We took time out on our recent trip from Kununurra to Australia’s west coast in Broome to check out some free camps and to just kick back a little.
This blog showcases two great free camps … Froth Dingo Boab Point, and Lake Ellendale – both in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.
How’s the serenity?!
Froth Dingo Boab Point, near Fitzroy Crossing
We kid you not, that is the name.
And no, we have no idea why. Let’s just accept that it’s a fabulous place, and move on.
This camp is located about 8 kms north of the Great Northern Highway, on the unsealed Leopold Downs Road. The turn-off to Leopold Downs Road is about 42 kms west of Fitzroy Crossing.
It is a quiet, secluded, flat campsite, surrounded by rocky outcrops and boab trees, all of which seem to come alive with the rich orange and purple hues that accompany sunrise and sunset. There are no facilities, so campers need to be totally self-contained with all water and power needs, and remove all their rubbish when they leave.
And best of all, we could have campfires! And you know what that means? … damper, one pot meals in the camp oven and, best of all, marshmallows roasted over the coals!
We spent a couple of days here, marvelling at the eerie surroundings. For the first time, we also left the van in situ while we went off and explored local (albeit far flung) sights of Geikie Gorge and Tunnel Creek. (See details in separate post.)
Ironically, the two other couples we asked to look out for the van in our absence (in this case, to go on the Geikie Gorge sunset cruise) thought the cruise sounded like such a good idea, they all packed up and joined us on the cruise! With just minutes to spare, mind you! Of course, that meant leaving not just one van in the camp unattended, but three!
Of course, any off-road campground accessible by gravel roads and 4WD tracks inevitably means more dust in the van!
Our next stop was only a further 60 kms further west along the Great Northern Highway, on the Ellendale property at Mount Hardman. The owners had provided this delightful free camping site alongside a small lake on their property, for which we are very grateful.
Again, campers had to be self-contained and leave no trace when they left.
Like most water courses in the Top End this year, the water level of this lake was very low due to the limited rainfall in the previous wet season (which, in this region, was only 60 mm in total, just one-tenth of the average seasonal rainfall).
But the dam’s low water level didn’t seem to matter, as the lake hummed most of the day with the constant comings and goings of the resident Brahman cattle, freshwater crocodile, rock wallabies and numerous varieties of birds (not to mention a feral cat that prowled the campsites each night).
The cattle were as laid back as we’ve ever seen, making themselves at home amongst the trees. Except one, ‘Millie’, who likes to visit each campsite several times a day in search of carrots or apples. She commonly sticks her head through caravan doors until she finds what she’s looking for, after which she’ll head off to the next site. That’s Millie in the feature image at the top of this post, having a stand-off with John at the edge of our awning … just don’t cross that ladder, Millie!
Best of all was the opportunity to observe the brolgas all day, as they scavenged for what appeared to be some sort of freshwater mussels, which they would dig out of the mud in the shallows, and then crack the shells with the point of their beaks and swallow the contents. Their graceful elegant movements were a sight to behold.
We intend doing a lot more freecamping on this trip!