If you arrived out of Africa and plonked yourself at The Billi in Broome you may at first think you were back in the same continent.
With its luxury eco tents and villas set amongst frangipani and Poinciana and that red, red earth meeting that bluest of skies, the parallels are evident.
Of course, there are no lions or tigers or giraffes at this newest and sexiest resort in WA’s far northern holiday haven but there is wildlife galore.
Venturing into my bathroom for the first time, I am met by a curious green tree frog swimming lazily in the loo, cooling off, no doubt, from the hot dry season – just as I intend to do in The Billi’s sparkling saltwater swimming pool once that belting sun is well past the yard arm.
Outside, a bright orange wasp drags a large garden spider into its lair as all manner of birds dart from tree to tree on the property, set on two acres on the outskirts of the tourist haven of Cable Beach.
At night the crickets and the frogs compete in harmony, lulling you to a sound and restful sleep. And in the morning you’ll hear the distinctive call of the bright blue bowerbird, singing for its mate with an intensity to rouse any Sleeping Beauty from her dreams to start the day in the coolness of dawn.
At the threshold of my tricked up tent accommodation lies a cowskin rug – hardly wild life but certainly trendy. The comfiest bed this side of Perth also has a nod to nature with a faux fur rug intended to ward off any night chills.
A small but well-equipped kitchen means you can stock up at the supermarket and avoid the often over-priced restaurants in Chinatown. And a barbie on the covered and comfortable balcony sits primed to sizzle a prime rib or T-bone to perfection.
Just days before my arrival, The Billi hosted its first wedding party to great success. A ceremony held under the fairy and candlelit Poinciana was poignant and special for bride, groom and guests, who were able to mingle and party freely, having booked the entire resort for their special day.
The gardens, planted 12 months ago, and decorated with multi-coloured butterflies that flit around, are already lush and testament to Broome’s tropical locale where even a planted paddle-pop stick is likely to sprout leaves.
The Billi’s friendly hostess, Deb, is a wealth of knowledge about local attractions including the nearby pearl farms and the Malcolm Douglas Wildlife Park, where, yes, you’re likely to encounter even more wildlife than Africa. Look out for Oomagurri, the 6metre resident crocodile, dingoes, emus, cassowaries and wallabies.
Guests at The Billi can hire a bike for $10 a day or are invited to take up the mates’ rates of Broome Broome, the local car hire spot. A vehicle is a must here, especially if you choose to venture to the unspoilt beaches of Cable and Riddell, check out the ancient dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point or self-drive to Willie Creek for a tour of the pearl farm. There’s a two-for-one deal on a sunset camel ride along Cable Beach if you hire a Broome Broome car.
Deb may also suggest a sunset cruise on a pearl lugger or kayaking with the turtles at Gantheaume and Entrance Points or a spot of kayak fishing where you’re likely to see dolphins, turtles, dugong and manta rays and perhaps hook a Spanish Mackerel, Queenfish or elusive Barramundi.
You are left to your own devices at The Billi which is perfect for those of us who prefer our holidays hassle-free and harmoniously hedonistic with a wealth of wildlife at your tent’s front flap. I’ll be back.
Hot Deal for Starfish Readers: The Billi is offering a 10 per cent discount on all bookings if you call 08 91921711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote The Starfish.