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Broome

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Broome is the most populous town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, serving as the gateway to explore the whole northern coast of the state. The town was booming due to the pearling industry that has been discovered in the late 19th century, enticing Europeans and Asian labourers that now make up its multicultural population.

Understand

Broome is located at the northern coast of Western Australia, midway between Darwin at Northern Territory and Perth, the capital of Western Australia; it's still a long 2,000 km from Broome to both cities!

The town has a permanent population of 14,000 inhabitants; that number grows more than twofold during the dry season as Australians from south of the city flock over to enjoy the weather and the outdoors. Hotels and camping grounds can easily be fully booked.

The town has an interesting history based around the exploits of the men and women who developed the pearling industry, starting with the harvesting of oysters for mother of pearl in the 1880s to the current major cultured pearl farming enterprises. The riches from the pearl beds did not come cheap and the town's Japanese cemetery is the resting place of more than 900 Japanese divers who lost their lives working in the industry.

Climate

Broome's climate is similar to that of the Australian northern coast. 80% of its annual rainfall falls during the rainy season (December to April), and tropical depression or cyclones are not uncommon to graze or make landfall along the Kimberley region coast every year. It's also warm and humid with high temperatures around 32 degrees Celsius.

The tourist season is during the dry season (May-October) where hardly any rain falls and the temperature is a tad cooler with lower humidity; resulting in a much more comfortable condition to get outdoors.

Get in

By car

  • From Perth: By road approx 2,200 km. Either by North West Coastal Highway (coastal route), or by the Great Northern Highway (inland route)
  • From Darwin: By road c. 1,900 km.

By plane

  • Broome International Airport (BME IATA).
    • Qantas flies from Perth and Darwin all year. In the dry season there are seasonal direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
    • AirNorth flies from Darwin and Kununurra.
    • Virgin Australia has direct flights to Broome from Perth and Darwin, but do offer connections from other destinations during the peak season.

Get around

Broome is spread out, with the beaches, lookouts, shops and restaurants up to around 5 km distant from each other. Cable Beach is quite removed from Chinatown and the Town Beach area, so you'll have to give some consideration as to how you are going to get between them. When you are thinking that through, make sure you think about the weather at that time of year - as even short walks in very hot weather can be difficult.

By foot

It will take you the best part of an hour to walk from Cable Beach to Chinatown, and it's hot.

By bus

  • The Town Bus runs regular services connecting Cable Beach to downtown and Chinatown. Every half an hour in the dry and every hour in the wet. It is a popular service, used by visitors and locals. The drivers sometimes shout out the stops as they pass, but they are always happy to give directions and to assist when they can. Usually runs to time (traffic delays aren't common in Broome).

By car

All the major national car hire companies are represented at the airport but their booths aren't always manned. Book ahead.

  • Broome Broome Car Rentals.

By bike

It is easy and safe to get around by bicycle in Broome. There are cycleways alongside of just about every main road in Broome. Certainly cycling between Cable Beach, Chinatown and Town Beach is straightforward. However, take care in the heat if you aren't used to it. Cycleways are very exposed, so take it easy.

  • Broome Cycles (In town, next to McDonalds and opposite the service station. Or truck at Cable Beach, about 200m towards town along Cable Beach Road.). Cable Beach truck only open until noon, 7 days during the season..

See

  • Entrance Point. Massive rock formations carved by strong winds are scattered all over this beach near the port of Broome.
  • Boab Trees - These interesting trees are common in Madagascar, but can be found around Broome.
  • The beaches - Cable, Redell and Town Beaches are amazing.
  • Pearl Luggers - Two reconditioned luggers and an enthralling presentation on pearl diving by "Salty Dog" Baillieu.
  • The Wharf.
  • Gantheaume Point. Red cliffs and turquoise blue water.
  • Malcolm Douglas Broome Crocodile Farm.
  • Sun Pictures. An unusual open air cinema with deck chairs. It shows current releases.
  • Broome Museum.

Do

  • Broome Camel Safaris. Ride camels at sunset at Cable Beach
  • Red Sun Camels..
  • Broome Bird Observatory. The Broome area boasts a list of around 300 bird species, the most famous being the migratory waders that visit Roebuck Bay over the summer and then depart for Siberia to breed during the southern hemisphere winter.
  • Scenic Flights. Go on a spectacular scenic flight over the Buccaneer Archipelago.
  • Broome Adventure Company. Kayaking
  • Kimberley Kayak Fishing.
  • At very low tides, head out onto the rocks at Gantheume Point to find ancient dinosaur footprints.

Buy

  • Pearls. South sea pearls are a large part of the history of Broome, and are grown locally in the region. Dampier Terrace has a range of shops selling local pearls, with several of the local farmers represented in their own stores. If you are in the market for pearls, first pay a visit to the Pearl Information Centre, just behind the tourist information centre in town. They have displays with information on the history, types, and how to choose the pearl for you.
  • Willie Creek Pearl Farm (about 35 km from Broome). A working pearl farm with demonstrations on pearl seeding.

Eat

  • Aarli Bar, 2/6 Hamersley St, ☏ +61 8 9192-5529. 8AM to midnight. For great tapas and pizzas, just across from the Courthouse Market area
  • Asian Noodle, Out the front of Broome Boulevarde Shopping Centre. For when you just want a takeaway stir fry, fried rice or laksa. Or spaghetti carbonara for some unknown reason.
  • Azuki, 15 Napier Terrace. 11AM-2:30PM, 5:30-9PM, closed Saturday and Sunday. Fir Japanese fusion near Chinatown
  • Café D'Amore. Hidden away in a residential area, good Italian food and wood fired pizza.
  • Divers Tavern, 12 Cable Beach Road West. 11AM-12AM. For standard pub fare at the bar or some more interesting offerings in the Bistro out the back
  • Kool Spot Cafe Restaurant, 2, 12 Carnarvon St. Fancy café food in Chinatown
  • Matsos Brewery, 60 Hamersley St, ☏ +61 8 9193-5811. 07:00-22:00. For great boutique beers and gastro pub food with excellent tasting plates.
  • Ra Ra's Cafe, 26 Dampier Tce. A friendly café with everything from laksa to burritos on the menu
  • Rambutan, Cable Beach Club. At the Cable Beach Club - pricey but lovely Thai food by the Beach Club's pool
  • Selene Brasserie, 10 Murray St, Cable Beach, ☏ +61 8 9193-8388. For Mediterranean, Middle Eastern food by the pool.
  • Wharf Restaurant, 401 Port Drive, ☏ +61 8 9192-5700. Fresh fish restaurant with great views across the bay - it's a fair way out of town but worth the effort. Eat in, or grab some takeaway and head around to the beach at Entrance Point to watch the sunset.

Drink

Sleep

  • Moonlight Bay Suites, 51 Carnarvon st, ☏ +61 8 9195-5200. Broome, Right on Roebuck Bay, this place is spectacular. Fully self contained suites situated on massive manicured gardens, massive lagoon pool, and day spa facilities.
  • Cable Beach Backpackers, 12 Sanctuary Road, ☏ +61 8 9193-5511. A good spot, the only hostel close to cable beach. But make sure you book beds in advance (especially the one 7 bed dorm!), as the staff have a habit of overbooking and you'll end up sleeping in the garden at the back of the hostel. There's a small pool there, and a chaotic kitchen.
  • Cable Beach Club Resort. Right on cable beach, this place is famous. Great kids club, pool scene, and chilled adults only swimming pool. You will have to save up to stay here though.
  • Mercure Broom, ☏ +61 8 9195-5900. On Roebuck Bay (1km from the town centre), positioned in tropical gardens and set between red desert and azure sea. Recently refurbished, features 136 rooms, plus a restaurant, two bars and a swimming pool.
  • Oaks Broome, 99 Robinson Street, ☏ +61 7 3246 1717, ✉ broome@theoaksgroup.com.au. Check-in: 1400 hrs or 2 pm, check-out: 1000 hrs or 10 am. This property, offering long and short stays, is located near Cable Beach and is a short distance from the airport. Consists of on-site restaurant and bar, two swimming pools and offer free parking and laundry service.
  • Oaks Cable Beach Sanctuary, 1 Lullfitz Drive, Cable Beach, ☏ +61 7 3246 1718, ✉ cablesanctuary@theoaksgroup.com.au. Check-in: 1400 hrs or 2 pm, check-out: 1000 hrs or 10 am. This resort contains 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments and suites. Facilities include four swimming pools plus a kid’s pool, sun deck, restaurant and bar.

Go next

Its a long way to just about anywhere from Broome, and often not that much is there when you get there.

Attractions within a day's round trip include:

  • Derby - just a couple of hours drive north, and destination for a few tour coaches.
  • Fitzroy Crossing
  • Tunnel Creek National Park - A long day trip, only accessible in the dry. The creek really does go through a natural tunnel., and nice surround park. Some park facilities there, and lots of flies.
  • Geikie Gorge National Park
  • Windjana Gorge National Park
  • Beagle Bay
  • Cape Leveque


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