- Category: Travel in WA
- Published: Wednesday, 08 August 2012 10:56
- Written by Shana Chong
To get away from the winter blues, look no further than Broome as your next getaway. It's only taken me so long to visit this breathtaking town. From the minute you touch down at Broome International Airport, you know you've left winter behind. All the airport ground staff are in shorts and summer shirts, and sporting deep tans.
Our first evening in Broome is unforgettable. At the end of a balmy winter's day, we see a steady flow of four wheel drives head towards Gantheaume Point as the sun casts a shroud of red orange over the Indian Ocean. Cars pile up on the sand to secure a vantage point. We stand out in our little Hyundai hire car against the other all-wheel drives. The sunset looms large over Gantheaume Point, an area south of the town centre. It does not disappoint. People are gathered with their fold up chairs or tripods set up ready for the spectacle. A family celebrates nearby to the tunes of The Beach Boy's Kokomo and they tuck into a barbecue, singing away. Broome is worlds away from the Florida Keys and rightly so.
It's the little things about Broome that make it so special. Everyone is so friendly — the generosity of the locals has left a lasting impression on me. The roar of twin engine planes taking off for a tourist day trip is a welcoming sound. The leisurely pace is evident everywhere. Cars in mid traffic turn off the roads to watch a glimpse of the jet planes as they fly into town. The lack of development around the town is somewhat reassuring and a breath of fresh air from the high-rise development of other coastal resorts around Australia.
Photo Credit: Shana Chong
Cable Beach is a stretch of golden beach that covers 22km and known for its iconic images of camel rides along the sunset. If you explore the northern end of the beach, you will come across the nude beach.
Each part of the coastline offers a unique view, from Gantheaume Point to the town beach overlooking Roebuck Bay, and even the port harbour. Between March-October, the marvel of the staircase to the moon phenomenon is a sight to behold. Over four nights, the full moon casts a spell on Roebuck Bay at low tide and the reflection of the mud flats creates a glowing effect on the water. Unfortunately we missed the staircase to the moon this visit but it is surely enough reason to return.
Activities on offer in and around Broome include whale watching, pearl farming tours or visiting a crocodile farm, exploring the Dampier Peninsula or just taking it easy on the beach. Did I mention camel rides? These seem to be the most popular tourist activity in Broome. Around town the sign of Chinatown Taxis is a constant reminder of the legacy of pearling divers and the identity of how the town was formed. Getting around is pretty easy with frequent bus services during the dry season. Average temperatures during the dry season (from May- mid October) are in the high 20s.
The local art and craft market at the courthouse on Saturday and Sunday mornings provides much carnival atmosphere whereas the town centre looks pretty abandoned. There’s clothing, soaps, crafts and hand-made pearl jewellery on offer. The food stalls are absolutely delicious. I managed to spend most of Saturday morning picking up locally made souvenirs and snacking my way through the flavours of Broome. Perfect for those who love a shopping fix! There are more local vendors found at the Saturday market. Highly recommended.
Otherwise there is a selection of shops along Dampier Terrace to pick up some fine pearls or even sample some pearl meat if you dare at some of the local pearl shops in the heart of Chinatown.
Tucked away in 12 mile is a mango plantation, a short distance north east of the town centre, where you will find some great wood fire pizzas. This was one of the culinary surprises we came across in Broome. The pizza prices here might rival Northbridge at $25 each but altogether worth devouring. For the best value meal around town, head to the Cafe d’Amore, which is outside the main drag of town. Their desserts were flavour packed. Such a shame we only came across it on our last night. It also happens to provide gluten free options if you suffer from food allergies or intolerance issues.
Dusk at Gantheaume Point
Photo Credit: Shana Chong
Right now the idyllic nature of the town is on the cusp of a major industrial development at James Price Point, with locals embarking on an advocacy campaign Broomenogas to preserve the ecological balance of the Kimberley region. It would be a shame for all if the region was at risk of losing any of its beauty and ecosystem.
Overall there is a tremendous sense of isolation about the place, and you do not feel hemmed in. It is a haven for a quiet escape, perfect for couples or honeymooners, or just if you want to get away from it all.
Shana Chong has a passion for travelling, wellbeing and good food. She studied journalism in Perth and is enjoying the world of blogging. She is a frequent visitor to Perth and currently lives in Melbourne.
If you have visited Broome, add your favourite things to do in Broome in the comments below.
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