With dazzling blue skies and orange-red pindan soil, Broome is vivid and visually compelling. The laidback town, 2350km from Perth on the shores of the Indian Ocean, has an 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.
8am – After breakfast, 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.
10.30am – Take a stroll around the Japanese Cemetery. 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.
The local bus service circumnavigates Broome at least every hour.
12pm – 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.
1.30pm – Take a cruise aboard Intombi, Broome’s oldest pearl lugger and learn a bit about Broome’s pearling history. Pearling crews aboard Intombi worked these waters during
Broome’s pearling heyday.
6.30pm – Dinner at Selene Brasserie in Pinctada Cable Beach Resort & Spa is a Mediterranean-inspired feast. The light, flavoursome and creative menu is designed by Melbourne chef Greg Malouf (of Mo Mo Restaurant in Melbourne). Meals are prepared with fresh high-quality produce to suit the climate. Spiced sautéed Paspaley pearl meat, fresh from
Paspaley’s pearl farm, is available from May to August.
8pm – 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.
8am – After breakfast join the Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour to the banks of Willie Creek, 38km south of Broome. A tour of the pearl farm is an 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 $95 (adult) and $50 (child).
12.30pm – Fuel up in the tropical gardens at the Zoo Café, which was formerly the Pearl Coast Zoo established by Broome visionary Lord Alistair McAlpine.
2pm – 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 need to break the bank either as you can pick up an original for a few hundred dollars.
3.30pm – Myths and legends swirl around pearls and pearl showrooms are dotted among art galleries and cafes serving wine, coffee and fresh barramundi. Pop into Paspaley jewellery boutique to ogle at the top-of-the-range pearl necklaces, which can fetch as much as $100,000.
5pm – 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 cost around $70.
7pm – End the day with a Mandarin Mojito at the Sunset Bar & Grill in the Cable Beach Club.
Discover Western Australia
Find out more about Western Australia here: