Broome to Cape Leveque
This is where sunset-red cliffs meet turquoise-blue waters, dugongs and whales swim lazily by, fishing is at its absolute best, and there’s adventure around every corner.
At just over 400km return (without any diversions), the journey from Broome to the Dampier Peninsula’s Kooljaman, at the tip of Cape Leveque, could easily be done over a couple of days - in fact, there are commercial tour operators who offer single-days trips! However, with a 4WD camper at your disposal, you should do yourself a favour and extend the trip out to at least five days to really experience the best that this spectacular area has to offer. Use your 4WD camper trip to explore the beauty of Cape Leveque and visit some of the wonderful communities that call this area home.
For the keen adventurer looking to explore the Kimberleys and Cape Leveque, check out the range of activities to add to your Cape Leveque road trip itinerary. While the northern end of the Broome-Cape Leveque Road is sealed, the southern section is not, putting this trip in the realm of 4WDers only. At the time of writing, work was underway to seal the final gravel section of the road. Once complete, it will turn what was once 4WD-only domain into an easily accessible corner of Australia. Until then, though, the sandy, unsealed road is prone to corrugation and its condition depends heavily on when it was last graded and when it last rained.
5 - 7 Days
Broome to Broome via Dampier Peninsula and Cape Leveque
Best Time of the Year
Dry season (May to October)
- Beagle Bay
- Pearl Shell Church
- Middle Lagoon
- Whale watching
Britz Outback 4WD break at beach
Broome to Middle Lagoon via Beagle Bay
Day one of your road trip itinerary begins just 10km out of Broome, head north on the Broome-Cape Leveque Road which will take you all the way to the tip. After about 113km, you’ll reach the Beagle Bay road which will deliver you to the small Beagle Bay community, 4km off the main road, and home to the famous Sacred Heart Church which is made out of pearl shells. No permits are required to stop in Beagle Bay, however, you must call in at the community centre and pay an entry fee before visiting the church.
The church, built in 1918, is a remnant of a time when the Beagle Bay community was run by various missionaries. French Trappist monks first brought Christianity to Beagle Bay in the late 1800s but abandoned the community and were replaced by Pallotine missionaries from Germany and Irish Catholic nuns. Once construction of the church was complete, the inside was decorated by local Aboriginal women with pearl, cowrie, volute and olive snail shells.
Once you’ve explored this small settlement, which is home to just 300 people, head back out to the main road and continue to Middle Lagoon, your camp for the night. The turn-off to Middle Lagoon is about 21km past Beagle Bay and it’s then another 30-odd kilometres to the camp on the coast. The road in is definitely 4WD-only but the camp is well sign-posted and easy to find.
Middle Beach is home to a small community-run facility called Nature’s Hideaway which provides powered and unpowered camping, and even a couple of cabins, as well as a basic shop. It is a beautiful spot to camp, swim (in the Dry season, see Notes below on swimming), fish and, if you’re extremely lucky, possibly even spot whales or dugongs swimming past.
Where to stay - Nature’s Hideaway: unpowered campsites in campground or beachside sites (plus cabins), $20-$25per person, per night, (08) 9192 4002
Sunset at Cape Leveque - Credit Getty Images
Middle Lagoon to Kooljaman via Lombadina
Once you’ve had your fill of beautiful Middle Lagoon, it’s time to pack up and continue north to your ultimate destination - Cape Leveque’s Kooljaman - via the Lombadina community. Lombadina is further up the Broome-Cape Leveque Road and is definitely worth the small detour (1.6km) off the main road. A permit is required to stop in this community (available from the office Mon-Fri and from the craft shop on weekends) and, if you’ve got time to plan ahead, plan to visit on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday, when the community kitchen churns out freshly baked bread. Located on a white sandy beach with calm, turquoise water lapping at the shores and incredible fishing right on its doorstep, Lombadina is a showcase of the Kimberley’s true colours. There is a range of accommodation available here, including camping sites, or you may choose to continue on to Kooljaman, a short drive further north.
Where to stay - Kooljaman at Cape Leveque: powered and unpowered campsites (plus other accommodation), prices vary, (08) 9192 4970
Day 3 & 4
Rest Days at Kooljaman
Once you arrive at Kooljaman you’re unlikely to want to leave in a hurry - so don’t! Take advantage of the short trips to get here and unpack and unwind for at least a couple of days and let the true Kimberley experience really soak in.
Kooljaman is a remote wilderness camp located on Native Title land and run by the local Bardi Jawi communities. There is a huge range of accommodation for all tastes and budgets, including powered and unpowered sites for your campervan. This is true off-grid camping as the whole facility runs on solar power and local bore water, however, the needs and desires of modern travellers are catered for, evidenced by the fact that it has won multiple state and national tourism awards.
With incredible food made with local produce available, and exciting, awe-inspiring tours to experience, there’s plenty to do in Kooljaman - these include swimming (in the Dry season, see Notes below), fishing, photography, beachcombing, mud crabbing, learning about bush tucker, scenic flights over the Buccaneer Archipelago, charter boat trips, whale watching, and bird spotting.
But if what you really want to do is relax, enjoy the views and just take it all in, then this is the place to do it.
Britz Outback 4WD at Kooljaman beach
Kooljaman to Broome
If the time comes when you’ve finally had your fill of this spectacular corner of Australia, it’s time to head south back to Broome to continue on with you trip. At just over 200km, the reverse trip can easily be done in a day, or feel free to stop by any of the small communities or beaches that you may have missed on your way up - or those you just want to see again!
Britz Outback 4WD at beach
Permits are required for Middle Lagoon, Lombadina and Bardi. An entry fee applies for the Beagle Bay church; bookings are essential for Kooljaman Resort.
Please check local road conditions before you travel. Chat to our Broome branch team on pick up, and stay up to date with the Shire of Broome’s Road Condition Report.
The Broome-Cape Leveque Road is best travelled during the Dry Season. It can become dangerous and impassable during the Wet.
Swimming is not recommended in Broome or anywhere further north during the Wet season, due to the risk of stingers, box jellyfish and Irukandji jellyfish. Check local conditions and warning signs before swimming.
This is a remote area, and it is advisable to carry extra drinking water. The longest stretch without fuel is the 127km between Broome and Beagle Bay.
For recommended 4WD side trips, chat to our Broome branch team upon pick-up.