Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour – An Honest Review 2023
The Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour in Broome, Western Australia, was recommended to us by family and friends, so we decided to book a tour while we were on holiday there. Find out what we thought of this tour, if it was worth the money, and essential information to make the most of your day.
Updated December 2022.
Willie Creek Pearl Farm Directions
Willie Creek Pearl Farm is located 38 km out of Broome on the estuary of Willie Creek, in Australia’s North West region. They offer a Coach Tour (the option we chose) that provides an air-conditioned transfer from most hotels and campsites in Broome.
If you are doing the Willie Creek Pearl Farm self-drive tour, I recommend a 4wd as part of the drive is on an unsealed road. If you are hiring a vehicle, check with the hire company that you are allowed to drive there, as some do not allow it.
Give yourself an hour to get there if you are driving.
Head out of Broome along the Broome Highway for 10kms then turn left onto Cape Leveque Road for 15km. Turn left onto Manari Road for 5 km, then left onto Willie Creek Road for 7.5 km. You will see signs for Willie Creek.
You may need to take the alternative track in the wet season (call ahead, and they will advise the best route).
Cost of Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tours as at December 2022
Adult A$125, Concession A$105.00 , Child (5-16) A$68.00, 2 Adults + 2 Children A$318.00 Under 5’s Free
Adult A$75.00 Concession A$65.00 Child A$40.00 2 Adults + 2 Children A$190.00
The tour itself is 3 hours but allow 5 hours including transfers.
For that added touch of luxury and to make this an experience to remember, why not take this spectacular helicopter flight over Cable Beach, followed by a Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour? The cost includes a helicopter flight both ways and the tour.
Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour Review
Our day started by being collected outside our accommodation in Cable Beach. There were a few more stops to collect other passengers, but it was an excellent way to look at other Cable Beach accommodation choices. Once everyone was on board, we made our way to the Willie Creek Pearl Farm.
Anne, our driver, gave an interesting commentary about Broome and the places we drove past, including Kerry Stokes’s house. Learning more about Broome’s history, tourism, and architectural designs was fascinating. The journey took around 45 minutes. Be prepared for a bumpy ride, as part of the journey is on corrugated unsealed roads.
Upon arrival, the tour group went to the hatchery, where we learned about the oysters’ collection and spawning.
We then moved into an undercover area where we were told about how the oysters are seeded and harvested. It’s a great insight into the process of modern cultured pearl farming. Our guide also explained what makes a perfect pearl, how they are valued, and the creation of beautiful jewellery.
I gained a new appreciation for all the hard work, skill, and long hours to create the perfect pearl.
Pearls were handed around so we could see what they looked like and the difference between them.
The Keshi Pearls are the closest to natural pearls and are irregular in shape. They are valued on weight instead of size.
The Australian South Sea Cultured Pearl is the world’s most revered pearl, produced by the Pinctada maxima oyster from the coastal waters of northern Western Australia. It creates the most beautiful pearl nacre of any oyster.
Only some oysters produce a pearl, and most only create one at a time.
The oyster shell is also valuable due to its lustrous mother of pearl.
At the end of this part of the tour, the guide carefully opened one of the oysters so we could see inside. I was amazed at how big the shell was, and look at that stunning pearl inside.
It was then time for the morning tea, which was included in the tour price. There was plenty of fresh fruit, damper, fruit cake plus hot & cold drinks. We used this time to have a little wander around the property.
After morning tea, we were taken down to the creek’s jetty to go and view oysters in their natural environment. We hopped into a boat and cruised to see live oysters suspended in the water.
Our guide hauled a panel up so we could see what the oysters looked like. These are just a small sample of what happens in the open water sea lease, ten nautical miles off Broome’s coast.
The oysters filter around 50 litres of water per hour and feed on microscopic phytoplankton. It takes up to 2 years for the Australian South Sea Pearls to fully develop.
During this time, the oysters require regular cleaning. Backpackers are often employed for this task, to remove marine growth from the shells.
A short cruise along the azure waters of Willie Creek is also included to spot any wildlife. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any crocodiles, but we spotted a few different types of birds.
The water is such a stunning turquoise colour due to its amount of crushed limestone. The mangroves make the perfect home for an abundance of wildlife.
Lastly, we saw the pearls on display in the showroom and dreamed of owning an exquisite pair of earrings or necklace.
So would we recommend this tour? It was in our Top 3 of Things to do in Broome despite the feeling that it wasn’t incredible value for money. It was a great experience to see first-hand how a pearl farm operates and gain insight into the pearling industry. It is also a stunning place to spend a few hours and to be able to cruise Willie Creek. I’m glad we did it and would recommend it to friends.
Name and History of Willie Creek
Willie means wind and boats would shelter in the creek during cyclones.
The Banfield family, who moved to Broome in 1989, now own the pearl farm. They began by operating Broome bus lines and developed it into a tour company. The tours took guests to Willie Creek, which led them to purchase the pearl farm.
The family also owns the Zoo Keepers Store, Pearl Luggers, and Discover Broome Tour. The Pearl Luggers tour will provide the complete pearl experience.
Where to buy Willie Creek Pearls
As well as buying online, Willie Creek Pearls can be purchased at one of their showrooms or stockists.
- Hillarys Boardwalk Showroom
- Subiaco Showroom
- Elizabeth Quay
- Cable Beach Showroom
- Chinatown Broome Showroom
- Willie Creek Pearl Farm Showroom
- Lamont’s Winery Swan Valley
- Oaks Broome
- Mercure Hotel Broome
- John Streater Fine Furniture Yallingup
Where to stay in Broome
We stayed at Broome Beach Resort and liked that it was family-friendly, close to Cable Beach, and the bus stopped nearby.
Other Things To Do in Broome
Why not read all about our Whale Watching Cruise and Camel Ride; these were our favourite Broome activities. Or look at the options from Viator (they have lots of competitively-priced tours, offer free cancellation up to 24 hours prior on most experiences, and are part of the TripAdvisor network).
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