Broome is a coastal town in Western Australia’s North West that is known for its pearls and stunning beaches. While it may be a small town, there are plenty of things to do in Broome. From exploring the natural beauty of the area to learning about the town’s history, visitors will find plenty to keep them busy during their stay.
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The Best Things To Do in Broome & Beyond
You can see the spectacular Horizontal Falls, described by naturalist David Attenborough as one of the world’s great natural wonders, on this half-day tour from Broome which receives a five-star rating from 550 reviews.
A scenic seaplane flight takes you to Talbot Bay then board the fastest boat in Kimberly to splash through the narrow, cliff-wrapped cataracts with an expert skipper. Follow this exhilarating experience with a relaxing cruise through the bays and creeks of the remote bay. An onboard barbecue lunch is provided before your scenic return flight to Broome.
The flight time from Broome to the Horizontal Falls is about 75 minutes.
Alternatively this full-day tour from Broome includes spectacular aerial views of the falls and the Buccaneer Archipelago from a scenic flight, a thrilling boat ride through Horizontal Falls and a 4×4 tour along the Dampier Peninsular, including the Pearl Shell Church at Beagle Bay.
Unfortunately we haven’t managed to take this tour yet but it’s at the top of our list for when we return.
Visit the 22 km long famous Cable Beach which got its name from the submarine telegraph cable that was laid between Broome and Java in 1889.
It’s a beautiful beach to walk along or you can sit down and watch the hive of activity. There are sun loungers available to hire if you want to spend longer here.
Swimming at Cable Beach
Surf Lifesavers patrol the beach daily during the dry season but did we swim there? No. Despite reading reports that Cable Beach is safe to swim during the dry season, I still didn’t feel comfortable allowing our children to go swimming there. It could have had something to do with a crocodile that had to be shot in 2019 as it was spotted at Cable Beach and had been close to swimmers at Town Beach. Lifesavers do close the beach if a crocodile is sighted though and sightings at the beach are rare.
Cable Beach in Broome isn’t safe for swimming during the wet season. From November to May/June, the northern oceans are inhabited by Chironex box jellyfish and Irukandji.
Stingers can also be present throughout the year but are more prevalent during the wet season when the water is warmer. Irrikanji jellyfish inflict a severe sting that requires immediate hospital treatment. Surf Lifeguards drag the water twice a day during the dry season to check for the jellyfish and the beach will get closed if any are found.
The safest time to swim at Cable Beach is at low tide and always swim between the flags and pay attention to the lifeguards and signs.
Broome and the rest of the Kimberley coast have the biggest tides in the southern hemisphere. There’s about a 10-metre difference between high and low tides so make sure to check out the times. It can be a long walk to the ocean at low tide.
Explore rock pools
The kids enjoyed a walk along the beach at low tide to check out the rock pools that had formed.
Scenic flight over the Buccaneer Archipelago
Another five-star tour from over 400 reviews is this Buccaneer Explorer. It flies over Horizontal Falls before heading to the Buccaneer Archipelago, home to 1,000 islands made of Precambrian sandstone over 2 billion years old. You then get to explore Kooljaman at Cape Leveque with refreshments and a swim before the coastal return flight along the bays and beaches of the Dampier Peninsula. Enjoy the spectacular with views of Beagle Bay, James Price Point, Willie Creek Pearl Farm and Broome’s world-famous Cable Beach.
Another tour that we hope to do when we return to Broome (without the kids!).
If you are visiting Broome between June and September, then I recommend doing a sunset whale-watching cruise in the Indian Ocean. You can read more about the one we did in our Broome Whale Watching Tour post.
If you’re here outside of whale watching season, this Snubfin Dolphin Eco Cruise is run by the same company and gets excellent reviews.
What’s better on a hot day than an ice cold beer? Head to Divers Tavern, one of the most popular venues in Broome WA, for a drink and/or food. Located just across from Cable Beach, you have the choice of visiting the beach bar, sports bar, or Divers Bistro.
We visited here a few times during our stay for drinks and dinner.
There’s also a bottleshop attached to Divers Tavern where you can buy alcohol and soft drink.
If you’re not staying in town, the Broome Explorer Bus runs seven days a week and is a cheap way to get around Broome. You will find bus stops clsoe to major accommodation, Town Beach, Cable Beach, Chinatown. and Boulevard Shopping Centre.
If you’re planning on visiting a lot of places, a Pass is great value where you’ll get unlimited travel for 24 or 72 hours. Alternatively, the ten multi-rider ticket is also good value. You can purchase the tickets as you board the bus (credit cards are accepted).
Prices as of March 2022 are:
|72 hour pass||A$35||A$20|
|24 hour pass||A$15||A$12|
Download a copy of the Broome Explorer Bus timetable along with a map.
Broome Visitor Centre
The Broome Visitor Centre is on Hamersley Street and opposite Coles if you want a map.
The Courthouse Markets are open Saturday 8 am – 12 pm all year round and Sunday 8 am – 12 pm April to October. You will find them in the beautiful grounds of the heritage-listed Broome Courthouse. There are a variety of stalls selling local produce, crafts, plus food vans. They are worth a browse if you are in the area.
Broome Courthouse was the old Cable Station, constructed in 1889 for the Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Company who was granted permission to lay the submarine cable. This building was one of the first pre-fabricated buildings in Australia’s North West with ironwork designed and made in England and the teak imported from Singapore.
In 1914, EET took up the cable and closed the cable station. The WA Government bought the building in 1921 for 3000 pounds and spent another 1100 pounds converting it into a courthouse.
The restoration works finished in 1998.
Movies at Sun Pictures
Sun Pictures cinema holds the record for The World’s Oldest Outdoor Picture Garden. It was built in 1903 and owned by the Yamasaki family as an Asian store. They loved theatre and used part of it as a Japanese playhouse where traditional Noh theatre was performed.
It was bought by Ted Hunter, a pearler, in 1913 who turned it into a picture theatre that could seat 500 people. Sun Pictures opened in December 1916 and attracted people from all around.
The full history can be found on Sun Pictures website.
Watching a movie at this historic site is a much-loved activity for locals and holidaymakers alike.
Streeters Jetty was built around 1890 to service the pearl industry. Pearl luggers dropped off their shells to the sorting sheds and a trolley rail line ran the length of the jetty for easy offloading of the shells. The Indigenous and Asian locals used the jetty for swimming and fishing as this was the only place to do so.
The government took ownership of the 69m long jetty in 1998 and carried out much-needed conservation work.
Dampier Creek is surrounded by mangroves and is still a great fishing, crabbing, and bird-watching spot. Bats also live in the mangroves and you can watch them fly out to find food just after the sun sets.
The jetty is subject to great variations in the tide. If you want to see the crabs, head here in low tide, but if you want to see the emerald green water then choose high tide. We visited at both and recommend doing so if you have time as it was amazing to see all the crabs and the stunning water at high tide.
Chinatown is the main shopping area in Broome. It differs from most other cities’ Chinatowns as it only contains three Chinese restaurants, but has numerous retail shops.
In the early days, it was full of pearling sheds, opium dens, and noodle houses. You can find some of the original buildings down Carnarvon Street.
Johnny Chi Lane is a historical lane with storyboards along the walls. They describe and tell stories of when the first ships landed in Broome, through the whole history of pearling, WWII up to the present day.
The lane is named after Johnny Chi who worked in the pearling industry and invested in property in Broome and Chinatown.
Roebuck Bay Lookout
Located at the top end of Dampier Terrace, this lookout provides sweeping views of Roebuck Bay and the stunning turquoise water. It is part of the Jetty to Jetty walk.
Sunset at Cable Beach
After a busy day sightseeing, head to Cable Beach to watch the captivating sunset. There’s a friendly atmosphere as a lot of people gather on the grass to watch the sun slowly fade into the ocean.
If you’d rather take in the view from a restaurant or bar, Zanders or Cable Beach Club Resort are popular choices.
Camel Ride along Cable Beach
Sunset camel rides along Cable Beach are one of the most popular things to do in Broome. There are 3 companies that run the camel trains which we have detailed in our blog post Camel Ride in Broome.
Along with the Whale Watching tour, it was the highlight of our week in Broome and would thoroughly recommend it.
Dinosaur Footprints & Gantheaume Point
Do you know that Broome is the only place in Australia where you can currently see Sauropod tracks?
There are a few places in Broome where dinosaur tracks can be found:
- Entrance Point
- Yinara – Reddell Point and Reddell Beach south
- Gantheaume Point
Gantheaume Point is the most popular place to see them, but it is dangerous. They can only be seen at extremely low tides and climbing on the slippery rocks is risky.
More information on the history of these tracks and where to find them can be found on the Dinosaurcoast website.
It is a beautiful spot to explore and especially spectacular at sunrise or sunset. The tones of the light bring out the beauty of the red rocks.
A safer way to see the dinosaur footprints is on this Scenic and Prehistoric Boat Tour by Broome Hovercraft, where you get to explore 120 Million year old dinosaur footprints, secluded bays and meander up the creek inlets on a purpose-built shallow landing vessel.
Picnic at Cable Beach
Pack a picnic and head to Cable Beach’s grassed area. There are trees to provide some shade and plenty of grass to throw a rug down. You will also find a few picnic tables here too. What better place to enjoy your food than views of Cable Beach!
Broome Bird Observatory
The Clive Minton Discovery Centre is the Broome Bird Observatory’s visitor centre where you can experience immersive soundscapes, beautiful footage, and up-to-date science of the migratory shorebirds.
Entry is A$10 for adults, A$8 for seniors and free for under-16s, tour participants and overnight guests.
Lunch at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm
On this Cygnet Bay Explorer tour, you fly over the Horizontal Falls, the Buccaneer Archipelago then have morning tea and a swim at Kooljaman Cape Leveque. On your sea safari, explore the giant tides and enjoy a Pearl Discovery Tour in Cygnet Bay. Here you will learn about the cultivation of some of the most sought-after and beautiful pearls in the world before lunch at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farms on-site restaurant.
This is another option to see Cygnet Bay as well as the Horizontal Falls and Buccaneer Archipelago.
The Broome Historical Museum is on Robinson Street, opposite Seaview Shopping Centre. The Broome Explorer Bus stops close by or you can walk there, as we did, from the town centre.
Entrance is A$12 per adult but children are free and the museum provides a fascinating look at the history of Broome.
Broome Museum is housed in three heritage buildings that contain exhibits, videos, and photographs. Here you can learn all about the settlement of Broome along with the pearling industry, wartime, and transport.
If you don’t get to find the dinosaur footprints, you can see some here.
Flying Boat Wrecks
Nine Japenese aircraft attacked 15 flying boats that were refueling in Roebuck Bay on the 3rd March 1942. They were in the process of transporting refugees (mainly women and children) from Java to the southern states of Australia. It’s not really known how many died in this attack but it is thought to be around 80.
This Broome attraction is only visible on a low tide of one metre or less. Unfortunately, the tide wasn’t low enough when we there to see them (photo from a brochure).
If you are lucky enough to time it right, please be respectful and not get too close to these living graves.
There are 3 cemeteries to visit while in Broome.
The Japanese and Chinese Cemetery are where you will find Obelisks marking the graves of over 900 Japanese pearlers and the final resting place of Broome’s Chinese Community.
Broome Cemetery has many historical graves including that of the Flying Nurse known as the Sugar Bird Lady.
We took a look at the Pioneer Cemetery which overlooks Roebuck Bay. It contains the graves of many pioneers and explorers of Broome’s past.
Beer Tasting at Matso’s
One of our favourite parts of travelling is trying out new foods and drinks. Broome was no exception. Although Matso’s ginger beer and mango beer are readily available in Perth, some of their more unique ones aren’t. So we decided to pop into their brewery to sample their beers.
The tasing paddle comes with 5 beers which you can choose. I decided on Mango Beer, Ginger Beer, Pearler’s Pale Ale, Chango (a mix between chili and mango beer) and Angry Ranga (chili ginger beer). My favourite was the Chango.
The history of this iconic Broome brewery and the Matso’s store building is quite fascinating and can be read on the Matso’s Brewery site.
Broome Surf Lifesaving Club
As of March 2022, the surf club bar was closed due to the construction of a new club. A pop-up bar is planned and will be announced on their Facebook page.
Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour
Pearls are such a big part of Broome’s history that we felt we had to find out more about the pearling industry. Learn about the process of modern cultured pearl farming and the difference between Keshi Pearls and the most revered pearl in the world, the Australian South Sea Cultured Pearl.
You can find out more in this Willie Creek Farm Tour review.
4WD along Cable Beach
If you are in Broome with your own 4wd, join in with the locals and drive along Cable Beach. As you enter the beach, turn right past the rocks. Be aware of the tides as people have lost their vehicles when the tide comes in!
During October and February, turtles nest on Cable Beach and may mean restrictions are put on beach driving during that time.
Just be warned this area is a nudist beach so you may see more than you bargained for!
Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek 4WD Tour from Broome
Explore two of the Kimberley region’s most popular attractions, Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek, on this 4WD tour. Stop for morning tea at a roadhouse along the Fitzroy River, see the historical Boab Prison Tree in Derby, then travel along the Gibb River Road to Windjana Gorge National Park. Here you can search for fossils in the ancient reef and look for freshwater crocodiles before lunch. Your guide will take you through underground at Tunnel Creek and you ‘ll have the option to swim in the watering hole.
It’s a long day with a lot of driving, but an incredible chance to see the Kimberley region. We hope to spend longer exploring this region in the coming years and will definitely be making the trip to see Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek.
Bungle Bungle Explorer
This small-group tour of the Bungle Bungles starts with a scenic flight above the Indian Ocean coastline and the inland ranges to East Kimberley, including the Bungle Bungle Massif. You’ll land at a remote airstrip and be met by an indigenous guide, who will take you on a moderate, short hike to Cathedral Gorge and lookout.
Flight time from Broome to the Bungle Bungles is around 90 minutes.
12 Mile Bird Park
Unfortunately, 12 Mile Bird Park is now closed.
Located 20 minutes from Broome on three acres, 12 Mile Bird Park has a wonderful collection of native and exotic birds. There are over 600 birds from more than 80 species from around the world. Some of them had huge personalities but I will it up to you to find out what ones.
Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park
Visit Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park for the daily feeding tour, which showcases some of the largest crocodiles on display in Australia. The park is also home to colourful birdlife, Cassowary, kangaroos, emus, camels, dingoes, and perenties.
If you don’t have your own transport, there are tours that include transport like this one on Viator.
Note: We didn’t visit Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park but it’s a popular attraction in Broome.
Staircase to the Moon
The staircase to the moon in Broome is caused by the rising of a full moon reflecting off the exposed mudflats in Roebuck Bay. It can only be seen at extremely low tide and creates the stunning optical illusion of a stairway to the moon. This amazing sight occurs from March through to November and you can find out what dates on Broome’s Visitor Centre website.
The boab tree is an icon of the Kimberley region and you shouldn’t leave Broome without seeing one. They can be found in Broome town centre.
Blue Body Buddha Sanctuary
The Blue Body Buddha Sanctuary is a communal open space with a 3 metre tall crystal Buddha statue. You can visit to take part in one of the classes or for some tranquility.
Reddell (or Riddell Beach as it’s sometimes spelt) is a local’s favourite with its red pindan contrasting against the white sand. It is only accessible by the unsealed Kavite Road which runs from the port to Gantheaume Point Lighthouse.
Broome Port Jetty
There is a walkway that runs about half way alongside the jetty where some people fish off.
This full-day fishing charter takes you out onboard the 65 ft vessel Contessa C, where you’ll catch some fish for dinner and may even get a bite from a fighting fish. The tour includes fishing gear, morning tea & lunch, non alcoholic drinks, and return transfers from your accommodation.
Tours from Broome
If you would prefer to have something organised, then I recommend Viator due to their free cancellation on most activities, their wide range of tours plus ease of use.
On this personalised Broome Panoramic Town Tour you’ll learn about the unique history, extraordinary stories and magnificent sights of Broome. Some of the things you will see is Cable Beach, Gantheaume Point, Broome Jetty, Town Beach and the WWII attack site of the flying boats. Find out about the town’s pearling history and stories of Chinatown and see Broome’s oldest buildings and Sun Pictures, the world’s oldest operating open-air picture garden.
Perth to Broome
Broome is over 2,200 km from Perth and will take 24 hours of driving to get you there by the most direct route.
There are car hire booths at Perth airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental. Choose from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Enterprise, and Thrifty.
To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction.
If this doesn’t take your fancy (I’m not a big lover of long road trips) then the alternative is to fly. Our flight was with Virgin Australia for the two and a half hour flight from Perth to Broome.
If you are lucky enough to fly business class with Virgin, you will have access to the Virgin Australia Business Lounge.
Broome International Airport
Broome only has one airport so even if you are flying domestic, you will still land at Broome International Airport.
It’s a small airport and as we came into land, we saw the Virgin Australia crew waiting for us on the tarmac.
Despite being small, there are ATMs located in the Arrivals Terminal and Departure Terminal, showers in the Departure Lounge toilets, free Wi-Fi and a bar/ cafe.
Broome Airport to Cable Beach
There’s a company that offers a shuttle service from the airport into Cable Beach but it was cheaper for us to get a taxi. The taxi rank is just outside the exit and we didn’t have to wait long for one to turn up.
If you don’t have much luggage, the Broome Explorer Bus stops in Frederick Street close to the airport and stops in several places in Cable Beach.
Broome Weather & Best Time to Visit
Broome is made up of two distinct seasons; wet and dry. The dry season is from around April to September when it will be warm days and blue skies. The wet season will see the humidity rise with the odd thunderstorm and downpours. Monsoon is usually between January and March when you might experience a cyclone and flooding.
My recommendation would be to visit in the dry season, but try to avoid the school holidays if you can when Broome is at its busiest and prices soar. Also, you won’t be able to swim in the ocean during the wet season due to the jellyfish.
Try to time your visit for Staircase to the Moon.
How Long to Stay in Broome
We stayed in Broome for 8 nights and I think that was about the right amount of time. However, It will depend on how many tours you want to do and whether you decided to hire a car. Most of our days were spent out and about but if you like to take things easy, then you may need a bit longer.
Or see what Broome accommodation is available for your dates here.
Caravan Parks are quite often booked out during peak times so make sure you book well in advance if you plan on camping there.
Where to Eat in Broome
You can check Tripadvisor for the latest top places to eat in Broome but these were our favourites:
The Broome breakfast was delicious and very filling. The coffee was also great as were the mango smoothies. It gets pretty busy here but the service is still excellent. I would definitely recommend having breakfast or lunch here if you are in Broome town.
Our daughters said these were the best kebabs they have ever had and I think I can agree. The kebab was huge, very filling and great value.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo (I think we were all too hungry!). We will always remember our lunch here though as the earth literally moved. We were sitting outside, eating our kebabs, and then it felt as if someone was shaking our chairs violently. All the shop owners came running out and said it was an earthquake. It seemed to go on forever and was pretty frightening as we didn’t know if it would get worse or how long it would go on for.
We later found out it was a magnitude 6.6 earthquake that occurred 210 km off the coast of Broome and was equal to the largest recorded in Australia.
Divers Tavern Beach Bar
Divers Tavern is a great Aussie pub in Cable Beach and is a popular place for dinner and catching up with friends so make sure to book ahead. We ate here three times as the food was great and provided good value for money.
Green Mango Cafe
A popular café in town open for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast was delicious and the coffee is good.
If you want a delicious mango smoothie, try the Fresco Hut located in Paspaley Plaza. These were the best we have had for ages. They also do freshly squeezed juices, gelato, vegan cakes, and bliss balls.
Save money planning your holiday
Flights: We use different sites to get the best possible price for flights. Check matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site. Compare the cost of flights with Skyscanners and try different routes.
Accommodation: We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.
Car Rental: To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.
Tours: We use third-party sites Viator, Get Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.
Travel Insurance: Cover-More protects the travel dreams and experiences of more than 15 million people worldwide every year (including us!). Part of Zurich Insurance Group, they cover 22 countries across five continents with leading positions in the USA, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, India and New Zealand. Protect your trip against several COVID-19 scenarios during the current coronavirus pandemic.
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