Founded by Japanese pearlers who worked with Aboriginal divers to discover the white gold beneath the waves, Broome offers a unique cultural blend of Asian, indigenous and colonial culture that can be seen in the Japanese Cemetery, the Dreamtime art on display in the Broome Courthouse Markets and the Old Pearler’s Quarters.
As soon as you arrive in Broome, you’ll feel something shift as the red dirt gives way to the white sands and turquoise waters of Cable Beach. Some say the change is brought about by the spirit of the old people, others that it’s due to the beauty of the contrasting colours. Or perhaps it’s the wafts of marijuana smoke coming from the beach as dreadlocked backpackers twirl their fire poi in the dusk… But whatever is responsible, you’ll soon be operating on ‘Broome Time’ – which is just a better way to be living.
BROOME’S TOP 10
10. Horizontal Falls The twin cascades can mesmerise visitors for hours on end.
5. Eco Beach Wilderness Retreat Get lost in a land of exotic flora and fauna – and enjoy the great food while you’re there.
9. Ships of the Desert Broome’s original camelback tour operator makes any journey an adventure.
4. Broome Crocodile Farm Storing a large family of crocodiles, this probably isn’t what Old McDonald had in mind.
8. Broome Deepwater Wharf and Jetty Earn your scuba stripes and/or practise your best snorkelling skills.
3. Sun Pictures Cinema The world’s oldest outdoor theatre is a dead-set Broome icon.
7. Broome Bird Observatory The best site in Oz for seeing seaside birds.
2. Willie Creek Pearl Farm Discover the fascinating background to pearling.
6. Courthouse Markets The best in local produce and handiworks is put on show. Keep an eye out for the seafood and fresh fruit.
1. Cable Beach One of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Enough said!
The Staircase to the Moon in March marks an eerily beautiful natural phenomenon. The reflection of the moon’s rays on the ocean makes it look like a staircase has been raised. Be prepared to say ‘Ooooh!’
The best works of modern and classical opera are performed in August’s Opera Under the Stars.
The Shinju Matsuri Festival in September celebrates the historical importance of the local pearling industry on the development of the city. Which makes this festival full of local flare and fun!
WHEN TO GO
- Between January and March, expect monsoons, cyclones, lots of rain and the risk of flooding. It’s a great time to visit if you’re a mermaid or love extreme boating…
- July and August are peak season, with overseas tourists filling the streets and blinding locals with their fluorescent sunburn.
- Be aware that between November and May the Broome coast is invaded by box jellyfish. If you get stung, you will die – painfully; so pay attention to the warning signs.
- Most of the beaches and attractions are reachable via foot, especially as Broome has recently been made more pedestrian-friendly.
- To explore further afield and see more of the Western Australian wilderness, a rental car is a great option if you haven’t driven to Broome.
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