The West

Faraway from the madding crowd
Faraway from the madding crowd

Our plane banks hard over a small bay and below us the water is deep and clear, the rocky ridges blood red, and the Timor Sea smooth and blue to the horizon.

I'm seated beside the pilot in the cockpit of a twin-engine Cessna about to touch down on the red dirt strip of Faraway Bay, just 30km south-east of the northern tip of WA.

My wife and I have flown in from Kununurra, a one-hour flight, for a three-night stay at the remote Kimberley resort.

Within minutes of landing we are whisked from the dirt strip in a safari-style LandCruiser. Half an hour later we are tucking into muffins at Eagle Lodge, the resort's open-air dining room overlooking a postcard view of Faraway Bay, being welcomed by hosts Kevin and Kathie Reilly who purchased the 25ha property, 280km north-west of Kununurra, earlier this year.

Kevin explains meals are taken communally, the bar fridge is always open and daily activities depend on guests' particular interests: rock art walks, fishing trips or nothing at all. He adds that although the bay is practically begging to be swum in, the resident "saltie" might not welcome our presence. Right on cue, a crocodile glides by and guests line up to catch a glimpse of the prehistoric lizard before it disappears without a ripple.

Muffins consumed, we make our way to our cabin, one of eight, with a king-size bed, ensuite and outdoor shower overlooking the bay. The next morning it is into the LandCruisers and off in search of Aboriginal rock art with archaeologist and guide Lee Scott-Virtue.

After an easy but long walk through scrub, Lee points out a rock overhang covered in depictions of kangaroos, sea turtles, crocodiles and even a Tasmanian devil.

Later, we find ourselves gazing at a gallery of mysterious Bradshaw Art, first recorded by Joseph Bradshaw in 1891. Lee explains the art is so old the paint no longer exists; instead the rusty red outlines are now just stains etched into the slabs of rock on which they were painted. That means dating them is almost impossible, with estimates ranging between 18,000 and 70,000 years old.

Later, after a dip in a lily-covered billabong, we sip billy tea and eat a picnic lunch in the shade of paperbark trees. Kevin tells me there are plans to build some luxury safari tents by the billabong to offer guests a night in true wilderness.

In the morning, we board the resort's 18m motorboat, the Caribou, for a daytrip to nearby King George Falls. Sleeping up to eight, the sleek 30-tonne cruiser is one of the largest vessels based on the coast between Derby and Darwin and offers guests the option of spending a night at secluded destinations along the coast.

The next day is our last and fishing is on the cards. Rob, a keen angler from Melbourne, and I are the only takers.

We wander down the beach and minutes later the shining silver body of a barramundi leaps clear of the water, my lure lodged firmly in its jaw.

After lunch, we board a LandCruiser for the trip to the airstrip. Behind us the bay rolls into the sea and further on the horizon blends with the flawless blue sky.

It is hard to imagine a place further away from the humdrum of daily life.

·Nathan Dyer was a guest of Faraway Bay.

  • fact file *

·Skywest ( and Airnorth ( have regular flights from Perth to Kununurra.

·Faraway Bay is open between April and October.

·Bookings for next year can be made at and by calling (08) 9169 1214.

The West Australian

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