Dampier Peninsula, WA

Catherine Lawson — 19 March 2015

The Dampier Peninsula is a red and white stretch of paradise located only an hour from Broome. The Peninsula provides access to a string of free bush camping areas on the edge of secluded barramundi fishing holes and overlooks blissfully remote beaches and shallow offshore reefs.

Providing the ultimate escape from Broome’s bustling, ready-to-burst caravan parks, the bush camps at Willies Creek, Barred Creek, Quondong and James Price Point offer nothing but the chance to immerse yourself in an incredible landscape and spend lazy days swimming, snorkelling and spotting whales.

THINGS TO DO

With a natural boat ramp, Willie Creek and Barred Creek located further up the track are both popular barramundi hunting grounds and particularly good spots to fish when the wind blows onshore, making boating uncomfortable. It pays to remember, though, that these fish-rich waters are favoured by the odd crocodile too, so take care when launching and retrieving boats, stand well back from the edge, and clean your fish and fishing gear well away from the water.



If you are craving ocean views and the chance to swim, stroll and admire the tide’s daily offering of shells more than the possibility of barramundi dinners, push on to Quondong Point, another 7.6km beyond the Barred Creek turn-off. At Quondong Point, you’ll find scenic camping nooks stretching for about 3km along the top of the red sand dunes, overlooking an impossibly white sand beach and the deep blue beyond.

BROOME

There’s an intriguing pearling history to discover in Broome, and lots of wild fun to be had: saltwater crocodile feeding shows, sunset camel rides, pearl lugger cruises and sea kayaking adventures. Broome’s heritage-listed Sun Pictures rates as the world’s oldest operating deckchair cinema, and the weekend Courthouse Markets serve some of the freshest tropical food you’re likely to enjoy anywhere.

By day, most travellers relaxing in Broome gravitate towards the ocean, staking out a spot on Cable Beach’s world-famous, 22km-long stretch of sand. It takes its name from the Broome to Java Submarine Telegraph Cable, laid off the beach in 1889. At one end, Broome’s original Cable Beach Club Resort offers high-end travellers some of the best views in town, lifeguards patrol between the flags, and camel trains tread the beach, silhouetted at sunset.

At Cable Beach’s far southern end beneath Gantheaume Point’s crumbling amber cliffs, the low tide reveals a stampede of 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprints and a historical lighthouse shines over Anastasia’s Pool, high on the rocks.

To relive a little of Broome’s pearling past you can board the old pearling lugger/museum at Streeter’s Jetty or take a reflective stroll through the Japanese Cemetery, a memorial to early-day pearl divers.

FAST FACTS

Getting there

From Broome, head east along Broome Road for 10km and turn left onto the Broome-Cape Leveque Road. After 15km, turn left onto Manari Road and continue for 5km to the turn-off for Willie Creek, another 9km to the Barred Creek turn-off, 7.6km to Quondong Point and 13.4km more to reach James Price Point.

Activities

  • Beach and boat fishing
  • Swimming and snorkelling
  • Whale watching (July to October)
  • Beach driving
  • Pearl lugger cruises
  • Camel rides

More info

Free camping is permitted for a maximum of three days. No facilities are provided so be self-sufficient and take out all rubbish. Generator use and pets are permitted. 

The full feature appeared in Caravan World #535, March 2015. 

Tags

Dampier Peninsula WA Broome bush camps fishing swimming snorkeling whale watching beach driving cruises camel rides

Photographer

David Bristow