The Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, is a special place. Until recently, it has been only accessible to well-equipped 4WD’s brave enough to take on the notorious corrugations of the Cape Leveque Road but with the recently completion of a new, all-weather, road, the area is becoming more accessible. There are still locations, however, that are still only accessible by 4WD and Middle Lagoon is one of them. The entire Dampier Peninsula is either pastoral lease or privately owned land so camping is only possible with permission or by booking into one of the many privately owned camp sites.
The remote, almost untouched beauty of the landscape is the biggest appeal to visit here. Beachside campsites offering the basics, yet able to rival 5 star resorts with their simple, no frills approach let you get back to nature.
Take heed of all warnings and remember that there is a high risk of encountering salt water crocodiles.
Regardless of the type of adventure you are embarking on, keeping the basics in your vehicle means that you should be able to deal with most situation that may arise.
When you get onto the gravel, engage 4WD (high range) and only disengage 4WD when you get back to the bitumen. Doing so reduces the damage caused by driving in two-wheel drive and ensures that the track needs less maintenance to keep it open.
Great for getting yourself out of a sandy situation. Depending on where you decide to explore, you may need to get these out.
You never know when you are going to have to dig yourself out of trouble or when there is a call of nature that requires a hole.
You don’t always need this equipment BUT when you do, you do. Best to ensure that it is always in your vehicle.
Much better than a stick and a lot more accurate. It is recommended that you drop tyre pressure when leaving the bitumen and heading into Middle Lagoon. Doing so will make the ride much more comfortable and prevent adding further to the corrugations.
If you do the right thing and let your tyres down then you will only need to pump them back up when you get back to the main road.
For anyone venturing out on an adventure like this, we recommend that you install a UHF radio in your vehicle. This will allow you to communicate with anyone else you are travelling with (as long as they also have a UHF radio) as well as other road users. Having an installed unit, compared with a hand-held radio, will give you a much greater range.
Headlights are great around town but if you have to do any sort of long distance driving, especially in the north west, then having a good set of driving lights are essential. We don’t recommend spending too much time on the road after dark but if you have no choice, your spotlights could mean the difference between having a close encounter with some wildlife and getting to your destination without mishap
Mobile phone coverage should not be relied upon. There are some locations around that may give you some signal (Telstra) however it should not be relied upon. This could impact how well Google Maps (or equivalent works) and you should either invest in a good quality GPS unit or ensure you have a map of the area.
Something to deal with minor cuts and scrapes as well as compression bandages to treat snake bite.
Make sure you have some sunscreen and insect repellant with you.
It’s best to ensure that you have enough water for everyone in your party for the duration of your stay. Remember that it can get quite warm here and your water consumption should increase to suit. Beagle Bay is the closest location to top up on supplies otherwise you will need to drive back into Broome.
We use and recommend HEMA’s HX2 GPS navigator. The unit does not require mobile phone signal to operate, shows you exactly where you are and what is around you (including points of interest and facilities). The HX2 also gives you turn by turn navigation when back on the bitumen if you need it.
Your other option is to grab a copy of one of HEMA’s maps or 4WD atlas relevant to your area of travel.
If you have a smart phone or an iPad (preferably one that can take a mobile SIM card – you don’t need a SIM installed) you can look at HEMA’s CamperX or 4×4 Explorer.
Keep a roll in the car, along with hand sanitiser and maybe some wipes. Make sure you have a rubbish bag handy and bring all of your rubbish home.
Ensure that you are self-sufficient and have everything you need to keep everyone fed and happy for your stay.
There isn’t really anything to stop and look at once you hit the Cape Leveque Road. Turning onto the Middle Lagoon Track, it is not recommended that you stop due to it being wide enough for only one vehicle. You will have plenty of time to explore once you reach the coast.
When you stop and sit for a little while you will be amazed at the amount of wildlife that you will spot.
The area is known for migrating whales as well as other marine creatures.
Take a camera and try your hand at some scenic shots or even some macro. It’s also a great spot to get some nice portrait shots of friends and family or even a candid shot of the natural surroundings. Think red cliffs and blue water.
This area just screams for some aerial footage and images. If you get high enough you can get some great contrasting shots along the coast and you may even catch a glimpse of some migrating whales and other marine life.
Please ensure that you seek permission from your hosts before taking to the air and adhere to the CASA regulations for operating a drone.
The area is renowned for its fishing both from the beach or small boat. There are plenty of privately owned boat ramps where you can launch a small boat and get off the beach.
If you intend to stay anywhere on the Dampier Peninsula, you will need to ensure that you have booked something BEFORE heading out. Accommodation and camping options are limited and bookings are essential.