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. Through my blog 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 Café, 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

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.


  1. I certainly am glad you invited us along on this journey...and it sure looked like a lot of fun. That tide must certainly be something to experience! Looking forward to more photos and trips!

  2. The Finch is an amazing bird! And it's so nice to see your trip photos. I would love to pack the Jeep and go for a road trip soon.

  3. I thought Tennessee's red clay was eye-catching (but not good for gardening) - but WOW - is that red clay in your photos? What a beautiful country you live in - and such a rich history!

    1. It's called Pindan dirt - the high level of rust in the dirt causes its red pigmentation.

  4. What a journey. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about it. I have never seen moonshots like those before or a waterfall at sea. Just so manyamazing things to see. Since 'Our World Tuesday' ceased to exist I have missed your blog but I am now a follower so will be able to see more of your wonderful photography.

    1. yes I have missed Our World Tuesday too. Thanks for stoppping by!

  5. Jill - absolutely fascinating. From the tidal waterfall to the fish trap to the Staircase to the Moon, I loved it all! (Well, maybe not the crocodiles.) Thanks for sharing with Mosaic Monday!

  6. Your landscape is so different from ours here in Oregon! I always find it interesting to see the varied differences between plants, animals, birds and insects.

  7. Oh wow; that tidal waterfall is so neat! What beautiful photos.

  8. The photos with the moon stairs are really extraordinary!
    I find the whole landscape impressive, thanks for the great report.
    Warm greetings from Germany

  9. Camping never looked so good. Beautiful! And thanks for adding a link-back! That's nice.

  10. Absolutely love the waterfall and beautiful waters. I want to live your traveling life, but since I can't, it is great to get to visit Australia through your eyes. Thanks so much. Makes this old gal happy.

  11. da komme ich ins Schwärmen wenn ich deinen Bericht lese und die wunderbaren Fotos ansehe. Das mit der Mondtreppe muss man erlebt haben.
    L G Pia

    1. Translate - I get excited when I read your report and look at the wonderful photos. You have to have experienced that with the moon staircase.
      L G Pia

  12. That entire area is fascinating to me, and an area I would love to visit. The moon staircase is incredible!! Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  13. Such a beautiful location and your photos showcase it it perfectly!

  14. Those moon images are absolutely fantastic! Leaf Fall is a very creative piece. Fascinating blog!

    1. thank you so much for your comments and for visiting.

  15. We only did a day trip from Broome to Cape Leveque when we did our around Australia trip. But I could definitely see that it was a place to revisit and camp for a while at a later date. You have now convinced me that I'm right. Let's hope that we get to return here someday. Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat looks like the perfect spot to set up camp.

    1. Not fancy, but perfect for us. I hope you get to visit again Kathy.

  16. What an amazing place, Jill! Thanks for taking us along - I would never have heard of the Staircase to the Moon phenomenon or learned about some of the indigenous Australian peoples otherwise.


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.