I HAD been warned, repeatedly. Our flying mates who had stayed at Kimberley Coastal Camp a few years previously have since used every superlative in the book to rave about how great this place is. In order to get us up there, they selflessly offered to make a return visit and come up with us in mid-2017 to see if the fish were still biting.
Well, now I get what all the fuss is about. KCC is now placed firmly in my top three Australian destinations. It lies on the eastern edge of the ultra remote Admiralty Gulf in north-western Western Australia (see map below). As the crow flies, it's about half way between Darwin and Broome. There are no roads in; so guests arrive by seaplane, boat or, in our case, a ten-minute chopper ride from Mitchell Plateau in the north Kimberley region, where we'd left our four aircraft.
Thrown onto the boat an hour after we'd arrived on day one, and tasked with catching our own dinner, we got the hang of the agenda pretty quickly. At the helm, you'll usually find Tub, head honcho and minister of mischief at KCC. Between Tub and his offsider, fishing guru Jonas, no resident fish were safe. If we'd have kept even a third of what we caught that week, it would have fed a small country.
KCC can accommodate 16 guests in well-spaced huts and is Tub and his partner Jules' home. They live here all year round, including the roaring wet season. Gathered at mealtime in the open-air 'big house', where Jules works her daily magic with various seafood dishes, they are happy to share stores about life in this remote location and offer an insight into the surrounding Yalrundair country and the traditional owners, the Wunambal Gaambera people.
The rock art here is memorable. A half day walk into the bush with Tub is a fascinating journey into the Dreamtime stories behind the incredibly preserved art he leads us to. At several points having to lie down on the dirt floor of a cave to see the roof, or squeeze through a narrow opening, we feel privileged to be viewing such a palpable record of indigenous history. We see typically Wandjina art, with a couple of small walls of Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) paintings, It makes the hot and dusty walk worth every step.
In a nutshell, if you like water, sand, seafood, good music and great company, you're never going to want to leave Kimberley Coastal Camp.