broome | australia.
[spotlight series. jo durbridge]
[broome soundtrack. the shine is brighter at night]
Broome had long been at the top of our travel wish list, so we were hugely excited to be invited by Tourism WA to come and experience the magic and wonder of this far north corner of Western Australia. A unique town situated on a peninsula, where one of the world’s last great wilderness regions meets the Indian Ocean, Broome is the gateway to the Kimberley - a land largely untouched and unchanged by man. The pearling capital of the world, Broome’s people are transient and multicultural. Travelers from all corners of the globe are drawn here by the sun, the heat, the changing landscapes, and the laid-back lifestyle. A slower pace and friendly vibe. Broome can offer up a holiday full of total relaxation or one jam-packed full of action, together with once in a lifetime, breathtaking experiences. Here, you can choose your own adventure.
The Yawuru (pronounced ya-roo) people are the Native Title Holders of Broome and the surrounding areas. Warany-jarri liyan yargarrgi - means (in Yawuru) to agree with one spirit, one feeling and one mind, and the Yawuru people believe that once you have visited Broome, you will experience this spirit, this feeling and hold it always in your heart
We certainly will.
We loved our time in Broome, but even more so loved our time adventuring into the Outback. We spent time in the remote coastal areas of Cape Leveque, Cygnet Bay, and Eco Beach. Its hard to describe the intense richness of the colors in these parts - the redness of the dirt, the impossibly turquoise sea, the whitest of white sands - but hopefully our pics will give you some idea.
Some things to note (bearing in mind we were visiting at the start of the wet season):
- its gets hot - really hot - early. Don't leave home without suncream, hats, sunglasses, and water.
- shops in town close early. By 2pm, Broome feels a bit like a ghost town.
The Zookeepers Store: our favorite coffee in Broome (especially when Paul is behind the machine - hi Paul). Great coffee, good breakfasts, and friendly vibes. Opposite the Cable Beach Club. Known for their “cronuts”.
The Good Cartel: great drive-through coffee, just get there early. Opening at 4am (!!), they shut up shop by 12pm.
Aarli Bar: good coffee (and great food) in a leafy courtyard in the centre of town. Popular with locals as well.
The Zookeepers Store: as above.
Aarli Bar: for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Delicious asian-inspired menu.
18 degrees: beautifully designed bar. Good cocktails. order the Threadfin salmon (local to these parts) - it was served ona super fresh and delicious watermelon salad the night we went. great cocktails as well. we loved our Campari spritz. Ryan, the owner, was previously in the music industry with EMI in Sydney, then moved to NYC for a few years, before deciding to move to Broome (talk about a change of pace) after he visited for a 2 week holiday.
Zensai: great Japanese. the host dave, originally from tassie, is super friendly and loves a chat. We loved the miso salmon, and green tea rice.
Cairo Cafe: when Aarli Bar was (sadly) closed the evening we tried to visit, we stumbled across this low-key cafe by mistake. We were greeted by a super friendly and smiling owner, and really loved our totally fresh and delicious vegetarian platter (fresh falafel, dolmade, fried eggplant, pita, humus, tahini and rice). Not somewhere you would dine-in, but perfect to grab something to-go.
Matso’s Brewery: a Broome institution. A beer and cider heaven. Try the Desert Lime Cider with Wild Ginger. Perfect for an afternoon drink on the patio.
Land of the Pharaohs: when all you feel like is a damn good kebab.
Cafe Amore: for homemade pasta, tucked away in a residential part of town. This was one of our favorite finds.
Sunset Bar and Grill: for a cold beer at sunset. The location is hard to beat. Even better, grab some Coronas and go and sit on the sand like the locals do.
The Roebuck Bay Hotel (The Roey): a real-deal Australian pub. Broome’s original. Cant say we were tempted by its Thursday night wet t-shirt competition, but if thats your thing…
Cable Beach: the quintessential Broome experience. 22km of white sandy beach. Walk it. Ride camels along it. Drive your 4WD around it. Sit on it and watch the sun go down. Wander down to the southern tip to check out Gantheaume Point to check out the amazing red rock formations and to see the giant dinosaur footprints at low tide.
Sun Pictures: the world’s oldest outdoor cinema. A cute spot to grab a deck chair and settle into a flick (they show new releases as well as golden oldies). You can even BYO food and drink (although they do have a candy bar as well).
Town Beach: near Roebuck Bay for sunrise. This is where the locals hang out. It is also the perfect spot to watch the staircase to the moon, and to kick back with a BBQ.
Check out the Staircase to the moon: a natural phenomenon where the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats of roebuck bay at extremely low tide creating an optical illusion of a staircase reaching up to the moon. Most commonly watched from either Town Beach or the Mangrove Hotel (from March until October). Streeters Jetty: in Chinatown makes for some awesome photos when the tide is high. The water is like thick jade. Off Dampier Terrace.
Yoga: at the blue body buddha sanctuary. A beautiful open air community space just behind the Cable Beach Club. We did sunrise yoga here each morning.
Courthouse Markets: a broome institution. fresh local produce, locally made ice cream, and various crafts. every saturday (year round), sundays (from easter to october) and night markets (from easter to october).
Reddell beach: for sunset when the light hits the radiant red of the rocks.
Chakra readings and spiritual healings with Sage at the Ancient Earth crystal shop. Sage is an absolute character and downright legend.
Broome museum: for an interesting look at the history of this fascinating place.
A trip into the Kimberley (ESSENTIAL): more details in our guides to Cape Leveque and Eco Beach.
Cable Beach Club: easily the best place to stay in Broome. The location is unbeatable. The only hotel accommodation on Cable Beach. Lovely reception staff and family friendly (warning: there are kids everywhere). Great restaurants (Zensai our favorite) and some pretty luxe treatments in the day spa.
The Mangrove: our second pick. Located on Roebuck Bay, although it feels a little bit 90s-ish, the rooms have recently been renovated and it is fresh and clean. Beautiful sunrises, and close to Matso and 18 Degrees.