It’s a three hour drive on a bumpy corrugated red dirt road from Broome to Cape Leveque on the northernmost tip of the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. We leave late on a Friday afternoon (four adults, a small girl and a one year old boy) and arrive at Kooljaman resort in deep darkness. Hanging above us is the Kimberley night sky. A bottomless bucket of starry light sloshed randomly over a velvet black canvas.
Kooljamon Resort is jointly owned by the Cape Leveque Aboriginal communities One Arm Point and Djarindjin. This resort is a hugely successful Indigenous enterprise. Accomodation ranges from palm fronded beach shelters to a normal camping ground, log cabins and luxury safari tents.
“The two surrounding indigenous communities of Djarindjin and Ardyaloon (One Arm Point) jointly own Kooljaman, making it proudly 100% Indigenous Owned. They have developed the camp in line with the community’s aspirations and their inherent knowledge of the land. Kooljaman at Cape Leveque has been established for 20 years and has won numerous state and national tourism awards in categories for Indigenous Tourism, Eco Tourism, Unique Accommodation and Cultural Tourism.” (www.kooljaman.com.au)
We make our way to the amazing restaurant which features seasonal menus and native ingredients like Kakadu plum, lemon myrtle, kangaroo, threadfin salmon and barramundi. After feasting on pan fried barramundi, shellfish bisque garnished with sautéed prawns and pork belly braised in white wine and fennel with crisp crackling, we make our way to the log cabin which will be our home for two nights. We love our rustic little cabin which is practically beach side. It is quite magical to sip our night time tea in the light of the Milky Way, listening to the soft crash of waves.
The next day we wander down to the beach and gaze in wonder at this jaw droppingly beautiful place – a dazzle of pure white and turquoise…. but what stops me in my tracks is the magnificent backdrop of richly coloured rock rising from the sand. Sculpted in every shade of red and orange from saffron to magenta is a jagged undulating wall painted sharp against the blazing blue sky. Suddenly the colours of Kimberly Indigenous artists make absolute sense to me.
I love the signs on the beach that remind us that we are in Aboriginal country. It makes me feel so privileged to be here. Sitting in the shade of rocks which have sheltered the first Australians for thousands of years, walking on sand that is the colour of crushed red bricks, gathering rust tinged shells and watching my grandchildren splash in gorgeous tropical water that washes the ancient shoreline of this land.
© Anita Patel, 2015