Under a tropical sun and bathed by a turquoise sea, Broome is the gateway to the natural wonders of Western Australia’s Kimberley region. But this remote tourist town has many treasures of its own. Where the red dirt meets the ocean, the colourful pearling capital of Broome beckons travellers from around Australia and the world.
Why go to Broome?
The breathtaking coastal scenery is a highlight. Stunning blue seas splash against red coastal cliffs, and a diversity of shorebirds dot the foreshore of Roebuck Bay. Broome is also home to one of Australia’s iconic tourist activities: a sunset camel ride along the shores of Cable Beach. It’s an experience not to be missed.
Broome’s fishing is legendary – in fact, it’s one of Australia’s best fishing destinations. Other popular activities in Broome include relaxing on the white sandy beaches, kayaking in the clear waters and watching marine life on a whale watching cruise.
Broome was once the pearl capital of the world. Many Japanese, Malaysian and Chinese divers came here to seek their fortune. Today, you can learn about this fascinating history at the town’s museum or by visiting a local pearl farm.
Broome and the Kimberley region is one of Australia’s most remote areas. The distance between Perth and Broome is approximately 2,200 kilometres, and between Darwin and Broome approximately 1,870 kilometres. Once you arrive, Broome is an excellent base for day trips to other Kimberley attractions. Book a seaplane tour to the spectacular Horizontal Falls, or plan a 4×4 safari to Cape Leveque or Windjana National Park, and explore Tunnel Creek along the legendary Gibb River Road.
Best time to visit Broome
The best time to visit Broome is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. The weather is best during this period, with warm days and nights, and clear skies most days. The average daily maximum temperature during this period is around 30°C or more.
The wet season usually lasts from November to April. It is hot during this period and average temperatures are around 33°C (91°F) (although it can also be much hotter). Thunderstorms and torrential rains can occur, especially in January and February, when monsoons and cyclones are more frequent. Travel to the Kimberley region during this period is not recommended due to flooding and other hazards.
Most people prefer to come just after the rainy season, when everything is lush and green, but not yet overrun with travellers. In other words, avoid the rainy season!
Get to Broome
Many people visit Broome on a road trip to Western Australia. Sometimes it’s the beginning or the end of the trip. For others, it’s a key stop on the way from Perth to Darwin.
Broome is also accessible by air, with flights from Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Melbourne.
Whichever way you choose to visit Broome, you’re sure to fall in love with it on arrival.
Get around Broome
Public transport – The Broome Explorer Bus is the best way to get around Broome (it’s the only public transport in town). A 24 hour pass costs AUD15 and a 72 hour pass costs AUD35. There is also a 10-ride pass for AUD38. Otherwise, a single ticket costs AUD 4.50.
Bike hire – The terrain around Broome is flat and easy to cycle around. Broome Cycles has a variety of bikes, including children’s bikes and tyre bikes for the beach. A standard bike costs AUD 30 per day and a fat tyre bike AUD 60 per day. The more days you rent, the cheaper it is. Electric bikes are also available.
Taxis – Although convenient, taxis are expensive. Fares start at AUD 6 and increase by AUD 4 per kilometre. Avoid them if you can! There is no Uber here.
Car hire – Car hire is not cheap here, costing upwards of AUD 150 per day. You don’t need them to get around Broome, but they can be useful for exploring the area.
Broome travel guide – What to do?
1. Ride a camel on Cable Beach
Spanning 22 kilometres, Cable Beach is one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. This iconic shoreline of dazzling white sand and turquoise sea takes its name from the communication cable laid between Broome and Java in 1889. Today, riding a camel along this famous stretch of sand is one of the most popular activities at Cable Beach. Many travel brochures feature photos of camel-riding figures moving along the shoreline.
You will also see 4×4 vehicles driving along the beach. It’s all about sun-seekers looking for the perfect spot of sand, and there’s plenty to do. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella or awning; the beach gets hot in the heat of the day.
It is best not to swim between November and May. During this period dangerous irukandji jellyfish inhabit the waters. You can swim along the shore the rest of the year. But keep an eye on the tides, which can vary by up to nine metres.
2. Take a scenic flight to Horizontal Falls
For an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, it’s hard to beat a scenic seaplane flight to the magnificent Horizontal Falls. These falls are actually bubbling waves that squeeze through two narrow gorges.
One of the most popular day trips from Broome is a trip to Horizontal Falls by 4×4 and float plane. This activity will offer you several perspectives of this breathtakingly beautiful area. First, you’ll travel by 4×4 along the Dampier Peninsula to pristine beaches. Then you’ll board a seaplane for an exhilarating flight along Western Australia’s north-west coast to Cape Leveque. You’ll see the red cliffs and rocky islets of the Buccaneer Archipelago, known as the Thousand Islands, before landing on the water at Talbot Bay.
From here, passengers usually board a jet boat for an exhilarating cruise through the Horizontal Falls. Shark feeding and swimming with the sharks adds to the excitement (swimmers can watch the action from the safety of a shark cage). A picnic lunch on a pontoon completes the day before your flight back to Broome.
3. Take in the scenery at Gantheaume Point
Nature’s colours are vibrant at Gantheaume Point. The stark contrast between the red cliffs and the bright blue sea makes it a beautiful place to take photos. The point lies south of Cable Beach, about six kilometres from the town. Visiting it is one of the best free things to do in Broome.
At low tide, the dinosaur footprints, thought to be over 130 million years old, are barely visible in the exposed reef, but you can see a plaster cast of them embedded in the cliff top. If you go looking for the footprints in the intertidal zone, make sure you wear suitable footwear to climb the rocks.
A lighthouse overlooks the Indian Ocean and at the end of the road to Gantheaume Point is Anastasia Pool. The former lighthouse keeper dug this small rock pool for his arthritic wife to bathe in. It’s a nice place to visit for a dip on a hot day. And if you’re an avid fisherman, there’s a great fishing beach to the left of Gantheaume Point.
4. See the Staircase to the Moon at Town Beach
Looking for unusual things to do in Broome? The Staircase to the Moon fits the bill. Two or three days a month between March and October, locals and tourists alike flock to Broome’s Town Beach to watch this fascinating spectacle. When the full moon rises over Roebuck Bay, its reflection shines on the vast expanse of tide. This creates an optical illusion that resembles steps up into the twilight sky, the Staircase to the Moon. The Mangrove Hotel, which overlooks the beach, is an excellent vantage point.
During this popular phenomenon, Town Beach hosts the Staircase Markets. They take place from April to October on the night of the full moon. Shoppers can stock up on handmade gifts and enjoy snacks from around the world, from Thai to Chinese cuisine, laksa, satay and pizza. Live music provides a festive atmosphere.
The rest of the time, Town Beach is a favourite with locals, with a popular café where mum and dad can relax while the kids frolic in the adjacent water park.
5. Visit Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park
Cuddle a baby crocodile, watch the rare cassowary or pet a kangaroo. At Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park, about a 15-minute drive from Broome, animal lovers can get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most bizarre and fearsome creatures. They can also learn more about their habitat and behaviour.
This is not just a crocodile park. Wallabies, dingoes, snakes and lizards also inhabit the park, as well as a range of feathered creatures, from emus to cockatoos and kookaburras. Stay for the crocodile feeding at 3pm. At this time, some of Australia’s largest crocodiles demonstrate their amazing agility by pouncing on the food.
About five minutes drive away is the 12 Mile Bird Park. Here you’ll find a range of exotic and native birds representing 80 different species.
6. Dive into the past at the Broome Historical Museum
Visiting Broome for the first time? Drop by the Broome Historical Museum for a glimpse into the town’s fascinating history. Although small, the museum has informative displays on the pearling industry, cyclones, Broome’s one-day war, shells and Aboriginal artefacts.
Allow two hours to absorb all the history. But if you’re short on time, ask the friendly volunteers for a pass so you can revisit the museum during your stay. Children can embark on their own educational adventure with the museum’s quiz. If you’re looking for cheap activities to do in Broome on a rainy day, this is a great option.
History buffs with a particular interest in Broome’s pearling past may want to visit the Japanese Cemetery. Here a tall column commemorates the Japanese pearl fishermen who lost their lives in a cyclone in 1908.
7. See a movie at the Sun Pictures
If you’re looking for things to do in Broome at night, head to the Sun Pictures. This venue is located in the heart of Broome’s Chinatown. Here you can lie back in a sun lounger under a starry sky, and watch a film in the oldest working open-air cinema. The Sun Pictures, which shows a few films a night, also has an interesting history.
The cinema began in the early 1900s as a shop owned by the Yamasaki family. In 1913, a pearler bought the building and turned the shop into a cinema.
The Sun Pictures welcomed its first official audience in 1916 with a silent film and has been showing films ever since, despite frequent tidal flooding over the years. Today, the cinema is a heritage site, and a tax is used to control the tides.
Before the film, film buffs can visit the small museum and browse through the cinema’s memorabilia.
8. Take a tour of a pearl farm
Broome was once the pearl capital of the world. Now you can learn more about this interesting facet of the city’s history on a pearl farm tour, and see how they grow the prized South Sea pearls.
Willie Creek offers a popular pearl farm tour from Broome, which shows the whole process from the initial seeding of the oysters to harvesting and grading. You’ll also enjoy a boat cruise on Willie Creek and learn about pearl care. Morning or afternoon tea is included.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm offers a shore tour, as well as a pearl grading course.
Of course, no visit would be complete without the opportunity to buy some of these South Sea beauties as a souvenir when shopping in Broome. You can buy beautiful pearl jewellery in the many shops in Chinatown.
9. Whale watching in Broome
Seeing a humpback whale rise from the turquoise waters is an unforgettable experience. And you can book a front row seat for this must-see experience in Broome. From June to September, these gentle giants of the sea migrate from the frigid waters of Antarctica to the warm waters of Broome to mate, give birth and nurse their young.
The best way to see them is on a 4.5 hour sunset whale watching cruise on a comfortable catamaran. Not only will you be able to see these magnificent animals up close, but you will also be able to hear their sounds through the on-board hydrophone. Snacks and some refreshments are included. Whale watching is guaranteed in July and August.
10. Arrange a day trip to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek
If you don’t have time for a multi-day trip into the rugged Kimberley hinterland, a day trip from Broome is a great way to get a glimpse of this spectacular region. The Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Park 4×4 tour from Broome visits these two major tourist attractions and more. Along the way, an expert guide will share fascinating information about the Bunuba people and their way of life. As well as details on the ecology of the area.
The first stop is the Boab Prison Tree, outside the town of Derby. Legend has it that the tree was once a temporary prison, but there is every reason to believe that it was used by the local indigenous people as a shelter and possibly a burial ground.
The tour then crosses the legendary Gibb River Road. This is a famous 4×4 road through the Kimberley to the Windjana Gorge. Here you can view the 90-metre-high rock faces and search for fossils along this ancient reef. Corellas crowd the surrounding gum trees, and freshwater crocodiles lurk in the pools.
From here the tour heads to Tunnel Creek. Here you can dive into Australia’s oldest cave system to see more freshwater crocodiles, bats and spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
All meals are included, as well as pick up and drop off at the hotel in an air-conditioned 4×4. It’s a long day, but well worth it to explore this remote and rugged area.
11. Go fishing
Fishing in Broome is varied and rewarding. Fishing in the creeks can be excellent. Cast a line for barramundi, javelina, catfish, mangrove jacks and red and blue salmon.
Like to fish from the beach? Cable Beach is the best option. Here you can cast along the gutters, or try your luck from the rocky headlands. Possible catches include stinger, blue spot jacks and sockeye. Another decent fishing spot is to the left of Gantheaume Point. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch shark and jacks here.
Fishing off Broome is another great option. Sailfish, Spanish mackerel, northern bluefin tuna, black marlin, cobia and mahimahi are all available. And if you just want an easy place to cast a line with the kids, head to the Town Jetty.
Anglers should note that huge tidal variations can have an impact on your success. If you’re fishing on your own, talk to local experts before you go. Better still, book a guided trip. On the Broome day fishing charter, you’ll learn all the tips and tricks from local expert guides. Lunch is included, as is all your gear.
Where to stay in Broome during your stay?
Luxury hotels in Broome
One of the best places to stay in Broome, the Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa is the only resort in Broome overlooking the famous Cable Beach. Polished wood floors and minimalist design give the rooms a subtle and elegant Asian feel. Facilities include two swimming pools, a luxury spa, four restaurants, mini-golf, tennis courts and acres of lush gardens with water lily ponds.
Other luxury properties include Pinctada McAlpine House, an eight-room boutique guesthouse with expansive verandas and tropical gardens, and the Pearle of Cable Beach, which offers one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with full kitchens and private pools. This is a great option for families and travel groups.
Comfortable hotels in Broome
As the name suggests, the Bali Hai Resort & Spa offers a welcoming taste of Bali in Broome. The romantic villas feature four-poster beds, dark woods, open-air bathrooms, private yards and kitchens. Guests can also rejuvenate with aromatic treatments at the Balinese-style spa.
A 5-minute walk from Cable Beach, Blue Seas Resort offers spacious rooms with kitchens, centred around an inviting pool. Moonlight Bay Suites on Roebuck Bay is another good choice, with bright one and two bedroom flats.
Good, cheap hotels in Broome
For clean, contemporary and budget-friendly rooms within walking distance of Cable Beach, you can’t pass up Beaches of Broome. This backpacker resort offers dorms, as well as private rooms with en-suite bathrooms, and the affordable rates include a continental breakfast.
Nearby Cable Beach Backpackers is another popular budget choice, with dorms, shared facilities and a palm-fringed pool.
For even more savings, consider one of Broome’s campsites. They usually offer tent sites as well as basic accommodation.
Hope this Broome travel guide to help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your time in this laid-back coastal town! Let us know that you liked this post ????