Kooljaman shines a bright light on peninsula treasures
Written on the 12 April 2017
Escaping up the bumpy dirt road of Cape Leveque might be second nature to hardened locals of Broome, but to a city gal like myself it's a real mission. With the sealing of Cape Leveque Road imminent, it's time for the Chamber to make a more concerted effort in understanding the needs of the businesses who are operating in the peninsula and advocating for responsible practice, so I packed up the kids and headed up for the Kooljaman Expo.
Arriving at Kooljaman in the dark of night I found an envelope with my name on it stuck to the front door of the closed reception - inside a map to guide us to our safari tent. Not a seasoned camper I am always a little wary about 'tents' but what welcomed us was a beautiful cabin, ambiently lit with a queen sized bed and two singles. We were surprised to find attached its own enclosed kitchenette and bathroom, and a BBQ deck looking out over the moonlit ocean, calling for a rather urgent glass of wine. It truly was the perfect balance between bush and comfort, my style of camping.
The following day called for adventure with the boys escaping for the fishing trip of a lifetime with Colin at Oorlard. Kooljaman is a great ambassador of its local tourism industry, promoting tours with Brian Lee who offers bush tucker and cultural tours, spear making with Bundy, quad bike tours at Gambanan, pearl farm tours at Cygnet Bay and scenic flights with King Leopold to name just a few. The businesses up here are immensely supportive of each other, and the mabu liyan is easily felt.
I was delighted to go on a flight with Liam at King Leopold, the first time I've ever seen the Buccaneer Archipelago and Horizontal Falls with my own eyes. By far the most beautiful scenery I've ever experienced, it gave me a great sense of privilege to
be living in this pristine and very special part of the world.
That evening was the grand opening of Kooljaman's restaurant, Raugi's whose seafood soup was to die for.
The following day the family (rather reluctantly) left the comfortable safari tent and set out on an adventure to Aardyaloon where we'd heard of a hatchery. Once again we were breath-taken by the scenery over the coast with the rocky islands flanked by rushing incoming tides. The hatchery was an incredible showcase of the local marine life, and mesmerizing for the children.
Keen to go for a swim we made our way to Cygnet Bay where the pearl farm was offering free farm tours for the day. We've been here before, and in some ways felt like we were returning to a holiday home. We're warmly greeted with friendly faces, and the invitation to jump in the infinity pool for a swim was gratefully received by the boys who simply love hanging out here. Penny lead our tour of the farm, telling stories of the early days of pearling and history of the Brown family on Cygnet Bay before harvesting a pearl and leading us into the boutique for an appreciation lesson and pearl meat tasting.
The way home we stopped off at Beagle Bay, I had always wanted to see with my own eyes the mother-of-pearl inlaid church within a neat little community. It was more breathtaking than I had anticipated.
Heading up the Cape gives a whole new meaning to 'escape' which is further deepened by detaching from technology with very little mobile reception and no internet. The bumpy dirt road makes it feel even more remote (especially when you have to stop every hour for a car sick child) but it gives a feeling of satisfaction that we earnt our way onto the country. With the sealing of Cape Leveque Road on the horizon, this holiday made me appreciate with greater understanding how important it is to preserve this very special part of the world and ensure that the businesses who are established up there are given clear voice to ensure all progress is at a comfortable pace and with no compromise.
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