Travel writer Georgia Hopkins uncovers the stunning natural scenery of Western Australia's Broome and Kimberley region
A unique pearling town that clings on to a red pindan-fringed peninsula, Broome is where one of the world’s last great wilderness regions meets the Indian Ocean. Cable Beach - known mostly for its camels, sunsets and surf - lures travelers in from all corners of the globe, drawn here by the heat, the laidback lifestyle and the natural splendors of the Kimberley. Its hard to describe the intense richness of the colors here - the redness of the dirt, the impossibly turquoise sea, the whitest of sands. The gateway to the Kimberley, this is land largely untouched and unchanged by man. A trip to Broome and the Kimberley can be one of total relaxation or one full of action and once-in-a-lifetime, breathtaking experiences. Here, you can choose your own adventure.
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The Yawuru people (the Native Title Holders of Broome) use the expression warany-jarri liyan yargarrgi meaning ‘to agree with one spirit, one feeling and one mind’. They believe that once you have visited Broome, you will experience this spirit and feeling, and will hold it always in your heart. I certainly will. Here are some of my favourite things:
1. The Zookeepers Store: for the best coffee in Broome (especially if Paul is behind the machine). Great coffee, healthy breakfasts and friendly vibes. Famous also for their cronuts. zks.com.au
2. The Good Cartel: great drive-through coffee (just make sure you get there early). Opening at 4am(!!), they shut their doors by 12pm. facebook.com/The-Good-Cartel
3. Aarli Bar: good coffee (and great food) in a leafy courtyard in the centre of town. Popular with locals as well. theaarli.com.au
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1. Aarli Bar: for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Delicious asian-inspired menu. theaarli.com.au
2. 18 Degrees: with a beautifully designed bar (that feels more New York than downtown Broome), this is a great spot for dinner and cocktails. Try the Threadfin salmon (local to these parts). facebook.com/18degreesbroome
3. Zensai: for authentic and delicious Japanese in a lovely space within the Cable Beach Club. cablebeachclub.com
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1. Matso’s Brewery: a Broome institution. This award-winning microbrewery is known for its alcoholic ginger beer. Try the desert lime cider with wild ginger, and the mango or chilli beer as well. Even better, order one of their paddle of samples which includes lagers and ales. With a leafy courtyard and patio, this is the perfect place for a sundowner. matsos.com.au
2. Sunset Bar & Grill: for a cold beer at sunset. Its nothing fancy, but the location is hard to beat. Alternatively, grab some Coronas and take them on to the beach (like the locals do). Cable Beach becomes a hive of 4wds and deck chairs from about 4pm onwards as people gather to watch the sun go down. cablebeachclub.com/dine
3. 18 Degrees: for delicious cocktails. facebook.com/18degreesbroome
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To do in Broome
1. Cable Beach: the quintessential Broome experience. Walk it. Ride camels along it. Drive your 4WD around it. Sit and watch the sun go down. Twenty two kilometres of impossibly white sand and beautiful turquoise water. Wander down to the southern tip to watch the sunset from Gantheaume Point (where you can also see dinosaur footprints at low tide).
2. Sun Pictures: the world’s oldest outdoor cinema screening current and golden oldie films. BYO food and drink, grab a deck chair, and kick back (don’t forget to look up - the star filled sky will amaze you). broomemovies.com.au
3. Sunrise over Roebuck Bay: Wake up early and make your way to Town Beach (where the locals hang out) to watch the sunrise over Roebuck Bay. If it is a very low tide you can walk out to rusted remains of the flying boats shot down in WWII and see them silhouetted against the glowing sky.
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To do in the Kimberley
1. Horizontal Falls: experience the magic of the Horizontal Falls with a flight over the Buccaneer Archipelago with Kimberley Aviation. In a tiny 4-seater plane, your jaw will drop as you fly low over these incredible natural wonders.
2. The Giant Tides: visit Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and take a high-speed boat out to King Sound to see the world’s largest tropical tides. Renowned for its 10 metre tides, you will be in for an adrenalin-racing ride over standing waves and whirlpools.
3. Cape Leveque: this incredibly remote spot boasts some of the best beaches in the Kimberley (not to mention one of our favorite camp grounds - see below).
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1. Cable Beach Club: for its location, if nothing else. This is definitely the best sleeping option in Broome. cablebeachclub.com/stay
2. Kooljaman: at Cape Leveque is an Aboriginal owned wilderness camp 220 kilometres north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsular, surrounded by a diversity of natural wonders. Completely off-the-beaten-track, you will need a 4WD to get here (or take a flight with Kimberley Aviation). kooljaman.com.au
3. Ramada Eco Beach Resort: for eco-friendly accommodation along the pristine and untouched Eco Beach. The food is great, the service is super warm and friendly, and the beach is stunning. Just one hour drive (or a 20 minute chopper ride) from Broome. ecobeach.com.au
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1. Be pampered with a facial at the Chahoya Spa at the Cable Beach Club (or any treatment for that matter). cablebeachclub.com/chahoya-spa
2. Re-energise with a Chakra Balance or Crystal Matrix Healing at Ancient Earth. ancientearth.com.au
3. Do sunrise yoga at the Blue Body Buddha Sanctuary - an open air, community space built in 2003 that houses a 3-metre tall crystal Buddha statue and beautiful gardens. bluebody.com.au