Day 42: Monday 10th July – Exploring the Dampier Peninsula

Author: Mr A

From: Broome

To: Middle Lagoon, Dampier Peninsula

We had decided to leave the van in storage at our Broome caravan park (called the “Broome Caravan Park” –  how do they come up with these names?), as we had been “reliably informed” that the roads through the Dampier Peninsula were “atrocious”.

The peninsula has been described by several of our friends who have visited as “one of the most beautiful places in Australia”, so we had high expectations! After passing the “Stricly No Caravans” sign at the turn off from Broome, we passed serval caravans coming the other way. Confused…certainly. Then we hit the dirt pretty quickly, but the corrugations weren’t that bad and it was all nice soft red sand, no sharp, nasty, tyre eating stones like the Gibb River Road. 

It was a long straight 110kms, with low scrub either side, we weren’t feeling the love yet, then after another 30km down a sandy straight, low scrub either side kinda side road (deja vu) we arrived at Middle Lagoon to find an army of caravans and a fish and chip van. Not quite what we had expected but all in keeping with our experience of “Australia’s Last Great Wilderness” thing in the Kimberley. 

We set up our little hike tent, feeling dwarfed by the big rigs all around us, and woofed down the awesome fish and chips. How come a little business in this remote corner of Australia can cook “proper” fish and chips and yet 99% of their fellow chippy makers in Aus make such a hash of it? Consigned to one of the mysteries of this Big Brown Land.

We wandered up to the beach and….WOW….WOW…WOW….awesome…the most stunning white sand and water so blue it was just a feast for the eyes. It had to be paddled. 

In a jiffy the packrafts are inflated and ready to go. We did get a few curious looks as we minced down the beach with our odd looking little boats under our arms. Heads held high, off we went into the wide blue yonder. It was fabulous. We headed up the coast for a mosey around, then back down the other way to land on this pristine beach, not a footprint in sight. Well until Mrs A decided to run round in circles to make some – so great to see her back to her old self after the crap breathing she has been experiencing  almost since the start of the trip. 

On the water I have to admit to keeping a wary croc spotting eye scanning around as everywhere we go when we ask if its saltie free we get a guarded “well we haven’t seen any since the Wet…so most likely you’ll not see one”. It’s that “most likely” phrase you play with in your mind. But all was good, and we had a great afternoon in our “bumper boats” as we have nicknamed them. Well it is very tempting to bounces into each other and try and spin the other boat around…

We came back to camp, and after enjoying a couple of beers with the sunset, fired up the little camping stove and warmed up a pre-cooked meal of a japanese salmon stir-fry, with a few noodles added it was fine dining as usual. I have to say the wine restock we did in Broome has been really disappointing, so I wont be referring to any fine vintages for the next few weeks! Roll on Margaret River I say. 

Well the generators came on…there would have been at least 30 vans in the campsite..and the people milled around…and yes we had a great day….but its busy here. We are hoping when school holidays is over next week things will quieten down a bit.

We scurried into bed early (as usual) and felt a little cheated we hadn’t brought the van – it would have been fine. But…it does us good to be down in the dirt, reminding us of why we spent that cash to have our mobile apartment for this long trip. 

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