FARAWAY BAY BUSH CAMP is what it says it is: a bush camp. It’s sleeping under a mosquito net, geckos climbing the walls at night, waking to a 5.30am sunrise, keeping an eye out for snakes and the resident crocodile, and showering outdoors in a cubicle of corrugated tin.
The indulgence is in the solitude and the landscape. This remote destination, on the northern tip of Westem Australia, an hour’s ride in a light plane 280km north-west ofKunnunurra, presents the Australian bush up dose and personal. A daytrip aboard the 13m cruiserDiamond Lass to the 80m-high twin King George Falls takes you among the geological wonders that are Kimbeley cliffs; excursions over bumpy tracks in a troop carrier lead to shady billabongs, great bushwalking and rock art that nods to the Bradshaw oeuvre.
Many guests (the maximum is 12 at any one time) come for several days of uninterrupted fishing-for barramundl, trevally, mangrove jack, queenfish. Dinner is more often than not the catch of the day. It’s eaten at Eagle Lodge – a partly alfresco, communal, stone-paved, old wharf pylon-supported “living room”. Others come to get away from it all – and really mean it.
There’s no mobile phone reception, TV or convenience store down the road, although food and drink are pretty much on tap. A little rock pool and a high-powered telescope are happy distractions for “at-home” days.
The region is home to a swag of creatures, including the wallaroo, northern quoll, a short-eared rock wallaby, the rocket frog and the dugong. There are blue-winged kookaburras, double-barred finches and the great billed heron. A brahminy kite does a regular daily flypast aniticipating the kindness of stangers.
An aquatic fauna survey of nearby Gumboot Bay (proposed as a landing site diamond exploeres Striker Resources not so long ago, a project presently halted) uncovered an isopod considered a living fossil and “new to science” as well as rare populations of exquisite rainbowfish (Melanotaemia exquisita) and two potentially new species of glassfish and catfish.
The camp, open from April to October each year, is owned by Bruce and Robyn Ellison who built it in 1996 – and again in 2005 after it was flattened by Cydone Ingid. They juggle the transfers to and from an airstrip 4km away, and the permutations of guest activities. The Ellisons are invaluable guides, as is the bushman staffer Steve McIntosh who returns to the bush camp year after year and is involved in a variety of fieldwork for Australian universities. Identifying sharks and their distribution patterns in the north-west, and spending years discovering Aboriginal rock art in the region. He has bush skills to burn.
A three-day/three-night pachage starts at $3460 and includes pick-up from your Kununurra accommodation, air transfers, accommodation at Faraway Bay, guided activities, boat charter, meals, soft drinks, wine and beer.
70 minutes’ flight from Kununurra, Western Australia
(08) 91691214 www.farawaybay.com.au