You can’t visit the Kimberley region of Western Australia without calling in to Broome for a visit. But there is so much to Broome itself, it’s worth much more than just a fleeting look on your way past.
Broome may be a small town with a population of only 15,000 people, but it’s a town with a wide and varied history – from a rich indigenous past, to World War II attacks, to a sometimes dark pearling history, all of which has resulted in a hugely diverse and multicultural population. Pair all that with the stunning natural features of the Kimberley region and you have a recipe for a little slice of heaven.
We absolutely love Broome. So much so it’s high on our list of potential places to return to and settle down for a bit, when the time for settling down comes. But we also understand it’s not for everyone. Not everyone loves tropical weather, super relaxed attitudes and, for some reason, the ever-present threat of crocodile attack.
But for us, we’re happy to keep on coming back, and we find something new and interesting to do every time. So here we have some of our highlights to share with you, and we hope you end up loving the place as much as we do.
Dinosaurs and prehistory probably aren’t the first things that spring to mind when you think of Broome. But as it turns out, Broome had a rich and interesting history well before humans came on the scene. Evidence of those days still exist, and can be easily found if you manage to time things just right.
At Gantheaume Point, when the tides are below 2.16m, the water level falls low enough to reveal dinosaur prints for a short window of time twice a day. Even if you time it right, you’ll still have to work for it – it’s a steep scramble over rocks to reach the prints, and they’re not marked, so you’ll need to keep your eyes open. But wandering through rock pools and suddenly come across a perfect dinosaur imprint that has been there for millions of years is definitely a pretty cool experience.
Cable Beach sunsets
Arguably the most famous attraction in Broome, it’s not hard to see why Cable Beach is so popular. Yes, it gets busy, but the sunsets are never disappointing, and if you have a 4×4 and want to escape the main crowds all you have to do is drive along the beach until the crowd thins out.
You can of course also do that quintessential Broome thing and take a camel ride along the beach, which is well worth doing if only for the novelty factor. We recommend going on the pre-sunset one – it’s slightly shorter (how long do you need to spend sitting on a camel, really?), less busy, and best of all, much cheaper!
But what we love doing the most on Cable Beach is taking the 4×4 down the sand a little way, pulling the BBQ out, setting up the picnic rug, and having dinner with a few drinks on the beach as the sun goes down.
The Courthouse Markets are right in town, are on every single weekend, and have a great vibe. They’re a great place to hear some music, eat some delicious food, and check out local handicrafts.
No visit to Broome is complete without watching a movie at Sun Pictures. We love an outdoor cinema, and Sun Pictures is the mother of them all – it’s the worlds oldest outdoor picture gardens! You can pop in during the day for a look around, but make sure you come back at night to watch a feature film under the stars.
Another Broome institution, Matsos Brewery has been making beer, including their famous Mango Beer for over 20 years and have continued to grow in popularity as the years go on. As well as a regular pale ale and their famous mango beer, you can also grab a ginger beer, or be a little more daring and give their chilli beer a go.
Sure, these days you can pick up a Matsos beer at Dan Murphys anywhere in the country, but nothing beats a fresh cold one straight from the source. Plus, if you visit their beer garden on the weekend you’re likely to find some live music and a pretty awesome vibe to go with your beer.
Broome would not be Broome without its long (and often dark) pearling history. It’s a great place to learning about pearling and the industry, and the perfect spot to pick some up for yourself if that’s your thing. Even if you’re not keen on a new set of pearl earrings, visiting a pearl farm is a great experience.
The closest to Broome is the Willie Creek Pearl farm where, as well as going on their tour and learning about the industry, you can check out the absolutely stunning scenery of the area and sample their famous beer damper.
Further afield, the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm at the top of the Dampier Peninsula offers similar tours, plus a great poolside café. Hot tip: if you eat there or take their tour you can swim in their excellent infinity pool to your heart’s content!
Space Gandalf (aka Greg Quicke) is a self-taught astronomer who runs extremely popular stargazing talks at his property on the outskirts of Broome. Space Gandalf gets his name thanks to his bushy white beard and his penchant for wearing interesting hats, and many will know him from his regular appearances on ABC radio.
There is a reason he’s so popular – Greg has a way of taking the vast overwhelming mass that is space, and explaining it in a way that makes sense to regular non-spacey people like you and I. His talks don’t come cheap, and due to his popularity you’ll need to book in advance, but he’s one of those blokes that has something a little special about him, and is definitely worth the time and money.
What visit to Broome is complete without spotting a croc or two? And the best place to do that is at the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park (although occasionally one also pops up on Cable Beach to say hello!). The Croc Park is only open from 2pm – 5pm, with feeding at 3pm, and your entry fee includes an informative tour at feeding time, plus the chance to hold a baby crocodile at the end. Believe me, the kids will love it.
Dampier Peninsula & Cape Leveque
The Dampier Peninsula is a whole other destination in it’s own right, but it would be crazy not to at least mention it when talking about visiting Broome. And these days, thanks to the tar-sealing of the road due to be completed this year, it will soon be easily accessible to all vehicles.
You will regularly see the Dampier Peninsula and Cape Leveque on the lists of people’s top places around Australia and for good reason – the juxtaposition of red cliffs, white sand and bright blue water is unbelievably stunning. Plus there is a tonne of stuff to do up there to keep you entertained well beyond a day trip.
Sure, it’s not quite Broome, and it’s a bit of a drive, but Derby is also worth a visit if you have the time, or are heading towards the Gibb River Road. You can visit the Prison Boab, see some stunning Kimberley sunsets, and you can try your hand at catching some mud crab off the jetty (or like us, you might even find a shark in your crab net!!)
Keep your eyes peeled on the drive between Broome and Derby – we pulled the car over at some of the roadside stops along the way and spotted Freshwater Crocs, Jabirus, and even a beautiful big Sea Eagle.
The Horizontal Falls may have been the most expensive tourist attraction we’ve ever seen, but it was well worth the money for a fantastic day out! The fall, which are not really falls at all, but huge turbulence caused by massive tide changes, can only be accessed via plane or boat. Taking a tour from Broome (or Derby) allows you to see them from both the air, and the water.
Tours fly out on a seaplane, taking in the Dampier Peninsula from the air, flying over the Buchaneer Archipelago, and landing by the falls where you can then power through them on an exhilarating jetboat ride. The Horizontal Falls are on most people’s bucket lists when they travel around Australia and for good reason – they’re like nothing else we’ve ever seen before
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Get out there
We love the entire Kimberley Region, and the Broome area is just one little part of it! So get out, and get up there – it’s like nowhere else on earth.
Discovery Parks Broome
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