With dazzling blue skies and orange-red soil, Broome is vivid and visually compelling. Remote, exotic and intensely colourful, Broome is a feast for the eyes with dazzling blue skies, orange-red soil and striking Boab trees. Gardens grow with ghost gums, palms, frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea. The laidback town, 2350km from Perth on the shores of the Indian Ocean, has a fascinating pearling history and an intriguing blend of Malay, European, Koepanger, Chinese, Japanese and Aboriginal cultures. It’s the gateway to the Kimberley region and the launching point for cruises along the rugged northern coastline. Here are the best things to do in Broome.
Things to do in Broome
1- Discover dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point
Start the day at Gantheaume Point for views of the coastline and Indian Ocean.
If you happen to be around during the few days each month when the tide is low, make sure to look for the 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints.
2- Wander around Broome’s Japanese Cemetery
Take a stroll around the Japanese Cemetery and discover a part of Broome’s fascinating history. Broome has strong historical ties with Japan.
From the mid-19th century until 1914, Broome’s pearling masters supplied 80 per cent of the world’s mother-of-pearl.
Around 400 luggers and more than 3500 people, mostly divers from Japan’s Taiji province, fished for mother-of-pearl shells in Broome’s waters.
Many died from the bends, cyclones and sharks and are buried in the Japanese Cemetery.
3- Beat the heat at the Broome Brewery
Beat the heat at Matso’s Broome Brewery with a cold beer (they have fun names like Hit The Toad premium lager or Monsoonal Blonde wheat beer) and a spot for lunch.
The brewery is located in an atmospheric 1910 building that was once the Union Bank of Australia Ltd.
4- Take a cruise on a pearl lugger
Take a cruise aboard a pearl lugger and learn a bit about Broome’s pearling history from pearling crews who worked these waters during Broome’s pearling heyday.
5 – Watch a movie at the historic Sun Cinemas
Sink back into a cushion in a comfortable deckchair and watch a movie at the historic Sun Cinemas, the world’s oldest outdoor cinema.
The cinema has been in operation since 1916, during the silent movie era.
6- Go on a tour of Willie Creek Pearl Farm
Join the Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour to the banks of Willie Creek, 38km south of Broome.
A tour of the pearl farm is a discovery of how Australian South Sea pearls are cultivated commercially using the Australian silver-lip oyster, Pinctada maxima.
Willie Creek Pearl Farm tours run daily and cost from $75. You’ll learn all about how the lustre, complexion, size, shape and colour of Broome’s pearls can command such high prices.
7- Discover Broome’s Galleries
The northwest region’s stunning scenery has turned Broome into magnet for artists.
This is one town where visiting local galleries – such as the Old Broome Lockup or Gecko Gallery – is likely to yield a treasured purchase.
The Old Broome Lockup held prisoners until the 1950s and now exhibits award-winning artists while Gecko Gallery has a range of aboriginal art.
Purchasing original art can be surprisingly affordable as it’s possible to pick up an original piece for a few hundred dollars.
8- Go shopping for South Sea Pearls
Myths and legends swirl around pearls in Broome.
Pearl showrooms are dotted among art galleries and cafes serving wine, coffee and fresh barramundi. Here, you never know whom you might bump into.
The rich and famous often slip quietly into Broome, among them billionaire media magnate Kerry Stokes who owns a beachfront property on Cable Beach.
That’s why in Broome, the world’s most expensive pearls sell like hotcakes.
I visited Broome’s Paspaley jewellery boutique in the middle of the week and was surprised to find the sales assistants run off their feet showing their clientele trays of shiny pearl rings, earrings and necklaces.
A South Sea pearl necklace from Broome can cost as much as a luxury car.
The boutique sold two pearl necklaces worth $45,000 each the week before I visited and top-of-the-range pearl necklaces can fetch $100,000!
9- Take a camel ride on Cable Beach
Cable Beach is a 22km stretch of white sand and is one of the world’s best beaches.
A camel ride on Cable Beach is a quintessential Broome experience.
Camel rides are fun and well wroth doing, especially if you’re visiting Broome with the kids.
10- Sip a Mojito at the Cable Beach Club
Broome is a magnet for anyone with a private jet, such as film stars and socialites who want to be anonymous.
They arrive on domestic flights and hire four-wheel drives just like anyone else. So it’s no surprise that there’s a good choice of luxury resorts to stay at in Broome.
The Cable Beach Club Resort (built in 1988 as a joint venture between Lord Alistair McAlpine and the WA state government) was the only luxury resort in town.
The perfect way to end the day is with a Mojito at the Sunset Bar & Grill in the Cable Beach Club.
What is there to do near Broome?
The Kimberley region (usually referred to as “the Kimberleys“) is a tourism hotspot that is still amazingly pristine. Each year there are new experiences that pop up, such as the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm so even if you’ve been before, it’s worth thinking about another trip.
Where to stay in Broome
There’s a range of accommodation in Broome, from caravan parks to luxury accommodation. Some luxury resorts to check out include Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, Kimberley Sands Resort & Spa, The Pearle of Cable Beach and Oaks Cable Beach Sanctuary.
Find out more places to visit in Broome here and about Western Australia here: