Road & Rail

Road trip guide: The Ardi Cultural Drive

Sponsored by Tourism Western Australia

One of the oldest surviving cultures on Earth invites travellers to explore their coastal wilderness.

The people of the Dampier Peninsula welcome visitors to see their ancient land and culture, proving there is more to the Kimberleys’ coastal wilderness than striking contrasts of white sand, turquoise sea and pindan cliffs.

On Bardi and Nyul Nyul country, adventure seekers can join traditional owners for some spearfishing and mud crabbing, bush and reef walking, snorkelling and kayaking.

Western Australia is home of the road trip, and this, we’re bringing you tips and tricks for some of the dreamiest road trips on offer highlighting the state’s most beautiful spots.

Day one: Broome to Beagle Bay and Mercedes Cove (160km)

From Perth, flights depart daily to Broome and take just two and a half hours, but direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are also available.

Cable Beach is a 22-kilometre stretch of pristine white sand and clear turquoise waters and it’s a must-visit for anyone who finds themselves in Broome.

If your clients are looking to have a rest before taking off on their road trip, they can catch a movie at Sun Pictures, the oldest operating outdoor cinema in the world.

Once they have explored Broome, and are ready to get going, they’ll need to hire a four-wheel-drive so they can easily traverse the unsealed roads between the Dampier Peninsula and Beagle Bay Aboriginal Community. However, if they’re looking for smoother, sailing tours are also available.

First stop is Sacred Heart Church which has a unique pearl shell altar – one of many legacies of the missionaries who came to spread their word in the 1860s.

Then, northwards to the community of Mercedes Cove on Nyul Nyul country to learn about a culture that has been connected to this land and sea for more than 40,000 years.

Mercedes Cove also has plenty of secluded beaches to stroll along and self-contained cabins and eco-tents with the perfect view to watch migrating whales between July and October.

Day two: Mercedes Cove to Cape Leveque (70km)

Up next is the pristine Cape Leveque, where clients can join the local Bardi people at Kooljaman at Cape Leveque for a variety of unique cultural experiences.

Let the local Bardi people show your clients their way of life and traditions, offering the chance to try spear making and fishing, hunting for mud crabs in the mangroves and cooking their catch.

They can hop on a snorkelling tour or a cruise to meet the amazing marine life of the reef, and learn about bush medicines and sample seasonal fruits on a bush tucker tour.

Your clients can go beachcombing or fishing off the beach for trevally and queenfish or chase a bigger catch by boat, and finish their day with a sunset cruise or a stroll on the beach and walking the reef at low tide.

Accommodation options range from palm-covered beach shelters, log cabins, campsites or safari tents with panoramic coastal views.

Day three: Cape Leveque to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

The sheltered waters of Cygnet Bay are home to Australia’s oldest pearl farm open to the public.

Your clients can join the pioneering family who founded the farm to learn how they cultivate and harvest some of the finest South Sea pearls on Earth.

They can jump on a sea safari to experience the power of the world’s largest tropical tides and witness the natural tidal phenomenon of waterfall reef, or explore the thousand untouched islands and islets of the Buccaneer Archipelago.

Accommodation ranges from ensuite safari tents, cabins or campsites.

Day 4: Cape Leveque to Lombadina

Heading back south, clients can join the Bardi community of Lombadina and learn how their strong spiritual connection to the sea has shaped their lives for thousands of years.

Custodians introduce visitors to their beautiful stretch of white sand beach and invite them to join a morning of fishing, crabbing, kayaking, snorkelling or whale watching (July to October).

Lombadina’s unique coastal wilderness is perfect for bushwalking and bird watching, and those staying overnight can enjoy the hospitality of the local residents, choosing from apartments, cabins and single quarters.

Day five: Lombadina to Broome

If they head home via Broome, your clients can check out the tropical flavours and fusions that have evolved from Broome’s melting pot of cultures and enjoy the town’s colourful calendar of events.

If they’re still hungry for adventure, clients can tackle Gibb River Road and explore the rugged heart of the vast Kimberley wilderness before heading home.

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