“I want to ride camels on the beach at sunset!”, I announced to Max when he asked me why Broome was on our Western Australia itinerary.
Our original plan was to drive from Perth to Exmouth and spend most of our time diving and snorkelling on the Ningaloo Reef. But as soon as we discovered the stunning scenery at the Karijini National Park and the captivating photos of sunset camel rides in Broome, I knew he had to keep pushing North.
“Could we shuffle our itinerary to stay in Broome for just a bit longer?”, I begged. “With or without the camels, I have a feeling we are really going to love it there”
My intuition was bang on!
Located in the Kimberley region in Western Australia, Broome in a small town, home to just 12,000-14,000 people, surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and renowned for the iconic images of its 22.5km long white sandy Cable Beach. It’s a place where the sun dips into the ocean, where red rocks and blue waters coexist in perfect harmony, and where the red dirt meets the white sandy beaches.
Laid Back Lifestyle
Arriving in Broome I immediately felt the laid back vibe. The streets were quiet, almost deserted, but life was in full swing inside the Cable Beach Caravan Park. Bohemian style caravans lined the streets, kids ran around the grassy areas, their laughter mixed with the notes of Bob Marley’s classics echoing in the distance. Holiday makers lounged in their camping chairs with a book or a beer in hand, squinting at the late afternoon sun. I could tell that Broome was the kind of place people would struggle to say goodbye to.
We parked our dusty campervan, threw on some beach covers and made our way to Cable Beach. I expected it to be packed. Surely, the biggest attraction in Broome would be the centre of activity on this beautiful hot autumn afternoon. But to my greatest surprise it was almost secluded. About a dozen of lounge chairs were dotted along the wide beach. The low tide was making the beach look even longer, wider, and more impressive than the photos I’d seen prior to our visit. We walked down towards the Southern end on the beach, plopping ourselves onto our towels as soon as we reached the swim area.
A lonely trailer sat at the back of the beach offering visitors a pick of activities for the day. You could hire umbrellas, lounge chairs, boogie boards, stand up paddle boards, surf boards, and even a bucket of toys for the little ones.
The water was a bit chilly, so I let Max jump in alone, while I snapped a few photos and stretched out on the white sand letting the sun shower me with warm afternoon kisses. I was blissfully relaxed and happy and it didn’t take long for me to doze off into a perfect afternoon nap.
There is something really magical about watching the sun dip into the ocean, especially for us, having lived on the East Coast for the last 2.5 years. We are not committed enough to wake up for sunrise, so this was as rare of a sight as it gets. We took our time relishing the day’s end, first by celebrating a great day with some cocktails and snacks at Zanders on the Esplanade, followed by a leisurely sunset walk to the Northern part of the beach.
The colours were beautiful, blue shades of the sky blending with golden rays of sun, filling the beach with a warm glow. We cruised along taking in the views all around us.
As if on cue, just as the sun started to touch the horizon, a train of camels appeared in the distance. They meandered along the beach, loaded with tourists on their backs. I sunk to my knees, tucking my feet into the warm golden sand patiently waiting for the perfect photo moment.
Soon the horizon erupted into a shade of pink, perfectly complimenting the blue hues that were lingering in the sky.
“Want to hop on one of these tomorrow?”, Max interrupted my drifting thoughts nodding in the direction of the camels.
“Nah. I think the views from the side totally beat the views from their backs”
Satisfied with our day, we walked back to the caravan park, passing by the glowing lights of restaurants along the way. The scent of frangipani trees fused with the aroma from the restaurant kitchens, while music and buoyant chatter erupted from the patios. The mood was festive. It made me feel thousands of miles away from the red dirt of the outback and the desolate landscape that surrounded the town. Like an oasis in the desert, Broome was filled with joy and delight.
We awoke at the crack of dawn, like an early bird hoping to catch the worm. It was market day, and you should know, I LOVE markets. The Courthouse Markets have been a fixture in Broome for over 20 years, operating weekly on Saturdays and Sundays (April to October). Inside it felt like the heart of the Broome community. Stallholders were joyfully chatting with one another, catching up on the week’s events, while the visitors were perusing the stalls for the local pearl finds, photography, handmade clothing, toiletries, and art pieces. Locals were going along with their weekly routine.
“I’ll have the usual“, they would say to the barista at the ever so popular Kimberley Coffee. It’s a 10-15 minute wait for each order but supposedly it’s worth it.
A market visit isn’t complete without a banana Nutella crepe, and luckily for Broome the Patty Wagon stall didn’t disappoint.
Full and happy, we left the market to check out Broom’s biggest historical landmark, the Gantheaume Point. It is here that you can view 130 million year old dinosaur footprints, which can be spotted on the red rock cliffs overlooking the turquoise waters. A replica of the footprints is located at the entrance to Gantheaume Point allowing visitors to see the signs of ancient life even at high tide.
The red rocks hug the jagged shore, offering a stark contrast and ideal opportunity for photo enthusiasts. We took our time exploring the rocks, pausing to admire their beauty and reflect on the historic significance of the site.
Afterwards we headed down for a few hours on the beach and before we knew it, it was time to say good bye.
Without much effort Broome has made its way onto the list my favourite places in all of Australia. Its simplicity and uncomplicated ways, made it a perfect place to wind down and reflect on our epic Western Australia adventure. Broome’s community feeling, intriguing history, encapsulated by a beautiful setting make it a city easy to enjoy.
I’m sure the locals can give you 50 other reasons they love life in Broome, but for me, 5 were more than enough.