People visit Broome for many reasons. For some it is the gateway to the Kimberleys….the starting point on a drive along the famous Gibb River Road which can then take you through to Kakadu National Park and Darwin. For others it is a place to escape the winter. From May to October, grey nomads clog the roads pulling their caravans or motor homes north while many others who have fallen in love with the relaxed lifestyle have bought homes and become semi permanent residents.
Then there are those like ourselves who would love to stay longer but use Broome as a week long winter escape.
Whether you are here for a week or months, you can be kept busy with these things to do in Broome.
1. Take an early morning walk along Cable Beach
Sparkling white sand and crystal clear blue water against a backdrop of red earth has made Cable Beach famous. Early in morning, the tide is out and the beautiful expanse of Cable Beach lies before you. It’s an easy walk along the hard sand, enjoying the early morning light being reflected on the water and the exposed rockpools.
2. Spend the day relaxing on the beach
People come to Broome to relax and spending the day at the beach is high on many people’s agendas. Don’t forget that the tide comes and goes and at high tide you will need to be lying close to the dune!
3. Take a camel ride along the beach
Broome’s famous camel teams make the walk to Cable Beach twice a day to take visitors for a camel ride on Cable Beach. A morning ride at around 10am can start the day or take the popular sunset ride which must be booked in advance.
4. Watch the sunset at Cable Beach
Sunsets drinks on Cable Beach is a must! The perfect finish to a day.
Sit on the grass above the beach, join the crowds at Cable Beach Club’s Sunset Bar or take your car on to the beach and set up your own club lounge! You’ll want to go back every night, so try all the options!
5. Drive to Gantheaume Point
By day, the contrast of the red rocks and the turquoise water is classic Kimberley landscape. An aboriginal site, the story of the land can be read before you make your way down the cliff. At very low tide, you may be able to see the 130 million year old dinosaur footprints but if you miss this, replicas of these can be found at the top of the cliff.
At sunset , it has be come an alternative spot for sunset drinks and a beach barbecue.
Chinatown is the name given to Broome’s township. Settled in the 1880’s by the Chinese, Japanese and Malay pearl fishermen, it is now a melting pot of cultures. Broome pearls are famous and you will be tempted by the displays in the many jewellery shops in the town. Or maybe you prefer art? Galleries here specialise in aboriginal art bought from the outlying communities.
7. Catch up on local history at the Broome Historical Museum
Broome has a fascinating history. It’s character has developed from the early days of the pearling industry and the cultural diversity of those who worked in the industry. Here you can learn about these early days and the effect on the community and the pearling industry of the Japanese attacks on Broome in WW2.
8. Pearl Luggers
Have a coffee, take a guided tour or just look over the two restored pearling luggers moored at the reconstructed jetty and imagine how it would have been in the early days for the deep sea pearl divers.
9. Go to the Movies
Sun Pictures, in the centre of Chinatown, is the oldest operating outdoor theatre in the world. A visit here to watch one of the latest releases is a must. Don’t be surprised when the planes taking off and arriving at the nearby airstrip feel as though they are landing in the theatre!
The doors are also open during the day for a visit.
10. Shop at the Courthouse Markets
From May – October the Courthouse Markets are held every Saturday. The grounds of the historical Courthouse are taken over with stalls selling locally made jewellery, clothes, art and fresh produce and home made goodies.
11. Have a Matso’s Ginger Beer
Matso’s Broome Brewery is famous for their ginger beer. Try one here where it is made! If ginger beer is not for you, choose from one of Matso’s award winning beers. Coffee and meals are also available.
12. Watch the tide rise and fall in Roebuck Bay from Town Beach Cafe
Tides in Broome can vary by up to nine metres. Watch the tide come in as you enjoy a fabulous breakfast at The Town Cafe. One minute the roots of the mangroves and the rocks on the jetty can be seen. Minutes later, the water has risen and only the tops of the mangroves can be seen.
13. See the WW2 Flying Boats
If your visit coincides with a very low tide, take the 1 kilometre walk out to see the remains of Broome’s Hidden Flying Boats that were bombed on March 3rd 1942.
14. Visit Roebuck Bay and the Broome Bird Sanctuary
You’ll need a car for this one! About 25 kms from Broome, on the shores of Roebuck Bay, the bird observatory is home to over 800,000 shore birds. Over 310 species of migratory wader birds return to the mangrove forests, pindan woods and natural grasslands of the bay.
15. 12 Mile Creek
On your way back from the bird observatory, stop at 12 Mile Creek Cafe for lunch. Sit under the avocado trees and enjoy organic vegetarian food, freshly squeezed juices and a loo with a view!
16. Visit Willy Creek
About 45 minutes from town, Willy Creek is an easy place to visit. Here you can cruise the creek by boat, take a helicopter ride or learn about the pearling industry.
17. Go Mud Crabbing
Beg, borrow, befriend a local with a tinny (dinghy) or take a tour to try your hand at mud crabbing in the many creeks around Broome. Keep an eye on the tides or you could be spending the day sitting on the dry creek bed waiting for the tide to come back in! Don’t forget that you are only allowed to catch ten crabs per boat but that will be more than enough for a delicious meal!
18. See the Stairway to the Moon
When the tide is at it’s lowest and there is a full moon, the reflection of the moon on the exposed mud flats of Roebuck Bay creates the optical illusion of a staircase reaching the moon. From March to October this natural phenomenon can be seen.
19. Take a trip to Horizontal Falls
Horizontal Falls is a natural phenomenon where two different water levels meet and create a natural waterfall. Tours are available from quite a few companies in Broome that will take you on a seaplane flight over the Buccaneer Archipelago before landing in Talbot Bay where you will enjoy a jet boat ride through the falls.
20. See Cape Levique
At the tip of the Dampier Archipelago, about 220 miles from Broome, is Cape Levique. Clear blue water surround the peninsular that is home to a a wilderness camp jointly owned by two of the area’s Aboriginal communities. You can learn about bush tucker, catch mud crabs, go fishing or just lie in the sun and do nothing….best you stay the night!
It is a long day trip from Broome if you are driving but it can be done, otherwise a visit here can be included in some of the seaplane tours from Broome that also go to Horizontal Falls.
A major date on the social calendar, Broome race week is very popular and racegoers arrive from all over Australia. If you’re planning to be here at this time of the year, don’t forget to book your accommodation well in advance. The Broome Cup is being held on August 16th this year!
The Shinju Matsuri Festival
The festival celebrates the pearling industry and the community that has been bought together because of it. Enjoy the community street parade, a long lunch and many other activities. A fun time to be in Broome.
This year the festival is from the 5th-14th September 2014.
How would you like to holiday in Broome ?