Tucked away on Australia’s northwest coast, the Dampier Peninsula is a remote gem. The area boasts untouched wilderness with white sand beaches and crystal clear shimmering waters.
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Cape Leveque, the top attraction of the region, is a natural wonder known for its vibrant red cliffs and traditional Aboriginal heritage. For those who once thought of Cape Leveque as an inaccessible destination, we have good news! The road from Broome up Dampier Peninsula is now fully sealed, so pack your camping gear and start planning a Dampier Peninsula road trip!
About Dampier Peninsula & Cape Leveque
Cape Leveque is the main attraction of the Dampier Peninsula. The cape is famous for its pristine coast and wilderness. The local Indigenous people call the peninsula Ardi, meaning “northeast. ” It’s an area that carries rich traditional history and one that has been sparsely inhabited with small remote communities for centuries.
The beaches are unspoiled, trees full and natural, and wildlife is abundant. At one point, the peninsula was known as a far-off place with limited road access. Now, thanks to the newly sealed road, it’s an off-the-beaten-path destination for nature and culture.
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Where Is The Dampier Peninsula?
The Dampier Peninsula is located in northwest Australia along the coast of the Kimberley region in Western Australia. It’s about 200 km north of Broome and surrounded by the beautiful Indian Ocean.
How To Get There
Thanks to recent improvements, the main road up the Dampier Peninsula from Broome to Cape Leveque is now fully sealed. There are still plenty of off-shoots that require a high clearance 4WD vehicle, but the main route is now accessible by any vehicle.
To get to Cape Leveque, follow Broome Road for 20 km before hitting the turn-off for Broome-Cape Leveque Road. The sealed all-weather road goes all the way to Cape Leveque and takes about 2.5 hours. Keep in mind that if you want to explore more of the unique landscape, you’ll need 4WD to reach places like Pender Bay and Middle Lagoon.
As far as road conditions go, we found the ride to be pretty smooth, but it still required careful driving. There are no overtaking lanes, and weather can be a big factor. Check out the Road Safety Commission’s Guide to a Safe Drive before embarking on your trip.
Be prepared for weather extremes in the Kimberley, particularly after the 2023 floods; delays can happen, so always have fresh water, food, and spare tires on hand. Stay safe!
Main Attractions & Things To Do In Dampier Peninsula
On the northern tip of the Dampier Peninsula, Cape Leveque is the main draw for most visitors making this extraordinary trip. It’s no surprise that the gorgeous untouched beaches and astonishing red cliffs make a visit here a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The contrast between the vibrant cliffs, white sandy beach, and turquoise water is a feast for the eyes.
Swimming and snorkelling are popular things to do in Cape Leveque. The cape is also home to a lighthouse and is a good spot for whale watching (during the season). Cape Leveque fishing is world-class, and locals invite you to explore the region and uncover its rich Aboriginal history.
Kooljaman At Cape Leveque
Kooljaman is a remote wilderness camp owned by local Indigenous Bardi Jawi communities. It’s famed for its stunning scenery and eco-conscious beachfront campground. The award-winning place has accolades in Indigenous Tourism, Eco-Tourism, Unique Accommodation and Cultural Tourism. You can easily spend the day combing the beach before having dinner at Raugi’s Restaurant and catching the glorious sunset over the bay.
Unfortunately, this place is closed now due to deteriorating infrastructure and the inability to cover redevelopment costs. Work on the Kooljaman Access Road, which was initially set to finish in September 2023, is on hold. The resort is closed, and the duration of closure remains uncertain. For the latest info on open communities and campgrounds, check with the Broome Visitor Centre here.
Brian’s Tagalong Tour
No trip to Kooljaman is complete without joining a cultural tour with unforgettable Bardi tour guide, Brian Lee. Brian’s Tagalong Tours of Hunter Creek sheds insight into traditional fishing and crabbing and culminates in a bush tucker lunch under the trees, then enjoy the scenic tours to Sunday Island. It’s the absolute best way to experience the Kimberley region from a local’s perspective.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm
Located on the eastern side of the Dampier Peninsula, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm is an icon of Australia’s pearling industry. The bay’s tidal creeks and sandy banks are prime oyster territory along with the coast’s many points. Rocky shores line the bay, and the views of nearby islands are spectacular.
The farm operates several boat tours, allowing visitors to explore the beauty of the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome and see Cable Beach light up in a vibrant display of colours from the water. We recommend their Giant Whirlpool Tidal Boat tour to experience the massive tides or journey to the unique waterfall reef. You can also dine at the Cygnet Bay Restaurant and have a taste of pearl meat or even harvest one in this Behind-the-Scenes Tour & Live Harvest!
Ardyaloon – One Arm Point
Immerse yourself in local Aboriginal communities in the remote town of Ardyaloon or One Arm Point. From here, you can watch the giant tides sweep over the Kimberley islands and explore a Trochus Shells hatchery. The beaches are completely unspoiled, and the fishing is outstanding. The road is 4WD only, but the vibrant community is well worth a visit.
The Ardyaloon Hatchery Road (One Arm Point) construction and sealing were mostly finished in May 2023, but the final seal comes later this year. If you’re planning a 2024 visit, ensure the road’s fully open before heading to One Arm Point. Check for updates here.
The Aboriginal Community of Lombadina welcomes visitors to explore their traditions and amazing locations on Thomas Bay. Soak in the beauty of white sand beaches and try your luck at spotting humpback whales in the distance. The Community hosts immersive tours to try your hand at mud crabbing, kayaking, or traditional fishing.
As of May 2023, the Lombadina community is open seven days a week, including weekends from 9 am to 2 pm. If you plan to book a tour, remember to do it at least four days in advance to support the local communities.
Follow an unsealed road north of Beagle Bay, and you’ll arrive at Pender Bay, a hotspot for humpback whales and remote camping. Explore the 4WD tracks and incredible beaches surrounding this rugged stretch of coast. Stay at Whale Song Campground, and be sure to stop into Kimberley Wild Gubinge to taste a superfood plum unique to Australia.
On the same 4WD track from Beagle Bay to Pender Bay, you’ll find Middle Lagoon, another stop for the picturesque wilderness. Spend the day relaxing on the beach or dropping a line in the water. Camping and limited accommodation options are available at the low-impact coastal camp Nature’s Hideaway.
James Price Point
A stunning headland on the Kimberley coast, James Price Point is a local favourite for swimming and wild camping. Besides its astounding beauty, the area also has large cultural significance for Indigenous Communities. Walk the beaches, observe the wildlife, and keep your eyes peeled for dinosaur footprints in the intertidal zones!
James Price Point offers one of the most picturesque FREE wild campgrounds in all of Australia. Camping spots are scattered all along the point and are sprawled between the ocean and the stark red cliffs. You must be completely self-sufficient to camp here, as there are no facilities and no trees/bushes, so a portable loo is a must!
Stop into the Community of Beagle Bay to visit the home of the Nyul Nyul people. The Community’s famous Sacred Heart Church features a beautiful building with an altar made from shells. It’s entirely handmade and adorned with white mother-of-pearl shells.
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Where To Stay: Cape Leveque Camping And Dampier Peninsula Accommodation
Waking up to sweeping views of the red cliffs and sparkling ocean is what the Dampier Peninsula is all about. Keep in mind that Cape Leveque accommodation is limited, so be sure to plan ahead.
Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat
Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat is located at the eastern tip of the peninsula near One Arm Point and is a great wilderness bush camp. We stayed here for a couple of nights during our visit and enjoyed the amazing ocean views and rugged landscape. Gumbanan offers basic campsites with toilet/shower facilities. Unfortunately, this gem is closed for the season from August 2023 until further notice.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm
Spending the night at a pearl farm is a pretty cool way to experience the coastal Kimberley region. Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm offers visitors 39 remote self-sufficient accommodations ranging from campsites, caravan sites, to safari tents, it is Australia’s oldest fully operational public pearl farm! Each site comes with power and water, and there is a fully functional amenities block with hot and cold water. It features a swimming pool, various tours, and the Cygnet Bay Bistro serving dishes inspired by seasonal produce and has unique offerings like pearl meat. For the full experience, splash out on a heritage-listed Pealer’s shack. You’ll get a feel for how divers lived in the early days of Australia’s pearling industry.
Wild Camping At James Price Point
James Price Point, or Waldamany, is a stunning free campsite located about 1 hour north of Broome. Picture a white sandy beach surrounded by rocky red cliffs where 4WD fully self-contained vehicles can spend the night above the sea. The site is beautiful but can get very windy, so prepare for rugged, wild camping. Also, note that there is a 3-day limit on camping and no facilities.
FAQs About Visiting The Dampier Peninsula
How Long Should I Spend In The Dampier Peninsula?
If you just want to see Cape Leveque, you can plan for a day trip from Broome with about 5 hours of driving time. That said, we definitely recommend spending a few days exploring the peninsula and its pristine wilderness. You can easily stay for weeks on end enjoying amazing Dampier Peninsula camping and laid-back living.
How Long Does It Take To Drive From Broome To Cape Leveque?
The drive from Broome to Cape Leveque along the Broome-Cape Leveque Road takes 2.5 hours each way. Be aware that ongoing road constructions are happening along this route in 2023 and 2024, so it might take longer. We recommend checking for road closures and finding alternate routes before your visit.
Is It Safe To Swim At Cape Leveque?
Yes, swimming at Cape Leveque and its surrounding beaches is safe and pleasant. However, these are known crocodile habitats, so it’s important to get the most up-to-date information from Kooljaman if you intend to swim in the area.
Is The Road To Cape Leveque Sealed?
Yes. As of spring 2021, the road from Broome to Cape Leveque is sealed, so you can cruise from Broome up to Cygnet Bay even in a 2WD.
Can You Take A Caravan To Cape Leveque?
Thanks to the newly sealed Broome-Cape Leveque Road, caravans can now explore the Dampier Peninsula. However, some parts of the peninsula still require 4WD and are not suitable for caravans.