PEARL IN THE ROUGH
TAKE YOUR TRIBE ON AN AUSSIE TREASURE HUNT, EXPLORING SUNBURNT SANDS STOMPED BY DINOSAURS
Australia’s most remote town — a speck on the map in the upper north west corner of Western Australia. Broome is the gateway to the Kimberley and more than one million miles of arid Australian outback. It is also a rich hunting ground for curious kids with swashbuckling stories of buccaneers, footprints left by dinosaurs, a resident population of prehistoric man eaters and lots of mermaid treasure to uncover.
WHAT THE CROC?
Before your kids step foot near a water source up north, consider a visit to the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park mandatory.
Saltwater crocs are a big part of life in the Kimberley and being croc aware is essential.
We learned the characteristics that make crocodiles one of the most feared, but also awesomely impressive predators known to man, including how they hunt, what to look out for before we went for a dip, plus how changing our campsite routine could avoid us being stalked (greatest predator alive respect, but eep …). There were crocs bigger than small cars here and said to be the largest on display in Australia. Some were found out in the wild munching on cattle as a snack before they were coaxed into new digs and served a menu of chicken at Malcolm’s.
The 3pm feeding is a jaw locking, loud, snapping experience my kids loved — but I did hold their hands just that tiny bit tighter for the rest of our stay in Broome.
We also checked out some cute baby crocs, learnt important messages about conservation and enjoyed hearing about the late Malcolm Douglas’s vision for respecting and protecting Australian wildlife. A menagerie of native birds and wildlife is also on display and we were impressed that the park acts as an animal refuge, not a zoo. Entry is $90 for a family of two adults and two kids.
LIFE’S A BEACH
Cable Beach is arguably the most famous of all Broome’s attractions. It’s where we gathered with other families every afternoon to share sunset and sometimes a picnic with a few frosties. Named after the underwater telegraph cable that was installed in 1889 linking Broome with Asia, Cable Beach is bigger than you imagine with more than 22km of shimmering white sands framed by jagged ochre cliffs and vivid turquoise waters.
If you are lucky enough to have a 4WD, there is nothing more exhilarating than cruising the sands, away from the crowds, to find your own special spot to enjoy a spectacular sunset in solitude.
Be warned though, some of the northern parts of the beach are nudist approved, so come armed with some answers in case curious kids (like mine) notice.
Another famous attraction is the Cable Beach camels. While we preferred to watch from afar rather than ride, for many, especially kids, it’s a real highlight of a trip to this iconic beach. Sunset rides can be booked with Red Sun Camels (redsuncamels.com.au) at $95 for an hour, $70 for kids or under fives can lap ride with parents for $10. Broome Camel Safaris (broomecamelsafaris.com.au) — the ones with pretty blue coats — also
offer sunset rides for $90 for adults and $70 for kids with under fives able to ride with Mum or Dad for $10.
GET OFF THE GRID
Saving the very best for last, Kooljamon is a remote wilderness camp situated on native title on the Dampier Peninsular run by the Bardi Jawi community. This is an off-grid sanctuary, where you can come for a day, a week or a month and enjoy the pristine wilderness, breathe in the spectacular textures and colours of Cape Leveque, join a cultural tour and just enjoy the beautiful hospitality of the joint owners — the Djarindjin and Ardyaloon people.
We chose to relax on the beach, one of the most remote we have been to, but also the most beautiful with red ochre cliffs spilling on to white sands before merging into turquoise seas. There is a croc safe beach for swimming, a cafe/restaurant for dining and a shop to stock up on supplies.
There are also a number of options for accommodation here and it is very popular with off-grid campers. There’s a fee of $20 to visit for the day per vehicle.