Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fish frenzy

29th March: On watch from 2am on SPV Odyssey and cruising down the Dampier Peninsula, I was astonished to see schools of prawns and sardines dancing in the glare of the spotlights off Pender Bay. This was the last leg of another amazing 21 day “big wet” cruise along the Kimberley coast, extending from the Prince Regent River to Broome.

The ocean has again come to life after Cyclone Lua earlier in the month. The abundance of fishlife was evident around Montgomery Reef, but most impressive along the Dampier Peninsula. As the day dawned just to the south of the Lacepede Islands, hundreds of schools of baitfish, mackeral tuna, mackeral and finny scad emerged, hounded by flocks of terns and Boobies looking for an easy meal.

The abundance of baitfish and pelagics continued unabated all the way south to Willie Creek, just to the north of Broome. This was reminiscent of an similar bait event that occurred in 2009, which we witnessed from the air around the same time of year. This is again a delightful reminder of the richness of the marine environment along the Kimberley coast. 2012 should also be a great year for the humpback whales that come to feed along the Dampier Peninsula.
Richard Costin

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lord Knows

By Stephen Fay

The Global Mail 

Broome -  Image by Leon Mead

Lord Alistair McAlpine is no ordinary collector. He acquires with passion and disposes, when required, with a profit or a shrug. Legendary collections of Sidney Nolan paintings, of police truncheons, rare species of hens and snowdrops have come and gone. But his most ambitious collection of all was nothing less than Australia. He acquired first-settler furniture and Aboriginalart and artefacts, but the prize of his Australian collection was a run-down old pearling town on the edge of the Kimberley.

Lord Alistair McAlpine - Image by Leon Mead

His first visit to Broome was a day trip to in 1979 to buy seashells, and he was entranced by what he found; golden sands, bright blue sea, red earth and purple sunsets, the scent of frangipani. He liked the architecture and the people. He was soon convinced Broome had all the attributes of a tourist resort that would be compelling to an international as well as an Australian audience.

Speaking in Broome recently, he said modestly that he thought Broome was a marginally better place in which to live by the time he left. He had revolutionised tourism and played a part in transforming South Sea pearls into a desirable fashion item. But Broome, like many of his collections, has gone; he was forced to sell off his assets there 20 years ago. When he returned late in March it was to be honoured by the town for his decisive role in its recent history. Lord McAlpine of West Green can now add the Freedom of the Shire of Broome to his list of honours.

The local worthies who had raised the funds to bring McAlpine to Australia to honour him were hoping that his presence would persuade the media to spread some good news about the town. Broome needs it, badly. Both tourism and pearls are prominent among the victims of the global recession.

The crucial issue facing Broome, however, is about the resource boom, which is scheduled to spread north from the Pilbara to Broome and the Kimberley. Planned for a site 60 kilometres north of Broome is a AUD35 billion gas terminal. It would allow Broome a share in Western Australia's astonishing prosperity and create new jobs in a declining economy. But Broome is not convinced that it wants to be part of it. Many want Broome to remain Broome. McAlpine's presence in the town again would be a welcome reminder of good times, and he would surely have some trenchant ideas

about the future.

McAlpine received the Freedom of the Shire of Broome honour on March 19, on a balmy Broome night in the garden of the Pearl Luggers on Dampier Terrace. Plans from his most ambitious projects were screened onto the sail of one of the luggers exhibited in dry-dock. They showed fine buildings that were moved and restored, such as Matso's Brewery, and his most daring projects of all - a large and expensive resort on Cable Beach and a sprawling zoo behind it. Graeme Campbell, Broome's shire president, told the audience that McAlpine

had paid taxes on 88 properties in Broome; moreover, he had paid them promptly. McAlpine himself remarked that if he had known it was that many, he would have been terrified.

Locals talk of BM, meaning Before McAlpine, and AM, After McAlpine. The Catholic bishop of Broome, Bishop Christopher Saunders, is an acute observer of change in this flagrantly informal society (women do not kiss the bishop's ring, they kiss his cheeks). He says: "Alistair changed the complexion of the place and gave it a vista it has never had before." Not everyone agreed; initially there was vigorous opposition to McAlpine's plans. The editor of the local papers criticised McAlpine's motives so fiercely that a libel action was begun. The celebrated Broome singer Stephen Pigram commemorated his arrival with a song, Dear Alistair, which contained some unwelcoming lines: "Well, I hear you're blown out by my beauty/ Streaks of white, fiery reds and blues./ My innocence is all that I can cling to/ I got no price. I'm not for sale to you."

McAlpine was correct about the town's tourism potential, especially after he bought a dowdy caravan park on the magnificent sweep of Cable Beach and constructed a costly and agreeable resort, using the vernacular architectural style of Broome for the cottages; he decorated the whole site with cheerful red and green lattice work, and littered the place with paintings from his collection of Nolans. Throw in a range of statuary from South Asia, and Broome had a resort that was remarkable by any standards.

Not far away, McAlpine started a zoo in which visitors looked down on the animals in

their pens from raised wooden walkways. The zoo specialised in threatened African species and rare and exotic birds. Hotels already operating infsuspic Broome were forced to raise their game, and run-down pearling masters' houses, built round a high-ceiled four-room square surrounded by deep verandas, became desirable residences. Inevitably, house prices soared.

McAlpine was also part-owner of a pearl farm up the coast, and South Sea pearls soon established a reputation for quality and lustre. To begin with, Bill Reed of Linneys displayed his stock of lustrous pearls loose on the top of barrels in his storefront; before long, they were being sold on Broome's main shopping streets in stores that would seem familiar to high-end shoppers in Rome or New York.

Only a few years earlier Broome had been a

destination for "mugwumps" - men and women from the south who could, until a stop was put to it, collect their social welfare payments in Broome, live a frugal life among the sand dunes and make no contribution to the local economy. After McAlpine had been a presence in Broome for a decade, the ambiance had changed utterly. The dunes were populated by comfortably off couples and their children. Broome was living up to McAlpine's expectations of it. He was even credited with a truly visionary act of town planning which banned buildings higher than a palm tree, or two stories at the most. In fact this enlightened legislation was passed by the gang who ran Broome BM because they did not want their town to become like Queensland's Gold Coast. McAlpine was an enthusiastic supporter of the rule, determined to keep Cable Beach a pristine environment for his club.

The opening of the Cable Beach Club in August 1989 made a great splash; all the waiters, for example, were flown in from Harry's Bar in London. They had landed at Broome's small airport, then dripping with bougainvillea, so close to town that when the late flight from Perth flew in over the legendary Sun Picture House (it boasts that

it is "the world's oldest operating picture garden") spectators sometimes had to lip-read — they still do. McAlpine was certain that a new international airport was required if Broome was to flourish. He envisaged nonstop flights from London and Frankfurt, disembarking passengers who could recover from their jet lag at the Cable Beach Club before flying on to other Australian destinations. He acquired a cattle station of three-quarters of a million acres not far from Broome as the site for the new airport, and a well-attended public meeting in Broome voted overwhelmingly in favour. The bad news for McAlpine was that Carmel Lawrence, the Labor premier of Western Australia was profoundly suspicious of his motives. She was perfectly certain that she owed no favours to a Pom, a Thatcherite, and a peer.

But the fates were less kind to McAlpine

than even Lawrence was. Within a fortnight of the Cable Beach Club's opening, the airline pilots struck. A dispute that was expected to last a few days dragged on for three months. Visitors simply forgot about Broome, and the club was not able to take advantage of the launch publicity. The strike was followed by a recession in which banks that had splashed money about as if tomorrow would never come, suddenly rediscovered prudence.

The impact on McAlpine's finances was catastrophic. The family firm of builders in London insisted that all the Australian properties be sold. The club — along with its dozen or so Nolans — went, along with all the Perth office buildings. McAlpine had spent AUD20million of his own money on the zoo, but that had to close and the property was sub-divided for housing.

He is not given to self-pity or regret, but the retreat from Broome hurt him deeply and cost him dearly. His presence is now remembered by the name of the hotel that occupies the house in which he lived - McAlpine House. He went back to Europe, started to collect Venice instead, and began an entirely new career as a writer of books and columns. One of the books, The Servant, based on his experience of working for Margaret Thatcher, is considered a small classic of devious political literature.

The pilots few again, the Australian economy recovered and in the 1990s Broome started to fulfil its potential. Hotels expanded, South Sea pearls were most desirable and there was no shortage of jobs for professional people such as teachers and health workers. The cost of living, already high in the Kimberley, was made more tolerable by a Broome allowance of AUD8,000 for public servants, though booming property prices made it difficult for young teachers, for example, to buy a house and bring up a family in Broome. By the millennium Broome's recovery was complete. Graeme Campbell, the shire president, identifies the good years as 2000 to 2008, when the world recession blew away Broome's sense of frontier optimism.

The town still creates a fine impression on a visitor. The streets are clean, there, is none of the detritus of urban life — no traffic lights, few streets signs and no flashing advertisements. But the mood is darker.

Pearls were among the first to suffer from global recession. By 2012 sales had fallen between 60 and 70 per cent. Some pearl farms simply closed down; bigger producers brought fewer pearls to market. Job numbers in an industry which had employed 800 in good times were halved.

The tourist trade, which already lives with a season curtailed to seven months because of the Wet, suffered substantial falls in bookings. Hoteliers complain that they suffer from higher wage bills than elsewhere, tiresome labour regulations and expensive flights from Perth. But the greatest insult is the general knowledge that a family from the east coast can have a holiday in Bali or Thailand for not much more than a single airfare to Broome.

For the first time, property developers were allowed to argue that high land prices

justified three-storey developments. That is a dangerous precedent, the thin end of the wedge, that could threaten the visual character of the town. A ban on selling booze to Aboriginal people brought unwelcome publicity; there was a well-publicised murder near the airport; and, most damaging of all, squads of riot police had been flown from Perth to cope with demonstrators persistently opposing the construction the vastly expensive terminal at James Price Point, 60 kilometres north of Broome, which will turn gas from the Browse Basin into liquid natural gas.

The great mining boom in the Pilbara and exploration for oil and gas off the northeast coast has mostly bypassed Broome. Supply ships plying to and from the exploratory wells used the town's deep-water port, and whole hotels are being considered as dormitories for miners in the Pilbara, who fly

in and fly out (and are known as FIFOs). But drama began when Broome was selected as the site of one of the West's biggest resource developments: the oil and gas company Woodside, along with influential partners such as BP, Shell and Chevron, have committed to the AUD35 billion terminal to process gas and condense it so that it can be shipped overseas. As many as 8,000 construction workers would be involved, and a few hundred permanent new jobs created.

On the face of it, Broome's policy towards the development might appear a no-brainer. After all, it is not living too well by relying on tourism, pearls and public service. But in fact, the town is divided by it, sometimes bitterly. The town council is split, with five against and four in favour, on condition that the social audit that is being done is approved. (For example, Broome resists the notion that it could house the thousands of construction workers.) The Chamber of Commerce, which you might expect to be a gung-ho supporter, is fairly evenly divided. Martin Prichard, of Environs Kimberley, reflects the attitude of the Greens when he says that Woodside's gas terminal is the thin end of another wedge: once built, what follows would be the industrialisation of one of the world's greatest wilderness areas.

The most influential voice, however, belongs to the Aboriginal tribes that own James Price Point. One of the particular qualities of Broome is a consequence of the White Australia policy in 1901, when the pearling masters persuaded the government to admit Japanese divers and Koepanger crews. The condition was that no women could accompany them, and the inevitable result was mixed Asian and Aboriginal families. The bishop describes them as "Broomoriginals", and they are a significant, articulate and argumentative presence in the debate about the terminal. The bishop hastily withdraws the phrase "civil war", but he reports bitter splits within families. He estimates that his flock is 60 per cent against the terminal and 40 per cent in favour.

Title to the land at James Price Point belongs to the Jabir Jabir tribe, and Woodside already has signed an agreement with the Kimberley Land Council to pay AUD1.5 billion over 40 years for use of the land. However, a second tribe, the Goolarabaloo, contests the agreement. Howard Pedersen, an historian who works with prominent indigenous leaders, regrets that it is a binary argument, for or against. He would prefer to locate the terminal elsewhere, while retaining the supply ships in Broome. Pressed on how this might happen, Pedersen argues that the pressure of opposition in the area might persuade Woodside's partners to withdraw the proposal. Opposition also unites the greens and some businessmen, for the idea is to let Broome go on being Broome, missing out on the windfall wealth of the resources industries but retaining its soul by resisting change. In contrast Woodside's leaders evidently believe that what is good for them must be good for Broome.

McAlpine's opinion was eagerly sought, and the chance to test it came on his last evening in Broome when he put aside his jacket and tie to appear at a public meeting held in the library. An audience of 135 responded cheerfully to McAlpine's whimsy. (he told them the best thing about the House of Lords is the crumpets at tea time.) But he dodged a leading question about the terminal with a whiff of populism. "These are decisions," he said, "that have to be taken by people from Broome and the Kimberley. You have to come to your own conclusion, not to have it dictated by people in Sydney or Canada."

The sentiment was well received, though not everyone was persuaded of its practicality. A recent immigrant from Afghanistan named Ali, a FIFO working in a diamond mine in the north, said: "The town is against it, but our voices are less than corporation voices." McAlpine's principal message was directed at the combatants: "Don't let it make you so angry that you can't come to terms with the loser. When you're not speaking to each other, you come up with a sick society."

But McAlpine did not hedge throughout his trip. He spoke frankly during an interview with Flip Prior of The West Australian. "The whole point of Australia," he said, "is to develop it with industry so that people can be born in Broome, educated in Broome, and get a proper job that pays decent money in Broome. That was always my vision." It has not been realised yet.

Later, sitting comfortably in the Cable Beach Club which he liked well on his return, McAlpine spoke even more firmly in support of the gas terminal, observing that opposition to the development reminded him of the criticism he had attracted himself when he tried to industrialise the tourist industry. And he forecast an apocalyptic outcome if the gas terminal goes elsewhere in West Australia while Broome remains in thrall to declining pearl and tourist trades. Jobs will go, he said. People will leave; children will have no future and eventually Broome will go the way other towns in West Australia that failed to keep pace with change.

It is not the conclusion you expect to hear from the man whose personal discovery of Broome gave it purpose and brought it into the mainstream of Australian tourism. It sounds more like the man who ran a construction business with an eye to the future. Without a future in resource development, Broome, declares Lord Alistair McAlpine, eventually will become a ghost town. It sounds like the end of a fine romance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coral Princess heads to the Kimberley following $1million refurbishment


Coral Princess Cruises’ 35 metre catamaran Coral Princess has re-entered service following a $1 million upgrade. The small ship, which is currently en route to Darwin on her 11-night Cape York and Arnhem Land expedition, will commence the company’s Kimberley season on 6 April. 

The 50 passenger Coral Princess, which operates alongside the company’s flagship Oceanic Discoverer in the Kimberley between April and October each year, has received new, state-of-the-art engines, expansive teak decking and a completely remodelled dining room and lounge area as part of the full refurbishment. The new look dining room offers significantly more space, incorporates a comfortable lounge alcove, rejuvenated d├ęcor and modern furnishings. All accommodations aboard the ship have also been upgraded, with plush carpets and stylish artworks creating a warm and welcoming onboard atmosphere.

Coral Princess founder and Managing Director Tony Briggs said he “couldn’t be happier” with the ship’s new look and initial reaction from guests has been very pleasing. “This is a significant upgrade of Coral Princess and we’ve no doubt our guests will be very impressed by the high quality amenities, furniture and fittings throughout the ship when they step aboard” he said. “We’re pleased we’ve been able to incorporate modern stylings, whilst retaining the welcoming ambience and ‘home away from home’ feeling our guests are accustomed to.”

Coral Princess Cruises, an accredited eco-tourism operator, is committed to the concept of sustainable cruising, and the ship’s new “whisper quiet” engines have been developed to minimise emissions. Following recent sea trials off Cairns, Briggs said the ship’s new engines provide increased power and greater stability, along with significantly improved fuel efficiency.
Australian-owned Coral Princess Cruises pioneered small-ship expedition cruising on the Kimberley coast in 1996 and has 34 departures scheduled across the 2012 season, which runs between April and October. The company has rooms remaining available on several departures. Coral Princess’s fleet of three small ships also operate year round cruises on the Great Barrier Reef, and further afield to exotic destinations including Papua New Guinea, Melanesia and New Zealand.

Kimberley Cetacean Survey Online

Read Kimberley Whale Watching's 2011 Cetacean Survey Report online

Win Kimberley Turtle Print

Like ‘Kimberley Media’ on Facebook to win a turtle print on metallic paper.  Winner will be announced 10th April 2012.

This image was taken very early in the morning in 2007 on Turtle Reef in Talbot Bay, near the iconic Horizontal Waterfalls. Easterly winds are the norm in the Kimberley in the dry season, but sometimes there’s a beautiful period of stillness before the winds come up. Turtles are extremely common on Turtle Reef, an extensive and very important reef system. 

"Turtle on Turtle Reef" by Annabelle Sandes - Photographic print on Kodak metallic paper. 45 x 30 cm

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Win the Kimberley Dream

The Kimberley region in Western Australia is one of the world's last true wilderness areas. Covering nearly 423,000 square kilometers, this ancient region has fewer people per square kilometer than almost any other location on Earth.
Now thanks to BCF, The Berkeley River Retreat and True North Cruises we are giving you the chance to win an all expenses paid trip for you and three of your friends or family to this truly magical place.
By filling out this entry form you and your three companions could be taking off for the trip of a lifetime. Enter in your details in the fields to your left then the only hard part is deciding which three special people to take.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Protect the Kimberley - Camden Sound Marine Park and Montgomery Reef

If you'd like to help gain real marine protection for this important part of the Kimberley coast:
  1. Go the the website and sign the petition.
  2. Write to the Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett
  3. Email the Premier
  4. Write to your local MP

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kimberley Wet Season images – March 2012

Wet Season - March 2012 - Images by Annabelle Sandes

Secret Life of Kimberley Corals

  • From:
  • The Australian 
  • March 24, 2012 12:00AM

  • THE remote Kimberley coast, widely considered to be the planet's last great tropical marine frontier, is slowly beginning to yield its secrets.
    At the height of tropical cyclone Lua, which this week hammered the region with winds of up to 160km/h, marine scientist Ali McCarthy, 24, became the first person to witness the spawning of Kimberley onshore corals.
    The event took place nine days after the full moon and after two wet, windy nights of monitoring aquariums at Cygnet Bay, about 200km north of Broome.
    The captive spawning mirrored exactly what was happening on reefs a few hundred metres away, where the waters were awash with slicks of bright blue and pink secretions as corals released their gametes into the water for fertilisation.
    The event, which can be accurately predicted, is remarkable for more than the way in which it will help explain the lifecycle of one of the world's least understood coral regions. The Kimberley coast is recognised as the most coral diverse area in Western Australia and may rival the Red Sea with 280 species of hard coral from 55 genera, many new to science. The research will help unlock the secrets of why Kimberley corals are thriving where contemporary marine science says they should not even exist.
    "The environment in which the corals exist is almost beyond the normal parameters for coral survival, let alone growth," said Ms McCarthy.The onshore reefs of Cygnet Bay experience water temperatures of up to 40C without bleaching. They also withstand 12m tides, extreme turbidity and ocean acidification that would be devastating to other coral systems.

    Croc Spotting

    March 23, 2012, 1:09 pm
    Croc spotting
    DE MG Ranger Andy Reid at the helm on the Ord River. Picture: Stephen Scourfield/The West Australian

    The Ord River snakes behind, flat and steel-grey in the darkening afternoon - slashed by the white wake of the boat.
    Beside it, red bluffs pass, fired by the late sun.
    This part of the East Kimberley's upper Ord, between Lake Kununurra and Argyle Dam, is naturally inhabited by Johnson freshwater crocodiles. Johnson's crocodile - Crocodylus johnsoni, the freshwater crocodile, the humble freshie - is not aggressive but not completely harmless.
    But there has been a report that there may be a saltie here - the bitey estuarine crocodylus.
    Department of Environment and Conservation wildlife officer Len Terry and DEC Miriuwung Gajerrong (MG) ranger Andy Reid are here to check, though Len does admit it's rather like looking for a needle in a haystack, on this long, wide stretch of silty river.
    And particularly as tourists who see a big croc might think it's a saltie, and report it, when, in fact, it's not.
    With Andy at the boat's controls and Len up on the bow, inside a big frame, the river is gently scoured. If they were to spot a saltie, they might come back with a trap (Len says it generally takes between two and seven weeks for a crocodile to be caught), might noose the snout, or harpoon him with small hooks and haul him in. "We use a lot of duct tape," Len says.
    We end up not far from the dam as the light dies and then come back slowly, with Len spotlighting for croc eyes and giving instructions to Andy, who's driving in the dark now, with the beam of his torch.
    I, of course, am sightseeing, the other chaps are working.
    I'm pleased to have spotted three, maybe four, freshwater crocs and ask Len how many he reckons he saw. "A couple of hundred," he says. Of course, once you've got your eye in …
    Back at the office the next day, DEC Kimberley regional manager Daryl Moncrieff asks how we went and I tell him about the interesting and enjoyable evening.
    Yes, he says, and he can see potential for DEC croc-spotting trips for the public. "We could have the MG trainees and rangers telling people about the crocs and the country." And maybe another idea is born …
    But there has been a report that there may be a saltie here.

    The Final Frontier

    Updated March 23, 2012, 8:49 pm
    Some of the Kimberley's wild places can be reached only by air or sea. You wheel in a great arc in a light aircraft over the high red, rocky plateau ranges and drop down to a scallop in the coast with a small retreat, set against a turquoise sea.
    Kimberley special:
    Or you pull up on a beach knowing that, even if the Kimberley coast didn't have an extraordinary tidal range to wipe them away, there would be very few footprints in the sand before yours.
    But it's not all like that - not by any means.
    To get to many of the Kimberley's wild places, travellers have only to pull off the road and stroll a few metres from the carpark.
    With some, visitors can camp in the heart of wilderness, or stay in comfortable accommodation.
    And yet these are still wild places.
    Indeed, the central Kimberley bioregion was recognised as one of the world's last true wilderness areas by Conservation International.
    I have met earth scientists, biologists and naturalists who speak of the 424,500sqkm of the Kimberley in the same breath as Antarctica. Wild places. Last frontiers.
    Its seasonality is part of the picture - part of its drama and charm and crucial to the environment. It has a tropical monsoonal climate, the wet season, November to March, and dry season, April to October.
    In this guide, we pay special attention to the Kimberley's national parks, conservation areas and nature reserves - and to how they are managed, and their future.
    We travel to wild places.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Barnett denies Browse gas hub obsession

    AAP, The West AustralianMarch 22, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Premier Colin Barnett has denied he is "obsessed" with industrialising the Kimberley, following a new move by his government to compulsorily acquire land for a $30 billion gas hub there.

    The government re-advertised notices of its intent to compulsorily acquire 3500ha of land at James Price Point this week, after the original notices were ruled invalid by the WA Supreme Court.

    The Kimberley community has been divided over the proposed gas hub, 60km north of Broome, and protesters have waged ongoing battles with its joint developer, Woodside Petroleum.

    Conservationists have described the sparsely populated Kimberley as "one of the last great wilderness areas on earth".

    Responding to a claim by WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert that "the government remains obsessed by industrialisation of the Kimberley", Mr Barnett denied it was the case.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    $700K to target tidal movements research

    Updated March 15, 2012 14:26:36
    A new study of tidal movements along the north-west Western Australian coast is underway to help protect reef systems in the area.
    The Australian Research Council has allocated $700,000 to the project, which will focus on the interaction of tides and reef systems between Ningaloo Reef and Camden Sound.
    A marine scientist at the University of Western Australia, Ryan Lowe, will head the five-year study.
    He says the work is long overdue.
    "I'd say the Kimberley, and critically the inshore areas of the Kimberley, are some of the most poorly understood areas in the world," he said.
    "There's very little scientific research that's been conducted and I think even globally, the area experiences the largest tides of any tropical area of the world, so a lot [of] the questions and research conditions are unique."
    Professor Lowe says the findings will feed into management plans for newly created marine parks along the north-west coast.
    "There's such a lack of just basic knowledge at this point," he said.
    "The first priority is really to develop numerical models that can actually predict tidal movements over these very extreme, complex reef systems."

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Kuri Bay: True luxury on a remote Australian coast

    From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
    Kimberley Coast – With only three rooms and a completely off-the-beaten path location in northwestern Australia, Kuri Bay is set to become one of the most exclusive wilderness lodges on the Kimberley Coast. An almost two-hour seaplane ride from Broome delivers guests to a pristine outpost that was once home to the country’s oldest pearling company. Excursions to see hump-back whales, ancient cave art, and the horizontal waterfalls of Montgomery Reef trump any extraneous five-star frills (rooms don’t have TVs, telephones or air conditioning). Meals feature freshly caught fish, pearl meat and fine Australian wines. At $4,799 (Aus.) a person for a four-night all-inclusive package, staying at this remote hideaway doesn’t come cheaply.

    Top End cyclone danger moved to Tuesday

    THERE is a moderate risk of a cyclone forming late on Tuesday.
    A weak tropical low has formed more than 100km north of the Arnhem coast in the Arafura Sea.
    The low is expected to move west or southwest towards the Timor Sea and slowly deepen.
    A cyclone could affect the Kimberley coast by this Wednesday.
    Weather Bureau senior forecaster Rebecca Patrick said that the path of the low-pressure system was unpredictable.
    "It may well move over land or water," Ms Patrick told the Sunday Territorian.



    "Look up the BOM 4 day forecast map, that always tells the most probable outcome. unlike the current media sensationalism."
    "There will still be a lot of rain," she said.
    There is a low chance of a cyclone occurring today and tomorrow.
    Ms Patrick said there will certainly be strong north-westerly winds if the trough moves to the west.
    That will please Darwin surfers.
    The low is in a weak monsoon trough over the Arafura Sea and is threatening to become more active as it moves closer to the Top End coast.
    The Weather Bureau is warning of flooding today in the Top End.
    Thunderstorms and isolated showers of up to 80mm may lead to localised flooding and higher water levels in creeks.
    Darwin was hit by a few millimetres of rain yesterday, while Alice Springs is getting sunny conditions with temperatures in the mid-30s.
    Adelaide River had the most rainfall in the 24 hours to the time of writing, with 51mm of rain.

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    New Wellness Retreat Launches on Kimberley Coast

    The far North Kimberley’s iconic Kimberley Coastal Camp is set to launch its first yoga and wellness retreat this June.

    Hosted by Ryoho yoga therapist and host of Australia’s Yoga TV – Kris McIntyre, the 3 day all inclusive package will feature meditation, nutrition, yoga, massage and reflexology at one of the world’s most secluded destinations. Guests are invited to experience intimate encounters with ancient cultures and rock art so old its origins are lost in time, native wildlife, pristine isolated beaches, bush walking, gourmet meals including fresh locally caught seafood, and luxurious beach front accommodation.

    This unique opportunity to reconnect with nature includes a complimentary helicopter access only yoga session! Early birds can take advantage of the special EARLY BIRD OFFER – 10% off if booked before 10 April 2012.

    Kimberley Coastal Camp is a small luxury wilderness lodge located on country know to traditional owners as Yalrundair, overlooking the Timor Sea. Open from late March to October each year, Kimberley Coastal Camp limits guests to just 12 and with access restricted to helicopter and float plane it is one of the world’s most secluded and unspoiled destinations.

    The first Kimberley Coastal Camp wellness retreat will be held from the 9th to the 12th of June 2012. All inclusive packages departing Broome are $4936 per person or $4685 from Kununurra.

    Telephone: 0417 902 006 Email: