Cape Leveque

Continuing north up the Dampier Peninsula from Pender Bay we reached the tip at Cape Leveque where we stayed 4 nights at the nearby Cygnet Bay pearl farm.  This family run business has been going for 3 generations and now offers tours and hospitality and provided a good base to explore the area.

cygnet bay sign

pearls in the bar cygnet bay
Pearls in the restaurant counter at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm
atlanta boat cygnet bay
An old pearling boat and frame for holding farmed oysters
low tide cygnet bay
Cygnet Bay near low tide
steve in the cygnet bay pool
Watching the tide come in.

mangrove cygnet bay

Cygnet Bay wildlife – mud skipper, soldier crab and broadbilled flycatcher

Some information on pearling around the Dampier Peninsula

From our camp at Cygnet Bay, we spent the next three days exploring around the tip of the Dampier Peninsula: Lombadina – a former mission now aboriginal community;  Cape Leveque itself – with its lighthouse, famous red cliffs and white beaches and One-arm Point or Ardyaloon – an aboriginal community to the east of Cygnet Bay.   We also took the boat out for a day in Cygnet Bay itself.

Cape Leveque map

In Lombadina we visited the old catholic mission church with its paperbark roof and the community clinic shown in the photos above before driving to Lombadina’s stunning beach.     We were shown around the clinic by the two nurses who work there and concluded that it is probably as well equipped as many medical centres around Sydney.

over the sand dunes
Heading over the dunes to Lombadina beach
lombadina beach
Lombadina Beach

lombadina beach with babe

sea shells
Lombadina beach had some amazing shells.  Maddy collected these in about 30 minutes
turtle flipper at Lombadina beach
Unfortunately turtle meat is still a delicacy in the local community and we found a couple of flippers and other bits from a recently butchered catch

Hibiscus and Yellow white-eye at Lombadina

From Lombadina we headed back up to Cape Leveque itself (or Kooljaman in the local Bardi language).   It has a well established camping area with restaurant and visitor centre.    It was a bit over-crowded and bustling with activity and felt a bit out of tune with the atmosphere of other places we had visited on the Dampier Peninsula.   While the beaches and sunset views were spectacular, we were glad we had chosen to stay at Cygnet Bay, and can only imagine how this place will change when the road is sealed all the way.   However, if you can afford $350 per night (in shoulder season), the deluxe safari tent for couples is in a private part of the peninsula and looks amazing.

The Restaurant and shop at Kooljaman and nearby lighthouse.

The eastern swimming beach and a proud fisherman with his Spanish mackerel

bardi seasons
A sign explaining the seasons at Kooljaman Cape Leveque
cape leveque sunset
The iconic Western Beach at Cape Leveque.   Even with the crowds, we only needed to walk about 300m from the beach access point to get a stretch of beach with no-one else there (most of the time).  It is great how most people seem to prefer to cluster together as it makes it easy to get away to more secluded spots.
sitting at cape leveque
Looking south from Cape Leveque’s western beach.   Although the camera focused on me and the distant beach is unclear, this had the unexpected benefit of making this picture seem like we were alone as the cluster of people 300m down the beach can’t be made out.

cape leveque

yes we saw a whale
Yes we saw whales too.

cape leveque

The following day we visited Ardyaloon or One-arm Point, an aboriginal community that has a trochus shell hatchery.    While selling the shells to the button and make-up industry used to be economically viable, more recently it has become necessary to operate it more like an aquarium and today they only sell tours and polished shells to visitors locally.

one arm point sign 2

feeding clownfish
Feeding the false clown anenome fish at the hatchery
turtle at ardyaloon
The friendly turtle.  Like most animals, feeding it makes it friendly!
monkey fish
A peculiar monkey fish which live in holes in the sand flats.   This one’s head is about the size of a grapefruit.   I saw some smaller ones when snorkeling the next day.
sunday island mission sign
A sign describing the history and origins of Ardiyaloon.
round rock panorama
Looking across to the off-shore islands from One-arm Point.   The strong tidal currents and risk of crocodiles at this location put me off snorkeling
lunch at one arm point beach
Although not as spectacular as Lombadina.  One-arm Point (Ardiyaloon) also had a beautiful beach called Jologo.   However, what was more surprising were the rich fields of healthy coral just off the beach.   Unfortunately I did not have the underwater camera with me.
steve and one arm point
Jologo Beach – One-arm Point

rock shelf

one arm point and bird
Egret at Jologo Beach.   The coral starts where the water changes to a darker colour.
spear fisher
It was interesting to see a local lad go spear fishing in the traditional way with a wooden spear.   We didn’t see him catch anything.    While this looked like a scene from yesteryear, in the back of my mind I wondered if he went back home to play with his play-station afterwards.
spot maddy panorama
Jologo beach panorama
view to shell island
The white cay off the headland from the western side of Jologo Beach is called Shell Island, which we visited by boat the next morning.
boat with wheels
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm has these interesting amphibious boats to take tourists out on trips.   We had a bit more of a struggle to get the “Guppy” out over the long stretch of tidal flats.   However I think it would have been difficult to get a boat like this on the roof of the Prado.
stve driving the guppy
After bouncing around over 1000km of corrugated roads on the roof of the Prado, the Guppy was glad to be launched and heading to Shell Island.
pearl beds
We had a truly magnificent day with beautiful flat calm conditions most of the time.   Here we are passing some of the pearl oyster farms anchored out in Cygnet Bay
steve and the guppy on shell island
Shell Island.    The water was nice and clear, but surprisingly, it didn’t contain much coral or fish-life.
maddy at shell island 2
Shell Island
shell island osprey
Osprey on a mangrove off Shell Island
oyster catchers turnstone and tattlers
Pied and Sooty Oyster-catchers on Shell Island with scattering ruddy turnstones and grey-tailed tattlers.
inthe mangroves
Mangroves in Cygnet Bay.  There were also plenty of rays and turtles in the shallows, but they were too hard to photograph.
in the mangroves
Mangrove Beach in Cygnet Bay


4 thoughts on “Cape Leveque

  1. Great to hear from you guys again. Cygnet Bay looks beautiful, love the pic of Steve in the pool. Amazing shells, were they washed up or did you dig for them in the water? Just something about a Lighthouse, just love them.
    Look forward to your next blog. Love Glenda.


    1. Hi Glenda. The shells were just washed up on the beach. Maddy is pretty good at spotting them. Yes the older style light houses look really good. In a few places you can now stay at the old lighthouse keepers cottages. One day we need to try that as they tend to have amazing views.. Love Steve


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