Broome, Broome........where exactly is it?

Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
Trip End Apr 16, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Friday, December 10, 2010

Now, we know that Australia is big. But when you are sitting in London planning where you might go in Australia you don't really think about the distances. So, it wasn’t until we sat down on the 3 hour flight from Perth (where we had spent a night with Dave Evans from Pembroke and his fiancÚ Mel in their flat near Freemantle) to Broome that we opened up the map to find out where it was.

"Oh sh*t! Is that where we are going?"

“How far is it? How are we going to get back to Perth?”

“Hmm, that can’t be right, the map makes it look like it’s 3,000km away.”

“How many hours would that be on a bus?”

“How are we going to get back?”


So we arrived in Broome where there was, well, very little other than a huge gorgeous beach. Unfortunately it was stinger season so we couldn’t even go in the water and instead sat on the beach trying to plan how to get back down the coast to Perth for Dave and Mel’s wedding in 10 days time.

“There’ll be a couple of buses a day, right?”. Er no. Try 1 every 2 or 3 days. Ah.

Hire cars? No, way too expensive... something about several thousand kilometres of wear and tear.

So, in the end we decided on a compromise: we would get a bus for the first 1,500kms to Exmouth and then hire a “Wicked Camper”. These things have a pretty bad reputation in Oz because firstly they are graffiti-ed all over with crude slogans on the back, usually about Aussies, but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they recently had to take most of the Queensland fleet off the road because they were found to be unroadworthy. But, they were cheap. Less than half the price of the cheapest hire car- and you get a place to sleep!

The bus to Exmouth was extraordinary: 17 hours of absolutely nothing..... literally. Incredible red, scrubby landscape with nothing in between except the odd roadhouse, one mining town and a “post office” that consisted of a red box at a road junction (see photo). We arrived in Exmouth at about 3 in the morning and spent the next day relaxing by the pool in the campsite waiting for our van to arrive. When it did, we were thankful that it was relatively tasteful by Wicked Camper standards: a picture of George Best on the side and “I taste so good you’ll want the recipe” on the back.

 So, after a small delay for provisioning and a round trip between petrol station and rental office because we couldn’t find where to put the petrol in, we set off down the coast, pushing the km counter reset button as we left.  

It was three hours later that we saw another car in our lane. And it was a road train.

Nevertheless we headed on down the coast and spent a very fun few days seeing the sights of northern Western Australia.  The coastline was absolutely stunning with huge beaches and turquoise waters and we also made detours to see Coral Bay beach, the dolphins at Monkey Mia, blowholes on the coast, the (rather small) Pinnacles national park and some stunning gorges in the outback.  There were some lovely things to see but the distances between everything were huge!  We spent the evenings alternating between forking out for a campsite to use the facilities and then having a shower at a public beach and then just pulling up on a sand dune somewhere in the middle of nowhere and having 20km of coastline to ourselves whilst keeping a close eye out for deadly critters having spotted a scorpion our first night camping. We also had absolutely perfect Australian weather the whole way- we barely saw a cloud during the day when it was hot- though tempered by a constant breeze- yet it still cooled nice nicely during the night when literally billions of stars came out for our amusement.

As we headed further south we began to see a few more people and 3,000km and seven days later we passed back through Perth and headed on to the lovely Margaret River where Dave & Mel very kindly let us gate crash their mini-break in a house on the coast with other family & friends from the UK for a leisurely couple of days of beaches (complete with dolphins), ice creams and wine & cheese-tasting - pretty much our idea of heaven.  After they headed back up to Perth for last minute wed-min we carried on a little further to Pemberton to visit a final few vineyards and climb the amusing named Dave Evans tree (Evans is Dave’s surname!) before returning to Perth.  The tree climb turned out to be terrifying (Sarah’s words)/sic (Gordon’s words); it was used as a fire lookout and was a huge tree with metal spikes hammered into in a spiral that you used as a ladder to climb up.  There was no safety netting though and Sarah would have turned around after 10m but was forced to keep going to the top as someone was coming up behind us.  The views at the top 70m up nearly made the climb worthwhile but she was relieved to get back to the ground (with very wobbly legs).  Gordon got his own fright when we stopped for a comfort break by the side of the road and the patch of ground on which he was peeing started slithering and he realised it was in fact an enormous snake.  Cue some incredibly fast backwards-running and some not-at-all-girly screaming followed by an impressive launch back into the van and tire-squealing departure.  We didn’t calmly take a look at it to identify the type of snake but being Australian no doubt a bite would mean certain death within 45 seconds.
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Ruth and Peter on

Dear Both
enjoyed your pictures - what fabulous places you are seeing!4
Happy New Year
Love Peter and Ruth

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