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Derby to Broome and Emeriau Point (Middle Lagoon)

The Boab Prison Tree, located just outside of Derby.The Boab Prison Tree, located just outside of Derby.

Before Derby was established in 1883, aboriginal people were kidnapped from the West Kimberley by unscrupulous settlers connected with the pearl industry, known as blackbirders, who wanted them for labour and divers on pearling luggers.
They were rounded up, put in chains and marched to the coast.

It is reported that a number were held captive in the Boab Prison Tree, awaiting transport.

After a night camped along the banks of the Fitzroy River, near Willare Bridge Roadhouse, we set off for Broome.

It was a strange night...the still of the evening punctuated several times by an unbalanced bovine trampling backwards and forwards through the leaf litter around the caravan, occasionally sniffing it...and then bellowing loudly...before crashing off through the bush again.

...then the next day, about 100km out from Broome, we were flagged down by a roadtrain driver.

When we asked how we could help...the driver answered "could you give me a jump start thanks mate'.

Thinking he was joking, we both cracked up.

Sombre faced, he assured us that it could be done and reached for his jumper leads.

I was still skeptical, but thought... 'what the heck'...'it's worth a try'.

We stood around for twenty minutes or so...swapping notes about our respective 'rigs'...not venturing into that boy thing...mine's bigger than yours...

...'cause I had the jumper leads, don't forget...and HE had the problem!!

Nearly a half an hour of charge surged into the big Kenworth's four heavy duty batteries from the Prado, which stood dwarfed beside it.. and then the driver, Chad, decided to boot it up.

The massive 600 horsepower caterpillar diesel engine rumbled into life immediately.

...so there you go...God help the next person who dares call our Prado a 'yuppiemobile'.

 

Rod using the Prado to 'jump start' the 49 metre long Kenworth roadtrain, laden with 74 tonnes of salt from Port Hedland.

Broome

With our arrival in Broome, we had crossed the continent from East to West.

A mecca for grey nomads, it's virtually impossible to find a berth in a caravan park in Broome without prior booking...and then the caravans are packed in like sardines.

Fortunately we'd been appraised of the situation before arriving in Broome and had been given directions to the local Pistol Gun Club, which ran a small caravan park, located on the road to the port.It had a rustic bush setting and the park occupants were spread out amongst shady trees, screened from each other by shrubs.

We found Broome to be a bustling community with a vibrant holiday atmosphere. It thrives on a strong domestic and international tourist trade and is the major service centre for the region's substantial cultured pearl industry.

Broome possesses a magnificent sandy white ocean beach, Cable Beach, which has crystal clear turquoise water...and unlike the tropical beaches of the East Coast...it's generally safe to swim without fear of being stung by some lurking nasty or being latched onto by a hungry crocodile.

After a two days of sightseeing and repairs to the stone damaged water tanks on the caravan, we headed north up the Dampier Peninsula to Middle Lagoon.

Gantheaume Point, Broome. Cable Beach in distance

 

Gantheaume Point, Broome. Cable Beach in distance.

Cable Beach at Broome

 

Cable Beach at Broome

camel ride on Cable Beach at Broome

 

A tourist camel ride on Cable Beach at Broome provided an excellent backdrop for this picture of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean

Middle Lagoon

Located about 160km north of Broome, on the Dampier Peninsula, Middle Lagoon camping area is part of the Beagle Bay Aboriginal Reserve and is run by the local community.road to Middle Lagoon

The road to it was marked as 'four wheel drive only' and was definitely the roughest we have encountered to date. It was loamy red soil and the way it had been graded in places made it look more like a bobsled run...and we had to move up onto the sloping, sandy shoulder several times to allow vehicles travelling in the opposite direction room to pass. Needless to say, none were towing caravans.


On the way out we saw a four wheel drive on the side of the road covered in branches. It had crashed hours earlier, veering across the road before hitting a tree.

It reminded us that extra caution was required and we took the next two hours driving very sedately.

Middle Lagoon was worth the effort to reach and we were able to park the caravan on a commanding ridge with sweeping views over a tranquil bay with clear turquoise water.Middle Lagoon

We spent three relatively relaxing days there, swimming, sunbaking and generally taking it easy.

The evenings weren't quite as relaxing though, as generators were allowed in the area where we chose to park and two neighbouring campers let theirs plug away until 9:30 ish each night...just to light up the night sky like the melbourne cricket ground.

...so much for camping out to take in the sound of lapping waves and to gaze at the stars and the moon on the water.

 

Middle Lagoon

 

 

A room with a view

 

Middle Lagoon sunset

 

Sunset at Middle Lagoon

 

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