Take a Break, Take some Time, Take a plane to wherever you want to go!
When I decided that I needed a break before I broke my own neck (not literally) I was left with a really really hard decision. Where did I want to go on my own for a true all-encompassing break? Seriously… it was a hard question to answer when the whole wide world was out there. So here was my thought process.
- Did I want to go international? No, I love Australia and havnt seen enough
- Did I want to go sit on a beach? Not really, I want to go on an ‘adventure’
- Did I want to spend a lot of money? No – I was resigning with no future job in place.
- Did I want to take awesome photos? Yes – awesome scenery needed
So I finally asked my Mum. Cause Mum’s know.
Me: “Mum, Im so stuck. I don’t know where I want to run off to for a photography adventure by myself that is warm, safe and stunning”
Mum: “Well Chelsey, if you could go back anywhere in your past travels and revisit a place once more that you know is warm, safe and stunning…. Where would that be?”.
Me: “Id go back to Broome and Cape Leveque in a heart beat”
Mum: “And there’s your answer. Now help me with the computer… its not working properly.”
And so there it was. The start of a plan, the start of a great solo adventure in a place that I considered as one of the most beautiful spots in the world. North Western Australia. And just to add some contrast I added in a Campervan tour of South Western Australia.
Phase 1 – North Western Australia
Ok – So I was going to do this trip as cheaply as I could, but I used up some Qantas points and left in style via Business Class sand it made me feel great. Direct flight to Broome – that’s a long way in the pointy end of the plane
Broome: Western Kimberley’s, a resort town with the Indian Ocean hitting its white sands, theres the red red dust and crazy aqua coloured waters on the bay side. Cable Beach itself is 22km long… so you are going feel like you are the only one there most of the time.
Then theres the tides. The Dampier Peninsular has tides up to 10 metres in difference. That’s massive. Every six hours 6-10 metre change of water depth! Makes the tide times one of the most important pieces of information when visiting.
Then theres the weather… in the dry season, May to October it’s a consistent 29-31 degree day, not a cloud in the sky. Every day. Every single day. One less thing to worry about!
Broome also has an abundant Pearl industry, so beautiful, but so blardy expensive, and it has a really interesting history in both WW1 and WW2 and plenty of influence from Chinese settlers. It is a colourful, fascinating mix of history, cultural blending, strong indigenous flavour, pearl coloured wealth and true dusty outback grit. A place to be visited once if not twice.
I also timed the trip to coincide with the “Staircase to the Moon” a light phenomenon when the full moon happens with a low tide to create a stunning reflection on the mangrove plains. It happens two nights a month for 5 months. And it’s a pretty festive time in Broome (Wolverine – Hugh Jackman was at the same bar watching the same moon rising as I was one night. Brush with fame ? )
Link here to the Schedule of the Staircase to the Moon :Broome Visitors Info
Then it was up to Cape Leveque – 4 hrs north on the roughest sand road – 4WD only. And as I didn’t want to drive that myself.. I jumped on the Post Mans delivery route which you can buy a ticket on and get a little tiki tour around the Dampier Peninsular as Glenn the Postie delivers his parcels.
Great driver, not much of a talker.
Cape Leveque: Kooljaman Wilderness Camp owned and run by the Indigenous Bardi Jawi Communities. It is located on native title land, a stunning picture perfect Kimberly location with cultural significance and gives a chance for visitors to learn and explore its indigenous heritage.
Kooljaman had changed a bit since I was there near 15yrs ago. Back then, my memory was a small shop, reception, a few cabins and camp spots and rustic grass shelters on the beach to sleep under. Its now quite a business with café, live music on the weekends, another little shop by the beach where the grass shelters still stand.
I rented a mini safari Tent that was fully kitted and extremely comfortable… roughing it but with out the hassle. OK – I was Glamping and I was happy. I loved it when it was small and rough, but I love it more know that it is a little more accessible to those without the required Landcruiser to get there.
Day time swimming on the ‘safe side’ aka no sharkies and then watching the sun set and whales leap on the cliff side. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Then its back on the Post Mans Van… with Glenn… not talking much..
One of the best things about the Postie Van… apart from that having to drive that crazy road was be able to see each of the communities up there even if for only a quick stop. The lifestyle there is so far removed from my hectic Sydney life, that Im a little jealous on the simplicity and hugely grateful for what I have available to me.
Link to the Postie Van Site Postie Run Booking Site
Back in Broome I opted for the Cable Beach side to watch more of those amazeball sunsets. I was also there for the annual Ladies Day at the Broome Races (doh – should have bought a frock) I got to drink cheap sparkling, lose my cash on the horseys and cheer the other filly’s in the fashion parade!
Following all that excitement it was back again on the beach with a beer and a sunset.
CHILLED OUT complete
My corporate dust was being replaced by the red dust of the Kimberleys and it felt great.
I look forward to making my way back to Broome again one day. I dream of travelling in a big 4WD, with a Camper trailer on the back, hitting the Kimberley red dust and driving for days, sharing that wonder of an incredible landscape with someone special. It will happen, its written in the dust.
Next step, Perth, to become a roaming hippy.
As a solo traveller, you can sometimes feel a little self conscious. I mean… are they really looking at me going “Nigel No Mates?” I really doubt it… I don’t think that if I see a single out somewhere. You just have to own it, be comfortable, and be happy in the knowledge that everything is in your control. It helps being focused on something like photography… it gave me a reason to sit and watch the sunset by myself and a plan of action for every sunrise and sunset. And I have a ridiculous enjoyment of my own company… I crack myself up with my inane stupid internal dialog.
As a solo female traveller…. Sure it’s a little more on the wary side, sure you gotta think a bit more if your out somewhere remote… but theres not a serial killer or stalker or rapist around every rock! Sometimes I think our constant horror news and movies have scared us all indoors where its ‘safe’.
Separate blog post to appear soon all on Solo Travelling for Chicks. Including my experiences, tips, tricks and things learnt, my initial fears heading out on this trip and how I started to overcome them.