BROOME- A BEAUTIFUL PEARL
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Derby to Broome- 220 kms
WEATHER: sunny, 18 degrees at 8.00am
MILEAGE: 23872 KMS @ Derby
We took in some last minute sights on the morning we left Derby and photographed the jetty at high tide; it was an 11metre tide that took the water to the top of the pylons.
We also photographed the wonderful old boab tree in front of the caravan park and a bauhinia tree with red seeds and red flowers and butterfly leaves which apparently represent the silent relationship between aboriginal men and their mothers- in- law. Both these trees are a Kimberley treat!
Then it was onto the Mowanjum Art Centre, 4 kms up Gibb River Road to investigate the "Spirit of the Wandjina". The Wandjina figures traditionally were featured on rock walls and bark but modern aboriginal artists are using canvas and paper. The strangely haunting face with huge piercing eyes and no mouth represents the spirit that does not need to speak- the other senses are powerful enough. We enjoyed the gallery but didn't purchase anything!
Back on the road along the Great Northern Highway we head for Broome, gateway to the Kimberley!
Now at last it was time to make our own judgement of Broome; we had heard so many conflicting reports about the town- “it’s like the Gold Coast”; “too busy and overdeveloped”; “can’t get reasonably priced accommodation”; “over rated” etc. etc.
We knew about the “overflow parks” that open up in peak season to cater for the extra campers and caravanners so we drove around checking them out when we reached Broome, and all three were fine but we chose the big neat yard belonging to the 7th Day Adventists, paid $20 pn at the lovely back section with no neighbours beside the mango trees. Most of the caravan parks charge $40 pn, so we were happy with this set up.
Sheila took the bikes down and we explored the town on wheels. Broome has extensive bike tracks so getting around was fun and easy.
Let’s tell you first of all that Cable Beach is beautiful and deserves the “best beach” status assigned to it. Sunset and the camels are pretty spectacular and we met up with our road buddies, Judy and Don for drinks and snacks overlooking the beach for one of the sunsets. The beach is quite crowded but if you walk away from the main swimming area you have the place to yourself. The contrasting colours of the landscape are stunning.
Broome has about 16,000 residents but who knows how many tourists pack into the town in the dry season- May to September- one publication mentions 100,000. It is closer to Indonesia than to some of the Australian states.
Founded in the 1880s as a pearling port after it was discovered that the bay had the largest pearl shell in the world; initially the pearl shell was in demand for buttons but with the development of the plastic button in the 1950’s demand fell off; the Japanese had developed the cultured pearl and an Australian was able to learn the process and the industry flourished again and is thriving today. We visited the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm on our tour to Cape Leveque and were impressed with the complicated, labour intensive process that was involved in the production of pearl.
We spent Sunday afternoon at Matso’s Brewery on Roebuck Bay on the other side of the peninsula; it is a great pub and their beers were special and so was the music produced by the duo who were entertaining the large crowd.
Town Beach was a special little village with a good café and swimming beach and we idled away some happy hours there.
We cycled to Gantheaume Point home of the 130 million year dinosaur print which we did not see as the tide was too high but we did see an osprey perched on the light house tower enjoying a fish he had just caught. The views were fabulous- aquamarine water, pindan (rust coloured soil), pure white sand and clumps of green. This combination of colours gives Broome its magic, gorgeous scenery and you just keep admiring the beauty.
A trip to the port late afternoon supplied more views and spectacular scenery; the jetty was busy with fishermen and we were tempted by the half price oysters at the Wharf restaurant right by the water. Broome is all about water and beaches and colours!!!
The weather was hot and sunny, but afternoon breezes off the sea were cooling and refreshing.
Yes we loved Broome and would happily return.