the ultimate outdoor bar and deck overlooking the incredible Cable Beach Kimberley sunsets.  A bucket of prawns and a cocktail will always suffice.

Sunset over Cable Beach

If you have access to a four-wheel-drive, you would be silly not to go for a drive up the 22km’s of Cable beach. Note the tides are extreme (up to 12m) and change very quickly so don’t get caught up the coast before parking up at sunset with an esky, and watching the sun go down. No four-wheel-drive? No worries! Book in for a camel ride on dusk along the beach instead!

Camels on Cable Beach at dusk

Cable Beach itself has its own surf lifesaving club and it is safe to swim…stingers are a regular visitor but all in all it’s a great beach to enjoy a sunbake, fish, walk or quick dip.  Other popular activities include fishing charters, sailing and hovercrafts.

Now, although this series is called ‘Roadies’, I didn’t have a car in Broome so the next few stops, I took via a light plane and boat which was equally rewarding and should be on your itinerary regardless.

I boarded a light 6-seater plane from Broome Airport where we headed 200kms north to the Dampier Peninsular, landing near the world-renowned wilderness camp ‘Kooljaman’ at Cape Leveque.  The camp is owned by Indigenous Communities and is famous for its pristine wilderness and unique landscape that only a few ever get to see. Here we enjoyed a cooked lunch followed by a stroll along the pristine white beach as we marvelled at natures contrasts where ancient red cliffs meet the crystal blue of the warm Indian Ocean.

‘Kooljaman’ Cape Leveque – images by Salty Wings

Once I could finally drag myself away from this heavenly beach, it was a short 15km drive to Australia’s oldest pearl farm – Cygnet Bay Pearls.  Boarding an inflatable boat (that also has wheels and can drive on land), we headed out to the pearl farm where the pearls are grown and harvested. The immense tidal movements in the pristine Kimberley coastline are what enables them to grow some of the finest pearls in the world. Tour around the stunning red cliff faces from the water and feel the power of the worlds largest tropical tides as you cruise through the giant whirlpools and standing tidal waves.  You’ll be thankful for the 250hp engine on the back! An added bonus and if you’re lucky (like I was), you’ll spot a couple of humpback whales gliding past the farm enjoying the warmer waters surrounding the Dampier Peninsula. Simply amazing!

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Once back on land, you will be lured into the Cygnet Bay pearl shop where you can learn about pearl grading and be tempted to purchase some of the finest pearl products available in the world.  Back on the plane parked up on the red dirt airstrip, it was off to see the stunning Horizontal Waterfalls – a short flight east of Cape Leveque.

Cape Leveque Airstrip

The waterfalls are a natural phenomenon amongst the Buccaneer Archipelago – hundreds of small pristine islands off the Kimberley Coast.  The Horizontal Falls have been described in the past by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world” and he is not wrong! Flying over them is simply stunning, with intense tidal water bursting through the 25-metre gap between two ridges as the tides change.

Horizontal Waterfalls

The Buccaneer Archipelago is just as impressive with islands popping up everywhere out of the bright blue ocean along the rugged and untouched coastline.  These falls are unreachable by land so the only way to see them is by plane, helicopter or boat adding to their remote beauty.

Buccaneer Archipelago

Once you have awed at the stunning archipelago, the pilot will fly you home along the western coast of the peninsula, following the rugged red, white and blue coastline down along cable beach and back to Broome Airport where your feet wont touch the ground for a while after everything you’ve seen.

Dampier Peninsula Coast Line

If remote Australian coastlines is what you’re after, this is for you! I cannot recommend it highly enough. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything quite like Cape Leveque and the Horizontal Falls.

Broome is also home to some of the most amazing events Australia has to offer.  The Cable Beach Polo is held on the beach with world class international polo players every May, and the Broome Turf Club hosts the Broome Cup annually in August – a stunning red dirt race track at the end of Gantheaume Point, surrounded by coastline.

Broome Turf Club (Gantheaume Point) and the Cable Beach Polo

You can fly directly to Broome from Darwin, Sydney, Perth, Port Headland (WA), Fitzroy Crossing (WA) and Kununurra (WA) or take the scenic drives up the west coast from Perth or along the Gibb River Road from Kununurra. Although it isn’t cheap to get to, it is a must on your holiday bucket list!