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Ten awesome experiences in Broome
Ten awesome experiences in Broome

Ten awesome experiences in Broome: travel guide tips and how to get the best out your holiday

Broome is the town where the road leads to the Kimberley Coast, the outback and remote Gibb River Road. It’s a place to discover as the town is a melting pot for adventurers, a home for locals and a microcosm of what it is like to live in Australia’s great wilderness. Broom, the pearling town is now a tourist destination in its own right with a unique history. Always the thread of adventure runs through the veins of the town’s approach to life. The town has a character, uniquely Broome. The town’s origins grew from a combination of Japanese, Chinese and Malay cultures with the constant thread of Aboriginal heritage. Broome is exotic and fascinating. A place visitors enjoy learning about and exploring. What to see and where to go is as interesting as the town, plenty of choice from the extraordinary outback to stargazing with the locals in town. Here’s a guide to the top ten things to do in Broome.

 

Weather

There are two seasons. Wet or Dry. The average temperature throughout the year hovers around 30-35 celsius with wet, damp of humidity thrown in. As with any tropical desert climate during the dry season night temperatures can plummet to 15 celsius. Layers for desert cool are necessary.

Birdwood Motor Museum is home to more than 300 of Australia’s most important vintage, veteran and classic motorcars and motorcycles. Specialising in vehicles manufactured or closely associated with Australian transport history it is a fascinating snapshot of wheels that made Australia the country it is now. The museum sponsors events from the Bay to Birdwood Run, The Bay to Birdwood Classic and the Rock ‘n Roll Rendezvous.

1
Discover the glorious reds of Gantheaume Point

Red rocks and the aquamarine water of the ocean. You’ve checked out Cable Beach now just keep wandering down to the end of the beach. The stunning views from the cliff section of Gantheaume Point is reached by a short stretch of unsealed road. Watch locals at high tide leaping from the rocks into the sea. Plaques narrative the story of the area as well as explain just how old the dinosaur footprints are. The prints are estimated to be up to 130 million years old. At low tide the actual footprints are visible and high tide plaster cast replicas so you don’t miss out on wondering who walked here first.

The Gante Point Lighthouse is a vantage point to revel in the contrast between the burnt rust red cliffs and impossibly blue sea. The point lies south of Cable Beach, about six kilometers from town.

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A favourite for photographers with the light of setting sun throwing in sharp relief the reddish glow of the cliffs and the intense blues of the sea.

A lighthouse overlooks the Indian Ocean and, at the end of the road to Gantheaume Point, lies Anastasia’s Pool. A lighthouse keeper chilised a rock pool for his arthritic wife. The pool was damaged beyond repair by a storm in January 2014. The story however is timeless.

2
THE PAST, THE HERITAGE, A GRAVEYARD AND A MUSEUM

The Japanese Cemetery in Broome is a place to reflect on the hundreds of Japanese Pearl Divers who lost their lives todivers paralysis and to cyclones at sea. There are over 700 grave sites. The first recorded burial is 1896. Broome Museum is not a large collection yet it is very interesting delving into the harsh world of pearl divers and the frontier nature of the town up until the mid twentieth century. Though small, the museum features informative exhibits on the pearling industry, cyclones, Broome’s One Day War, seashells, and displays of aboriginal artifacts.

  • Duration of visit: 1- 2 hours
  • Open: every day
  • Admission: apply

NOTE: Dutch wrecks

Roebuck Bay is the site of flying boats strafed by Japanese long range bombers in March 1942. A flotilla of 16 boats and numerous planes on the adjoining airstrip were bombed. Although Broome was a small pearling port at the time, it was also a refuelling point for aircraft, on the route between the Netherlands East Indies and major Australian cities. As a result, Broome was on a line of flight for Dutch and other refugees, following the Japanese invasion of Java, and had become a significant Allied military base. During a two-week period in February–March 1942, more than a thousand refugees from the Dutch East Indies—many of them in flying boats, which often served as airliners at the time—passed through Broome. Wikipedia.

Kimberley Hovercraft offer tours for visitors interested in military history. Broome Hovercraft Day Tour | Catalina Flying Boat Wrecks click for more information.  If you want a self-guided tour Roebuck Bay is an hour’s walk or more from Broome with the wrecks visible at very low tides.

3
LOCAL GALLERIES AND ARTIST POP UP STUDIOS

The laid back nature of Broome attracts artists and galleries who are supported by a growing number of tourists interested in artistic interpretation of the outback and the marine environment. The street art of Broom, galleries such as Short St Gallery make for a pleasurable time exploring what to take home to remind you of your holiday.

4
BROOME IS ALL ABOUT THE PEARL

Broome was the largest pearling port in the world and with this came skulduggery, tragedy and stories of the luggers, divers and traders. A visit to Broome is not complete without a visit to a pearl farm. Start your journey to know more about pearls with a Visit Pearl Luggers | Broome Tours. Broom’s unique story is told at the Museum, located in the heart of Broom’s Chinatown. There are guided tours immersing visitors in the world of a hazardous pearl diver and why so many were willing to risk their lives for pearls. From there you can plan which pearl farm to visit and remember every pearl farm has a very tempting gift shop conveniently located next to the exit.

5
BIRD WATCHERS DELIGHT - A BIRD OBSERVATORY

Along the shores of Roebuck Bay, the Broome Bird Observatory – established in 1988 is probably already on your bucket list. The observatory focuses on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the observatory is dedicated to migratory shorebird activities, seeing the birds arriving between August and October after a non-stop 10,000-kilometre journey. Remaining in the region until March/April the following year, there are plenty of birds to look out for both in and around the observatory. The observatory is connected to the Miranda Shorebird Observatory (Auckland NZ).

  • Open: Monday to Sunday 8AM-4PM
6
SNORKELING THE ROWLEY SHOALS

Rowley Shoals Marine Park is a popular tourist spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. The atoll reefs and crystal clear lagoon waters make for excellent water atmospheric conditions. As described by WA Parks as The Rowley Shoals include the State managed Rowley Shoals Marine Park and nearby Mermaid Reef, Commonwealth managed Marine Park. These marine parks are effectively ‘aquariums’ in the middle of the ocean with some of the best diving in Australia. Most visitors use the services of a guided tour however if you have your own boat check the park regulations, as To protect the reef habitats in the marine parks, it is important that visitors use the public moorings. Moorings are located on the outer edge of Imperieuse and Clerke reefs and inside Clerke and Mermaid reef lagoons, and are accessible via navigable channels. There is no channel at Imperieuse Reef and the central lagoon can only be accessed using small tender vessels under the right tidal conditions. Reserve your spot now. All moorings must be booked.

7
HORIZONTAL FALLS

Perhaps the most popular place to visit is the Horizontal Falls. Most visitors take either a full or half day tour from Broome. It is expensive and often for families it is a considerable outlay. There is only one way to view the Falls from Broome is to join an organised tour. Self-guided trips are very difficult to undertake due to the remote nature of the Falls.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

You hate small planes?

That is an issue as to manage the distance and visitor numbers flight(s) are the only way the area can be accessed in a day. It is remote, there is no town nearby.  If you plan to join a multiple day cruise then flying can be avoided.

You really hate small planes and really want to see the Falls?

A private tour with a dedicated 4WD will do this however it would be a considerable cost which you would need to investigate closer to your arrival time. The Broome Visitor Information Centre would be a great place to start with recommendations on who could achieve this for you. It will involve considerable driving as it is over rugged terrain and approximately 230 km one way. Here is the Broome Visitor Centre: Welcome to Broome for further information.

A full day tour usually you travel by 4WD crossing the Dampier Peninsula onto white sand beaches where you board a seaplane. Your flight scoots low across the red cliffs and rocky islets of the Buccaneer Archipelago to Cape Leveque, with a water-landing on Talbot Bay. Then passengers board a jet boat for a heart thumping adrenaline ride through the tidal falls.

A half day tour should include flights either way to maximise your time on the water.

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Any half day tour that has a driving component will not give you enough time at the Falls highlights. If you are short on time or plan to visit the Kimberleys later a day tour will give you an opportunity to access whether you wish to explore the region further.

8
SAMPLE OF THE KIMBERLEYS - WINDJANA GORGE AND TUNNEL CREEK

1 Day Windjana Gorge & Tunnel Creek visits Boab Prison Tree, near Derby narrating stories of the local Bunuba people and their way of life, as well as details about the region’s ecology.

Although legend has it that the tree was once a temporary prison, evidence suggests that it was actually used by the local indigenous people as a shelter and possibly a burial site. You will get a whistle stop tour of an outback oasis of Windjana Gorge observing wildlife with a sampling of bush tucker. The afternoon is exploring the extraordinary formations of the Tunnel Creek cave system with the option of a swim in a classic outback waterhole. It is a day packed with travel in the outback and you definitely get glimpses of what the Kimberley has to offer. For families with children perhaps it is a day where the travel could be exhausting with scratchy children at the end of an expensive day out.

TiP If possible avoid these gruelling day trips from Broome. You have come so far into Western Australia. Invest in a few days on the road in The Kimberleys and savour your chance to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the remote frontier wilderness that Australia has to offer visitors.

9
CABLE BEACH AND A CAMEL RIDE - CHEESY YET LOTS OF FUN

Most posters of Broome have a camel ride along Cable Beach. Cable Beach is a 22 km stretch of white sand beach on the eastern Indian Ocean… Cable Beach was named after the telegraph cable laid between Broome and Java in 1889. Wikipedia. Cable Beach is popular for day trippers because of ease of access, comprehensive facilities and it is beautiful, tropical and, of course, has camels.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the facilities?

The beach has a cafe, carpark, mass coach parking for the large number of visitors, picnic areas with seating, public toilets, Broome public bus stop and restaurant.

Are there lifeguards?

Yes, between May and October.

Is it safe to swim at the beach?

Lifeguards are on duty at the beach from May to October and it is advisable to swim between the flags. In the wet season it is not safe to swim at the beach. From November to June, the northern oceans are inhabited by Chironex box jellyfish and other nasty marine life. And, of course the lifeguards are also on the lookout for crocodiles which have very occasionally visited the beach.

How far is the beach from Broome?

Cable Beach is a 15 minute drive. There are a number of accommodation providers in the area where you have the option of simply walking to the beach. And the town bus stops at Cable Beach.

What does the beach look like?

At low tide you will have a large expanse of sandy beach to relax on.  It is the perfect place for a beach holiday with the consistent warm weather and the spectacular red cliffs framing the beach. Broome has large tidal movements due to its shallow waters so there is ample opportunity to collapse at the beach all day.

Is the beach crowded?

The beach is over 22km in length and it is not crowded even in the peak season. You are advised to swim between the flags. Lifeguards are on duty at the beach from May to October and it is advisable to swim between the flags.

Can you stay at the beach?

Cable Beach has an extensive infrastructure to support the tourist market with the convenience of resorts and caravan parks close by.

What can you do at Cable beach?

  • Chill out under an umbrella and enjoy occasional trips to the cafe to top up your liquid intake. There is even a deckchair hire service for beach goers.
  • An iconic camel ride for a selfie moment as you are whisked up and away to get a camel eye’s view of the world.
  • Camel rides, you astride the camel, swaying in the rhythmic stride of the camel 5 – 2 metres above ground gives you spectacular views of cliffs, ocean and beach.

Can I drive a vehicle on the beach?

4WD Vehicles are permitted on Cable Beach in the area ‘north of the rocks’.  Access is via the vehicle ramp at Cable Beach Road West, and cars must proceed past the rocks to the northern part of the beach. Remember always when beach driving to check tides.

10
BROOME’S DREAMLINES

Broome’s Dreamtime birthplace is in the coastal reserve, Minyirr Park, and on Cable Beach itself. Three colour coded trails wind their way through this coastal area, heading to the sea, through the bush and through the dunes. The area is quiet and a contrast to the bustle of a busy tourist town. The best times to visit are early morning or late afternoon when the birds and wildlife are most active.

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There is no shade and mosquitoes are present. Carry sunscreen, hats and protective insect repellant.

It is recommended the area is visited on a guided tour with Aboriginal Tours | Broome | Minyirr Buru | Bushfood & Medicines. A 4WD is required for some trails. The dreamlines, native plants and animals will be explained in the context of Aboriginal world view.

Forward bookings are recommended for this popular tour.

The journey is worth it.

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Ten awesome experiences in Broome: travel guide tips and how to get the best out your holiday
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