They say it takes five minutes to fall into holiday mode in Broome and they are right.
Wondering why you should visit Broome? Here’s why.
No matter how many photos you have seen, nothing quite prepares you for those vivid hues of the historic pearling town that’s the southern gateway to the Kimberley.
It is a place where many go to holiday and return to live.
Here are some of its attractions and why you should head that way.
Shinju Matsuri Festival
Great news – this fabulous festival is on again, after being postponed earlier this year.
There are big celebrations planned for its 50th anniversary and it is set to be even more spectacular this year with events held in stunning locations.
Shinju Matsuri that is Japanese for Festival of the Pearl, celebrates Broome’s colorful pearling history and its many attractions. Dining, art and cultural events and activities are planned.
Highlights include a floating lantern ceremony, sunset long table dinner, art exhibitions, concerts and events that pay tribute to Broome’s heritage and cosmopolitan population.
Festival president Chris Maher says “it’s a dynamic festival that highlights the past and the present, with entertaining events.”
It will be held from August 29 to September 6, so book ahead. https://shinjumatsuri.com.au/
Back in the 1890s, Broome was a ramshackle town as well as a world leader in supplying pearl shell. More than 400 pearling luggers would be anchored in Roebuck Bay and divers from Japan, Malaysia, China and the Philippines donned heavy canvas diving suits and metal helmets to harvest pearl shells from the ocean floors.
Today, the pearling industry continues and you can do a pearl shop hop in Broome and find a beautiful souvenir to remind you of your holiday.
A trip to Willie Creek Pearl Farm, 38 kilometres north of Broome, provides a shell to showroom experience and you may even spot a crocodile sunbaking on the banks.
Catch the Staircase to the Moon
If you are lucky, you may catch the natural phenomenon Staircase to the Moon when the full moon reflects on the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay at extremely low tide. It creates the illusion of steps. It only happens at certain times of the year – see australiasnorthwest.com/page/staircase-moon
Salty Plum Social Small Bar Walking Tour
Hosts Robyn and Chris know Broome so well – they have lived there since 1992 and love sharing their stories and adventures. They bring history to life using the latest technology in digital image projection on to buildings as you walk through the historic precinct. You will visit three of their favourite small bars in Chinatown for a drink and canapes. It is a fun and entertaining way to learn about Broome and gain a unique insight. It is a leisurely stroll around the newly revitalised Chinatown precinct, stopping for refreshments along the way. Book at sobroome.com.au
Dig your toes into the silky sand on pristine Cable Beach fringed by turquoise waters. It stretches 22 kilometres along the coast. Roll out your towel and watch that golden red sunset blaze across the skies or catch it from the Cable Beach Club Resort Sunset Bar – Broome Sky cocktail in hand.
You can also hitch a ride with a camel for a trek along Cable Beach and watch your shadows dance along the sand as the sun sinks into the ocean. The Broome Adventure Company also offers morning and afternoon Fat Bike Tours on the compacted sand which is a great workout.
Step Back in Time
To delve into the past, Bart Pigram, who is a Yawuru man from the West Kimberley region of northwest Australia and grew up in the town. He has a great knowledge of his Aboriginal and multicultural history which he shares on his Narlijia Tours.
Bart retells ancient stories his way and shares poignant locations. The Life of Guwan town tour explores Broome’s colourful history. During the catamaran Cultural Cruise he talks about the traditional saltwater lives of the Yawuru.Toursbroome.com.au
Broome’s vibrant Courthouse market is all about art, culture and community and is a great place to discover local treats including coffee, fruit juices and bread. Stunning art and craft work are also showcased and you will find locals who enjoy a chat.
Dining is an adventure in Broome – for great coffee and a brekky burrito head to the Good Cartel. Zanders Cable Beach has with water views and a webcam to wave to family at home. Matso’s Broome Brewery is famous for its mango and ginger beers plus great curries.
You will find stunning views overlooking Roebuck Bay’s azure waters at the Mangrove Hotel. Cable Beach Club Resort’s intimate Japanese restaurant Zensai is where chef Joji Iwama stars. Zookeepers Store – in the grounds of the former zoo that was once home to exotic antelopes, hippos, cheetahs and a large collection of birds – offers tasty home-made treats. Love Asian inspired dishes? The Aarli in Chinatown has an innovative menu offering share plates and cocktails.
Look Up to the Night Sky
Master of astronomy Greg Quicke, from Astro Tours, unravels the mysteries of those Kimberley night skies. There’s also a chance to peek through huge telescopes. He’s been christened Space Gandalf after appearing with Brian Cox on the ABC’s Stargazing Live program.
Go Horizontal Falls provides a bird’s eye view of Cape Leveque and Buccaneer Archipelago. The 13-seat aircraft also lands at Cockatoo Island for a two-hour boat cruise through Yampi Sound to Talbot Bay and the turbulent Horizontal Falls. Sir David Attenborough described it as one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.
See the Snub-Fin Dolphins
You may also be lucky to see the world’s only resident population of snubfin dolphins on a Broome Whale Watching Tour in Roebuck Bay. It’s a great day out and we spotted dolphins and turtles.
Head out on the Willie
You can relive those lugger days when you step aboard the restored Willie, a traditional gaff rigged sailing vessel for a memorable sunset cruise around Roebuck Bay and Cable Beach. Under full sail, we sip bubbles and nibble canapes as we hear about Broome’s early pearling history.
Photos courtesy of Australia’s Northwest Tourism
Shinju Matsuri Festival https://shinjumatsuri.com.au/
Australia’s Northwest Tourism: australiasnorthwest.com
Narlijia Tours: toursbroome.com.au