For just about everyone going on a Kimberley cruise you’re going to either start or finish your expedition in Broome. It’s such an interesting town, so make sure you put aside an extra couple of days to explore, there’s lots to see and do.
Check out our list (in no particular order) of seven of our favourite attractions in Broome.
Take in a movie at Sun Pictures
Located on Canarvan Street in Chinatown, Sun Pictures is the oldest operating outdoor picture theatre in the world, pre-dating drive in movie theatres. Opening in 1916, the first movie screened was ‘Kissing Cup’, and these days there’s two new release films shown most evenings.
Although it mightn’t have leather sofas, air-conditioning and IMAX-style screens like today’s modern theatres, there’s nothing like kicking back on a canvas deck chair with a beer, putting your feet up and watching a film under the stars.
To see what’s showing at Sun Pictures click here
Spend a few days relaxing on Cable Beach
Cable Beach is one of Australia’s most iconic beaches, stretching a staggering 22 kilometres from end to end. Between April and October it is a great place for a cooling swim, whilst year-round it is a great place to gather as the sun sets below the horizon on the Indian Ocean. You can drive a 4WD along parts of the beach, but by far the most popular form of transport is camel back! Red Sun Camels offer several daily (including sunset) hour-long rides along the beach.
The beach itself is located six kilometres west of Broome township, so if you elect to stay in town you will need transport to get there. A public bus runs to a regular schedule, whilst taxis and rental cars are freely available. Or, you can choose to stay at one of the hotels located close to Cable Beach, including the Cable Beach Club, The Pearle and Bali Hai.
Pick up a Pearl
Much of Broome’s modern history can be traced back to her days as one of the world’s leading pearl producers. In the town’s heyday of the early 1900s, Broome was supplying 80% of the world’s pearl shell and there were over 400 luggers (pearling boats) and almost 4,000 people engaged in the industry.
Today, names like Paspaley and Kailis continue to produce some of the world’s finest pearls, and when in Broome you can pick up a beautiful souvenir of your Kimberley cruise when you visit one of their boutiques in town.
For more about the history of pearling, be sure to take a tour at the fascinating Pearl Luggers Museum (located in the centre of town – they even have two historic luggers you can explore) or if you want to learn more about the cultivation of pearls, take a tour (or drive yourself) to Willie Creek Pearl Farm, located 40 kilometres north of Broome.
Broome Bird Observatory
Located 25km from Broome on the eastern-end of Roebuck Bay, the Broome Bird Observatory focuses on the study and conservation of the migratory shorebird species of Roebuck Bay.
There’s a variety of birdwatching and nature tours on offer, each showcasing a different birdlife habitat. Marvel at mangroves and ten metre tides, spy on flocks of thousands of roosting shorebirds on red sandy beaches, discover the life that exists only with fresh water at ephemeral wetlands, and enjoy the setting Western Australian sun over vast empty plains.
For more information about Broome Bird Observatory’s tours click here
Take a spin in a hovercraft
Most people know that Japan attacked Darwin Harbour during World War II, but did you know that they also raided Broome? The devastating attack on the morning of 03 March 1942 left 88 dead and 22 Allied aircraft destroyed, including 15 flying boats at anchorage.
The wrecks of these flying boats are still clearly visible in Roebuck Bay at low tide, and the best way to reach them is on a 90-minute tour with Broome Hovercraft. Accommodating just 16 passengers, each of the company’s two ACVS (air cushioned vehicles) will have you zipping across the water and on to the mudflats, where you can step ashore for close up viewing of the remains of the destroyed Catalinas. For information and tour schedules visit their website
See the Dinosaur Footprints at Gantheaume Point
At the southern end of Cable Beach, Gantheaume Point is a scenic spot offering spectacular views of Broome’s red rocks and the ocean, particularly at sunset. There’s also the historic Gantheaume Point lighthouse, and - perhaps the biggest drawcard - dinosaur footprints in the rock dating back more than 120 million years. Replicas of the footprints can be seen amongst the rocks at the top of the beach, but if you want to see the real thing you will need to come at very low tide, as they are only visible about 30 metres from shore.
Staircase to the Moon
Staircase to the Moon is one of the Kimberley Coast’s most popular natural attractions, occurring when the full moon rises across Broome’s exposed tidal flats creating the impression of a staircase leading to the moon.The Staircase appears along the shores of Roebuck Bay - Town Beach and the Mangrove Hotel are the most popular spots, with night markets at Town Beach complementing this special event.
If you want to see the Staircase to the Moon for yourself, make sure your Kimberley cruise coincides with the following 2018 dates:
Images courtesy of Tourism Australia, Broome Hovercraft, Pearl Lugger Museum, Broome Bird Observatory, Red Sun Camels