The Cape Keraudren Coastal Reserve is located on the coast 179 Kms north of Port Hedland. It is a low-key recreational area where disturbance to the environment has been kept to a minimum. It lies on a picturesque white-sand beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. The clear blue water is a spectacular welcome to the start of the famous Eighty Mile Beach.
We did not plan a lengthy stay here but still have not left after 6 days. Wonder why ? Just take a look at the view right outside the caravan door. Not to mention the fishing, with beautiful whiting very plentiful, as well as bream, king salmon and trevally. Also, see how clear the water is from the photo of the coral.
In our rush to get to Port Hedland for the fishing trip, we have to miss out on 80 Mile Beach. So we head back north for 4 nights at this iconic beach which lies along the north-west coast of Western Australia about half-way between the towns of Broome and Port Hedland. It is a beach some 220 Kms (140 mi) in length, forming the coastline where the Great Sandy Desert approaches the Indian Ocean. It is one of the most important sites for migratory shorebirds, or waders, in Australia.
Lorraine Brydson’s son Ben lives in Port Hedland with his lovely wife and 2 daughters and he made the mistake of inviting us on his (fabulous) boat fishing anytime we were in town. Fortunately that was recently and what a day we had. We didn’t even notice the weather change from 25 deg and sunny to about 3 below and raining. (Apparently there was a weather warning that told brass monkeys to put trousers on and go indoors !) Ben still persisted and took us to 2 of his favourite spots.
One was 100 Kms off the coast ! The only problem here was the sharks would not let us get our catch to the boat. So we moved nearer the coast and had great success. The freezer is now stocked with Chinaman, Snapper, Coral Trout and Red Emperor.
Many, many thanks to Ben for the unforgettable experience.
Barn Hill Station is a Kimberley Cattle Station overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is 450,000 acres with 8,00 head of cattle which they live export out of Broome. 128 Kms south of Broome and just a 50 metre walk to the ocean, it is a great place to relax and have a fish on the beach. So we chill out for a couple of days. No fish to speak of but still good fun. We also take a look at Port Smith Lagoon some 200 Kms further south but you really need a boat so we moved on.
Cape Leveque is the northernmost tip of the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Cape Leveque is 240 Kms north of Broome, is remote with few facilities and a long journey on not too good tracks. So we leave the caravan on Broome for a 2 day trip up north.
The traditional owners of the area are the Bardi peoples. We stay at an aboriginal camp which is pretty basic but the highlight of the trip was a tagalong tour into aboriginal lands with a local elder.
We visit the unique Beagle Bay Church which has an altar studded with local pearl shells – beautiful.
Broome is a pearling and tourist town 2,200 km (1,400 mi) north of Perth. The permanent population is estimated at 14,436, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season.
The town has an interesting history based around the exploits of the men and women who developed the pearling industry, starting with the harvesting of oysters for mother of pearl in the 1880s to the current major cultured pearl farming enterprises. The riches from the pearl beds did not come cheaply, and the town’s Japanese cemetery is the resting place of 919 Japanese divers who lost their lives working in the industry. Many more were lost at sea, and the exact number of deaths is unknown.
Broome was attacked at least four times by Japanese aircraft during the Second World War, and the worst attack was the 3 March 1942 air raid in which at least 88 people (mostly civilians) were killed.
In 1889 a telegraph undersea cable was laid from Broome to Singapore, connecting to England. Hence the name Cable Beach was given to the landfall site. It is situated 7 km (4.3 mi) from town along a bitumen road. The beach itself is 22.5 km (14.0 mi) long with white sand, washed by tides that can reach over 9 m (30 ft). Four wheel drive vehicles may be driven onto the beach from the car park. This allows people to explore the beach at low tide to a much greater extent than would be possible on foot. Sunset camel rides operate daily along the beach.
Derby is a town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It has a population of 3,093, with about half of Aboriginal descent. Along with Broome and Kununurra, it is one of only three towns in the Kimberley to have a population over 2,000. Located on King Sound, Derby has the highest tides in Australia, with the peak differential between low and high tide reaching 11.8 metres.
During World War II, Derby was bombed by Japanese planes because of an air base and jetty that was steadily used by Australian forces. More recently, refugees are housed at Royal Australian Air Force Base Curtin, which is located to the south of Derby.
Derby was famous in the 1920s as the terminus of the first scheduled aviation service in Australia, West Australian Airways Ltd. They began their service with a first flight on 5 December 1921. At one time the Perth to Derby service was the world’s longest passenger airline route.
We arrive just in time for the local Boab Festival. We also play golf at Derby Golf Club, famous for the fact that there are no bunkers or hazards – just boab trees everywhere, including in the centre of the fairway ! And guess who got stuck behind the biggest ? (see photo).
We just arrived at the caravan park in Derby, stopped to top up the water tanks and when Bob opened the front boot to get the water hoses, he was greeted with a boot full of smoke. Fortunately, there was no fire. We had no electrics but, luckily, we found a local auto electrician who had us up and running the next day. An overnight stay at a hotel courtesy of RACQ was quite welcome.