Perching on the edge of the Indian Ocean, Broome is a heady mix of magical sunsets, pristine waters, exciting wildlife encounters and a unique past.
Whether you’re visiting Broome as part of discovering your own backyard trip, or as a whirlwind tour around The Land Down Under, this is the guide for you. From the top things to do in Broome, to the top places to grab a bite to eat, and even some hidden tips that you won’t find anywhere else, this first-hand account of this unmissable town is your one-stop guide to guaranteeing a great visit to Broome.
Here are my Top 12:
1. Take a Camel Ride on Cable Beach
Just like you can’t go to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower, a visit to Broome simply isn’t complete without a camel ride tour along Cable Beach. Stretching for 22-kilometres, there are thousands of ways to spend your time on this iconic beach, including sunbathing, volleyball and catching the sunset. But I have to be honest – taking a ride on a camel has to be one of the most memorable ways to enjoy Cable Beach.
PRO TIP1: When you book with certain tour operators, you’ll also receive vouchers to use at other top attractions around town, which includes museums, pearl boat tours and even drinks discounts! For this reason, try to do the camel ride at the beginning of your trip, so you can make the most out of the vouchers.
PRO TIP2: Another top tip is to opt for the short, 30-minute ride (like this one), not a 60-minute one. Not only will this conserve a few pennies, but it’ll save your bottom a whole lot of pain in the morning!
PRICE: $50 for a half-hour tour and ~$100 for 1 hour.
2. Explore secluded beaches on the Dampier Peninsula
Sitting just north of Broome, and covering vast expanses of forest, bright orange rock and miles of undisturbed coastline, the Dampier Peninsula isn’t often at the top of a visitor’s to-do lists. And I am not quite sure why!
If you do decide to drive through the peninsula, you’ll be treated to magnificent view after magnificent view. Whether it be stunning coastal views to your left or towering sand rock formations to your right, this place really is a treat for the eyes. Most people make a beeline for Cape Leveque, which is actually a 240 km trip from Broome along dirt roads. For this reason, you’ll probably want to rent a 4WD. Don’t forget to check out the conditions of the roads before you travel! That’s always a must for anyone road tripping through Australia’s more remote regions.
To make the most out of your visit, consider camping overnight at one of the many free or paid campsites in the area. If you are interested in an organized tour that take you out to explore the local indigenous communities or to learn about one of the oldest pearl farms in the region, I have just the right one for you, check it out here.
3. Discover vibrant coral reefs in the Timor Sea
Second to the Great Barrier Reef, Broome is said to have some of the most stunning coral reefs in Australia, sitting right on its doorstep. You’re not allowed to access them on a private boat, so you’ll need to join part of a guided tour or hire a private guide if you want to go out exploring.
The area is most famously known for a group of three coral reefs that have come to be known as the Rowley Shoals. They’re much less visited than the Great Barrier Reef, so there’s hardly any bleaching, and the beauty and bright colours are preserved for everyone to enjoy. With healthy coral reefs, comes an abundance of wildlife. It’s not unusual to spot manta rays, sea turtles and reef sharks mulling around. Even the odd dolphin and whale shark have been spotted in the area!
PRO TIP: To protect these incredible habitats for years to come, take onboard all of the advice from your guide. This includes keeping a certain distance from the coral, not touching any of the formations and not using sunblock.
4. Dive into Broome’s age-old pearl industry
Not a lot of people realise that Broome actually began as a small fishing town before it grew into one of the largest pearling ports in the entire world! The pearling industry continues to live on even today, with plenty of tourists choosing to visit one of the pearl farms that sit just a few kilometres of the coast.
We decided to go on a tour to Willie Creek Pearl Farm during our visit as it comes very highly recommended and is said to produce some of the best quality pearls in the world. Tours typically include a look into modern pearl farming, including the collection, spawning and harvesting of oysters, and a quick lesson on how the pearls are transformed into stunning jewellery. Afterwards, you’ll be able to enjoy a boat ride over to where the live oysters thrive in their natural habitat.
PRICE: Depending on the tour type you choose, visits to Willies Pearl Farm range from $75 to $150 for an adult.
5. Search for prehistoric footprints at Gantheaume Point
Dinosaur buff or no dinosaur buff, this place is worth a look for anyone. Gantheaume Point is marked by a large red rockface that overlooks the southern portion of Cable Beach. During the day, those looking for an adrenaline rush jump from the vibrant rocks before plunging into the refreshing seawater below. At night, crowds gather to experience the beautiful sunset as it reflects off the red rocks.
Like us, however, most people go to marvel at the dinosaur prints. Unless you want to be staring at a plaster cast replica of the footprints, make sure you time your visit with the low tide! This way, you are guaranteed a sighting of the 130 million-year-old dino footprints etched into the bedrock. Pretty impressive if you ask me!
PRO TIP: From July to September, whales begin their migration to the tropical waters near the Kimberley’s and beyond. Gantheaume Point Lighthouse provides the perfect view for whale watching. All you need is a lot of patience, and preferably some decent binoculars.
If you are looking for a tour that will take care of the transportation, tickets and everything else, here is a good one.
6. Stroll through the Japanese Cemetery
Nestled into the heart of Broome, this visit will only take a few moments of your time, but it’s a fascinating and sombre reminder of Broome’s past. Within the Japanese Cemetery lie more than 900 Japanese pearl divers, who came to Broome in search of these alluring pearls, and sadly lost their lives from either diving paralysis or unpredictable changes in the weather.
I found it quite surprising that many of the divers were women, who never used diving apparatus, and were often so well trained, that they could hold their breath for more than two minutes to dive and collect the pearls! As well as a stark reminder of all of the lives lost, some of the burial stones date back to 1896 and, engraved with stunning Japanese script, are impressive to simply admire.
7. Watch a film at the oldest outdoor cinema in the world
You know those days when it just seems too beautiful to go and sit inside a dark cinema? Well, Broome has been offering up a solution to that problem since 1913!
Sun Pictures cinema lies in the heart of town and offers visitors the chance to catch the latest blockbuster while enjoying the fresh air.
Several films are screened each night and, popcorn, soft drinks and ice-cream are all available for purchase before you take your seat… in a very stylish deck chair, I might add! Or, if you’d rather, bring a blanket and get comfortable on the patch of grass right in front of the big screen.
PRO TIP: Arrive early to buy your tickets as our showing was nearly sold out when we turned up just ten minutes before showtime!
8. Chase the Staircase to the Moon with a cocktail in hand
The Staircase to the Moon phenomenon is something that is unique to Broome and occurs only on Cable Beach. It’s best viewed during the colder months as the tidal flats are more prominent and create a clear ‘step’ effect across the water. Although I found that some nights create a similar effect, the Staircase to the Moon is much more impressive on the night of the full moon, when the moon reflects brightly across the sea. During the full moon, the whole town also comes alive with a night market, street food stalls and artisan products. The atmosphere is truly electric and where we made some of our favourite memories in Broome.
PRO TIP: Arrive EARLY, and I mean EARLY, at The Mangrove Hotel and find yourself a seat in their beer garden. Overlooking the beach, this is the best place to enjoy the remarkable views comfortably and with a refreshing drink in hand!
9. Learn more at the Broome Historical Museum
With such a unique and culturally diverse history, piecing together the timeline of Broome’s history can get a little tricky. That’s why I’d recommend spending a few hours, or an afternoon of your time, in the Broome Historical Society and Museum. Locally run and teaming with artefacts and one-off photographs, this is by far the most in-depth look you’ll get into the town’s past.
Opening hours change depending on the season, so make sure to check out their website before you go.
10. Go shopping at the eclectic Courthouse Markets
Make your way through the bustling Courthouse Markets of Broome, each and every Saturday, and sometimes Sunday too! The market is fantastic, not just because you can pick up food, souvenirs and clothing all in one convenient place, but because it’s set in the stunning heritage-listed gardens of the Broome Courthouse (hence its name).
The market has been running for over 25 years and has built up an impressive collection of more than 100 stalls. Everything from food, to arts and crafts, touring companies to street food can be found here. We actually had some of our favourite food in Broome from a lovely Italian stall here. Yum!
If you’re visiting between June and September, the same guys behind this market run a night market on Thursday evenings. I actually thought this was better than the day market as there was a much more jovial atmosphere, and just as many stores to peruse!
PRO TIP: This is the perfect place to negotiate those tour prices down as most operators will have a stall somewhere at this weekly market!
11. Get acquainted with the night sky
With the nearest town a three-hour drive away, and a population of just 14,000 people, Broome is one of the least air polluted towns in the world!
It’s no surprise then that it attracts stargazers from all over the world, of both the novice and professional kind.
We met a man in Broome that has established a name for himself and his Astro Tours. An experienced astronomer, Greg provides a two-hour-long educational and slightly whacky introduction to what you can see above you. You’ll get to use huge telescopes, fantastic mapping equipment and are guaranteed to leave with knowledge about the stars that you never thought you’d have!
12. Sample local beer and gourmet bites at Matso’s Brewery
I’m not ashamed to admit that nearly all of our days spent in Broome ended with a cheeky home-brewed beer from Matso’s Brewery!
Their selection of homemade beers range from the usual lagers and IPA’s, to the more exotic fruit varieties where mango and cherries are infused to create some truly unique flavours! Order some bar snacks to go alongside your schooners of beer, and you’ll be set for the afternoon.
PRO TIP: If you love the beer and want to know more, Matso’s run tours around the brewery that last for around an hour. They cost $35 per person and include a tasting paddle at the end, to put that knowledge into good practice straight away.
Here are a couple more not-so-known places that I have decided to describe in case you have more time in Broom and you are eager for more:
1. Escape the crowds at Riddell Beach
Cable Beach is the big name around Broome, which is why you’ll find most people flocking to its wide sandy bay most days. But if you want to find your own little pristine piece of heaven in Broome, Riddell Beach was our personal favourite. It is a short drive or bike ride outside of town on the way to Gantheaume Point along a dirt ride, so make sure your vehicle is up for the journey!
2. Zen out at the Buddha Sanctuary
Start your mornings right with an early yoga session in an outdoor space with just the right amount of Feng Shui. Known formally as the Blue Body Buddha Sanctuary, this community space was designed to give locals a place to escape the stresses of everyday life and just relax.
Every morning a 90-minute yoga session is held near the three-meter tall crystal Buddha statue for those who want to join in for the cost of $15 a session. Or, if yoga isn’t your thing, the grounds are open seven days a week for general wanderings. We didn’t have a chance to try the yoga, but so many people we knew loved it that we’d definitely give it a try next time we’re in town.
3. Relax, unwind and re-set at the best spa in Broome
Bali Hai Resort and Spa sits just off Cable Beach and has repeatedly been voted as one of Broome’s best spas. The best bit about it? You don’t have to stay at the resort to experience the luxury of this place! We’re not going to beat around the bush, treatments are more expensive than average. However, surrounded by lush rainforests and with the sounds of the sea not too far away, it’ll be one of the most rejuvenating experiences you have in Australia.
4. Jetty to Jetty walk
If you’re looking for some guaranteed peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the usual tourist attractions, make your way to the Broome Deep Water Wharf and Jetty. It’s from here that you can pick up the 3.5km Jetty to Jetty walk which will take you on a relatively flat but stunningly beautiful coastal walk.
TOP TIP: GO EARLY! Not only will you avoid the heat of the day, but you’ll almost definitely have the whole place to yourself and will be free to take in the sights at your own pace!
5. Free camp near Broome
Within Broome itself, hostels, hotels, Airbnbs and even caravan parks are quite expensive. A simple site suitable for a tent will cost you $40 a night! If you’re willing to travel a little outside of town, we found that Broome was surrounded by free camps, perfect if you’ve got your own mode of transport and a simple tent to put up.
To this day, we are sure that Quondong free camp is one of Western Australia’s best-kept secrets. Although it might not be for much longer, oops! Each campsite is arranged along an idyllic and completely undeveloped spot along the coastline. Even better it’s just a half an hour drive away from Broome itself. In true outback spirit, there are no amenities here, so bring all of the supplies you’ll need, some spare fuel and be prepared to get friendly with the wilderness!
Best places to eat in Broome
As a huge foodie, no guide to a town is complete without a quick mention of the best places to grab a bite, so here are the best places to eat in Broome, tried and enjoyed by yours truly.
Best place to eat brunch in Broome:
- Good Cartel – Perfect for breakfast, lunch or anything in between, this breezy café serves up affordable and delicious bites. The burger and chips here definitely live up to the recommendation of being the best in town!
- The Green Mango Café – Serving up fresh, delicious and exotic homemade treats including Vietnamese Pho, classic avo on toast and plenty of health-boosting salads, head here if you’re looking for a treat that you won’t feel too guilty about.
- The Zookeepers Store – One word – breakfast boards! Along with other brunch favourites, this ultra-hipster café, not far from Cable Beach, serves up fantastic breakfast boards with a selection of tasty accompaniments.
Best places for dinner in Broome:
- Ginreab Thai. Fancy a taste of Thailand? Well, this place serves up authentic food cooked up exclusively by Thai Chefs. We’d highly recommend any dish made with seafood sourced from the local fishermen. Even better, you can get it to takeaway if you don’t feel like going out for dinner!
- The Aarli. Classic Australian dishes, pan-Asian cuisine… this place has it all and cooks it to perfecting standards. The soft-shell crab is always sure to please, but visit on Saturday for half-priced oysters!
- Sunset Bar & Grill. You’ll need to get yourself a reservation if you want to catch a sunset dinner at this place. Set back from Cable Beach, it’s definitely the most popular place around.
Best places for a drink in Broome:
- Divers Tavern. This classic Australian pub with beach vibes was our absolute favourite place to grab a schooner and watch the sunset. Prices are more than reasonable for its location but get there early to secure a prime seat.
- The Bay Club. Think sophisticated cocktails and classy cabanas overlooking the beach, and you’ll find yourself at The Bay Club. Great for a special occasion or just those nights when you feel like glamming up a little more.
- Matso’s Brewery. We’ve mentioned this before, but it deserves another mention, purely because there’s nowhere else like it in Broome. Locally brewed beer with rotating taps are always a crowd-pleaser!
What else do you need to know about visiting Broome?
When to visit Broome
Like most of northern Australia, Broome experiences two opposing seasons: the wet season and the dry season. Generally, the wet season lasts from October to April and the dry season runs from May to September. But of course, this can vary by about a month from year to year.
If perfect weather is important for you, try to visit between April to October, an ideal time for sightseeing, sunbathing and camel rides along the beach!
Broome is still pleasant to visit out of season, although January through to March sees some of the wettest conditions, so we’d highly recommend that you avoid travelling during these times.
How to get around Broome
Luckily for us, Broome is small. We had our own car, which made reaching and driving around Broome pretty easy. Broome also has an airport, though which is right in the middle of town and is easily walkable from the main high street.
There’s also a very comprehensive bus system that runs from the centre of town out towards Cable Beach, Gantheaume Point and some other tourist hotspots. Prices and timetables do fluctuate with the season, but you won’t have any problems finding out the details from a friendly Aussie once you’re there.
Where to stay in Broome
As one of the biggest towns in the area, Broome has a little something for everything. I’ve sought out the best beach-side resorts, affordable hotels and budget-friendly hostels in town, so you can find something that’ll suit your style and budget!
Luxury (240 AUD and up):
Luxury beach-side resorts are peppered throughout Broome, and are geared up to make your vacation extra special. The Billi Cable Beach is home to a number of two-bedroom, glamorous private villas all of which have access to beautiful gardens and a large swimming pool. If you’d rather a glamping experience, you can also stay in luxury queen tents here, equipped with all of the creature comforts you could need. If you’re after more of a spa experience, head over to the Bali Hai Resort, which sits just back from Cable Beach. With wooden cladding, plenty of hanging plants and an on-site spa, you couldn’t ask for a more relaxing stay in Broome!
Middle (85 to 190 AUD):
Reflections Broome is one of the best mid-range accommodation options in town. It sits just seconds away from Town Beach if you fancy a beach-day but also has a large outdoor swimming pool if you’d prefer to relax at the hotel. At the other end of town, right next to the famous Cable Beach is Beaches of Broome, a chic resort catered towards younger travellers. Choose from modern double rooms either with or without a private bathroom and wake up every morning to a free continental breakfast.
Budget (up to 85 AUD):
Hostels are everywhere in Broome, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding somewhere to stay if you’re travelling on a shoestring. Home to spacious dorm rooms and loads of communal spaces, (including a bar and beer garden!) Kimberley Travellers Lodge YHA is perfect for solo travellers, or those who are looking for a social environment. Another highly rated hostel in town is Roebuck Bay Backpackers which sits right in the centre of town, has a huge shared swimming pool and a free airport shuttle.
There are so many different things to see and do in Broome, and always a nice bar or beach to relax on at the end of the day! Although most people spend just a few days here, hitting up the main sites, I’d urge you to stay as long as you can to get to know the people, the town and its hidden gems. I assure you, you won’t regret it!
I hope my guide was useful, I am happy to reply to any questions you may have!