Cape Leveque, Western Australia

Ian Swallow

cape-leveque

It may be accessible only by 4WD, but this slice of paradise is worth the effort

FEW PLACES SHOW a greater contrast between danger and beauty than the north-western corner of Australia. Cerulean water and white sand entice visitors to the beach where, just under the surface, sting rays, saltwater crocodiles and box jellyfish lurk. Counter to these dangers, however, Cape Leveque, about 200-oddkm north-east of Broome, epitomises the adventurer’s paradise.

Accessible only with a 4WD (or sea plane), the journey to the Dampier Peninsula is half the fun. Accommodation like the dozen providers of bush camps, safari tents or cabins offer reprieve from the WA heat. You can swim at Kooljaman, but you’re best advised to check with staff on current conditions, lest you run into stingers or other marine dangers. Barramundi and mangrove jack can also be caught in the Timor Sea, only a few hundred metres away.

Activities

4WD: Take your own vehicle or hop on a tour, but heading off on a 4WD escapade is essential while staying at Cape Leveque. These adventures can take you deeper into the outback or along the beaches around the peninsula and will yield amazing photographic opportunities. If driving on the beach however, keep an eye on the tide as this part of the country is known for its 13m tidal fluctuation.

Cultural tours: For a more passive cultural experience, visit Sacred Heart Church in Beagle Bay where the history of the Dampier Peninsula comes alive. Or try the visit Lombadina Community for its bush-timber church, history and culture. Or head to the pearling farm for a local industry experience.

Fishing: While the entire coastline around Cape Leveque is full of troughs of fish, an entirely different experience awaits in fishing at night. Without any light pollution, the blanket of stars creates an immaculate view while waiting for a bite. Also try cultural spear fishing, mud-crabbing or fishing charter boars.

The essentials

Location: Cape Leveque is 220km north-west of Broome, via the Broome-Cape Leveque Road.

Accommodation: The Aboriginal-owned wilderness camp of Kooljaman Resort offers the only accommodation on the Cape. High demand requires camping and housing in semi-permanent structures to be booked well in advance. www.kooljaman.com.au

Food/drink: Kooljaman Resort has a small shop, but it’s best to shop in Broome before arriving. No alcohol is sold at the resort, but the Whale-Song Café provides beautiful food with views across Pender Bay, and Cygnet Bay has a licensed restaurant. Otherwise, catching a daily meal is a great option.

Point of interest: Sacred Heart Church in Beagle Bay.

More info: Visit www.westernaustralia.com