Sunrise at Kooljaman

breakfast-kooljaman-1breakfast-kooljaman-2breakfast-kooljaman-3breakfast-kooljaman-4breakfast-kooljaman-5breakfast-kooljaman-6breakfast-kooljaman-7breakfast-kooljaman-8breakfast-kooljaman-9breakfast-kooljaman-10breakfast-kooljaman-11breakfast-kooljaman-12breakfast-kooljaman-13There is definitely something energising and invigorating about the air in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Not only did my niggling foot injury miraculously improve whilst being there, but all four of us suddenly became morning people! Waking up before sunrise in order to catch those first orange rays on our faces is something most of us would never even contemplate doing in the city. Yet there we were, awake as anything, eager to watch the spectacular show of natural beauty as the sun made its glorious arrival for the day.

We topped off the sunrise with a beautiful breakfast, prepared on the balcony overlooking the ocean and the trees. Sarah had brought along lots of supplies, so this morning it was to be a scrumptious feast of French toast doused with honey, strawberries and mint. What a treat to be able to spend time with family and friends in the most beautiful of places – the wilderness, the sounds of the ocean, the laughter of great company.

Do come explore this corner of the earth – its raw beauty will change you, I guarantee it.

Kooljaman at Cape Leveque / Accommodation / (08) 9192 4970 / reservations@kooljaman.com.au

Photos by Jinn

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
cape-leveque-day1-3cape-leveque-day1-5 cape-leveque-day1-6 cape-leveque-day1-7 cape-leveque-day1-8cape-leveque-day1-10 cape-leveque-day1-11cape-leveque-day1-13cape-leveque-day1-15 cape-leveque-day1-16cape-leveque-day1-18 cape-leveque-day1-19cape-leveque-day1-21 cape-leveque-day1-22 cape-leveque-day1-23 cape-leveque-day1-24 cape-leveque-day1-25

The green green grass

brittany-countryside-1The beauty of the Breton countryside completely took my breath away during our drive from Pointe Saint-Mathieu to Paimpol. The allure of the lush greenery and meandering hills were such a vast contrast to the sunbaked ochre desert plains my eyes are currently accustomed to. Once we’d stopped freaking out about driving on the “wrong side of the road” we really began to enjoy the peaceful scenery. Occasional golden canola fields punctuated the endless green with their surprising pops of happy yellow, and tiny towns whizzed by on the way to our destination.

I have to mention that our experience with our GPS was very hit-and-miss. We were on more than one occasion led down a lane that was clearly through someone’s private albeit very pretty farm and also had to very scarily reverse out an unbelievably narrow street when we directed straight into a dead end. Good one GPS. I wasn’t aware there was a “scenic route” option!

That aside, I would highly recommend staying at Pondervann, a lovely family-owned bread-&-breakfast in Paimpol. The hotel is situated on a large plot of land with its own stream, vegie patch, and friendly dog! Make sure you have a good set of muscles if you’re staying on the top floor as, like many French hotels, there is no elevator! (Thanks Jinn, my muscle man!) Interestingly we found a tiny piece of home in the B&B’s garden – a gum tree! See if you can spot it in the pictures…

Photos by Jinn
brittany-countryside-2 brittany-countryside-3 brittany-countryside-4 brittany-countryside-5 brittany-countryside-6 brittany-countryside-7 brittany-countryside-8 brittany-countryside-9 brittany-countryside-10 brittany-countryside-11

Pointe Saint-Mathieu

pointe-st-mathieu-15Wearing – Karen Walker t-shirt (on sale at Anthropologie!), ASOS overalls, Madewell sunglasses, Fossil bangle (similar), Donelli shoes (similar)

What he’s wearing – Urban Outfitters jumper and jeans

Our first destination in France was the incredibly picturesque and tiny little village, Pointe Saint-Mathieu, perched right atop part of the spectacular coastline of Brittany. It gets its name from an old abbey in the centre of the village (sixth century according to legend) which was said to have housed the skull of the apostle Matthew until it was lost in the ocean off the point. After the icy cold of Glasgow it was nice to get out into some sunshine. Look! No coat!pointe-st-mathieu-23pointe-st-mathieu-24pointe-st-mathieu-21pointe-st-mathieu-22pointe-st-mathieu-1pointe-st-mathieu-4pointe-st-mathieu-14pointe-st-mathieu-5pointe-st-mathieu-9pointe-st-mathieu-8pointe-st-mathieu-13pointe-st-mathieu-18pointe-st-mathieu-25pointe-st-mathieu-27

Old friends & lochs

scotland-33Eight years ago, two strapping young Glaswegian medical students named Steve and Hamish decided to travel the world and Perth was one of their destinations. In fact, they’d chosen to do their medical electives in Royal Perth Hospital and that’s how our paths crossed! It was a meeting that was meant to be, since we’d already planned to do our electives in Edinburgh later that year. And so the friendship continued…But after 2006, we had to rely on good ol’ Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch – until now!

We stayed with the exceedingly hospitable Stevo who turned out to be quite the celebrity in his hometown, Glasgow. Not only is he now a fully fledged General Practitioner but he has also achieved what seems to be so utterly unattainable to me – the perfect work-life balance (Yeah, could be something to do with how much Candy Crush I play…Damn, that game is addictive, makes it more like work-Candy Crush balance for me). He’s a musician and a DJ, and seriously nearly every corner we turned people were saying “Hey Steve!”. And these weren’t just any people, these were people from the art, music and/or fashion scenes. Just a teensy bit jealous, Steve.

One of the huge highlights was our mini road trip to the countryside. The rolling hills, the serene lochs, the search for heilan coos…(Translation: highland cows) The scenes and the wintery cold brought back so many memories of our time here when we were still students, exploring the highlands, traipsing cobble stoned streets, eating many a haggis (it’s really good, you need to try it!), and trying out the old Scottish form of clubbing, cèilidh.

Now there’s absolutely no need to wonder why Stevo is so popular around town – he is absolutely one of the loveliest, kindest and coolest guys we’ve ever met, and it was so great to finally be able to catch up in person after so long! Thanks Steve!
scotland-24scotland-27scotland-26scotland-29 scotland-30scotland-34scotland-25scotland-31glasgow-44.jpgscotland-15 scotland-16 scotland-17glasgow-2.jpgscotland-35scotland-37

Gantheaume Point

gantheaume-17Whilst Jinn was in Broome I really wanted to make it down to Gantheaume Point as I’d read that there were real dinosaur footprints imprinted amongst the rocks that you could approach when the tide was low. There’s something cool about seeing things that are millions of years old, I find it fascinating and it makes me feel rather small yet thrilled at the same time.

We wandered and splashed around the amazing little rock pools for ages, searching for prehistoric footprints and marvelling at the tiny treasures that the tide had left behind. Pieces of colourful coral, pools brimming with tiny sea snails and my favourite hermit crabs, and strange white slug-like things which looked like alien creatures from a Doctor Who episode.

Well, before we knew it, the sun was setting and we had yet to find any signs of ancient dinosaur life. But you know what? We just didn’t care as we were taken in by the most gorgeous sunset we had seen yet, along with the amazing lighting and ever-changing colours of the sky which made it a photographer’s paradise. Plenty of locals had driven their 4WDs onto the beach and were casually enjoying the sight over their picnic dinners, it looked like heaven and the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening. Gives me ideas for next time!

This place is an absolute must see, with sunsets that rival or, dare I say, are even better than Cable Beach’s. There’s plenty of signage on the way there and I highly recommend taking a 4WD and a hamper full of yummy food and beverages. And if anyone knows where those footprints are, please enlighten me!gantheaume-13 gantheaume-21gantheaume-12gantheaume-5 gantheaume-4gantheaume-1gantheaume-6gantheaume-32gantheaume-33gantheaume-8gantheaume-9gantheaume-10gantheaume-11gantheaume-14gantheaume-15gantheaume-18
gantheaume-20gantheaume-16gantheaume-25gantheaume-24gantheaume-26gantheaume-22gantheaume-27gantheaume-28gantheaume-30gantheaume-31

I’ve been everywhere, man!

plane-8My apologies for being so sporadic with the posts of late! But let me explain why…In the last three weeks I’ve gone from Perth to Broome to Fitzroy Crossing to Noonkanbah (*big breath*) back to Fitzroy Crossing to Broome to Perth to Melbourne to Shepparton and all the way back to now be sitting in my little apartment in Broome to bring you this post! And guess what? I’m off to Kununnura on Sunday. So now you know what a gypsy/itinerant life I’m leading and why sadly our beloved blog has been somewhat neglected.

But on the upside, I have had some amazing experiences, some that I may never have had the chance to do and maybe never even have actively sought out being a professed city girl. Whilst in Fitzroy Crossing, we had to fly out to see the kids at a tiny Aboriginal community called Noonkanbah in a tiny one-engine six-seater plane – it was the best fun EVER! Most of the other members of this little expedition had been on many a mini-plane flight before and sat there grumbling about the heat (it’s not air-conditioned!) or quietly nursing their motion-sick heads. As for me – I was grinning like an idiot! I think I even involuntarily let out a little “Whee!” when we hit some turbulence! I bagsed shotgun on the ride back and unashamedly filmed the landing – what a loser! Although I think the pilot was secretly chuffed…

So far, I’ve survived doing solo paediatric clinics essentially out in the middle of nowhere, and met the most beautiful children and the friendliest of hospital staff, all amongst the most gorgeous of landscapes (picture flowing rivers lined by hauntingly white gum trees, ochre red dirt dotted with pot-bellied boabs). If this is any reflection of the rest of my time here, I have a really good feeling about this place. 🙂plane-4 plane-2plane-7 plane-6 plane-5plane-1 plane-9

Happy Chinese New Year!

1broome6For me, I’ve decided that this year is going to be the year of the Hermit Crab. Yes, not one of the traditional twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac but that kind of sums up how this year is looking for me – less than “traditional”. My usual Chinese New Year festivities kick off with much greeting of everyone with loud and enthusiastic cries of “Gong hee fat chaiiiiii”, followed by eating superhuman amounts of steamboat, lo han tsai (one of my fave vegetarian dishes – ever!) and yee sang, then giving out ang pao (red packets) to all the little kids!

This year, a Broome local took me and a bunch of others fishing. Now, for those of you who don’t know me well, this really is quite a dramatic and momentous occasion as fishing and me don’t generally ever get mentioned in the same sentence. I’m admittedly a city-girl and the last memory I have of going fishing was around the age of five when my dad took us fishing off a dark smelly jetty in Mandurah. I managed to get a fish hook stuck in my knee, and the whole experience was so traumatic that I’d never been fishing since!…But! Just as a hermit crab has to expose its soft and vulnerable bum to find itself a bigger and better home, I’ve resolved to say yes to anyone and anything, throw myself out there to make new friends, and firmly ignore that safe, comfortable, boring and shy girl that sometimes takes hold of me in these situations.

So off we went! After some nifty four-wheel driving over the gorgeous but bumpy red dirt roads, we finally arrived at our fishing spot for the day. The spectacular view just about took my breath away – I can barely describe it and the photos don’t do it justice. The place is so untouched and just teeming with life. Hermit crabs of all sizes scuttle around your feet (some tinier than a pea!), silvery fish flit blithely through the clear aqua waters, and turtles surf the gentle waves, occasionally poking their heads above the surface. The water itself was so deliciously warm that all fear of jellyfish and other such scary things was forgotten as we took refuge from the heat of the relentless sun. No fish were caught, but I couldn’t have cared less!

The day was suitably capped off with an evening by Cable Beach enjoying the sunset, drinks in one hand and fish and chips in the other. Gong hee fat chai indeed!

They say you should spend Chinese New Year doing the things you really like because it predicts what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. Let’s hope this old saying holds true for me – because that means my year is going to be a cracker!

1broome91broome71broome51broome12 1broome31broome131broome41broome10

%d bloggers like this: