One way to get a great view of the pristine turquoise water and white sand of Broome’s famous Cable Beach is at sunset – while riding a camel.
Afghan traders brought camels to Australia in the nineteenth century, and they’ve been carrying travellers along this beach since the discovery of pearls led to a ‘pearl rush’ of divers from Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines in the 1880s.
A two-hour flight from Perth or Darwin and five hours flying time from Sydney, Broome is a place that has reinvented itself countless times, from pearling camp to frontier town to warm winter haven for tourists.
Saying that Broome’s Cable Beach is ‘picture perfect’ barely does justice to this thinly populated 22-kilometre stretch of calm, crystalline water. When winter hits the southern states, Cable Beach’s white sands beckon those seeking tranquillity in their beachside escape. Unlike most of Australia’s more popular beaches, at Cable you can simply walk or four-wheel-drive a few kilometres out of town and have an entire stretch of beach, horizon-to-horizon, to yourself.
In many ways, pearls are still Broome’s major industry, but the focus has switched from collecting pearls to cultivating them. Roger of Broome Trike Tours can zoom you up the coast to the only pearl farm open to the public, Willie Creek Pearl Farms, as well as the local crocodile park, mango farm, or simply around the town and famous Roebuck Bay.
Also at Roebuck Bay, head to Gantheaume Point to walk in the footsteps of giants – literally. There, the 130-million year old fossilised footprints of a massive sauropod dinosaur await fascinated waders at low tide.
Or, if you’re after other ‘big’ attractions, several operators provide humpback whale-watching tours from July to September, where you can get up close with Broome’s largest visitors.
Back on dry land, Broome has accommodation for every budget, with Cable Beach Club Resort and Bali Hai Resort at the upper end. For families, Cocos Beach Bungalows are close enough to Cable Beach that the kids will hardly have time to dry off between ocean and pool.
Almost all local restaurants allow BYO alcohol, including top eateries like family-friendly pizzeria Café Amore or the Western-Japanese fusion of Azuki Japanese.
One place you won’t want to bring your own is Matso’s Brewery and restaurant. This award-winning microbrewery’s top sellers include the distinctively local Matso’s Mango Beer and their Mango and Desert Lime Cider.
With all this and more, whether you’re looking for a tranquil seaside break or an active family holiday this winter, Broome really is a pearl waiting to be discovered.