Broome | Western Australia
The western gateway to the northern Kimberley Region, Broome is a sunny paradise of white sandy beaches and pristine turquoise waters that now attracts tourists from around the world. Its well-known pearling industry has contributed richly to the town: Broome supplied 75% of the world's mother-of-pearl in the early 1900s till war and plastic buttons undermined demand. The industry has since revived with the development of cultured-pearl farming.
Main AttractionsRemnants and records documenting the town's colourful history can be uncovered: at Chinatown, also renowned for its contemporary pearl showrooms, jewellers and restaurants; and at the Broome Historical Society Museum, Saville St, one of the best regional museums in the country. Bedford Park features an old train coach; at Captain Gregory's House (now a gallery), home of the most successful pearler; and at the elegant Court House (1888), which was originally the Cable Station. Sun Pictures (1916) is one of the world's oldest open-air theatres and offers a memorable excursion to the movies. Headstones at the Japanese Cemetery stand as testament to the many contributions made by Asian pearlers. Worthwhile walks in the area include a Mangrove Walk and Remnant Rainforest Walk, located off Gubinge Rd, with entry points signposted. Equally diverse are the excellent tours, including sunset beach camel rides, cruises, and hovercraft rides to remote beaches. Visit Roebuck Bay at full moon to witness mudflats reflecting luminous light, a phenomenon known as 'Staircase to the Moon'. Anglers should inquire about good local fishing spots.
Only 6km NW is Cable Beach, a 22km stretch of sand and clear turquoise waters ideal for swimming. It was named in 1889 when an underwater telegraph cable linked the town with Java, Indonesia. Nearby is the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park, home to more than 1000 reptiles. Broome Bird Observatory, 18km east on Roebuck Bay, is one of Australia's premier sites for observing wading waterbirds; habitats are diverse which ensures a variety of birds; tours are available. Visible at low tide at Gantheaume Point, 5km SW, are dinosaur footprints dating back 120 million years. To the north of Gantheaume Point is arockpool called Anastasia's Pool.This rockpool was built by theformer lighthouse keeper for his arthritic wife. Willie Creek Pearl Farm, 35km north (18km unsealed road), provides rare insight into a working pearl farm.
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