The South-West

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Last long weekend we contemplated two choices. Spend the time doing some much needed home DIY and tidying? Or go coastal exploring? You can see which option won out – the irresponsible but equally necessary choice! We took the opportunity to have a much needed break from the daily grind and wound our way around Dunsborough and the rocky coastline that surrounds the South-West.

The sunny weather and crisp ocean air cleared the stress and drear from our minds as we scrambled intrepidly across coastal paths and up rocky ways. The cool nights were spent hunkering down with mugs of warm tea, too many Snickers bars and a good read. The highlights? Climbing Castle Rock and watching the sun set over Sugarloaf from atop a rocky perch.

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White Elephant beach cafe

white-elephant-cafe-1 white-elephant-cafe-2 white-elephant-cafe-3 white-elephant-cafe-4 white-elephant-cafe-5 white-elephant-cafe-6 white-elephant-cafe-7 white-elephant-cafe-8 white-elephant-cafe-9It’s amazing how much you notice the weather change during the drive down south. We embarked from Perth on a 39 degree Celsius day and I’d packed four sundresses, a pair of shorts and a bikini. Thank goodness I threw in a cardie at the last minute! Searingly bright blue skies were replaced by muted grey clouds, and unforgiving rays of sun made way for a nippy breeze that surely raised goosebumps!

Breakfast at The White Elephant was tasty and unfussy. A lovely view of the waves constantly lapping against Gnarabup beach was the perfect accompaniment to my bacon and eggs on toast. The coffee too was just right. As their sign recommends, if you look out onto the ocean and look left you will notice a formation of rocks that resembles an elephant’s head side on with just a tiny stretch of the imagination!

Alas, the water was way too icy to take a dip. But fret not, we’ll definitely return to this spot on a future road trip.

White Elephant beach cafe / Gnarabup Rd, Gnarabup WA / Mon-Sat 7:30am – late / Sun 7:30am-10pm

Down South

down-south-1 down-south-2 down-south-3 down-south-4 down-south-5 down-south-6 down-south-7 down-south-8 down-south-9Heading “Down South” is a common turn of phrase in this part of the world. Invariably it means going on a road trip to one of the beautiful towns south of Perth, getting away from city life, relaxing on the beach and taking it easy. Late last year when Steve visited us from Scotland, I took the chance to show him how beautiful this part of the world is. We ate cheese, drank wine, sat on the beach, took photos, mountain biked and spotted some whales, kangaroos and possums. Poor Sarah couldn’t join as due to work commitments but happily we both have some leave and are scheduled to make a return visit very soon!

– Jinn

 

Follow the sun

cape-leveque-east-beach-15What Kimberley holiday would be complete without a lazy afternoon spent at the beach? We tried our hand at a little snorkelling but alas the water was a tad too choppy for that! We contented ourselves with a nice snooze in the afternoon sun, cooling down with a bite of refreshing watermelon. Sometimes I just love doing nothing.motifcape-leveque-east-beach-1cape-leveque-east-beach-2 cape-leveque-east-beach-3cape-leveque-east-beach-5 cape-leveque-east-beach-6 cape-leveque-east-beach-7cape-leveque-east-beach-12cape-leveque-east-beach-14cape-leveque-east-beach-24cape-leveque-east-beach-29 cape-leveque-east-beach-30cape-leveque-east-beach-33cape-leveque-east-beach-20cape-leveque-east-beach-22

Tagalong

brian-lee-tagalong-15One of the best things we did whilst up at Cape Leveque was join local elder, Brian Lee, on a four-wheel drive tagalong tour. Brian led us along the pristine beach and down to a nearby creek, all the while sharing stories about his Bardi people and the land, and showing us how to spearfish and catch giant Kimberley mudcrabs! Brian was so expressive and enthusiastic. A couple of times he hopped out of his car like a flash, spear in hand, jumping into the surf to retrieve his catch. His face also told many stories by itself, the light in his eyes shining as he explained how his grandparents would have lived in harmony with the land years ago, and his features undeniably showing his Bardi, English and Japanese heritage, testament to the history of this region.

We came to Hunter Creek, traversed its sandy banks at low tide and made our way to the mangroves where the mudcrabs hide out. Expertly, Brian showed us how to extricate these giant crabs from beneath the roots of the mangrove trees before giving us a chance to do the same (quite unsuccessfully!). After a few hours in this amazing wilderness we found ourselves perched on a rocky outcrop, hungrily eyeing the catch from the day: two successfully speared mullet, three giant mudcrabs, and a branch covered in tiny oysters. All were deliciously smoked on a coal fire, and we feasted. I’m not sure I will ever eat crab this good ever again. Ever.

Brian Lee / brianleetagalong.com.au / brian-lee@live.com /0437026262 / Meet him in this awesome video

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Cape Leveque

cape-leveque-day1-2Is this the Broome edition or what?! I suppose I’ve been up here for about three months now, but to be honest it’s been more about work and settling in, but now that’s well and truly done let me show you what we’ve been up to.

The Kimberley is absolutely nothing like the southern half of Western Australia, coming up here you really feel like you’re in a completely different country. It’s so much better than I expected it to be, and for a professed city-girl I have found myself totally falling for the sheer wildness of the land and just how alive it feels. The rich soil, the roiling waves, the calls of the wildlife, the trees reaching for the skies, the scintillating sunsets that show you colours you never knew existed.

One place that must be seen to be believed is Cape Leveque, 220km north of Broome, right on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula. Jinn, Jeff, Rach and I hopped into the four-wheel drive and at first I was like, “You call this a road?” but very quickly threw fear and trepidation out the window and embraced the joy and freedom of driving over those crazy bumpy trails, feeling almost indestructible. I must have had a a wild look in my eyes and a wickedly wide grin on my face for much of the drive which possibly got even wider on our arrival when I realised we’d reached a coastal paradise.

Leave Broome behind, hire a four-wheel drive (or find yourself a friend with one), and get up that bumpy-as-hell dirt road to Cape Leveque, also known as Kooljaman in the local Bardi language. Bring a fishing rod, your bathers, some Matso’s mango beer, plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent, and most of all throw your worries and preoccupations into that blue water and breathe in your fill of the freshest air on the planet.

Photos by Jinn
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Cable Beach again

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We went back to enjoy Cable Beach on my last evening in Broome. I had vowed to watch the sunset from a different beach each night I was in Broome, and true to my word we saw the sun set from a different part of Cable Beach to before. We stayed out late, well after the sun had set, deep in conversation and watching the sky turn from red to black and then erupt into a magnificent starscape. Beautiful scenery, warm nights, a sweet smelling breeze and excellent company – what could be better in life? – Jinn

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