Reaching your destination can sometimes take the excitement out of a holiday. Traffic, crowds at airports and other irritations just get in the way. Jason Dundas found the way to keep the vibe going and spent three hours sailing in a catamaran down Western Australia's coast. Just an hour south of Broome
and across Roebuck Bay
he arrived at Eco Beach Resort.
On the cruise in the luxurious catamaran you will spot flatback turtles, dolphins, manta rays and, if you're there at the right time, whales. There are always lots of seabirds circling.
The retreat was designed to have absolute minimum impact on it surroundings and if you're keen, they will take you on a tour to show how they keep it eco-friendly. It's the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Wallabies, sand goannas, frill-necked and blue-tongue lizards and bilbies live there very happily and healthily.
A stay at Eco Beach is all about indulging in a complete wilderness experience and that, of course, means there are no televisions or telephones.
There are 25 one- and two-bedroom eco villas linked by over a kilometre of elevated boardwalks. They are perched on the beachfront or in the bush and are self-sustained and solar powered. They have everything you could possibly want for comfort and relaxation while being kind to the delicate environment.
Thirty safari-style luxury eco tents have private decks with full or partial views of the ocean or native gardens. They have king-sized beds, ensuite facilities and screened ventilation. There are 20 litre ice boxes for storing snacks and drinks.
The tents are powered for lighting, but there is sufficient for low wattage appliances to be charged. A raised walkway links the tents to the main retreat area.
The very special Beach House has two two-bedroom villas linked by a covered entertainment deck. It sleeps up to 12 people. There's an infinity pool, beautiful beach, the bush, a creek and the stunning Kimberly coastline with red cliffs and long, long beaches.
Meals are taken in front of the beach at Jack's Bar and Grill. Breakfast is buffet style, lunch is à la carte or a picnic on the beach and dinner is a delicious two courses.
On Tuesdays and Fridays there is a barbecue. If you are in a romantic mood you can arrange private dining under the stars. Enjoy a gourmet hamper and wine by a campfire and candlelight and citronella lanterns. Snacks, tapas, sandwiches and light meals are available all day.
Kenneth Chapman is the chef and passionate gardener and that is evident in everything he serves. Eco Beach Retreat is part of the WWOOF scheme (Willing Workers on Organic Farms).
WWOOF programs generally mean you work for four to six hours a day in exchange for your keep. It's a fantastic way to leave the tourist trail and see the real Australia. There are 1900 organic farms offering to teach you aspects of organic growing, bio-dynamics and permaculture. If that sounds like you, log on to www.wwoof.com.au.
After a good look at the gardens, Jason and activities supervisor, Peter Day, headed out on a cliff top walk. They call it the mini Bungles as it's so similar to the Bungle Bungles in Purnululu National Park.
It's said to date back more than 60 million years to the dinosaur era. Located just 10 minutes along the beach from the retreat, it's highly unlikely you will see another soul.
At the other end of the beach, beauty therapist Annie showed Jason the island's unique beauty treatment. He was slathered in sulphur-smelling mud from Jack's Creek with the promise the discomfort he was experiencing was sucking toxins from his skin. While he felt like a knight in armour, Jason did admit his skin felt really good afterwards.
Related gallery: Western Australia's best beaches