A trip to Broome is almost on everyone’s wish list. Doubly so when the rest of the country is in winter slumber and the azure tropical waters and red plunging cliffs and the wilderness of the Kimberley are beckoning.
The town’s tropical climate, eclectic multicultural history and those iconic sunsets make for an appealing holiday.
This travel guide will help you plan your trip to Broome. Find information about the best time to visit, things to do and the best places to stay in Broome, Western Australia.
Table of Contents
Broome is an eclectic mix of natural beauty and fascinating history. Starting out as a pearling town in the 1880s, Broome quickly attracted a multitude of nationalities including Japanese, Chinese, Malays and Europeans who came to seek their fortunes in the pearling industry.
Today, Broome remains a multicultural hotpot with indigenous, Asian and European cultures giving Broome it’s unique appeal.
The Yawuru people are the traditional custodians of the land with over 84 Aboriginal communities present in the Shire of Broome.
Broome has two distinct seasons – wet and dry. The warm and dry winter months run from May to October. This is the Kimberley’s dry season and the best time to visit Broome weatherwise. Temperatures are a balmy 30 plus degree and it’s slightly less humid with clear skies.
This of course is also the busiest time of the year for Broome. Many tours and some of the best places to stay around Broome are frequently booked out. If you do plan to travel to Broome in the dry season, especially during school holidays ensure that you book well in advance. Even the camel rides can be fully booked during this time.
The Broome west season runs between November and April. During this time, thunderstorms and heavy rain are frequent. The wet season can also coincide with cyclones. Many people avoid wet season, but this time of the year can also have its charm. It’s less busy and the temperamental weather makes for an incredible natural spectacle.
There are still plenty of things to do in the wet season in Broome. The towns museum, art galleries and even crocodile park are just some of the things to do during the wet. If you do go during this time, note that some tours and accommodation options may not be available at this time of year.
In my view, March and September are the best time of the year to visit Broome. There are slightly less visitors and although the weather can still be hot and wet, there are many beautiful dry days.
Where to stay in Broome
Broome has many different accommodation options. These range from luxury resort style options to more basic backpackers, cabins and chalets.
When you decide on where to stay in Broome, you’ll have two options. Either staying on Cable Beach or staying near the Town Centre along Roebuck Bay. While Broome is not a big place but it is quite spread out. To get from the Town Centre in Broome to Cable Beach is nearly 6km or a 10 minute drive. So whichever place you choose to stay, you’ll either need a car or rely on the bus or taxi to get from one side to the other.
On our first trip to Broome, we decided to spend three nights at Beaches at Cable Beach and two nights at the Mangrove Hotel near the Centre. This was not a bad option as it allowed us to experience both sides of the town, particularly as we didn’t have our own car.
Places to Stay in Cable Beach
Most first time visitors to Broome choose to stay near Cable Beach. This is where you’ll find the world-famous Cable Beach Resort, magnificent sunsets and the iconic Broome camel rides.
The Cable Beach area is fairly spread out. Even though some of the places to stay in Cable Beach are advertised as being near Cable Beach they are still a decent walk from the beachfront and other amenities.
Cable Beach is best described as a suburb and doesn’t have a central hub. Accommodation, restaurants and shops are scattered around a large area.
Cable Beach Resort is the only place with direct beach access and probably the most luxury places to stay in Broome. All other places are set further back from the beach. Other popular accommodation options in Cable Beach include Bali Hai Resort, Kimberley Sands as well as a few backpackers and caravan parks which also have chalet style accommodation.
Amenities at Cable Beach include the general store, located next to the RAC Caravan Park. This sells your essentials but for bigger grocery shopping you’ll need to head to the town centre.
Places to Stay in Broome Town
Broome Town Centre on the other hand offers beautiful views of the mangroves and is easy vicinity to the town centre and its attractions such as Chinatown, many art galleries, Broome museum and Town Beach. It’s also close to the airport but if you have luggage you’ll still need a taxi, private car or the bus to get from the airport to your accommodation.
Broome has very good walk and cycle paths and taking a stroll along the bay early morning or late afternoon is a truly wonderful way to soak up the tropical atmosphere.
If you’re after more of town vibe and keen to go out after the dark, staying near the town centre is a good option The main downside to staying in the centre of town is that it’s a fair distance from Cable Beach. However, if you have your own car or don’t mind taking the bus, this is not a hindrance.
Some excellent places to stay this part of Broome include the Mangrove Hotel, Oaks and Moonlight Bay Suites.
Things to do around Broome
Most of Broome’s best things to see and do pivot around the town’s natural and historical attractions.
Many of the attractions in Broome and Cable Beach can be done on foot or using the Broome Explorer bus, depending on where you’re staying. Some of the other attractions however, such as Willie Creek Pearls, Horizontal Falls and the Dampier Peninsula are further out. To get to these places, you’ll either need your own car or go on a guided tour.
Being one of WA’s most premier tourist town, means that Broome is well decked out for visitors. There are many excellent tour operators in Broome offering a variety of day trips and guided tours to the regions best attractions. Tours can be booked online in advance or at Broome Visitor’s Centre as well as directly at many of the accommodation providers.
1. Cable Beach
Sitting on a deckchair under an umbrella at Cable Beach is one of Australia’s most iconic experience. So named because of the telephone cable that was laid to connect Australia to Indonesia, Cable Beach is regularly named as one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. Laze the day away, take a stroll along the 22km long pristine beach, either way it’s an experience not to be missed.
2. Broome Camel Ride
Camel Rides are synonymous with Broome. Cable Beach has three camel ride operators with each offering sunset rides as well as shorter morning rides.
Many people ask what the the best camel ride in Broome is. In reality, there’s not much difference between the red, yellow and blue camels. They all offer early morning tours, or the popular sunset rides.
If you’re planning on going to Broome during the peak holiday season, book in advance to avoid disappointment as they do book out.
3. Gantheaume Point and Dinosaur Footprints
Gantheaume Point is located a few kilometres south of Cable Beach. It’s easily accessible by car. Here you’ll see Broome’s spectacular colours at their best. Deep red plunging cliffs meet turquoise waters.
Gantheaume Point is also one of the places where you can see fossilised dinosaur footprints dating back millions of years. The best time to see the Broome dinosaur footprints is at low tide.
4. Courthouse Markets
For a different thing to do in Broome, visit the Courthouse Markets. These are located in a beautiful heritage listed precinct and offer a variety of stalls selling locally made arts and craft.
There’s also a plethora of food trucks with many delicious eating and drinking options. The Broome markets are held every Saturday and Sunday morning from end of April to October and Saturday only during the wet season.
5. Broome Chinatown
Broome Chinatown originated from the original pearling sheds and remains a testament to Broome’s unique multicultural past.
Today, Chinatown remains the central shopping area where you can browse the numerous galleries of photography, art, jewellery and enjoy an alfresco meal.
There are also many information plaques around the area giving more insight into Broome’s history.
6. Town Beach
Town beach is a shady oasis on the shores of Roebuck Bay and is ideal for families. There are picnic tables and BBQs and a water playground for the kids.
Town Beach is also the starting point for the walk onto the mudflats of Roebuck Bay. At extremely low tides you can view the WWII Catalina Flying Boat wrecks. The Flying Boats were destroyed by a Japanese air raid on Broome on 3 March of 1942 with a loss of 88 people. The wrecks are only available on a few days each year depending on the tide.
7. Staircase to the Moon
On two or three evenings each month between March and October, the Staircase to the Moon occurs. As the full moon rises above the tidal flats in Roebuck Bay it reflects on the rivulets of water creating the optical illusion of a golden staircase to the moon.
On most evenings when this natural phenomenon occurs there are markets held at Town Beach, which is one of the best places to see the Staircase to the Moon in Broome.
8. Willie Creek Pearl Farm
For one of the most unique things to do in Broome, visit the Willie Creek Pearl Farm. Uncover the history of pearling in Broome and witness how pearls evolve from the farm to luxurious showrooms around the world.
The Willie Creek Pearl Farm includes a boat ride through the turquoise waters to get to the farm with lunch options at the stunning Willie Creek restaurant.
9. Broome Historical Society Museum
This quaint museum is a must do for anyone interested in Broome’s fascinating past and one of the best things to do with kids in Broome.
Learn about the town’s pearling history, the bombing during World War II, aboriginal history and even the dinosaur footprints.
There are plenty of excellent information and artefacts to give a great insight into Broome’s history.
10. Matsos Brewery
Sitting in the eclectic beer garden at Matsos with a cold beer and breathtaking views of those Kimberley colours has to be one of the best things in life.
11. Art Galleries
Broome has an amazing array of art galleries. It’s little wonder that Broome and the Kimberley’s stunning colours and landscapes have attracted many artists and photographers. These are on vivid display at many of the art galleries around Broome.
Black Stump Gallery features work from many contemporary artists in the Kimberley region.
12. Michael Douglas Crocodile Park
Step through the huge crocodile head at Malcolm Dougla’s crocodile park and enter a prehistoric world.
The crocodile park is home to some of Australia’s largest crocs. Make sure that you coincide your visit with feeding time. The guided tour is fantastic and the guides have plenty of amusing stories to tell about the wild beasts behind the fences.
13. Broome Sun Pictures
Step back in time at the historic Broome cinema. The open air cinema continues to show movies and is also a living museum with vintage posters and memorabilia from yesteryear.
Getting around in Broome
There are two main parts to Broome. The first is the town area which includes Chinatown and Town Beach. This area is facing Roebuck Bay and includes attractions such as Matsos, the Museum, Mangrove Hotel, High School and Hospital.
The other side is Cable Beach. Many of the more notable resorts are on this side, including Kimberley Sands, Cable Beach Resort and Bali Hai to name a few.
Broome is not a large place but it feels quite spread out and it’s not really a place where you can walk from one place to the other very quickly. From Cable Beach to Chinatown is 5.8km or about 10 minutes by car. Also, if you’re staying at Cable Beach, it can be quite a walk to get from one place to another.
While Broome has the explorer bus, which is a good way to get from one side of town to the other, you will need a car to get to some of the places that are further away, including Gantheaume Point, the Crocodile Farm and many other attractions. If you don’t have your own car, you will need to join a tour which can be quite expensive to see some of these other places.
Broome Rental Cars
Broome has a good variety of rental car options. Most large rental companies including Hertz and Avis are present in Broome with pickups available near the airport. Broome Broome Cars is a Broome operated owner operated business and has a large fleet of cars including superior 4WD options. They also have scooters for rent. If you are planning on renting a car, ensure that you do this in advance if you’re travelling during the peak season.
Broome Public Bus Service
The Broome Explorer Bus is Broome’s only public transport option. It’s an affordable and friendly way to get from Cable Beach to the the town and stops at most of the larger accommodation providers. The main limitations are that the last service is at 6.45 during peak season.
This means that if you want to get from one end of the other for dinner, you’ll most likely have to take a taxi to get back. It can also get crowded during peak times.
The bus runs seven days a week and has bus stops at most major tourist accommodation sites as well as it does a circuit from Town Beach, Chinatown, Boulevard Shops and Cable Beach. Bus services run half hourly during peak season and hourly during off peak.
There are additional services for special events such as night markets and staircase to the moon.
Passes and tickets can be purchased on the bus. There are options for multi-rider passes, 72-hour and 12-hour passes. Concession fares are available and kid under 16 ride free.
Broome Bicycle Hire
Broome’s flat terrain and extensive cycle paths makes it ideal to explore by bike.
Broome Cycles has bike hire either from the shop in town or the trailer located at Cable Beach. There’s a good variety of bikes available including mountain bikes and fat bikes to hit up along Cable Beach.
For more info click here.
How to get to Broome
Broome has daily flights from Perth and regular flights from Darwin all year round.
There are also seasonal direct flights to Broome from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.