Whenever you get the chance to explore WA’s Kimberley region, leave some time to check out the Dampier Peninsula, a hub of red sand, turquoise water, and human-free landscapes.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


  • The best sunsets on the West Coast
  • Beachside free camps
  • Learning about local Indigenous culture and history

Extra Time Up Our Sleeve

The end of the Gibb River Road season brought a plethora of 4WD-woes to all the local garages in Broome, which meant we had roughly three weeks to fill while waiting for our own mechanic appointment.  

Read more: How To 4WD For Beginners

We spent a good chunk of this time traversing the Dampier Peninsula. This 200km stretch of road reaches all the way to Kooljamin/Cape Leveque, and although it can be done in a few hours, there’s plenty of reason to spend a bit more time on this bit of coast.

The great thing about such a small road means that this journey can be customised according to your schedule and interests. Here’s a quick breakdown of how we spent our time (excluding many of the Indigenous towns, which had been closed due to COVID-19).

Read more: 8 Ways to Better Understand and Support Our First Nations People


Day 1 – Broome to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Distance: 213 km
Time Driving: 2 hours 30 min

When it comes to ‘there-and-back’ trips, we always find ourselves going to the furthest point first and stopping off at all the go-to-places on the way back. This means driving all the way to the tip of the peninsula, Kooljamin.

The road is mostly bitumen, with sandy tracks into the different camps and beaches. Our first destination was Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. The farm offers insight into the pearling industry, while also providing a range of accommodation options and amazing views. Having arrived late in the day, our camp spot was situated close to Divers Creek in a sandy, but secluded spot. 

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!


Day 2 – Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm to Kooljamin

Distance: 16km
Time Driving: 20 mins

Before leaving Cygnet Bay, we signed up for the land-based discovery tour, where we learned about the history of the farm and the pearling industry. There are also Sea Safaris, where you can venture out on the open ocean and witness the tidal waterfalls (a waterfall in the middle of the ocean), unique to the Kimberley region. 

After that, it was a quick 20-minute drive from Cygnet Bay to the Kooljamin beaches and campgrounds. 



Arriving in the warmest part of the day, we walked out to the eastern beach for one very important reason: this beach offers a designated swimming spot. Even at the end of spring, it was already starting to heat up, but due to Saltwater crocodiles, finding spots to cool off can always be a bit risky. So, when we’re told a spot is generally safe to swim (remember, there’s always a risk and nothing’s guaranteed), we’re going to make the most of it. 

Read more: How To Stay Safe in Croc Country

Here, on the eastern beach, we enjoyed the snorkelling spots relatively close to the white sands and the green turtles which poke their heads out from the rolling waves. 

In the afternoon, we made our way down to the western beaches. It’s here we found the famous red-pindan cliffs, which ignite as the sun goes down and provide one of the best sunsets we’ve seen since hitting the West Coast. 



Keep in mind that there are several sacred Aboriginal sites in the area. Kooljamin is 100% Indigenous owned by the two surrounding Aboriginal Communities of Djarindjin and Ardyaloon. These sites should be respected and are not to be accessed by those visiting the area.

Read more: Sacred Aboriginal Sites to Avoid Climbing

Day 3 – Hunter Creek with Brian Lee

Distance: 40km
Time Driving: 1 hour (intermittent driving on the Brian Lee Tagalong Tour)

After a lot of time spent lounging around these incredible beaches, we found ourselves wanting to engage with the culture and history of this relatively isolated part of the world. While generally adverse to big commercial day tours, there’s a range of small-scale cultural experiences on offer. 


Exploring Hunter's Creek with Bardi Man, Brian Lee, Calum Brockett - Indigenous tour, NT, Dampier Penninsula, beach, swim


Local Bardi man, Brian Lee, offers a ‘tagalong tour’ of the Hunter Creek region. This tour involves venturing out in your own 4WD and driving up the Kooljamin Coast and along Hunter Creek with Brian and his family, learning the traditional ways of the Bardi people and listening to Brian as he shares his history. The day’s filled with fishing, swimming, mud-crabbing, listening, and learning, all in a way that avoids the structure and rigidity of larger commercial tours. 

While it’s one of the more expensive activities in the region, we found it was worth every penny. The tour leaves from and finishes up at Kooljamin, which means another fantastic sunset on the western beaches. 


Exploring Hunter's Creek with Bardi Man, Brian Lee, Calum Brockett - Indigenous tour, NT, Dampier Penninsula, beach, crab, food

Day 4 & 5 – Kooljamin to Pender Bay

Distance: 35 km
Time Driving: 50 mins

Continuing south, Pender Bay was the next stop. Another amazing location where we could feel safe in the surf, this campground was situated atop towering cliffs overlooking the ocean. We were so impressed by the campsite view that we quickly extended our stay another night. Mornings were spent collecting firewood, followed by driving on the beach, fishing, and cliffside campfires under a starry night sky.



Vehicle beach access also means it’s a popular spot to launch a boat. However, Pender Bay can only be visited by those planning to stay at the campground, which means no day-trippers.

There’s also a great walk out along the beach, which if you’re visiting on a falling tide, ends in a hidden rock pool carved into the cliffs.

Read more: From Kalbarri To The Kimberley – How To Drive Through North West Australia


Day 6 – Pender Bay to Walmadan/James Price Point and Kardilakan/Quandong Point

Distance: 175 km
Time Driving: 2 hours 20 mins

While the previous campsites are some of the best we’ve experienced on the West Coast, they’re a little on the expensive side. As budget travellers, we were thrilled that the rest of the journey provided us with some incredible free camps, right on the shoreline.



52km north of Broome is Walmadan/James Price Point. Here, we had the choice to either park up on the cliffs, overlooking the rocky headland, or camp down on the red sand beaches. 

Before setting up for the day, we decided to drive a little further south and check out Kardilakan/Quandong Point – another cliffside free camp. We actually ended up staying at Kardilakan/Quandong Point for the night, as we had the entire place to ourselves. Walmadan/James Price Point has earned quite a reputation when it comes to free camps (and rightly so). So when it does get a little busy, Kardilakan/Quandong Point is the perfect alternative. Both sites offer great fishing spots and beachfront views.


Day 7 – Kardilakan/Quandong Point to Wirrjinmirr/Willie Creek

Distance: 26km
Time Driving: 35 mins

We had a pretty slow morning at Kardilakan/Quandong Point, enjoying the view, doing a bit of fishing, and making pancakes for breakfast. 

We finally hit the road around midday, arriving at our final free camp spot: Willie Creek Pearl Farm at Wirrjinmirr/Willie Creek, just north of Broome. This is one of the first locations to camp on the way to Kooljamin and the closest free camp to Broome. Although the Pearl Farm wasn’t open when we drove through, we were still able to access the free camps situated at the mouth of the creek. Perched up on rocky banks overlooking the flowing creek, the camp offers a change of scenery from the red cliffs and wild open ocean. 


Day 8 – Wirrjinmirr/Willie Creek to Broome

Distance: 40km
Time Driving: 40 mins

Our last stop before heading back into town was Goolarabooloo Millibinyarri/Coconut Wells. What you find here depends on the tide. The lagoon just beyond the car park is flowing at high tide, but at low tide, you can access the beach via a sandy 4WD track (or on foot for those without a 4WD), where you’ll find a crop of ragged rock pools that fill with each crashing wave. 

Back in Broome, we gave the car a quick underbody spray, rinsing off all that sand, before heading to Matso’s Brewery for one of their sensational Ginger and Mango Beers. We marked the end of the trip with a sunset at Cable Beach — what would become one of many during our extended stay in Broome.


Essential Gear

  • A 4WD (while we did see a few 2WDs get into some places, many of the camps and locations will require passing through heavily corrugated/sandy roads)
  • A map of the coast from Broome Visitor Centre – It’s worth having someone make note of where can/can’t be accessed, as well as sources of fuel 
  • Food and plenty of drinking water – Make sure you have enough to last the entire trip, as drinking water isn’t easily accessible
  • Tent/rooftop tent/swag 
  • Swimmers
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent 
  • Camera 

Distance Driven / Time Driving / Days

550km / 8hr 15min / 8 Days