Broome

Coastal escape in the Kimberley

 

An unexpected adventure awaits you the next time you visit Down Under. Built on the pearling trade, these days Broome is a popular holiday hub and gateway to the wild Kimberley region.


 Broome’s rich and colourful history has created a multicultural melting pot that is reflected in the town’s welcoming and laid-back feel. Warm temperatures and palms deliver a tropical vibe that fits perfectly with the many holiday resorts and the stretch of white sand known as Cable Beach.

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Things to do and top attractions in Broome

RUN INTO THE SUNSET AT CABLE BEACH


With its 22 kilometres (14 miles) of more soft white sand than you can imagine, Cable Beach is, for many, the main reason they’re drawn to Broome. The water is warm and flat, with gentle, ankle-height waves the only disturbance to the expanse of horizon-hugging blue. Its name harks back to 1889, when a long undersea telegraph cable connected northwest Australia to Indonesia, opening up communication to the world. These days it’s synonymous with sunset camel rides.
 Watching the sun descend over the water is a must-have experience.

TAKE THE STAIRCASE TO THE MOON

From March to October the light from each full moon makes the mudflats at Roebuck Bay look like a set of gleaming stairs rising into the night sky. This natural phenomenon is known as the Staircase to the Moon. There are several vantage points around town, but for a special experience go to the Mangrove Hotel, where the magical warble of a didgeridoo resonates through the air as the moon rises. Grab a cold drink, order dinner and relax in the hotel's summery setting of lush lawn, white tables and chairs and strings of fairy lights. The moon experience is free.

A 10-minute drive from Broome, set against a red rock cliff overlooking the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, has interpretive signs that describe its history, including dinosaur footprints preserved in reef rock that can be seen at low tide. It will truly be a unique experience to see these reminders of Broome’s prehistoric past right in front of you.

 

The extremes of Mother Nature are revealed in absolute clarity at the Horizontal Falls, a phenomenon in which tonnes of water squeeze through a gap in twin mountain ranges. The Kimberley's tropical tides are some of the biggest in the world – rising and falling by up to 13 metres (43 feet) – and result in these remote, flat, whitewater rapids that can be experienced from above, or, if you’re game, from the surface. The jet boat ride through the churning falls is one heck of a thrill.

Matso's Store started life as the Union Bank of Australia Ltd in 1910 and was converted into a cafe, micro-brewery and art gallery in 1997. Must-try drinks would definitely include their famous Ginger Beer and Mango Beer. If you would like to tease your palate, give their ice-hot chilli beer a shot!

 

Without the discovery of pearl shells here in the 1800s, Broome might not even exist. That's how vital the pearling industry has been to this town. Visit Willie Creek Pearls, a working pearl farm where you can jump aboard a boat for a two hour ecotour (AUD$90) of its aquatic beds and learn about the industry's astonishing and often brutal history. 

Local Aboriginal man Bart Pigram, of Narlijia Cultural Tours, leads fascinating, two hour walking tours through the heart of Broome. Using historic maps, he'll tell you the history of the town's main street and Chinatown district, weaving in tales about the pearling industry, which favoured Aboriginal women as divers. As he explains the significance of the landscape to his people, the Yawuru people, you’ll cover about two kilometres (1.2 miles) on mostly flat ground.

Given Broome’s warm and often humid climate, the locals are regularly seen eating alfresco beneath wide verandahs, on open decks or beneath tropical palms. Matso's Broome Brewery is a favourite, as much for its mango craft beer as its smoked barramundi. Meanwhile 18 Degrees specialises in creative share plates and excellent cocktails. Zensai at Cable Beach Club is the place for a special night out, or for a casual café lunch with a mango smoothie, go to the Wild Mango Cafe.