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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.