Broome, once a secret holiday haven; now a bustling tourist hotspot.
In what seems like a far away world, so remote, so far removed from the rest of Australia is one of this country’s greatest little holiday hot spots. A favourite destination among the travelling community, especially in what is coined the ‘Nomad Season’ – typically the winter months where the climate is near perfect. Warm, sunny days and nights that wont shiver your timbers – a place where many choose to escape to, chasing the ‘wintersun’.
A western gateway to the famous Kimberly region of Australia and a base point for the magnificent Cape Leveque and One Arm Point.
Broome is roughly 2400kms north of Perth (if you travel on the National Highway 1 that is) and has a modest population of around 2500 people – However this is known to swell to over 20,000 people during the tourist months.
The Pearling History
The heritage of Broome is densely centred around the pearling history of the town. It was in the 1880’s where mother of pearl was harvested from the oysters and sold for a lot of money. Japanese divers flocked to the area to work as pearl divers – their ability proved invaluable. Unfortunately, although there were plenty of riches to be made, it came at a price. The job of pearl diving was dangerous and many lives were lost. Thinking back to the 1880’s, the equipment used was fairly simple compared to today’s offerings. Situated in Broom is a dedicated cemetery, the final resting place of the hundreds of Japanese divers who met their fate, trying to earn a living.
If you are a bit of a history buff OR you are keen to know more about the interesting world of pearl lugging and diving then a visit to the Pearl Luggers museum should make your list.
Located in Dampier Terrace, the Pearl Luggers Museum offers daily tours of 2 original Pearl Luggers that have been immaculately restored. Learn about the hardships and try to imagine what the lure must have been to have made it worth risking their life in such a harsh environment. Also learn about the not-so-pleasant side of the industry where in the early beginnings many of the jobs were done using forced labour.
If you have a little cash to spare (or simply want to ‘window shop’), take a stroll through the showroom of pearl jewellery on display. Some of Australia’s finest examples of pearl creations can be seen here. Pearl necklace anyone?
One of our favourite beaches in all of Oz. Not sure if it’s the white sands, the blue waters or possibly its the wonderful sunsets on offer each evening that draws the crowds here… but all I know its a perfect spot to visit. Cable Beach got its name as this is where the Java-Australia underwater cable reaches the Aussie shore.
Each evening crowds flock to the beach with a few snacks and a beverage in hand and sit down to witness the sun going down and perhaps capture some stunning photos. Some people opt for one of Cable Beach’s famous sunset camel rides or hang around for a meal at the nearby hotel.
This 22 km stretch of sand is also popular with 4x4ers who love driving on the beach to find a secluded spot to themselves, either to sit and relax, get an ‘all-over tan’ or perhaps find their favourite gutter to wet a line. Swimming however is not recommend due to crocs!
When visiting Broome, it’s an absolute shame to not spend at least one evening at Cable Beach to watch the sun go down.
One of the most talked about places in Broome has to be Matsos Brewery. A unique microbrewery aiming to do things ‘a little different’. Here they perfect different brews in a range of beer styles and flavours using various techniques – some modern and some traditional. How does a Lychee Beer, Mango Beer or maybe a Chilli Beer sound? Just some of the unique flavours on offer and one of the many reasons this place is so popular.
On the Matsos website they state they like to concentrate on all things good in life “Beer & Food”… I have to agree, they are pretty good things to focus on. At Matsos they have their own award winning restaurant and the team enjoys being able to share their creative flair through their menu using Asian influences and incorporating the tropical flavours that Broome is all about. Try the Prawn, Paw Paw and Melon Salad.. Yum! Take some time to learn about Matsos interesting history during your visit too.
Mainly thanks to the pearling industry, Broome has a rich multicultural heritage and its own dedicated precinct known as Chinatown. Chinatown is a thriving hot spot for visitors of the town and a favourite among many travellers.
Take a walk (or guided tour) through Chinatown and get a real feel for the multicultural diversity of the town. You may even take some time out to watch a movie at Australia’s oldest movie theatre – the heritage listed ‘Sun Pictures’.
There’s more to Broome………..
I mentioned at the beginning that Broome is the gateway to the Kimberly Region, for this reason alone visitors are truly spoilt for choice of tours to the natural attractions. There is a huge range of tour operators that can take you out on some pretty special ‘memory-making’ activities.
I always recommend a visit to a towns Tourist Information Centre when visiting, but in Broome you really MUST call in and say g’day. Here, the staff can help recommend what’s available and help you make your stay in Broome a fantastic one.
A popular tour for many is flight over the famous ‘Horizontal Falls’ where massive tides surge through gorges creating a fast flowing spectacle. Along the way you will see dramatic coastlines and rich red coloured cliffs. A trip that I’m sure is on many people’s bucket list.
If you have time, look into taking a day trip to Cape Leveque by plane. Visit the hatchery at One Arm Point, the historic Beagle Bay Church and have lunch at the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm Cafe…
I could go on for ages about all the awesome attractions and activities up in this corner of the country – but I’m not allowed (not enough pages). So, my tip is to take my word for it and visit Broome for yourself. Allow some time to experience it all, but make sure you book early. Holiday parks fill up fast, I guess it’s no longer a secret!