Posted on July 24, 2014
Ah Broome. The warm and sunny town reminds me of a time when life was simple. I was sent here last year for work, initially apprehensive and somewhat discomposed, then six months down the track found myself embraced by the community and way of life, and truly sad to leave. The unhurried pace was curative and a real tonic for a soul that previously searched for meaning and gratification in busyness and seemingly important jobs with very long to-do lists.
Things are different up here. Yes, there is work, but there is always time to catch up for a drink on Friday afternoon, time to take that bike ride around the port, time to go to that gym class on Tuesday evening, time to have a dip at the beach, time to watch yet another breathtaking sunset (or moonrise!), time to cast a fishing rod off the rocks. And that time isn’t the never-arriving tomorrow, it is today. Yes, we have our jobs and we do them well, but time is made and set aside to tend to ourselves. We make time to chat, consolidating old friends, connecting with new ones. There is a term frequently used up here – to have a yarn – which from my observations means to have a relaxed but meaningful exchange, with no fixed time limit or agenda, finding out more about each other, going wherever the conversation may spontaneously flow. The focus is on the person and where they are in life, often not necessarily asking them the questions that seem to be so commonly asked to define and categorise a person (like my personal unfavourite, “What do you do?”).
I spent six days in Broome just a couple of weeks ago, with the only purpose being to do just that. Have a yarn with some very dear friends and acquaint myself with some new ones too.
Let me not forget nor lose sight of the truly important things in life.
Posted on July 26, 2013
I can barely begin to describe just how transforming these last six months have been. Those of you who know me well will have realised just how far outside of my cushy, fashion-filled, food-centric comfort zone I’ve been taken and may even have thought that I’d come screaming back home, in a hurry to put all this behind me. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The heart and soul of the people and this land have somehow just crept into me and won me over, bit by bit. It’s like the red pindan that makes its way into every nook and cranny of your house and stains the soles of your runners an indelible bright orange also gets into your blood, leaving a bright and unforgettable mark.
Here are a few images that I chose to hopefully convey what my work days have consisted of, my favourites being those where we travelled to tiny remote Aboriginal communities where beautiful children run amok. I will miss these guys a great deal. Some are painfully quiet and shy, but others are garrulous and affectionate, and lavish their attention and hugs (and snot!) all over you. Unfortunately, due to patient confidentiality I haven’t been able to share any images of these children but I will never forget them!
I probably won’t post a whole lot until I’m settled back in Perth! So ciao for now!
Things I thought I knew about myself:
1. I hate change. It had even become a running joke between Jinn and I that I am so resistant to change that I can’t even bear to rearrange the prints on the wall in our dining room. Well, so much for that! With this job I’ve had to move from town to town and work with new people, performing completely foreign and out-of-my-depth tasks, sometimes on a daily basis! My confidence has grown immensely in this area, and although rigidity and structure can be a strength I have definitely learnt to go with the flow, stay happy and not always feel the need to be in control. It’s actually been quite a liberating, exhilarating and empowering revelation for me.
2. I hate swimming. I hate the beach. I’m still not a strong swimmer but dang a secluded beach and feeling the waves lap around your ankles is a tonic to the soul.
3. I hate bugs. Nope. I still hate bugs. I’ve just learnt to be braver. And have a large can of insect spray and an even larger shoe at hand.
4. I’m a city girl. As much as I love big cities with their high fashion stores and chic boutique bars, I’ve also developed an equally strong love for the wild, wild country. The sheer freedom and delight the land and its people bring. Imagine driving down a bumpy, dusty red road in an equally dusty red four-wheel drive, the trees and termite mounds whizzing past you. Wildlife abounds, a flock of white corellas squawk and fly above you, a shy wallaby bounds past, or if you’re lucky a pair of brolgas spread their wings and float majestically by. Your destination may be a rocky gorge with fascinating rock formations, or a secluded creek where you’ll while away the afternoon trying to catch barramundi, but really just having a good ol’ yarn with a good mate. Time just has a completely different meaning and concept up here. Instead of running from task to task, smartphone in hand, time is best spent doing whatever you want, at whatever pace you choose, in a t-shirt and thongs. Just the other day one of the longtime inhabitants here called me a “Kimberley girl” – now that’s a compliment! 🙂 In some ways, the best way I can describe my experience (trying not to be too cliched here) is that I feel almost like a well-kept animal that’s finally left its safe warm cage and found that the wild outdoors is actually truly amazing and beautiful.
Broome – you have not seen the last of me.
Posted on July 19, 2013
The mini hike into Emma Gorge was as fun as it was rewarding! After our morning seeping in the luscious waters of Zebedee Springs (read about it here) we decided it was time to limber up and get active. Yes, there is a “path” of sorts and the way is marked, but this walk is not exactly your typical Sunday stroll. Imagine clambering over slippery rocks and tip-toeing across creeks, all the while trying to remember to look up ever so often to enjoy the greenery and incredible rock faces that surround you. The gorge ends with an icy (and I mean icy) natural pool where you can have a well-earned swim and wash away the sweat and red dust. I must admit, it was so so very cold and I didn’t last long. But I contented myself to laze on the nearby rocks that had been warmed by the sun, listening to a group of children splashing around, seemingly immune to the chilly water.
Posted on July 15, 2013
Ivanhoe Cafe is one of those places that you stumble across and are like, “Why have I never been here before?!?!” My Kimberley job involves me flying to Kununurra every six weeks to do paediatric clinics over there, but most days we finish late when most things are closed and we’re thoroughly exhausted. After my final week in Kununurra (I feel quite sad saying that), Jinn flew up from Perth to join me so we could explore the East Kimberley a bit more. On our last day together, after frolicking in springs and climbing through gorges for the past few days we just felt like having an easy morning and stumbled upon this little place for breakfast.
The cafe has a thoroughly organic, almost lived in feel. It’s nestled amongst these giant mango trees that provide you with ample shade to enjoy your meal. We both ordered the breakfast muffin which came filled with yummy bacon slices, fresh salad greens, and an egg fried to runny-yolk perfection. It also came with a little dipping bowl of pretty mind-blowingly good housemade tomato chutney! The finishing touch was that golden yolk flowing out and coating the contents of the muffin with sunny, creamy goodness. Totally satisfying.
It was just perfect to relax under those great trees, enjoying good company (and pretty good coffee too!). And if you’re still hungry for more, the place sells housemade jams, chutneys, ice cream and local honey too. We left the place with contented stomachs, a shopping bag full of mango jam and that irresistible tomato chutney, sipping on our mango smoothies to go.
Ivanhoe Cafe / Ivanhoe Rd, Kununurra / +61 8 9168 1774 / Open 7 days a week 8:00am – 4:00pm (April to September)
Posted on July 10, 2013
During our visit to El Questro we went on a peaceful cruise down the Chamberlain Gorge, admiring the surrounding cliff faces of beautiful King Leopold sandstone. The highlight? The archer fish we met whilst we stopped for a wee while to enjoy a bite of fruit and a glass of bubbly. These ingenious little fish catch their insect prey by shooting water at them with remarkable accuracy which causes their hapless meals to fall into the water to be eaten! This particularly clever bunch had learnt that they would be rewarded with fish food if they shot us on the hands. They were amazingly good at it, but be careful not to ignore them for too long as they may shoot you in the face! I got my mascara shot off by one over zealous individual! My glass of sparkling wine went hopelessly ignored as I spent my time fascinated by these little wonders of nature…
Posted on July 8, 2013
Posted on July 5, 2013
Saturday morning was spent idling and floating in the nourishing waters of Zebedee Springs. Located within the vast El Questro wilderness park, Zebedee Springs is a naturally-occurring thermal spring. It gets its name from a character from the Magic Roundabout (Who? Nah, I don’t remember it either…) and is said to always remain a comfortable 28-32°C (82-90°F), perfect for soaking and lounging in.
As we wandered through the towering Livistona palm trees (and past a stray bull – watch out!), we found ourselves in the natural paradise. We left our clothes, towels and cares on the nearby rocks and steeped ourselves into the soothingly warm spring water. Somehow, the time just flew by. Two hours later and with great reluctance, we eventually had to tear ourselves away – our minds and bodies cleansed by the calming waters.
Posted on June 24, 2013
This idyllic destination nestled amongst the Buccaneer Archipelago is so secluded that it is virtually only accessible via seaplane. We were flown here from One Arm Point by the amazing crew from Horizontal Falls Adventures and were treated to incredible, once-in-a-lifetime views over the hundreds of rocky islands that form this archipelago.
Quietly floating down one of the pristine creeks in the area, beautifully coloured rock formations reveal the layers of time. We stayed silent, hoping to catch a glimpse of a sun-baking saltwater crocodile. The waters were rich with wildlife, multitudes of fish, and who could fail to spot the sharks that seemed to knowingly circle the houseboat.
The last photo is proof that I, Little Miss Phobia herself, swam with the sharks. Yes, I was in a shark cage, and yes I did shoot very rapidly out of the water involuntarily yelling “Woah!” the first time I popped my head under the water. But – I did it! So to all you people who said I wouldn’t – I dedicate a big ol’ raspberry to y’all!
Photos by me
Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures / Tours from Broome or Derby / firstname.lastname@example.org / (08) 9192 1172
Posted on June 21, 2013
My awesome Mumsy and Papsy came up to visit me a few weekends ago, and amongst taking in the Broome markets and feasting on barramundi wings and Kimberley mud crabs, we also went on this cool hovercraft tour. At first I was like, hovercrafts are real?!?!? I thought they only existed in sci-fi novels and movies! What a doofus…And to top that off, part of the tour included a look at some actual dinosaur footprints (see the photo above!). Admittedly, they’re not that easy to spot, but once they’re pointed out to you and you see just how regularly they’re positioned, you recognise how those holes could not have been made by some random act of nature or weather.
My mum always tells me stories about how she used to pelt boys she didn’t like with slugs and snails, but I never believed her as these days she is the definition of clean-freak. However, when the hovercraft landed and the low tide revealed a treasure trove of sealife I practically had to run and hide to avoid being splattered with bright red sea cucumbers and sea snails of assorted sizes. My dad, well he was not so lucky. I may or may not have used him as a human shield.
This was one of the most spectacular sunsets I’d experienced yet. The way the colours were reflected in those tiny pools made by the tidal flats. The lingering pinks and purples of the dying light. With only six weeks left up here in the Kimberley, I’m coming to realise just how much I’m going to miss this place.
Photos by me
Posted on June 10, 2013
Is 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