Indian Ocean from the back of an amiable camel on a one-hour
walk along the beach with Red Sun Camels.
I learnt to cook Asian food in Broome and am glad that these
days there are a variety of restaurants that serve it – Aarli Bar near
Chinatown is one of the best. Location is king: sharing plates with
cocktails at the Mangrove Resort Hotel, chilli mud crab at the Wharf
Restaurant overlooking the port, or a Japanese meal at Zensai at the
Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa.
When driving around town past the pearling masters’ former
homes surrounded by frangipanis and huge mango trees, tune in to
Radio Goolarri 99.7FM for what’s on tips.
In the old days the Roebuck Bay Hotel (or Roey) was the best
place to hear live music – the whole bar throbbed to local rock and
roll bands. Now Stephen Pigram plays a regular Thursday night gig
at the Pearlers Bar there or you can catch his son Bart’s band, The
Mexicans, around town. In the words of Bart Pigram: “Make sure
you bring your dancing shoes.”
BNE July/August 2016 |
Chinese merchants established Chinatown,
where there were once pearl sheds, billiard
saloons, opium dens, gambling houses and
brothels. Now we visit fine pearl showrooms, cafés
and the historic Sun Pictures cinema, the world’s
oldest operating picture garden.
We finish the tour with a sample of the boutique beers
from Matso’s Broome Brewery, once a general store overlooking
Roebuck Bay where kids would come for lollies and ice cream.
I duck into the Sisters of St John of God Heritage Centre where
exhibits tell the story of the Catholic Church’s role in the region,
when ‘Stolen Generations’ children were taken to missions – now
the communities of Beagle Bay and Lombadina, reachable via the
One Arm Point Road.
Broome is the western starting point for the Kimberley and its
two main routes: the Great Northern Highway to Fitzroy Crossing,
Halls Creek and the East Kimberley, taking you past vast cattle
stations dotted with boab trees; or the gorges of the Gibb River
Road. We get up at the crack of dawn for the chance to see it from
the air on a breathtaking Kimberley Aviation flight that takes us to
Cape Leveque for a swim and breakfast at the Indigenous-owned
Kooljaman wilderness camp and then returning over King Sound,
the Kimbolton Ranges and the Buccaneer Archipelago. We learn
the islands below are around 1.8 to 2.4 billion years old – the tips of
ancient mountains. With cameras pressed against the glass, we gasp
at the Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay, caused by a huge volume of
water being forced through two narrow cliff passages.
It’s a jaw-dropping detour but there’s plenty more to see in
Broome – the dinosaur footprints at the red rocks of Gantheaume
Point, the Japanese Cemetery and sunset at Cable Beach. Cars line
up, children play and tourists drink cocktails at the Cable Beach
Sunset Bar but we experience a giant orange sun sinking into the
Fly direct from BNE to Broome weekly on
Sundays with Qantas until 28 August 2016.
For more information on Broome
Main image, opposite page: Sunset camel ride on Cable Beach.
This page, from left: Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay from the air,
photography by Lauren Bath; dinosaur footprint at Gantheaume Point;
Streeter’s Jetty, photography by Edward Tran. All images courtesy of
Tourism Western Australia.