The Dampier peninsula is nowhere near the town of the same name. Often referred to as Cape Leveque, it was a place we were really keen to visit, and after a long dusty road from Broome we arrived half way up the peninsula at Nature’s Hideaway, Middle Lagoon. We managed to sustain a stone chip “bullet hole” on the windscreen on the way up, but that wasn’t about to dampen our spirits. We camped on the Ridge overlooking the beach and marvelled every day at the glorious sunsets. By day we snorkelled over the reefs, swam and fished, even catching dinner one day. Lots of new birds flourished amongst the trees on the property and there wasn’t a crocodile to be seen! Five kilometres north and south there were warning signs at water holes, creeks or beaches but apparently they don’t frequent Middle Lagoon!
Our next stop was further east, where we managed to book a few nights at Goombaragin, a much smaller, friendly setup with two campsites, several “glamping” tents run by Kathleen, John and his son Jack. Located in Pender Bay with access to land up to Bells Point this is a more private place than Middle Harbour, with beaches safe for swimming too. The red jagged cliffs make a stunning sunset and we were lucky enough to meet up with our friends Nathan and Bloss, the “Grismacs” and Simon and Hillary, “110 around Oz”, also staying there. Between them the eight kids had a ball, and our hosts found time to show them bush tucker (bush passion fruit, the chewing gum berry, and more), the great bower bird nest, how to carve trochus shells, the pet stensons python, and much more. I snorkelled with Nathan “Grismac” and Jack as they went spearfishing, and saw plenty of marine life from turtles to corals and plenty of fish.
Simon and I took the cars down to explore the track down to Bells Point at sunset and made the most of the photo opportunities. On our last night there Oscar spotted a wild Stensons python so we picked it up. It took a serious dislike to Amanda, only settling when put in my hands, even striking at her when she walked past.
Time flew by relaxing there and before we knew it we had to decamp and head up to Cape Leveque for the Ardi festival. We visited One Arm Point and witnessed the terrific tidal currents that race past the point at up to 22 knots.
Kooljaman was a disappointment for us after the first two places where we had been spolied. The campsite was crowded, with minimal privacy, overly expensive, but provided more than adequate facilities. We stayed only for the Essence of Ardi then popped in to Beagle Bay to see the famous church, adorned with mother of pearl. The church was built in 1917, with aboriginal help, by three pioneering monks, and the mother of pearl decorations throughout took two years to complete.
Ten days in the peninsula was not enough and this is a place for a future visit.