Broome – Overview & Things to See and Do
Broome is a cosmopolitan town that has an interesting history and stunning natural beauty. Linked to its pearling and multicultural population, Broome has a reputation for its vibrant social life. Located in the attractive Roebuck Bay region, Broome is surrounded by sweeping white beaches, rich red outcrops and blazing turquoise water.
Broome is a popular holiday destination with an ideal climate, stunning natural beauty, and the full range of accommodations, shopping and dining. Because of its location and daily air service to all parts of Australia, it is the prime destination for most visitors to the region.
Broome has a pleasant climate by tropical standards as it is on the dry side of the continent and is cooled by the water on two sides. There are usually only around 4 days a year when the temperatures soar over 40 deg C. The best weather is from April to October with temperatures averaging 28 deg C which is also the peak tourist season. There is an average of only 46 rainy days a year, of which 29 are in January to March . The tropical lightning storms and downpours during this period are quite amazing .
Things to See & Do
Aerial flights A number of charters are available from Broome that cater for trips across the Buccaneer Archipelago and into the Gorges along the Mitchell Plateau and Gibb River Road. For more information call Seair Broome (08) 9192 6208 or Derby Air Services 1800 1800 75
Anastasia’s Pool: Located at Gantheaume Point this almost perfectly round pool was hand built by a former lighthouse keeper for his wife, Anastasia. She was crippled with arthritis and found relief in the pool.
Art Galleries: Broome is home to a vast array of art galleries specialising in local and indigenous art.
Bedford Park: Situated overlooking beautiful Roebuck Bay on Hamersley Street is the site of Broome’s War Memorial. The park features an array of memorabilia, including a replica of one of explorer William Dampier’s sea chests and an old train coach once used on a railway that connected the original jetty at Town Beach to Chinatown.
Broome Bird Observatory: Located 18 kms from Broome on the shores of beautiful Roebuck Bay, visitors will share the amazing story of Broome’s migratory shorebirds from Siberia. The North West is regarded as the most significant site in Australia for shorebirds, as over 800,000 use the area annually. Self interpretive walks. Tours and accommodation available. Phone (08) 9193 5600 for complete details.
Broome Brewery: Broome’s first boutique brewery opened in 1997 and is situated in Matso’s Gallery. It is the only brewery in the Kimberley and the Brewhouse is always open for viewing. The ginger beer is highly recommended. Meals are served all day from 8am. Phone (08) 9193 5811 for complete details.
Broome Crocodile Park: The park is home to dangerous salt water crocodiles as well as Australian fresh water crocodiles. Owned and operated by famous Australian Malcolm Douglas, everything from small babies to massive 5 metre crocodiles can be seen. Don’t miss the afternoon feeding! Kiosk facilities available. Phone (08) 9193 7824 for hours and complete details.
Broome Golf Club: The only 18 hole fully grassed course in the Kimberley Open to the public. Spectacular views over Broome. Hire clubs, club house facilities 18 hole competition on Saturdays. Call (08 9192 2092) or fax (08 9192 5192) for information.
Broome Historical Society Museum: Definitely one of the best regional museums in Australia – a must see when visiting! The Broome Museum features a display on pearling and a large collection of photographs and files that piece together the fascinating history of Broome. Located in the old Custom’s House behind the Seaview Shopping Centre. Phone (08) 9192 2075 for hours and complete details.
Buccaneer Rock: Broome legend has it that Buccaneer explorer, William Dampier, came to the present town anchorage, landed a treasure chest of pirated pieces of eight and buried it at Buccaneer Rock. His ghost is said to be seen there on a misty night with a lantern looking for the lost loot. A great legend but, alas, the treasure seems only a often repeated myth. The Rock is located in Roebuck Bay opposite the Mangrove Hotel.
Bureau Of Meteorology: Discover the interesting weather patterns of Broome. You may even witness a data collecting balloon being released. Phone (08) 9192 1211 for opening hours.
Cable Beach: Claimed to be one of the most stunning beaches in the world with 22 kilometres of pristine white sand pindan cliffs and clear turquoise water, Cable beach is a safe swimming beach with a variety of water sport activities including parasailing and surfcats. For a unique experience join the sunset camel rides that operate daily along the beach. Due to the possible presence of box jellyfish and stingers in tropical waters during November to April, precautions should be taken. Great location to enjoy a beautiful Broome sunset. North of the vehicle access ramp is a declared nude beach. Cable Beach is an ideal spot for swimming, picnicking and relaxing.
Camel Rides A popular tourist attraction on Cable beach is taking a sunset camel ride. It offers a sense of adventure as the “ships of the desert” sway up the sand in a long line. Most of the camels have once been wild but were easily tamed.
Captain Gregory’s House: Built in 1917 for Captain A.C. Gregory, who operated one of Broome’s most successful pearling businesses. A fine example of early Broome architecture and has now been converted to an art gallery. Situated on the corner of Hamersley and Carnarvon Streets in the same grounds as Matso’s Gallery and Broome Brewery. Phone (08) 9193 5811 for opening hours and exhibition details.
Chinatown: A delightful reminder of the early multi-cultural mix of people in Broome. Take a wander through the original commercial centre of Broome, which was once the bustling hub of pearl sheds, billiard saloons, entertainment houses and Chinese eateries. Chinatown is now home to some of the worlds finest pearl showrooms, along with a variety of retail outlets. Sidewalk cafes add a splash of colour to the pavements.
Chinese Cemetery: The resting place for members of Broome’s Chinese community, situated on Port Drive.
Courthouse and Courthouse Markets: Built in distinctive “Broomestyle” architecture, the courthouse was the original Cable House, where the Broome end of the oceanic telegraph cable terminated. Browse through the gardens or visit the popular Courthouse Markets held on Saturday mornings from 8am – 1pm all year. Located on the corner of Frederick and Hamersley streets.
Cultured Pearling Monument: Mr. Tokuichi Kuribayashi, originally from Nippon Pearl Company, Tokyo, Mr. Hiroshi Iwaki and Keith Francis Dureau from Pearl Prop. Ltd. were pioneers in the cultured pearl industry in Broome. The three lifesize statues are now on display on the grassed area of Carnarvon Street in Chinatown.
Dampier Peninsula: The Dampier Peninsula is a unique area north of Broome featuring spectacular red pindan cliffs, azure waters and an amazing variety of flora and fauna. Several Aboriginal communities offer bush tucker walks and mud-crabbing tours. Access is by 4WD only. A variety of day tours are available from Broome – contact Broome Tourist Bureau for details.
Deep Water Port: Broome’s water link to the world. Built to replace the old jetty near Town Beach, this massive structure can accommodate large cargo and cruise ships at any tide (which can run 10 metres!) The wharf is a popular fishing spot and is open to the public except during cargo operations. Located at the end of Port Drive. Kiosk facilities available.
Dinosaur Footprints: Dinosaur footprints over 120 million years old can be seen at Gantheaume Point at very low tide. As the reef area is very fragile, care must be taken when exploring this area. For the benefit of visitors, a plaster cast of the tracks has been embedded at the top of the cliff.
Diving: Beneath the sparkling tropical waters that surround Broome is a diverse aquatic habitat that is fast developing a reputation as a unique diving experience. Half day, full day and extended dive trips are available. Charters are also available to the Rowley Shoals. Situated approximately 260 kilometres west of Broome on the edge of the Continental shelf, the Rowley Shoals is one of the best diving areas in the world where the magnificent coral gardens, giant clams and large reef fish astound visitors. For a list of dive operators, check out the diving section in the Tours & Activities page or contact the Broome Tourist Bureau.
Fishing: Broome waters boast an abundance of different varieties of fish including the elusive sailfish. Full, half day or extended fishing charters available and tournaments are held annually. For a list of fishing charter operators, check out the fishing section in the Tours & Activities page or contact the Broome Tourist Bureau.
Flying Boat Wrecks: These wrecks remain as evidence of the flying boats sunk by the Japanese air raid on Broome during WWII. Located approximately 1 km offshore from Town Beach and visible only on minus tides. Check with Broome Tourist Bureau for tide times and viewing information. For insight into Broome’s wartime experiences, check out the History and Pearling page. Flying Boat wrecks
Seen on negative low tides reveal the corroding hulks of flying boats sunk in the Japanese air raid of March 1942. At the time there were 16 flying boats at anchor in Roebuck bay. Approximately a 1 km walk out to the wrecks.
Gantheaume Point: Located approximately 6 km from town, this is a scenic area with red cliffs and turquoise water. In the sandstone at the water’s edge petrified dinosaur footprints over 130 million years old can be seen (when tides are less than 1.5 metres). Take care while exploring as the reef area is fragile. For the benefit of visitors a plaster cast of the tracks has been embedded at the top of the cliff. On the north side of Gantheaume point is Anastasia’s Pool, a small man made rock pool built by a former lighthouse keeper for his wife Anastasia who was crippled with arthritis.
Hard Hat Diver: This life size statue of the Hard Hat Pearl Diver adjacent to the Cultured Pearling Monument in Chinatown, was erected in 1999 to pay tribute to the role that the Hard Hat Diver played in establishing Broome as the centre of the world’s pearling industry in the early 1900’s. These early Pearl Divers came from diverse cultural backgrounds, and this resulted in Broome being exempted from the White Australia Policy, making the town a pioneer of multiculturalism in Australia. Around 50 of these divers along with many of their ancestors still reside in Broome today.
Hovercraft Spirit of Broome Hovercraft Flights available with sunset and sunrise options. A truly unique and must do experience. Air-conditioned comfort exploring beautiful turquoise waters of Roebuck Bay.
Japanese Cemetery: Balancing the memory of those who died in the air raids, Broome’s Japanese cemetery is a poignant reminder of the Japanese contribution to Broome and pearling. The cemetery is the final resting place for over 900 Japanese pearl divers. Large sandstone rocks have been used in the headstones and inscribed in Japanese. Situated on Port Drive.
Library: Broome boasts a modern library situated in the Civic Centre gardens on Hamersley Street. Visitors welcome to borrow books. Open hours: Mon/Wed/Fri 10am-5pm; Tue/Thu 10am-7pm; Sat 9am-12noon; Closed Sunday.
Lions Pioneer Park: Located at Town Beach (end of Robinson Street). This is a pleasant picnic and recreation area, and a great spot to watch the Staircase to the Moon. Kiosk facilities available.
Matso’s Gallery And Coffee House: Matso’s Gallery houses the largest and most diverse collection of artwork in the Kimberley. The Gallery has a wide range of Aboriginal art and artifacts with artwork from all of the major art communities in the Western Desert. The Coffee House serves a range of light meals and drink throughout the day from 8am. A range of boutique beers is also available from the Broome Brewery which is also located in Matso’s Store. Phone (08) 9193 5811 for complete details.
Pearl Shops: As the home of some of the most precious pearls in the world, Broome has a good selection of pearl shops catering to all budgets. For the complete history of Broome’s pearling industry and a list of pearl shops, check out the History and Pearling page.
Pearl Luggers: Experience more than 140 years of Broome’s unique maritime heritage. Take an historical journey through the life and times of the pearl divers on two of the last surviving perfectly restored pearl luggers. Brought to life through 1 hour guided tours. Phone 08 9192 2059 for tour times and details.
A spectacular stretch of beach is an ideal area to observe the red pindan cliffs of the Broome peninsula. It was named after Captain Riddell who was murdered by his crew after a mutiny in 1899. A great spot for swimming and picnicking.
Rowley Shoals: Situated approximately 260 kilometres west of Broome on the edge of the Continental shelf, Rowley Shoals is one of the best diving areas in the world where the magnificent coral gardens, giant clams and large reef fish astound visitors. Extended dive charters are available. For a list of dive operators, check out the diving section in the Tours & Activities page or contact the Broome Tourist Bureau.
The Shell House Of Guy Street: A museum and retailer of seashells, shell products and mother of pearl. Handcrafting of pearl shell carried out on the premises. Phone (08) 9192 1423 for opening hours. No entry fee.
Staircase To The Moon: This natural phenomenon is caused by a full moon rising over the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay at extremely low tides, creating a beautiful optical illusion of a staircase reaching to the moon. Occurs March to October for 3 nights every month. Great locations to view the Staircase include the outdoor bar at the Mangrove Hotel and Town Beach. Staircase Markets take place during most staircase dates at Town Beach, and feature a great selection of foods and crafts. Staircase Dates [click here ] Adobe Acrobat Document.
Streeter’s Jetty: The original jetty for the pearling luggers based in Broome. The jetty is still used to support vessels for modern day pearling and the occasional lugger. Located on Dampier Terrace, at the end of Short Street.
Sun Pictures: Officially opened in 1916, it is believed to be the oldest operating picture garden in the world. This unique indoor/outdoor theatre has withstood the ravages of war, cyclones and king tides. Housed in the foyer is an excellent display of movie memorabilia. Taking in a movie under the stars at Sun Pictures is a must do when visiting! Located in Chinatown. Current movies are shown every night. Phone (08) 9192 3738 for features and show times.
Tesling Tropical Fruit & Mango Wine: An innovative new wine producer, Mango Wine of Broome has enjoyed rapid expansion to meet the growing demand from locals and visitors alike, eager to tantalise their palate with the unique blend of succulent flavour contained within the Kensington Pride Mango. Situated 19 km from Broome. Tasting available for small fee. Phone (08) 9192 1433 for open hours and details.
Town Beach: Ideal relaxing picnic and swimming spot located at the end of Robinson Street. Cafe facilities available. Also a great spot to watch the Staircase to the Moon and enjoy the Staircase Markets.
Willie Creek Pearl Farm:
This Pearl Farm lies 38 km north of Broome, off Cape Leveque Rd. It offers a rare chance of visiting a working Pearl Farm and is worth the trip. Tours of the farm are given daily so check the tour time before you leave as the owners will only show you the farm during these open times. The managers of the pearl farm demonstrate the intricate process of cultured pearling, including live oyster seeding. A great educational demonstration for those interested in the pearling industry. Their showroom houses an extensive display of locally handcrafted jewellery and loose pearls for purchase at very competitive prices. Self drive tours available times vary depending on the season. Phone (08) 9193 6000 for tour times and details. Bookings are essential.
Windrider Safaris A unique experience, sail up the beautiful Kimberley coast in a trimaran. They are simple and safe and no experience is required. The tour leaders boat accompanies you at all times with the food and drink so you can relax and enjoy the scenery. The trip finishes at Cable beach day trips finish at sunset.