Broome and Beyond...and almost everything between.

Brace yourself - this is going to be a long one 

Well we are back from our 35 day, 7000km trip up to Broome (Pender Bay) and back. This trip started in 2020 with a week in Monkey Mia but got canned due to Covid. 2021 turned into Monkey Mia then up to Broome but with a departure date of April 9th and a dirty big cyclone looking dirtier and bigger than ever, the Monkey Mia component got cancelled.. again. 

As of Thursday night, we were heading up the coast to Wooromel then on to Karratha...but at 0930 i got word that the road north of Carnarvon was closing on the saturday which would throw a spanner in the works. Decision was made to wait until Tuesday and we would sleep on it.

Friday the 9th wakes up after a sleep in. Check of the weather and note the rainfaill inland may prevent Tuesday departure so its time to go now. by 8 in the morning we are heading north up the guts and a destination would be decided in 8 hours time. After a couple of fuel stops and drive past a potential spot, we ended up pulling up at Peace Gorge around 5km west of Meekatharra for the night. The fly's were intence even though it was drizzling. They persisted until an hour after sunset and were back at it an hour before. Quick cook up of some meat from the Cue bucher and off to bed. 

Next morningt we drove towards Newman, again with no destination. We made it to town early afternoon and went to the tourist centre and had a word with one of the ladies. She pointed us to Sandy Creek which is about 20 minutes out of town towards Marble Bar. She also managed to book us two nights in Karijini for the next two which was pleasing so after a quick shop, we headed to our overnight stop. Essentially a bore fed permanant warm water creek in the middle of stuff all. Great spot for a night.

Next up was Karijini, or Dales Overflow to be more specific and like everyone, we headed down to Fortescue and Fern falls. Nice spot but too crowded and, I missed d the extra bouyancy of Salt water so it was a hard swim with kids hanging on. We opted to bail in search of a shallower pool which we found before making some plans to treck the next day. THat evening, the ranger did her rounds and mentioned the chance of rain the next day and lots of the park would be closed...bugger.

Anyhoo, we did some driving the next day and managed to take the walk into Kalamina Gorge and take a dip in the rock pools there. We took lifejackets for the kids (so they could swim off) and reef shoes which were a game changer before racing a monster thunderstorm back to the van. Thankfully it missed though we had some substantial puddles when we went for our next drive back to Fern falls as the sun set. We had promised the kids a swim to the waterfall which was very cool so late in the day as we had it to ourselves. 

Next day we drove up to Port Headland and after lunch, headed to Pardoo for a couple of nights. This is where we first managed to wet a line and see how phenominal the coastal bugs were going to be. 

Out of the homestead we followed the track to the right and after a few flicks with lures and sitting with bait in, we opted to leave the bugs and cruise back to the creek. Directly out of the gate to the creek, there is a dude catching mud crabs. like big fat mud crabs. Directly to the left of him is another due catching threaddies. Sounds like a spot for me.

First cast and 30 seconds later the drag goes boonta and I manage to land a threaddy. Surely this cant be so easy? Well that was all we got as the tide changed. The neighbours got a couple of sharks and old mate with the crab nets kept catching crabs (and putting them back. Threaddy for lunch for us!

The next day, after a pack up and swim, we headed to Cape Keraudren for a couple of nights. As we pulled up and set up, it was 38 degrees. We camped in knee high thorney grass. As camp sites go, it was shit but admittadly it was early in the season. We had a good view though. 

Once set up, we headed down to a cliff and had a fish with the young bloke pulling in a little travelley and the daughter getting a grunter of sorts. Kids were happy. 

That afternoon, I went a bit hard and copped some heat stroke and suffered that evening. I was planning to pack up the next day though got talked into another night.

Once we woke up and I drank 4 bottles of water, we decided to go for a fish out of the boat so after 30 minutes of prep, we drove down to the boat ramp and pumped up the boat (3.3m inflatable) and headed out. Fairly quickly there was plenty of activity around us and Claire managed a decent queenie which was quickly off to fight another day. We were chasing Mackies!

Well didnt they turn it on. Mackies free jumping left right and centre. Finally one took a lure and jeesus it took the lure. The drag got tightened and it decided to swim to the boat. Thats how we knew it was a mackie. It got so close that i was wondering what the hell to do with it, then it turned its head and the line went ping....I nearly cried....

Off we went again chasing the bust up's and it was my turn. Drag down low this time and my line went crazy. Again, the boat was being towed around and it turns out that I had foul hooked a meter look queenie and was dragging it in sideways. Just as it got near the boat, the hooks pulled and the lure ended up in the boat, not attached to the line any more. The wire trace had busted while it was in the air...

I got another hit while putting around and it was a mack getting airborn. I felt the hit on the way up and turned to see the fish ~3m in the air. It hit the lure on the way back down but not in the mouth so they pulled quickly. 

The fish kind of turned off as the tide changed so we headed into the mangroves looking for anything but just found turtles. It was entertaining for the kids but not the barra or jack I was looking for.

After dropping the kids and wife back at the car, i zoomed around again looking for Macks but there was no show so back to the car/ramp to deflate the boat and pack it away.

Next day, it was off to 80 mile beach CP which is nice but very much set up for people such as my mum and dad...
Good showers after a few days of bug spray and we went for a few drives down the beach. Must have spent a few hours fishing and gave the knots a test on a large angry ray which again was jagged in the wing. It was a different fight but it swam away even after trying to kill everyone.

On the last day at 80 mile, after a drive on the beach, I drove up to the vehicle wash down area and managed to slip over in a muddy spot landing square on my arse. In a fair bit of pain (6 foot 3 and 130kg doesnt like falls) i finished washing the car, found my bottle of rum and panadol and proceeded to pack the toys away. 

After a shitty sleep due to lower back/arse pain, we woke up, hitched up and headed to Eco Beach to stay in a villa for a few nights. It was nearly our 10 year annavercery so good to celebrate it where we got hitched. Living on panadol, it was pretty uncomfortable though seeing the bust up's convinced me that we had to get down to the water. 

Not being allowed to drive on the beach there, the boat and all of the gear had to be carried 200m to the water line so in 38 degrees with no heat, and me being unable to squat or lean, we carried the 33kg boat, 35kg motor and ~30kg of extra stuff (safety gear, fishing stuff, water etc) down to the water. It was good to get the motor started and out on the water. 

We headed out around the cape and the bust up's kicked off and with the kids on bird watch, we rapidly found some big splashes. First hook up went ballistic and after again playing with drag, the line went ping. The sharks showed up so the kids went hysterical for a moment before we headed off again and this time Claires lure got smacked. Again, the boat got dragged around and after a battle, up popped a decent sized long tail tuna. Now what the hell to do with it! 

I managed to tail it, and remove the lure before bringing it into the boat for some photos before letting it swim off...or get eaten by sharks. It had to decide quickly. First fish on the board!

We played around a bit more and after loosing some more gear, it was time to head back to the beach. Unfortunately it was boring for the kids as the fish were just too big for them to play with. 

After an agonising 30 minute deflate and pack up due to an incoming wedding, we were off the water for the day.

Next day, i was having a chat with the owners son and he mentioned he had a boat without a motor and i had a motor that would fit his boat, so after he knocked off, we headed out and found some massive sharks that dwarfed his 3.5m plastic boat. Again, we got into tuna and some big GT's before mine got chomped and he got a call that someone had tripped the power. Back to the beach.

We filletted up the tuna and had some for tea. It was OK and the daughter had/enjoied some. 

Off to Broome the next day to get my back/arse sorted out after some hectic spazims over breakfast. Set up at Cable Beach was relatively painfree (arse wise) and got dropped off at Broome emergency after being unable to get into a GP for 3 weeks. Off for an xray after some fantastic med's and got confirmation of a fractured coccys. It must have buggered off some nerves as after breakfast at Eco, i didnt have any more random sharp pain. 

Feeling heavily medicated, I got picked up and we drove around broome and down to Cable beach for fish and chips, sunset and a mozzie feast.

Over the next day or two, we re-stocked and did some touristy stuff in Broome which was good for the kids...

Once finished in Broome, it was time to head north and our first stop was Gnylmarung, We managed a prime and private spot there. After being told that it was OK to swim there, we went for a dip and chilled out for the evening. I sent the drone up and followed a large stingray for a while which was cool. The hermet crabs that came out after dark were insane!

Next night, we were in Pender Bay and my great intentions of fishing were dashed by a crocodile in the area a few days earlier. Inflatable boat and sitting on the pontoons with a croc in the area didnt have the wife too keen so we went for a beach fish. Saw plenty moving through but no fish. Wifey was on croc watch but we didnt see anything.

Not being able to do much on the water there, we headed back to James Price Point for a few nights and after going to the JPP carpark, opted to go to flat rock which took some focus on entry due to heaps of errosion. I was thankful that i got a lift on the car before we went away! Flat rock was empty and apart from the 38 degrees, lack of shade, billions of fly's, it was a nice spot. Visually stunning. A quick fish off the rocks prooved fruitless but so be it. 
At sunset, the bugs became intolerable so we we were confined to the van from around 4:30 in the afternoon until 7 the next morning. Even with a fire outside and the best sunset for the trip, we were stuck in the van, removing bugs that managed to find their way in. 

Right at the kids bed time, we noticed that the one or two bugs we were noticing every minute was infact an infestation that we werent going to be able to beat there so we turned the lights off and spent 10 hours throwing bugs off us as we slept. I am sure we would have eaten a few. 

As soon as  the sun was up, we gassed ourselves with Bushmans, Rid and Aeroguard, and packed the van down and headed back to Broome. Fuck you, Bugs!

Back in Broome to pick up our 65l fridge that had decided to give in the week earlier, re-stock and head to Barn Hill.


We arrived at Barn Hill at about lunchtime and spent the next two hours cleaning bugs out of the van. All coushins and mattresses out of the van to get the Ryobi blower and a dustpan brush into all of the corners these bloody bugs kept appearing from. It was insane but was good to get it cleaned out while the kids played in the playground and with the goats they have a the station. 

An enjoyable drink was held on the beach while the kids played in a rock pool then back to the van.

The next day, we decided to take the boat out again and drove down to the beach (which is OK to do here if you are launching, but not 10km down the road...$go$figure$). The waves were breaking on the beach so we managed to do a bloody good job getting the kids and motor on the boat without copping a wave with Claire acting as anchor and wave deflector. 

A quick try for bluebone without luck, we opted to have another go at mackies just as they started jumping around again.  Shortly thereafter i snagged what i thought was the bottom but after a blistering run where my 5000 reel got warm, a mack appeared. It was tailed again with the hooks removed and quickly put to sleep followed by me squeeling like a pig. I nearly dropped it 5 or 6 times before lashing around its tail with the anchor rope so I could bleed it properly. 

Being in a small boat, there isnt much room for a meter long fish so we had to go back in, zig zagging between the jumping fish. 

Re-entry to the beach was entertaining with bigger waves breaking now. As we followed a wave in, everyone jumped in with my 7 year old daughter lifting the bow (yep!) and my wife and I holding either side of the transome, we got clear of the waves to pack up and go and process the fish. 

We should have spent much longer at Barn Hill but decided to go to Point Samson to get closer to Exmouth. 

Point Samson was nice and tidy with brilliant showers. We should have fished but the kids were getting extremly turdish so we didnt. Well we did at the causeway and saw a monster mud crab wich i wasnt prepared for. Didnt catch a thing though drove intil K-town and Dampier for a look. The sand flys smashed me one night with 72 bites.

We had planned to stop at Cleaverville or 40 mile for the next night and with a bit of rain forecasted in Exmouth, we were unsure what to do. After reading a few posts on this, we decided to push through to Exmouth and try to minimise the rain. With a jayco swan, we need to have a full set up if it rains so we may as well go to Exmouth and have a full set up rather than a full set up for one night. 

Well this turned out to be one of the best decisions of the trip. The thunderstorm in Exmouth was brilliant with a peak gust of 42 knots at Learmonth. The van was shaking though with only 6 mm of rain, we were lucky. Roebourne which is just our of Point Samson, which had a forecast of a chance of a shower copped 85mm with flooded roads between. Lucky!

Well exmouth remains to be what it is...a town about nothing. 

We headed to pebble beach to hopefully catch the kids idol in action but no luck and took a drive into Shothole and Charles Knife for a squiz before heading back to camp for a chill out. 

THe next day had us down to Learmonth for a fish in the boat but the water was filthy even 2 miles out. WE didnt even get a nibble bit it was call to watch the air force planes flying around. 

One more morning in Exxy before heading around to Yardie Creek. After rocking up at lunchtime, we set up and headed down to Turquoise bay for a swim and sunset. We first went there 15 years ago and it was full of jellyfish. This time it was really nice and the kids had a ball looking at all of the fish that we couldnt catch....

Next day down to Yardie creek to cross it (just because i could) then to Osprey bay to send the boat out. Once out of the sanctuary, we had some squid jiggs in and they were getting smashed by fish...but when we put in fish lures we got no hits...go figure. 

Quite a swell pumping so plenty of water movement. Found some coral bombies in 4m and swam around admiring the fish. The kids had a ball. 

The next day was going to be a fishing day so we headed back to Tantas and after pumping up the boat in the carpark, launched it amonst the big boats and headed out. The swell was still pumping and there were massive patches of big jelly fish. Gave up fishing for 'real' fish and just set the kids up with some prawns in the moorings and they got some little stuff which kept them entertained whilst watching for turtles. 

Finally finishing up in Exmouth, we headed to Quobba blow holes which i had heard was pretty busy and boy oh boy was it busy! we got in at ~1-30 and got one of the last two spots available. After a set up, we headed up to the Aquarium for a swim and to the blowholes for a squiz. Spectacular spot.

Next up was down towards Shark Bay and after being told that Whalebone bay was full upon arrival (two vans in it?) we headed to Fowlers Bay which was 5km north. Not a bad spot with plenty of baitfish, stingrays and a small turtle around in the lagoon. Quick swim for a wash then climb  up the hill. Got the drone up to 300m here which gives it a whole different perspective. After dark, a walk around the shallows is amazing with squid, flathead, shovel nose and millions of baitfish all active. 

We packed up and headed off early headed to Lucky bay via Kalbarri and wow wee! What a mess. Trees are just now sticks. Houses only have a bit of roof on one room. Tarps as far as you can see. Poor buggers! We threw some money at the food shop and headed to Lucky bay for the night which was one of the better overnight spots. Lots of families with kids for our two to make best friends with. We went for a play at the beach and thought about flicking a lure around after seeing bait jump but really couldnt be bothered to be honest. Back to camp to light a fire and enjoy a cooler evening. 

Unfortunately i ran out of rum for the second time this trip here....

Last stop was Sandy cape for a night at an old favourite spot which had been cleared out so much it had a bus in it now...Took a bit of polish off but it was a night in the van with a fire so not too bad.

Then it was home time. 
By far our longest trip in the van with 32 nights in it. Longest road trip with over 7000km covered and we managed to mark off a whole heap of our travel map which was cool once we got home.

 

The little Searano inflatable did a good job and we had the set up/pack down, down to 30 minutes. Tohatsu 9.9 gets the boat going to ~15 knots with just me and the kids, or me and the wife, but with all 4 of us and the safety gear, we do around 6 knots. Good enough to get out. 

Jayco swan did the job and once i give it a clean up it will be for sale. We got down some gnarley tracks and it didnt miss a beat. Wife wants a van with a toilet and shower and I want a 7m boat we can camp in. We'll see who wins (and what van we get) 

Ford ranger ticked over 16000km just before we got home and what a weapon that car is! Able to reverse me up a boggy river bank with the van in tow and able to overtake going up hill with the air con on. Highest fuel consumption we had for any drive was 19.5l/100 and lowest we had on a tank was 15.5, that is with two jerries, awning, enquite, solar panels table and 4 x max trax on the roof of the car, and a boat and motor on the tray (with a full tray underneath).

 

Now time for photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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kirky79's picture

Posts: 1345

Date Joined: 13/01/12

Epic

Mon, 2021-05-17 15:35

Great read. Thanks for taking the time to do it. Plenty of good/bad memories in that lot. That's what it is all about.  

sunshine's picture

Posts: 2356

Date Joined: 03/03/09

Great read

Mon, 2021-05-17 15:39

And even better photos ....thanks  

Posts: 97

Date Joined: 22/03/17

Worth the read

Mon, 2021-05-17 16:39

 

Sounds like a real adventure with a few ups and downs!  Lots of memories though especially for the kids,  that's the way to live. 

Brock O's picture

Posts: 2777

Date Joined: 11/01/08

There some amazing photos,

Mon, 2021-05-17 17:35

There some amazing photos, and bloody good read for anyone looking to do similar.

Good old Rum...dont leave home with out it! lol.

Nice one Swompa!

Adam Gallash's picture

Posts: 15460

Date Joined: 29/11/05

Awesome

Mon, 2021-05-17 17:42

 Jeeze we live in a beautiful country, great read and pics.

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Posts: 903

Date Joined: 21/05/12

 memories there m8

Mon, 2021-05-17 17:59

 memories there m8

Rick's picture

Posts: 1059

Date Joined: 22/12/06

Cheers

Mon, 2021-05-17 18:37

Big effort that write up mate, cheers for sharing

That trip had a little bit of everything  

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pelagicyachts's picture

Posts: 1205

Date Joined: 23/02/11

Looks tops - am about to hit

Mon, 2021-05-17 20:52

Looks tops - am about to hit the road for a similar trip - is it worth beach fishing from Eco beach? - threadfin? - or just wait for the barra further north?

Posts: 262

Date Joined: 08/06/15

 Top write up Swompa! One of

Mon, 2021-05-17 21:09

 Top write up Swompa! One of my bucket list trips for sure

Posts: 724

Date Joined: 29/03/13

Thanks for the effort on the

Tue, 2021-05-18 05:05

 Great write up Swompa! Few places I haven't been too in that list. I remember the first time I went to Pender bay I jumped in on a spring low and have never seen so many big bluebone in my life

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Down the Charters

 

Catch the Experience 

Spicey's picture

Posts: 196

Date Joined: 17/01/11

Great read Swompa

Tue, 2021-05-18 07:35

 We did a similar trip a couple of years ago with our young kids. Memories for life.

Didley's picture

Posts: 58

Date Joined: 09/02/12

Thanks mate

Tue, 2021-05-18 08:35

 I really enjoyed the read and the pictures.

Good stuff

 

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3343

Date Joined: 14/10/12

Cheers all. Certainly a

Thu, 2021-05-20 12:30

Cheers all. Certainly a memorable trip for the good reasons and the rest are learnings. 

Had the second back of Barn Hill Mackie last night and unfortunately burnt the hell out of it. One bag left to nail or I will need to go back up...

 

Posts: 24

Date Joined: 02/02/21

 Well done Swompa. Fantastic

Fri, 2021-05-21 10:04

 Well done Swompa. Fantastic trip and big effort with the report. A perfect reminder of the places to go, and things to do with my boys before they leave the nest. 

davewillo's picture

Posts: 1489

Date Joined: 08/09/16

 A great read thanks mate!

Wed, 2021-05-26 12:25

 A great read thanks mate! Looks like the 9.9 Hp was a good decision. Soem epic photos too. Where were the sharks in the 5th photo?

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3343

Date Joined: 14/10/12

 James Price Point. Saw a

Wed, 2021-05-26 18:04

 James Price Point. Saw a splash and sent the drone up. Video is far better quality but 35 x 5 second long videos don't tell much of a story...

 

Yep the 9.9 gets up and goes but if the plan to sell the van and get a big boat comes together, it will never get another run!

davewillo's picture

Posts: 1489

Date Joined: 08/09/16

 Yeah it's all about what

Thu, 2021-05-27 10:00

 Yeah it's all about what works for you and the family mate. If you can get a big boat that you can camp on then you'll be laughing!

Faulkner Family's picture

Posts: 17263

Date Joined: 11/03/08

 Them pics explains quite

Wed, 2021-05-26 20:31

 Them pics explains quite perfectly why WA is a great place to be . Well done on the write up. 

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RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3343

Date Joined: 14/10/12

 Cheers. had a look at that

Sun, 2021-05-30 18:35

 Cheers. had a look at that spoil bank in Headland on the way up. Can certainly see why you do ok there!

Posts: 25

Date Joined: 06/12/16

Excellent write up

Sun, 2021-05-30 11:20

 Thanks for sharing.

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3343

Date Joined: 14/10/12

 Cheers, mate

Sun, 2021-05-30 18:35

 Cheers, mate