Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. The Dampier Peninsula stretches 220km north of Broome in Australia’s North West.
There is only one track that dissects straight up the middle of the Peninsula this is called the Cape Leveque road, all others run off it.
Known to local indigenous people as “Ardi” meaning heading north, this dusty bone rattling journey gives the adventurous a chance to experience the pristine, secluded and the unique that is the Peninsula.
To fully appreciate a location you sometimes have to embrace the journey, as the two become one to form the experience. This is one such instance. The track will rattle and drain you while the destination will rejuvenate and repair you.
“Exclusive” What is exclusive? Limited to only one person or group of people, special, unique.
“Welcome To Mercedes Cove”.
After 190 bone rattling kilometres you arrive at the gate, “Booked Guests Only Beyond this Point”
it reads. A deep breath is part relief part expection as you wander down the track to the main parking area.
You’re enthusiastically greeted by Rex the resident hound who’s friendly demeanour is only surpassed by owner Pat Channing who is close behind.
You quickly realize that “retreat” is just a fancy word for relax, as you feel yourself slip into Kimberley Time as Pat & Rex sweep you away to Mercedes Cove http://mercedescove.com.au.
Check in time is 2pm and just quietly I think it’s a deliberate ploy by Pat and Hubby David, for after the drive up, their orientation tour, and settling in, you’re just about done for the day and ready to pull up a pew at the “Whales Lookout”, sundowners a perfect conclusion.
Mercedes Cove forces you to take one step forward and two steps back, disconnecting you from the world for a while while it reconnects you with whoever you’re with, and the wilderness that is just waiting to immerse you.
There is no Wi – Fi at Mercedes Cove but the connection is better.
The retreat has uninterrupted views of the ocean, with three private and sparsely occupied sandy beaches in which to swim, fish, snorkel and explore on go for a walk and be the first to leave your footprints in the sand.
Mercedes Cove possibly has the best land based whale watching in the Kimberley, June to September each year. Humpbacks wander up and down the coast they seem to stay a little longer and a little closer at Mercedes Cove.
A highlight of each day was taking a moment to watch the sunset each evening, seeing the sun quietly slip behind the ancient chimney rocks then dip below the horizon, the Kimberley sky fading to mauves and pastels, whales frolic and dance as lapping waves send you off to bed without a worry in the world.
You can do as much or as little as you like at Mercedes Cove it’s that type of place, you could swing in a hammock and study the backs of your eyelids listening to the lapping waves no one would blame you, however with so much Kimberley wilderness you’d be mad not to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Whales can be awe inspiring, the fishing a bit of fun, long walks along uninhabited private beaches soul cleansing, the sunsets breathtaking.
However the thing that marries all the elements together is the exclusiveness or the small number of guests in house at any given time, and the accommodation options.
Mercedes Cove is not targeted at any one demographic of people, it’s for everyone. Experience it with your partner, family or friends.
To ensure your stay is private, peaceful and personal bookings are kept to a minimum.
Mercedes Cove have package deals available to corporate bodies, workshop groups and small social groups, maximum number of people at any one time is 24.
All accommodation http://mercedescove.com.au/accomodation/ is fully equipped, cleanliness of the accommodation options is beaut, Pat keeps them spotless. All are well appointed and more than adequate for an overnight or a two week stay.
Two Bedroom Cabins x 2
These cabins are very similar to each other, one is called Seaview, the other Beach Shack. They are set to the back of the retreat a little amongst the gubinge fruit trees.
That said they still get plenty of sea breeze and are within easy walking distance of everything.
A wonderful option for families, lots of room, big verandahs and air conditioned.
Eco Tents x 2
These eco tents are spacious and beautifully ventilated. With every wall screened, breeze passes through wonderfully. Inside you’ll find in addition to your bed a table and chairs, bar fridge, pedestal fan. Outside is your BBQ.
One Tent is called “Gubinge” This is the family tent it sleeps 4
The Other Tent is called Jirr (Meaning Sea Eagle) – Ideal for couples, Sleeps 2.
This tent is in a great location. It sits atop a small rise and has great views out to the ocean. The gubinge tree which is front and centre blocks things a little, however when it grows in a wet season or two it will not only throw nice shade but frame that view well.
Both Eco Tents share an abolition block.
This is the pick of the bunch. It sits out overlooking the ocean, everyone sleeps out on the deck in the open under mozzie nets.
The breeze, smells, sounds, sights – its a beautiful way to drop off to sleep and a wonderful way to wake up. Its experience, memories that will not be easily forgotten.
This open plan design has a well appointed kitchen, great bathrooms and sensational big entertaining table on the deck.
Staying here just complements everything else Mercedes Cove has to offer.
TOP TIP: Every accommodation type has its own fire pit & wood so pack marshmallows.
When To Visit
The retreat closes for the wet season and, depending on weather, rain and road conditions, as a rough guide reopen around Easter. Always pays to contact Pat and run your plans by her first as a rough guide April to November.
Anytime is a good time really, the absolute sweet spot about Mercedes Cove which makes it quite different to other places is the limited number of guests at any given time. So when other places are seriously busy in July Mercedes Cove will have clean air and an empty beach.
That being said, the beautiful viewing of whales makes this place really special between June and early September.
If you’re not fussed on whales then the shoulder season months of May, September and October have warmer nights and less wind.
How Long To Stay
My mob & I could easily stay for a week and may well do so one day, however for most of everybody else I would recommend two or three nights.
This will give a bit of time to explore, rest and play.
Top Tip: On the trip up stop at Beagle Bay and check out the Sacred Heart Church, perhaps make it a morning tea break.
Top Tip: Stop at the Whale Song Cafe for lunch, then proceed to Mercedes Cove for 2pm check in.
How To Get There
The nearest major town is Broome. 10km out of Broome on Broome Highway is the turn off to Cape Leveque. Continue along the Cape Leveque Road for approximately 155km to the Middle Lagoon turn off, make this turn and travel another 35km until you see the signs to Mercedes Cove.
The Cape Leveque road and the Middle Lagoon road are sandy, rutted, corrugated, dippy, bumpy, rocky, narrow in places, unforgiving tracks. They demand respect and your full concentration- treat them with every respect.
Don’t try to race the road, it will determine your speed. Drive to the conditions, and let some air out of your tyres.
PLEASE NOTE: There was no google map of Mercedes Cove, that’s how off the grid and remote/alone you will be. It locates roughly between Middle Lagoon & Whale Song. Follow your nose and the signs. And it won’t take you 6 hours to get there even the most cautious will arrive in 3 hours or a tad under if they drove straight through, no stops.
- No Wi – FI & only very limited mobile reception at Mercedes Cove, for full mobile service head round to Whale Song Cafe.
- No Pets allowed at Mercedes Cove.
- Check In time is 2pm / Check Out is 10am
- Boats can be launched from the beach tyres must be deflated to 15psi
Well, what else can I say, Mercedes Cove has beautiful accommodation, set in an ancient landscape that accommodates very few modern gadgets.
Sometimes less is more, this location offers visitors an opportunity to unplug from the everyday in a remote coastal wilderness with few others around, with wonderful indigenous local hosts.
Make your own adventure and soak it all up at Mercedes Cove.
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Have you been to Mercedes Cove recently? Perhaps you’re planning a trip. Would love to hear from you about your experiences or any questions you might have.