Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour – An Honest Review 2022

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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.

aerial view of willie creek pearl farm
Aerial view of the Willie Creek system by Tourism Western Australia

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 (which is the option we chose) that provides an air-conditioned transfer from most hotels and campsites in Broome.

If you are doing theWillie Creek Pearl Farm self-drive tour, I would 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).

willie creek pearl farm tour coach
Willie Creek Pearl Farm coach

Cost of Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tours as at March 2022

By Coach

Adult A$125, Concession A$105.00 , Child (5-16) A$68.00,  2 Adults + 2 Children A$318.00 Under 5’s Free

Self Drive

Adult $75.00  Concession $65.00 Child $40.00  2 Adults + 2 Children $190.00

The tour itself is 3 hours but allow 5 hours including transfers.

By Helicopter

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 tour of Willie Creek Pearl Farm. The cost includes a helicopter flight both ways and the tour.

Willie Creek Pearls helicopter flight over the creek
Helicopter flight over the Willie Creek tidal flats by Willie Creek Pearls

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 we had everyone 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. It was fascinating to learn more about Broome’s history, tourism, and architectural designs. 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 jewelry.

I gained a new appreciation for all the hard work, skill, and long hours to create the perfect pearl.

the willie creek pearl farm tour guide speaking to visitors about the pearls
The guide talking about what goes into making the perfect pearl

Pearls were handed around so that 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 most revered pearl in the world is the Australian South Sea Cultured Pearl. This is produced by the Pinctada maxima oyster from the coastal waters of northern Western Australia. It creates the most beautiful pearl nacre of any oyster.

three pearls in a box

Not every oyster produces a pearl and most only create one at a time.

The oyster shell itself is also valuable due to its lustrous mother of pearl.

mother of pearl knives at willie creek gift shop
Mother of Pearl knives in the gift shop

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.

oyster with pearl inside
The huge oyster with 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.

fresh drinks at willie creek pearl farm
Refreshing drinks are included in the Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour

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 out to see live oysters suspended in the water.

people getting on the Willie Creek Pearls boat

A panel was pulled up so that we could see what the oysters look like. These are just a small sample of what happens in the open water sea lease, 10 nautical miles off Broome’s coast.

guide on Willie Creek Pearl Tour holding up panel with oysters attached

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 get to see any crocodiles but spotted a few different types of birds.

The water is such a stunning turquoise colour due to the amount of crushed limestone in it. The mangroves make the perfect home for an abundance of wildlife.

willie creek with pelicans on the beach

Lastly, we got to see the pearls on display in the showroom and dream of owning an exquisite pair of earrings or necklace.

willie creek pearl earrings with prices

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 an 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 pearl farm is now owned by the Banfield family, who moved to Broome in 1989. They began by operating Broome bus lines and then developed it into a tour company. The tours took guests to Willie Creek, which led them to purchase the pearl farm.

The Banfield 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 bought 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
the stunning willie creek with rurquoise water and mangroves
The stunning Willie Creek

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).

Western Australia Travel Guide

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 ViatorGet 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. 

Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour - An Honest Review 2022

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14 thoughts on “Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour – An Honest Review 2022”

  1. Very good advice about rental cars and unsealed roads. I didn’t know crushed limestone is the reason for the beautiful turquoise color. There are many pearls of wisdom here.

    Reply
  2. Looks like an interesting tour, Wendy! It’s always been fascinating to me how pearls are made so I think I’d enjoy the tour. As you said, it seems a bit expensive. Good to know you’d still recommend it though.

    Reply
  3. That’s the kind of day out that I would love. I really enjoy hearing about niche industries like this. And I had no idea that the best pearls in the world came from Australia. As well as the best opals! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Besides Marge Simpson I knew nothing about pearls. So this had been an education. It does seem a bit steep but a well put together tour all the same. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply
  5. Hi Wendy! Interesting post about your visit. I’ve been to pearl farms before, but I always felt like I was being pressured to buy. Or, at least, people were staring at me as if I should buy. Any pressures here?

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • No, we weren’t under any pressure at all. They did finish the tour in their shop but no obligation to buy and there wasn’t much of a sales pitch either.

      Reply

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