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Broome, located on the NW coast of Australia, has been on my bucket list for a long time. This is because it always looks incredibly exotic in every photo I have seen and its huge distance from Melbourne and Tasmania made me curious.
The aqua blue water, the red soil, pearls and camels riding along the beach. This is what I knew about Broome.
Broome is certainly this and a lot more. It’s stunningly beautiful, it’s friendly and it showcases a very different slice of Australia compared to all the rest of the places I have visited.
Below, you will find our guide to what to do in Broome WA including information about things to do in Broome with kids, the best place to stay in Broome, the best time to visit Broome, getting around Broome, a map of Broome tourist attractions and everything else you need to know for a fabulous stay.
There are two main parts to Broome – the town area and Cable Beach. These are both close to each other and nothing is far in Broome. Town Beach could also be considered a different area. It is just south of town.
If you are trying to narrow down your list of what is there to do in Broome, I particularly recommend learning about Broome’s pearling industry. Broome has had a unique past compared to elsewhere I have been in Australia and it’s very interesting learning about the roots of the town and how it differs from other places. A tour to Willie Creek Pearl Farm will do this. Failing this, at least visit Broome Museum.
Chinatown is one of the few Broome tourist attractions I knew about before I planned to visit.
The pearling industry background of Broome has lead to an interesting mix of events and people and Chinatown is an example of this.
In 1910, Broome had the biggest pearling industry in the world and people had come from all over to dive for pearls. Chinatown is located at the town’s original settlement and used to be full of winding paths and corrugated iron buildings.
It’s small but a nice place to wander with some little shops, cafes and a couple of Chinese restaurants. Johnny Chi Lane also has some wall plaques which discuss Broome’s history.
Another of the things to do in Broome Australia right next to Chinatown is to check out Streeter’s Jetty. It’s located at the end of Short Street and has a historic past as where luggers would offload pearls and load supplies.
The water’s edge in this part of Broome is lined by mangroves (when I looked at maps beforehand I thought it was park area! It’s not.) and the jetty is a way to get close to this.
When we visited it was low tide and the jetty just finished which was an anti climax. It’s best visited when the water levels are higher! There are some signs at the start of the jetty with information about its past.
For a fun thing to do in Broome with a bit of history, watch a movie at Sun Picture Garden, located opposite Chinatown. This is the world’s oldest picture garden that is still in operation.
When we were there, it was showing two films an evening. There is a grassed area at the front and seats both undercover and under the stars. You can take in a blanket to sit on and food.
You can find more information here.
Matso Brewery is maybe the most delicious of the top things to do in Broome. We stayed across the road from Matso so we ended up eating a breakfast, lunch and dinner here and enjoyed them all.
Matso brews its own beers including interesting mango, ginger and chili options. It serves food all day long as well opening at 7am. It has a lovely shaded balcony and it’s a great place to sit and watch Broome.
I particularly recommend dropping in for a tasting paddle of 5 beers. You can also do a one hour brewery tour which involves tasting. Bookings are essential.
Check out your bus ticket if you take a bus. I was able to get a free tasting paddle thanks to a coupon on the back of this.
Bedford Park is a well maintained park with picnic facilities close to Matso’s Brewery. It’s home to Broome’s war memorial as well as an interesting sign about when Broome was bombed during World War II. It’s not worth a trip by itself but it’s worth checking out if you are going to Matso’s and not visiting Broome Museum.
Broome Museum is definitely worth adding to your list of best things to do in Broome. It’s small but well presented, informative and well worth visiting.
We learned about the pearling history of Broome, immigration in Broome, about what happened in Broome during World War II and the indigenous culture of the Broome area as well as many other things. It’s particularly worth visiting here if you don’t visit Willie Creek Pearl Farm to learn more about Broome’s pearling past although the two attractions do complement each other well.
Mr 4 also enjoyed it thanks to the lovely staff who gave him a worksheet to do and a certificate on completion. He also enjoyed reading the indigenous stories.
When we visited, adults were $6 and kids were free. It’s located at a bus stop next to Town Beach.
Town Beach is located a short drive from the centre of Broome. It doesn’t have the pretty beach of Cable Beach but it is a nice area.
There is a big grassed area perfect for picnics with many tables and chairs. There’s a cafe (not open Mondays and Tuesdays when we visited).
For people looking for things to see and do in Broome for kids, this is the perfect place to head. There is a lovely playground and a water playground. Just don’t make the same mistake we made and visit on a Tuesday as the water playground is shut on Tuesdays.
It’s small but looks fun.
If you are lucky enough to be in Broome between March – October at the right time of month, you can watch the awesome natural phenomena of Staircase to the Moon.
This takes place when the moon rises above the exposed mud flats at an extremely low tide. It looks like there is literally a staircase to the moon.
Unfortunately, there were some clouds when we witnessed it but it still did look amazing. My photo does not do it justice at all.
This event takes place on Roebuck Bay which is the town side of Broome. Popular vantage points are Town Beach and Harvest Hotel. At most times that Staircase to the Moon takes place, there is also a coinciding market at Town Beach. This wasn’t the case when we visited in March so we watched it from the Harvest Hotel.
This was a great place to watch it. I have read that you need to get there a couple of hours early to get a good spot. In March, anyway, this is not true. We arrived a few minutes beforehand and had a great spot. They had didgeridoo music playing which added to the experience. In fact, the moon glowed red and it reminded me of the Aboriginal flag.
It only happens a few times a month during the right months and at different times every day so look it up or ask your hotel. They had extra bus services running for the event.
A short drive from the centre of Broome is one of the top things to do around Broome – visiting Gantheaume Point and some dinosaur footprints!
It’s a very scenic spot adjoining Cable Beach with the aqua water and red rocks. There are some signs with the history of the area and, at low tide, you can walk to dinosaur footprints preserved in reef rock at the bottom of the cliff.
If you plan to visit these, it’s a good idea to visit the Broome visitor centre first for a map and to ensure that you visit at the right time of day. Or, you could do what we wish we had done, and take a hovercraft tour to the footprints with Broome Hovercraft Tours (more below).
One of the highlights of our time in Broome was a tour to Willie Creek Pearl Farm. It’s my top pick of the Broome points of interest and I found it far more interesting than I expected. Thank you to the person on my Facebook page that recommended it!
The tour takes about 4.5 hours including pick up and drop off. You can drive yourself to do the tour or visit the farm independently but the tour makes things easy and there is some commentary on the way out to the farm. I imagine you need a 4WD to visit independently.
The road out to Willie Creek is interesting in itself. It starts off as bitumen but quickly turns into “red road” thanks to the red soil. It’s pretty.
On arrival there were a few different parts of the tour. We started by learning about the oysters themselves and how they make pearls. The guide had a fresh one there which he opened up and explained all the parts as well as the process of seeding the oysters so they produce pearls.
The process of producing beautiful pearls is actually quite intricate with many steps. I actually wonder why they aren’t more expensive now! It takes years.
We also learned how peals are priced. This included the different attributes that are important and we saw many examples of different peals in different price ranges.
We also went out on a boat on Willie Creek and pulled up some of the oysters out of the water and watched the cleaning process.
Morning tea is also included which was some awesome damper and fresh fruit. We also learned about the fish in Willie Creek and Z, in particular, enjoyed feeding some barramundi.
The tour was quite quick but I walked away with a great understanding of what is involved in the pearling process and some of the history of the area. I highly recommend it!
Find more information on the Willie Creek website. I booked it online directly. Kids under 6 are free.
Cable Beach is a beautiful, 22 kilometre beach located minutes from Broome. It really has the most beautiful aqua water I have seen, beautiful white sand and a backdrop of red cliffs. It’s stunning.
It’s a lovely place to hang out, play and relax. I imagine it’s also nice for a swim, but since we visited in stinger season, we gave this a miss.
There is a playground next to the bus stop and main entrance to the beach as well as a grassy area.
Cable Beach is an attraction in its own right, but below you will also find some other things to do in Cable Beach.
I must admit, despite seeing more pictures of sunset camel rides on Cable Beach than any other image of Broome, I had absolutely no interest on doing a camel ride in Broome. In fact, if it wasn’t for this blog and the fact that I do take researching my articles very seriously, I probably would not have done this. It seemed wrong not including this iconic attraction. Plus Mr Z really wanted to ride a camel.
The problem is that I did a camel safari many years ago in India and I hated it. It was bloody painful. My butt ached for days and my breasts were thrown around so much that they probably never recovered. Plus, it seemed too touristy.
But I braved riding a camel again for you, dear reader. And I have to thank you for giving me the courage!
It was fantastic. I loved it.
There is something about doing something that is so iconic. It’s like when you first see the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Pyramids. No matter how much you might want to act like you are too cool for popular attractions, it’s really awesome to do something you have seen photos of for so long. The camel ride is no different.
Yes, I compared it to seeing the Eiffel Tower.
It was so much fun to ride the camels.
We went with Broome Camel Safaris and the whole thing was executed perfectly. The camels were well behaved (and even friendly), the staff were awesome and the views exactly how you would expect (as in brilliant). It was actually surprisingly cheap to do it with a 4 year old ($40 for both of us!) and they even threw in some free pearl earrings!
We did cheat a little; we did the pre-sunset tour instead of the iconic sunset tour. This is primarily because it went for thirty minutes. Given how much I hated riding camels in the past, this seemed smarter than the one hour sunset option especially as Mr Z bores easily.
I think this was a great choice. Not just because I saved my butt from aching but because thirty minutes was enough to really appreciate it and I enjoyed watching the sunset from out the front of Zanders and think I would have preferred this to being on top of the camel at that time.
Z also absolutely loved the camels. He wants to do it again. But he was also happy to hop off after thirty minutes.
During the ride we not only got to enjoy the scenery but a staff member spent time walking by each camel and its occupants and took a photo (with your camera) and talked about camels.
She did a fabulous job. I thought I didn’t care about camels until she started talking about them. I found out lots of interesting information and now am a much bigger fan of these magnificent beasts.
All in all, this is a fabulous experience and an absolute must do attraction in Broome.
We went with Broome Camel Safaris. For an adult and lap child, it was $40 (they ended up giving Z his own seat). More information here.
After the camels, the most popular of the Cable Beach things to do is to watch the sunset. It’s beautiful, although I must admit that I did not find it as spectacular as I read other bloggers report when I was researching Cable Beach.
After our pre-sunset camel ride, we ate dinner at Zanders right by the beach and watched the sunset. This was perfect especially as Zanders is next to the playground so I could watch Z play while we waited.
If you don’t want to eat at Zanders, there is also a grassy area here which was popular with a few families. You could have a picnic. Zanders also has takeaway for cheaper prices.
There are a few other things to do in Broome that we didn’t get the chance to do that you might enjoy:
I visited Broome with a nearly 5 year old Z. There is much to love about visiting Broome with kids.
We found everywhere very kid friendly. Everywhere we ate had a kids’ menu and often a colouring in activity. We visited the things to do in Broome WA above together and Z enjoyed it all.
There are some playgrounds around most notably at Cable Beach and Town Beach. Kids are free on buses and the tours we did were free or close to for a four year old which made travelling with a 4 year old very economical. Most accommodation has a pool.
The most complicated part about working out the best place to stay in Broome is working out where to stay in Broome. There are basically two choices – in Cable Beach or Broome Town. The latter option can be quite spread out with most accommodation between Chinatown and Town Beach.
I ummed and ahhed between these choices before deciding on Broome Town. The accommodation was better value here and we are not really beach people so there was no need to stay by the beach. I found it a good choice but beach people will no doubt want to look at Broome accommodation by Cable Beach.
What I would recommend is staying near the bus line if you are not going to hire a car. It’s hot in Broome! And you will want the option to not walk far. Being near a supermarket (there’s Coles and Woolworths) would also be handy if you plan to self cater. Our trip became more expensive as I never managed to make a trip to one of these.
If you are looking for cheap accommodation in Broome, visiting in the wet season might be a good option. I found places to stay in Broome to be a bargain when I was looking for accommodation in March. There were many options for around the $120 a night mark.
I decided to stick with space and excellent value when I booked our Broome accommodation. Bayside Holiday Apartments delivered.
For $124 a night, we booked a one bedroom unit but ended up in a two bedroom unit which was fully self contained. It’s older style but it was clean and comfortable. There was air conditioning and fans in both bedrooms and living area. We also had an outdoor area with a table and chairs.
There is a free laundry and a pool. The pool is my one complaint. It was not very clean.
Bayside Holiday Apartments is managed by the same people as Moonlight Bay Suites and reception is located here. It only took a few minutes for us to walk between them so we did not find this to be an issue (and if it’s all getting too hot, Matso’s Brewery is in the middle so you can always make a pit stop 😉 ).
You can also use the facilities at Moonlight Bay Suites including a nicer pool and internet. This is also a good location to watch Staircase to the Moon.
Some other choices of the best accommodation in Broome if you would like something fancier or better located than the Bayside Holiday Apartments:
Broome has two main seasons, the wet and the dry. The vast majority visit in the dry which is April/May to September/October.
We visited in March in the wet season. We found it fine. There’s not many tourists so we never had problems with crowds of people at the attractions in Broome. Things run less but we didn’t find that to be an issue. There was not much rain and it didn’t impact us at all.
Of course, you could also be unlucky and there could be a cyclone. There’s also stingers at the beaches so we couldn’t swim at Cable Beach.
The upside is that there are also special deals and our accommodation was excellent value.
Another thing to consider is actually the tides. I wondered why I kept seeing tidal information on Broome tourist brochures and once I was there, I realised why. Some Broome things to see and do can only be visited at certain times -like the Flying Boats, the dinosaur footprints and Staircase to the Moon. Willie Creek Pearl Farm access also varies based on tides.
This region of Australia is home to the world’s largest tropical tides.
If you have activities in Broome you really want to do that are dependent on the tides, you may need to plan the dates of your visit accordingly and you will need to plan the time you visit the attraction.
The hardest part about a trip to Broome is definitely getting there! It’s a long way from everywhere. It’s why it took us so long to visit here.
We live in Melbourne and it’s cheapest to go via Perth. This is what finally convinced me to go to Broome as we were going to Perth anyway so we were relatively in the area!
It’s a 2.5 hour flight from Perth. We flew one way with QantasLink and one way with Virgin Australia. Both flights were on F100 with the bonus that there are two seats together down one side so we didn’t have to sit with anyone. Neither flight was full.
If you have a choice between the two, there was more space on the Virgin Australia flight but the snack was only a biscuit and the drink choices were limited with most things needed to be purchased. On QantasLink, we got a sandwich and drinks were free. QantasLink also gave Z a little activity book and pencils.
There are more options in dry season than wet season with more flights direct from the east coast of Australia which could save you a lot of time. We spent basically an entire day getting back to Melbourne flying via Perth.
You have two main choices for getting around Broome – hiring a car or taking the local buses.
There is one bus route during the wet season and it does take you everywhere you are likely to want to go in Broome. We used it and it was super easy. It only runs every hour (half hourly in dry season) but we found this fine. I am glad we didn’t bother hiring a car. As an extra bonus, kids travel free with an adult.
There is more information about the buses on their website.
If you are hiring a car, you may want to consider a 4WD if you plan to visit places like Willie Creek Pearl Farm.
Broome airport is actually right by the centre of town so you may be able to walk to your accommodation! Otherwise, there are taxis, but you may have to wait, and shuttle buses (overpriced given distance). You could walk to the public bus.
I love Broome!
It’s beautiful. It’s fun. It’s interesting and it’s very different. Really it ticks every box of what I love in a destination.
If you are thinking about visiting Broome for kids, it’s a great family destination. In fact, I think it’s a great destination regardless of who you are travelling with or if you are travelling alone.
It’s a long way from everywhere. This is part of what makes it special. Broome has had a unique history thanks to its pearling success and its multiculturalism even when multiculturalism was not allowed in other parts of the country.
It’s great for a beach vacation or if you are looking for somewhere fascinating and different.
Unfortunately, it’s distance also makes it expensive and time consuming to get to. We had to fly via Perth and it was not cheap. However, it is worth every cent and I look forward to returning here again one day with the rest of the family.
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