Kooljaman at Cape Leveque
Kooljaman Resort at Cape Leveque is sometimes called a luxury resort, sometimes a wilderness camp.
It might sound like a contradiction but the Cape Leveque resort is both. (Thank god, or I wouldn't be able to afford it...)
Kooljaman is not only one of the most isolated resorts in the world, it is also one of the most beautiful. It's good to see that the resort does the place justice, rather than spoil it like the tourism industry so often does.
The Broome area is famous for its beaches and Cable Beach, officially one of the world's top beaches, gets marketed to death. In my opinion the beaches at Cape Leveque's Kooljaman Resort beat Cable Beach hands down.
- At Kooljaman you can watch the sun rising out of the ocean, from your bed if you like!
And on the other side of the Cape you can watch the sun melt back into the ocean at night...
- Go for a beach walk in the morning. Kilometres and kilometres of powdery white sand, interspersed with rocky sections, and dotted with treasures the tide left behind.
But rarely another foot print...
- Swim in crocodile and jellyfish free, clear, turquoise waters.
If you know anything about the Kimberley you know how rare that is. No, not the clear water. The fact that you can swim in it!!
(Here's an interesting update on crocodiles at Cape Leveque, submitted by a reader.
And here is important saltwater crocodile information.)
- Instead between July and October you can view migrating humpback whales, which pass in viewing distance from the beaches.
- You can snorkel at the rocks between the beaches, or put your boat in the water and go fishing. The fishing is excellent!
- Join the Aboriginal owners of the land and catch some delicious mud crabs, take a lesson in spear fishing or learn about traditional bushfoods and medicine.
- If you are a bit adventurous and like exploring go down to Hunter Creek (these days only allowed via a tour with an indigenous guide). But beware of crocodiles at the creek. And don't get bogged here, the sand is very soft...
- Join a fishing tour or a boat tour if you don't know enough about boats or fishing to go on your own. (They even operate some scenic flights to the Buccaneer Archipelago out of here.)
- Then you can camp right on the beach and have a fire at night to cook the day's catch. They even supply the fire wood.
- And you can gaze at a squillion stars, admire the ocean view in the moonlight, and listen to the waves as you fall asleep...
When you've had enough of beach life for a while go for a stroll along the board walk that leads over the top of the hills, past the lighthouse, from one side of Cape Leveque to the other.
Learn a bit about the ecology, the plants and animals of the peninsula, and about how the Aboriginals use them.
There are also very interesting stories and old letters and newspaper articles, from and about the previous Cape Leveque lighthouse keepers. What a life they must have had, so far away from everything. Back then there was of course no tourism...
Accommodation at Kooljaman Resort
Kooljaman resort is jointly owned by the Cape Leveque Aboriginal communities One Arm Point and Djarindjin. Every member of the community is a shareholder in the resort and all the profits go back into those Aboriginal communities.
They have a lot of conservation projects going on, like tree planting or building board walks to protect the dunes. The construction of the camp itself also followed low impact environmental guidelines.
The accommodation options at Kooljaman Resort are quite unusual and there is a whole range. As I said, wilderness camp and luxury resort and everything in between. And somehow it works.
At the luxury end there are the safari tents, which of course aren't tents. They are sophisticated structures built into the steep hillside, so the verandas are on high stilts and overlook the deserted beaches and the ocean. They are serviced and have a little kitchen and and ensuite, all pretty flash.
Initially I looked at them with some envy. No way could I afford staying there.
No, we rented what's available at the other end of the scale: a palm frond thatched beach shelter.
And I assure you, after spending a few nights there, as far as I'm concerned the rich people can keep their safari tents, thank you.
There is other accommodation available at Kooljaman: units, log cabins and a normal camp ground. (No large camping vehicles and caravans in that one!) If you don't have any camping equipment you can rent one of their dome tents, permanent structures with double beds, a solid floor and a little wooden veranda.
The only drawback is that, because they are powered, they are all pretty close together.
(Also on the topic of power: they don't have much of it. Just a bit of solar and a generator as back up for the restaurant. Therefore power hungry appliances like air-cons or freezers are not allowed to be used. You can also leave the hair dryer, toaster and microwave at home :-) )If you bring your own tent, swag or sleeping bag you can rent a beach shelter and have the illusion that you are the only person at Kooljaman. (At least in the off season you can.)
And that is what makes Kooljaman Resort so special. If you pick the right time of the year (not June/July!) you feel as if you had the whole place entirely to yourself. It's pure magic.
But you still have the convenience of serviced accommodation if that's what you prefer. There is also a basic store and a restaurant that offers take-aways.
You can join members of the Aboriginal community on bush walks, boat tours, go mud crabbing or spear fishing with them and more.
One more thing: during peak season Kooljaman is booked out months in advance. So book ahead or you will miss out.