The Kimberley’s Berkeley River Lodge shows a remote location is no barrier to providing top-notch accommodation, food and service.
Story By Felicity Brown
Explorer Charles Price Conigrave discovered and named the Berkeley River in 1912 and exactly 100 years later the explorer’s vision for tourism at the remote East Kimberley location was brought to life. In May 2012 Kim and Martin Peirson-Jones welcomed the first guests to their Berkeley River Lodge, 150 kilometres north of Wyndham, WA. By the end of the year they’d won the state’s New Tourism Development Award.
Kim and Martin discovered the lure of the Berkeley River five years prior. “Our passion and experience is developing accommodation,” Kim says. “So when we heard the Aboriginal Corporation who owns the land was looking for someone to develop a tourist facility, we met with the traditional owners and entered an agreement.”
For the next two years Kim and Martin lived on-site, enduring extreme conditions in a tent on the sand dunes, a far cry from the luxury on offer at the same spot today. The bulk of building materials for the multimillion-dollar tourism development arrived by barge, a 14-hour sea journey from Wyndham. The first barge transported materials to build the shed that was to become Kim and Martin’s home.
Built with the utmost consideration for the natural environment, the couple designed the property to offer guests a different Kimberley experience, one that would give them a chance to bask in the splendid isolation at a luxury lodge with minimal environmental impact. Accessed only by air or sea, Berkeley River Lodge uses Kimberley Air Tours to transport guests by seaplane on a flight that quickly sets the scene, gliding over the uninhabited frontier coastline of the remote north-west before landing at the mouth of the Berkeley River.
This story excerpt is from Issue #88
Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2013