Any alcohol alowed Kalumburu

Just a question for all going north, if your fishing out of kalumburu Wa, can you bring your drinks in ?
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Reply By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 17:46

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 17:46
Very strict on the camping and alcohol up there. I'd check the trek notes on this site and then the WA Dept. Of Indigenous Affairs for further information. Permits are required to visit Kalumbaru.


Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Austravel - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:18

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:18
Hope it's changed since we were there in 2006. Permits were definitely optional as no one checked. We paid ours but many told us they didn't bother. As to was the booze control. We made sure we had none, what a joke that was. Everyone in camp was drinking and many locals were drunk or drugged. One of the ministers told us alcohol and drugs were rampant in the town.

I'd still do the right thing as at any time a crack down could occur and better to lead by example. However it wasn't enforced when we were there. In fact the guy running the camp at McGowan's told us he always took a pallet up each time he went.

The reality is the whole area is a rubbish tip. Some will no doubt disagree but the reality is both McGowan's and honeymoon bay are an experience. Ok I'm glad I checked them out but I'd never go back, ever! The town ship itself is very depressing. In 2006 it was a third world town. In fact it was much worse as there was no hope and addiction and abuse was rampant. Spoke at length with one of the local nurses. I couldn't believe the stories she told, actually pretty sad to believe many of the problems occurred in this country.

If you want art try and buy it there. We tried but the girl didn't turn up when she said she would. Turned out the art prices for her art in the council were over a ten times cheaper than in Broome. Tells you even good Aussies in Broome were ripping off the locals. eg a painting in Broome very similar to one in the Kalumbaru council was over $1000 compared to just over $100. Guess whose an A.H.

Another hint. Take food with you. When we were there the shops opening times were a problem. Turns out the owners were trying to enforce employee start times. So the shops only opened when all staff turned up for work. The ideas was the locals would get bleep off at their own. Plus food was very, very, very dear and fresh food was very, very, very poor quality. I have no idea how locals afforded the food and most of it was rubbish quality.

So to answer your question, don't' take booze even if you can get away with it. Pay your permit and give thanks that you got the long straw when you were born, I certainly did.
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Reply By: wendys - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:01

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:01
In 2007, people camping at Honeymoon and McGowans had alcohol supplies with them.
AnswerID: 351717

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:28

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:28
So long as you don't SELL it, there shouldn't be a problem in having supplies for your own use in your own camper.

Permit to enter Kalumburu cost us $40. Purchase at Aboriginal Corporation when you get there - but be aware if you arrive at lunch time, they have a long siesta.

Blanket rule in the Kalumburu area is that you take what fish you can eat whilst there. Again not checked - but they are guarding against over fishing - so don't turn up expecting to fill a big freezer to take home. I would love some of the beautiful fresh fish we caught there right now - just the very best.


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Follow Up By: Austravel - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:58

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 18:58
Hi Motherhen,

You're right but only because it's not policed. You can't take any booze there.

As much as people on this forum and others whinge about it. Those are the laws. If you break it you're a petty criminal and pretty damn arrogant. No arguments, it's a fact if you don't like it don't break the law. Doesn't matter if you don't agree with it, no different than don't rob a bank, don't speed, don't sell drugs, don't............. (none of this directed at you Motherhen). Even if you don't like it they own the land and those are the rules of entry.

Heard all the arguments and used some myself when I was younger. I guess some grow up some don't. How about this, we are all a product of our parents and up bringing, most don't and can't change. Now put you self in the shoes of those people. That's your up bringing, there's minimal education, bad role models, it's where your family lives. You're doomed from the start. Lucky for those that do the wrong thing they are simply following poor self control, bad judgement, low tolerance and low IQ. Sadly it's the case that solving this problem will be almost impossible and those that flaunt the laws trying to solve it don't help.

Sure the locals don't abide by the law. Does that mean if you see someone speeding you'll do so as well. How about if you see someone in your suburb kicking a dog, well you might as well also. How about a little restraint and try and show you're an adult.

Yea I know on my high horse. We've all seen those that flaunt the law because they believe they can. Just remember they are probably the same ones we complain about for; running the generator at all hours, leaving rubbish everywhere, dropping the toilet cassette on the ground etc, etc. We all meet them and bitch about them, please don't give them support by ageeing with them breaking the booze laws etc.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 19:12

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 19:12
I agree with what you are saying Austravel. For this reason we always got the necessary permits where ever we travelled, which sometimes took a bit of organisation to fit our time frames. We were probably the only ones at the campsite at Kalumburu without alcohol, but then again we don't normally carry any. We were told by the campsite operators that it was OK to have it for our own use, but big time fines for 'supplying' the locals. We also respected their fishing rules, and threw back the biggest and best fish I'd ever caught.


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Follow Up By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 21:51

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 21:51
Bet the photos of that beaut fish live on M/H. We opted not to head on to Kalumbaru from Mitchell in 2006 due to all the poor reports we'd received on the place. Plenty of years left to get there.

Cheers Mick.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 22:02

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 22:02
The progeny of those big fish will be there for you to catch Mick. We threw back many - what a day of fishing fun.

It is only 100 kms further from the Mitchell Plateau turn off. We made the final decision when we were close. Most decisions are made when we get to the turn in the road. So glad we did; we spent a glorious three days at McGowans. It is very different to the rest of the Kimberley. Father Anscar at the Mission (soon to retire i believe) gives the liveliest talk at the mission tour. His collection of artifacts from historic cultures around the world is amazing. This is also a not to be missed event.

Kalumburu - another unique Australian experience.


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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 20:15

Sunday, Mar 01, 2009 at 20:15
Regarding booze, I think that the letter of the law is clear and that it is not permitted.
In practice, the local operators of the campsites argue that those sites are leased from the Corporation and that the same rules therefore do not apply. One of those operators is the Chairman of the Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation. I think personally that this is not correct, but the practical application supports their view.
The local police know exactly what happens in practice.
The Mission does have a legal exemption to bring alcohol through the Aboriginal Land for their own purposes and onto the Mission property, but that exemption does not include visitors being able to bring it in.

Local Corporation Rangers (in uniform) do inspect, from time to time, that visitors have paid their Recreation Permit fee.

There are some very pessimistic reports here.
I don't subscribe to them, and there are plenty of places in this wonderful country that are in bigger strife than Kalumburu, that's for sure, and I would probably include some capital city suburbs in that list too.
I have never ever seen anyone in Kalumuru under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
That is not to say that everything is rosey. Obviously that is not true either, but things are definitely better than they were some years ago.

One or two trips to Kalumburu (or anywhere else for that matter) does not get you all the answers (not that anyone is claiming to have all of the answers).
We have spent 8 months at Honeymoon, McGowans and the Mission over the last 4 years.

All food (including fresh fruit and vegetables) comes in via a 5 day barge trip from Darwin, sometimes monthly, sometimes every 2 weeks. If you expect it to be in top condition AND cheap on the day YOU want it, then plan on bringing yours in with you, for your whole stay, over the 800km on the road and see how you go.

I now know LESS than I thought I knew after the first trip.
We will be back there again in a year or two, no doubt, we love the place and have made many friends there.

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AnswerID: 351756

Reply By: SteveD - Monday, Mar 02, 2009 at 23:09

Monday, Mar 02, 2009 at 23:09
Mate......., I have taken 3 deep breaths and settled, What Austravel has to say would have to be the most biggest lot of waffle I have read for a long time and reaks of Melbourne, Sydney or at least someone below the 27th parralell that does a trip once every few years. Some of us live in the topend and work in these places and have done for many many years and seen a lot. Some of us work hard and were here before the restrictions and have never supplied drugs, alcohol or tobacco to aborigines, only food and water on occassions in places more remote than Kalumburu.
Austravels view ( and he is entitled it) is a good example of why locals refer to tourists as terrorists, the term terrorist I am using in jest as a joke.
To Stu and Amy my advice from someone who knows that country very well is. Familarize yourself with the rules for that community then make an educated decision for yourself. When going to Kalumburu be 100% self suffcient, food , water, mechanical, don't expect assistance. If its obvious you are not from around that country you will be seen as dollars on wheels. First giveaway is a number plate. If you were to cart a box of rum in you would be a boofhead looking for trouble, a few stashed discreit light beers probably wouldn't be that bad. Don't ever supply the locals. I personally wouldn't go to Kalumburu for a holiday, local stations would probably be a better base, some cater for visitor. If you do go to Kalumburu, find Les French for wherethe fish are, what you and can't do. But Les is always chasing a dollar.
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