Hey aspiring camel trekkers,
I imagine you’re on this website because you’re considering booking a camel trek in the Pilbara. How exciting, if you’re sitting on the fence about it, that’s about to change…
My name is Emily, and I had the great privilege of working with Paul & Roma throughout 2021, to prepare for Pilbara Camel Trekking Tour’s first CHARITY TRIP! I’m the Senior Programs Officer for Canteen – the Australian organisation for young people impacted by cancer. If you don’t know much about us, in short, we provide a range of services to young people impacted by cancer. This includes overnight programs and unique events like a camel trek!
In September of 2021, myself, and a group of young adults (18 – 25 years) boarded a flight from Perth to Paraburdoo. Touching down, we peered out the window of the plane to see Paul and his wife standing behind the gate – they were beaming with excitement and were so welcoming to our group. After a brief tour of the Paraburdoo town, Paul helped us to settle into the local inn and we arranged a time to meet the following morning. After a solid (and very necessary) nights rest, we ventured out of town looking out for a bright orange cone on the side of the road which signified the entry point to the meet up location. Driving in, excitement levels peaked as we saw 5 camels resting under trees. We were welcomed by Paul and Roma, and their team members Scott and Sindy.
After being “kitted-up” with sunscreen, insect repellent, safety glasses and gloves, we prepared to meet the stars of the show… 4 adult camels and one baby camel! Within 10 minutes of seeing Paul interacting with his camels, it was clear to see the close relationship they have and most notably, the patience and understanding Paul has. Our group felt so safe and confident under the guidance of Paul as they mounted the camels for the first time and prepared to head off on towards our campsite. Those riding on the friendly camels enjoyed over an hour of picturesque views of the Pilbara and we made our way deeper into Yinhawangka land. The remainder of the group trailed behind at a leisurely pace, stopping to admire the beauty of the local fauna and flora, occasionally gazing out at the gorgeous landscape and the bold colours of the Pilbara.
Soon enough we arrived at our homebase – a quaint little set up with Paul’s caravan, gazebos, portable toilets, and brand-new swags. Our afternoon involved getting settled in, grazing over lunch and plenty of snacks while getting acquainted with Paul, Roma, Scott, and Cindy. Over the duration of the trip, we came to know our guides well – Paul and Roma were open in sharing about their lives and the cultural intricacies of their marriage. Scott, Roma’s nephew was open to answering any questions we had about family, culture, traditional cooking methods, the plants we encountered and living in community with his people. In the evenings we followed Scott’s lead as he explained how to set up the campfire hours in advance to cook our meal in the hot coals.
While patiently waiting for dinner, we sat around and listened to all that Paul and Roma shared – ranging from their experiences as a culturally and racially diverse couple, their family traditions, describing how their town has evolved over the decades, how they came to have a camel trekking business. The authenticity of these moments was one of the main takeaways for our group. Simply sitting under the brightly shining stars, among traditional landowners, on country, hearing their experiences firsthand and being in a safe and supportive environment to be able to respectfully ask questions and expand your knowledge and awareness. That was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Every day was completely different from the last, but each were equally filled with adventures. Our group was able to participate in all aspects of camp life, most notably – learning how to build an excellent fire, cooking with the campfire, saddling-up the camels and getting them settled at the end of a long day. We were fortunate enough to be given a tour of the Gabo Heritage Site – Scott and Roma gave us insight into what life was like before the town of Paraburdoo and surrounds were colonized. They explained how the people lived, what day to day life was like and Roma pointed out the women’s business area and explained what it was used for. We listened as they explained how life began to change as the town was colonized. We were honoured to hear their stories.
Paul worked tirelessly in the lead up to our camp. He liaised with the local community to ensure we were well cared for from touch down to take off. He was adaptable to suggested changes to the itinerary to accommodate the needs of our group. On behalf of the whole Canteen group who attended this trek, I can highly recommend this experience. Paul, his family and the local Paraburdoo community will welcome you with open arms and provide you with an authentic and truly memorable experience which you will never forget.