Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 23 May 2022

Gumbanan - Cape Leveque - Western Australa

 In July last year we headed to Cape Leveque on the Dampier Peninsular in the far north of Western Australia. It was an area which we had only briefly visited before in our camper trailer days when the road was dirt, but with the bitumising of the road from Broome to the Cape, it was on our itinery last July to revisit the Cape and go as far north as we could. After languishing in Broome for a few days we couldn't wait to escape the tourist crowds and move on further north. Here is a pic of the road before bitumin and after. 

I have just realised I haven't blogged about our Kimberely and north west trip last year before, so I hope to rectify that and share some posts over the coming weeks. 

Leaving home on 11 July, and returning on 22 August 2021, we did 8,625 kilometres (5359 miles) from our home in the south west to Cape Leveque, with side trips to other places along the way. Below you can see a map of Western Australia showing our trip via the blue line, and an insert showing Cape Leveque - where the blue line ends at the top of the map.  

Settled here over 50,000 years ago, and known as Kooljaman by the local indigenous Bardi people, Cape Leveque is located 208 kilometres from Broome, at the tip of the Dampier Peninsula. It is a land of contrasts where red pindan earth meets clear turquoise water, blue sky, unspoiled white beaches and native woodlands. And spectactular sunrises and sunsets over the ocean. 

Our main destination was the Gumbanan campground. But first a one-night stopover at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm so we could do the Waterfall Reef boat tour. This two hour tour showcases the islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, locally known as the Thousand Island archipelago. The highlight was seeing the water rushing off the 1.5 kilometre long living fringing reef created by coralline red algae at Tallon Island. So amazing! 

This up to twelve metre tidal movement happens twice a day creating the waterfall reef as well as amazing whirlpools. Indigenous people hunt fish, turtle and dugong when the water is about 20cm over the reef at low tide.

Times of the tour change each day depending on the tides. Recommend you book ahead. 

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm is the old­est Aus­tralian fam­i­ly owned pearl farm, oper­at­ing since 1946. There are also pearling, cultural and other water based tours with varied start times according to the tidal movement.

There are caravan sites and safari tent accommodation. Overlooking the swimming pool is a restaurant where you can enjoy local and native ingredients. A great place to cool off and a must for a drink or meal.

Only a couple of kilometres from Cygnet Bay and one and a half kilometres in along a sandy track is Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat our campsite for the next few nights. Gumbanan may be rustic, they do not take bookings, and this is a pick your own spot camp, but there is plenty of space. We were very lucky to secure a part-shaded area with fabulous views over the ocean from which someone had just vacated before we arrived. Perfect! Below you can see our caravan and our view! 

In the above photo you can just see the camp at top left. 

Gumbanan has been home to the indigenous Davey family for centuries, and was opened to the public in 2005. The family are part of the Bardi Jawi people, known as 'Salt Water People' 

Just down from the camp is a large rock fish trap, Mayoorr, which traps fish on the outgoing tide. Originally built by Dino Davey, it has been maintained by the family for over five generations. It was fascinating to see the trap slowly revealed as the tide dropped. At high tide the fish swim in and as the tide recedes the fish are caught here within the rock wall.  It really has to be seen to be believed. Remember there is a 10-12 metre tide drop twice a day. Below here you can see the tide in, first pic, and then as it recedes. 

At Gumbanan there are cultural tours which will help you learn about Bardi cultural and the environment, reflecting the indigenous values of caring for country.  A chance to taste bush tucker, including ngarrangg, mud crabs.

 We were very happy to sit, relax and enjoy the views, the cooling sea breezes and brilliant sunrises and sunsets. On the night of the Staircase to the Moon we bought a barramundi burger from the Fish Trap CafĂ©, and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere as campers got together and enjoyed the guitar music. There is nowhere else to buy food, so people gravitate to the cafe. 

The Staircase to the Moon is a natural phenomenon occurs when the rising yellow-orange globe of the of full moon climbs slowy above the horizon scattering a golden staircase over the exposed tidal flats. It can be experienced two to three days a month between March and October when there is an up to twelve metre drop from high to low tide, the third largest tidal movement in the world. We were so lucky that our stay was timed with the Starircase to the Moon and this and  Gumbanan became a highlight of our trip.

You can see the moon rise below here. Those lines under the moon are created by the light reflecting across the mudflats on the low tide. So beautiful. 

Bird watchers will enjoy the great variety of birdlife, including the Gouldian Finch. A small boat may help you catch a feed of fish. However, be aware, swimming is not recommended due to crocodiles. 

Below here you can see Honey Eater in Pindan Wattle, Gouldian Finch, Gilberts Dragon lizard, and a mud crab. 

Suitable for tents, camper trailers, and caravans, as well as furnished safari tents. 4WD highly recommended as the track in gets very churned up during peak season. There is water, toilets and showers, but no power.

With views and sunsets like this, and the friendly relaxed atmosphere, Gumbanan became our favourite camping destination of our trip.

Need supplies? - 

The Djarindjin Roadhouse, 21 kilometres south, has fuel, gas bottle refills, ice, take-away food, grocery items and air-conditioned ensuite accommodation. Please note: the roadhouse is not open all day, but you can still buy fuel from the 24 hour self-serve pumps. Their adjacent caravan park opening in 2022, has 47 powered and unpowered sites.  Tours can be booked from the roadhouse. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little trip to Gumbanan and Cape Leveque. I hope to be back with more soon. Until then, above is a sunrise view from our camp. 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
MosaicMonday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf
Sharon's Sovenirs 
Our World Tuesday
Pictorial Tuesday 
ThroughMy Lens 
My corner of the world through my camera 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global hosted by Randomosity. 
       and Little bird - Pienilintu
Thankful Thursday 
Welcome to Nature Thursday

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Monday 16 May 2022

Going for a walk? - take your camera!

 Hi everyone. I hope you are all doing well. Just a short post from me today and a reminder - going for a walk? take your camera! as you never know what you might see that you want to photograph. Your phone might be as good as a camera, but mine is not, but it is better than nothing!

We try to walk every day - and I particularly like walking in the bush. I have always said there is something always flowering in the Australian bush. Did I forget that? Because on Sunday when we went out to one of our favourite walks during spring, Manea Reserve - but it is autumn here now and I only took my small point and shoot camera not expecting to see much other than tall flowering trees. 

Well at least I had a camera, and even though there wasn't much flowering we happened upon a couple of clumps of bunny orchids - Eriochilus.  Looking in my orchid book I think this is the Common bunny orchid - Eriochilus dilatatus - subspecies multiflorus. Particularly as it matches with the month of flowering, the location in jarrah and banksia bushland, and the small single leaf. There are over 1,700 species of orchids found in Australia! 

There are six species and six sub-species of bunny orchids found in the south west of Western Australia. The bunny orchids are the earlliest flowering of the native orchids.  As I didn't have my camera I use for wildflowers, I have had to crop this image. 

As with the majority of Australian native orchids, these are tiny - flowers are 10-15mm long, so you need to have to be looking closely to find them. especially as they blend in so well to the surrounds. 

The other only flowering plant of note which we saw was the Swamp Banksia - Banksia littoralis - which flowers from March to August. The bees were certainly enjoying them, burrowing deep within the flower cones. 

Here you can see some of the stages of the banksia - just starting to flower, flowering, and the cone (nut). I have blogged about them a few times before:

When you are in Manea Reserve, please use the foot cleaning station to help curb the spread of dieback which is a sygnificant threat to our native bushland. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little visit to the Manea Reserve today. I have blogged about it before - especially the spring flowering orchids. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

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Monday 9 May 2022

Balingup Golden Valley Tree Park - Western Australia

Hi everyone. How are you? I hope you and yours are doiing well. We have been having glorious autumn weather. Clear days and cool evenings. 

But to be honest I have been feeling out of sorts for several weeks now. No particular reason - just an accumulation of things - a few health issues with family and friends, the ongoing Covid situation, and housing problems for a family member. I just feel like I need to go and sit in the bush (forest) for a few days - forest bathe - and get back on an even keel. 

So it was rather lovely to go for an autumn walk in the Balingup Golden Valley Tree Park which is about an hour or so from our home in the south west of Western Australlia. In a country where we have predominantly everygreen trees, the tree park is very special. We have been coming here almost annually for about 10 years. 

The Golden Valley Tree Park is a sixty hectare landscaped park set in the picturesque hills of Balingup. The heritage listed site has a collection of international trees that was begun over one hundred years ago, and is now the largest arboretum in Western Australia. The land was bought by the Government in the late 1970s and  park was establshed around 1980. 

I have blogged about the park before - here are a few examples: 

Autumn season of change - 2016

Autumn in the Golden Valley tree park - 2017

Autumn colour in Western Australia - 2019

We were maybe a week or so early this year, and it was a cloudy overcast day, but it didn't matter, it was still beautiful, the weather was good for walking, and being able to go midweek meant that we could wander without the crouds. Mother's Day in the second weekend of May is very popular! 

The tree park is 1.5 kilometres south of Balingup, or you can walk to it from Balingup via an easy 2 kilometre walk along the part of the 1000 kilometre Bibbulmun Track, which passes through the park. Please shut the gates as sheep graze on the property. 

The area that comprises the park was first settled in 1898 by Frank and Margaret Cleverland.  Their home was built of bricks made from clay dug from nearby Yungerup Spring. The original 20 plantings of exotic species by Olwyn Cleverland during 1930-1940's has grown to an impressive world collection of over 500 species, represented by over 3000 individual specimens. The Park, which is heritage listed, is maintained by volunteers and sponsorship. From its first plantings over 100 years ago the the Golden Valley Tree Park is now the largest arboretum in Western Australia.

The Australian tree collection covers 25 hectres for Australian trees and the World Collection covers 35 hectares. 

You can read more about the history and management of the park here Golden Valley Tree Park - about us.

Here are a few pics from around the park. 

Sit and enjoy the view from the pear walk

There are lovely places to sit along the way, as under these Chinese Tallow trees. 

There are over 30 species of oaks in the park. 

The Chinese Pistachio walk is one of my favourites in the park. 

Beyond this gate is the London Plane trees Avenue to Nowhere planted in 1908 by the Craig family in anticipation of a newer grander house. However the plans were abandoned after a leg injury sustained in the First World War and the property was sold in 1920. 

These are Red Miexican Hawthorne trees. The bright red berries remind me of Christmas. 

These are persimmon trees

And a huge Chinese Pistachio tree

This delightful map which I think is aimed at children, outlines some of the features of the park

The old mulberry tree

Sadly our day ended prematurely when it started to rain. We sheltered under some trees, until they too released their water burden, so we ran back to the car and headed home. We had had a lovely day. Make sure you take your lunch, so you can take your time to meander through the different areas of the park. Or buy your lunch in Balingup on the way through.