WHEN TO GO
Broome is situated on the tropical northwestern coastline of Australia and has two major seasons a year. The wet season extends from November through April; the weather can get pretty warm and sticky, with frequent storms bringing showers and even torrential rain — usually the rain clouds and storms disappear just as quickly as they arrive. The rest of the year — from late May to October — is the dry season, and there can be magnificent warm days with cloudless skies accompanied by cooler nights. This is the time of year when sailfishing and other game fishing is at its best.
HOW TO GET THERE
Flying is by far the best way to Broome because it’s a long and dusty drive from Darwin and Perth, the closest major cities. International flights arrive into either of these two cities, and connecting flights with either Qantas or Virgin Australia to Broome take a little over two hours.
It’s a good idea when arriving in Broome to grab a handy booklet called Uniquely Broome, which is available for just a couple of bucks at the airport and about every shop around town. The book contains maps, tour info, and other intel on where to stay and eat, as well as a host of valuable local information about Broome and the whole Dampier Peninsula.
WHERE TO STAY
Tourism is a huge part of the economy of Broome, and there are all kinds of accommodations to suit everyone’s budget, from camping and RV parks to basic condos, motels and hotels (locals call them pubs), right up to luxury five-star resorts. The top of my list is the magnificent Cable Beach Resort situated right on the edge of the world-famous beach for which it’s named. The other impressive place I looked at is the new five-star Pearle Resort, just a short walk from Cable Beach.
The one thing Broome is not short of is top-class eateries, and the local seafood in particular is phenomenal. Fresh delectable mud crabs, saltwater barramundi fillets and the exotic pearl meat from the huge pearl oysters are all hard to pass up. If you’re into big, succulent steaks, the local beef or water buffalo meat is also excellent. There are also lots of locally grown tropical fruits and some of the juiciest pineapples and mangoes you have ever tasted. Of course you’ll need to enjoy a superb red or white wine with all this great table fare: The
Western Australian wines from the Margaret River region are some of Australia’s best and are becoming popular all over the world.
WHERE TO EAT
The two restaurants at the Cable Beach Resort are first-class, along with 18 Degrees in the town center. The Wharf Seafood Restaurant near the Port of Broome is also a standout. All throughout the town, and particularly in the Chinatown area, are a host of great restaurants, first-class coffee shops and cafes. The one thing I can recommend for a tasty lunch is the barramundi burger, which is loaded with a big, fresh fillet, accompanied by a salad with a tangy dressing. You won’t go hungry in this town — I can guarantee that.
The Broome region is also packed full of history, particularly with the pearling industry. There are extensive tours that are well worth the time and dollars to experience while you are there. Without a doubt, one of the best tours we experienced was the five-hour tour to the Willie Creek Pearl Farm to see how these massive pearl oysters are cultivated to produce some of the world’s finest Moon Bright pearls — an absolutely fascinating process to witness. These pearls can be purchased on-site at the farm’s jewelry shop as well as at several of the jewelry shops around town.
Broome is the only place in Australia to have hovercraft tours operating, and just the ride — let alone the entire tour — is worth the expense. They provide two different kinds of tours: The shortest takes you over the vast tidal flats and sandbanks of Roebuck Bay to an area almost inaccessible by any other means, where you can view 120-million-year-old dinosaur footprints. The second tour is a little longer and continues on from the dinosaur footprints to other interesting sights along the Broome coastline, leading to a secluded point on the tidal flats where hors d’oeuvres and wine or champagne are served as you marvel over the spectacular Broome sunset.
THE MAGNIFICENT KIMBERLEY’S
Not many visitors venture all the way to Broome without also taking in the wonders of the vast, rugged Kimberley region. This sacred Aboriginal land covers an area of more than 164,000 square miles and boasts eight national parks. The popular tourist areas are extensive and include Bungle Bungle, Gibb River Road, Lake Argyle, Elquestro Station, Mornington Sanctuary, Cape Leveque and the amazing Horizontal Waterfalls. A boat ride over these falls is an unforgettable experience.