Relaxed Broome serves as the southern gateway to the Kimberley region. It is a nice little town with great hostels, a beautiful beach and an excellent outdoor cinema.
An old pearling port, Broome once supplied eighty per cent of the world’s mother-of-pearl shell. In the late 19th century, its fleet of pearling luggers topped 400.
Travellers who visit in Mar-Apr or Aug-Sep may be lucky enough to see a natural phenomenon called “The Staircase to the Moon”, an illusion caused by the full moon reflecting on mud flats at extreme low tide. It can be seen from the Roebuck Bay side of Broome during the king tides in those months. Other attractions include Cable Beach, 5km from the town centre.
The centre of Broome is known as Chinatown, even though there is nothing Chinese about it.
Short Street, Broome
Tel (08) 9192 2222
Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-1pm
Galactica DMZ internet café (Shop 4/2 Hamersley Street, Broome; tel (08) 9192 5897), next to McDonalds, has internet access including wireless for $4.50 per hour with lower prices for heavier use. There is also internet access at all of Broome’s hostels.
Broome is the biggest destination on the west coast between Perth and Darwin and boasts an international airport as well as frequent buses to Perth and Darwin.
Due to the long distances on the west coast, many travellers fly from Broome to Perth making the trip here relatively painless. The airport is conveniently situated near the town centre with the terminal on McPherson Road just a five-minute walk from the town centre and two of Broome’s backpackers’ hostels.
Greyhound (tel 1300 473 946) coaches stop on Broome Road outside the tourist information centre. Coaches go to Darwin and Perth.
Broome’s local bus service consists of an hourly bus between the town centre and Cable Beach. The town bus serves most of Broome’s hostels and major attractions. You’ll need to take a taxi if you miss the last bus, which leaves as early as 6.10pm. Fares are $3.50 one-way, $16 for a five-ride ticket and $30 for a 10-ride ticket.
An alternative is to rent a scooter from Broome Broome (tel (08) 9192 2210). In Western Australia you can ride a 50cc scooter on a car licence and Broome is just the right size to make a scooter the ideal way to get around.
4 Sanctuary Road, Cable Beach
Tel (08) 9192 6665 or 1300 881 031
2 Bagot Street, Broome
Tel (08) 9193 5000 or 1800 801 918
12 Sanctuary Road, Cable Beach
Tel (08) 9193 5511 or 1800 655 011
62 Frederick Street, Broome
Tel (08) 9192 3233
There are several affordable food places around Chinatown including the ubiquitous Eagle Boys pizza, McDonalds and Subway plus a few small local outfits like Shady Lane Café (Johnny Chi Lane, Broome), which does excellent Barrimundi, chips and salad for $15.
The most central supermarket is the Coles in Paspalay Plaza in Chinatown (corner Carnarvon and Short Streets, Broome). There is another branch of Coles near Town Beach and a Woolworths in the Broome Boulevard shopping centre (Frederick Street, Broome) past Kimberley Klub.
The Broome Bird Observatory is a top destination for birdwatchers and it contains almost half of Australia’s bird species. The best time to see shorebirds is two hours before and after high tide.
Crab Creek Road, 25km from Broome
Tel (08) 9193 5600
Open dry season 8am-6pm daily; wet season Tue-Sun 8am-6pm
This small museum has exhibits on the history of Broome with old photographs and displays about the pearling industry.
Lot 271 Saville Street, Broome
Tel (08) 9192 2075
Open 10am-1pm daily
Broome’s main attraction is this pristine 22km long beach. There are several companies that offer camel rides along the beach with prices starting at $10 for a 15-minute ride.
Cable Beach Road, 5km from the town centre
Bus Town Bus
The point at the southern extremity of Cable Beach is worth visiting at low tide if you want to search for the 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprints.
This crocodile farm at Cable Beach gives you the opportunity to see some really big crocodiles. It is best to visit for one of the feeding tours.
Cable Beach Road, Cable Beach
Bus Town Bus
Tel (08) 9192 1489
Admission $25 ($22.50 HI/YHA, ISIC, VIP)
Open Apr-Nov Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-5pm; feeding tours Wed-Sun 3pm
This attraction features exhibits on Broome’s pearling history including a couple of restored boats. Rather than walk around at your own pace, visitors are given a tour by a pearl diver.
44 Dampier Terrace, Broome
Tel (08) 9192 2059
Tours Mon-Fri 11am, 2pm; Sat-Sun 11am
The world’s oldest outdoor cinema is right in the centre of Chinatown and has a brilliant atmosphere under the stars on a balmy tropical night.
Carnarvon Street, Broome
Tel (08) 9192 1077