Sure the landscape is sparse to say the least, but only at first glance. Take a closer look, get out there and really look at what is around you, and you will be amazed. There is wildlife all around you, and strange rocks and landscapes. Get a car like we did and make sure to get out there, and be safe. Let people know where you are going and what time you plan to be back. Take lots of water with you, and matches and some way of letting people know where you are if you get stuck.
The Broome Bird Observatory is located out of the town.
10km out of town you turn to the right on a gravel road. 14 km later you arrive at the beach and the Information bureau.
- I think they are also excursions out there, but we had our car.
Take a binocular with you and enough time and patience. Also, don´t forget the sunscreen and a hat. It can be quite warm here.
They have a lot of birds, but they are not exactly waiting for you :-)
There are also several trails you can make, that will explain you some of the plants and trees in this area.
A working pearl farm since the 60's, this is not your commercial Willie's Creek tourist attraction. If you are driving to Cape Leveque (3 hours north), it is worth the side trip. If you are interested in buying pearls direct from the farm (both cultured and seedless), this is definitely the place.
Directions: 2.5 hours on Cape Leveque Rd, 8km past Kooljaman Resort turn off, on right. It is well posted. Go down a 4km red dirt road and an absolute oasis will greet you at the dead-end. 4WD is recommendated, though if you've gotten this far up the penninsula, you are probably in one already.
Visit the gallery, cafe, take a sunset trip on their boat, and/or stay in newly renovated accommodations. Of course, they also have pearls for sale! Pick out beautiful ones already set, or noodle through the stack to find your own matching pair. They can direct you to a Broome jeweler for custom setting (about $200).
A charming way to spend a couple of hours!
At the top of Dampier Penninsula, Cape Leveque is postcard picture perfect with azure seas, red cliffs and white sand. It is about a 3 hour drive from Broome in the Dry season (in the Wet season, I'd advise flying). Explore the beach (driveable if you air down to 18 psi, air is available) and capture the magical light at sunset on the red cliffs.
Take Cape Leveque Rd all the way, 220 km north of Broome, 90km of which is unpaved and sandy so you will need a 4WD. Air your tyres down to 22psi for a smoother ride. It is quite a haul for a day trip, so make a weekend of it.
Accommodations: You can stay at Kooljaman Resort (a bit crowded and you will need advance reservations) in a raised safari tent, cabin, beach hut, or shady patch of dirt. They have a restaurant onsite for those who only want the appearance of roughin it, coffee costs $6. The lowest accommodation rate is $16 per person for an unpowered campsite, beach huts are $60/night. www.kooljaman.com.au
Middle Lagoon is much less crowded, has similiar facilities (minus the restaurant), and is an hour south on the way back to Broome. Get up early (before 8am) to see sting rays feeding in the shallows. Sunrise is the best time for pictures. www.middlelagoon.com.au
Both of these locations have great whale watching June to October.
A remote aboriginal community, One Arm Point is a 3 hour drive from Broome on Cape Leveque Rd. While you're taking in the incredible scenery, visit the Aquaculture Hatchery, an unexpected gem in a remote location.
The hatchery features about 12 small pools filled with marine life from around the area including clown fish, lion fish, barramundi, blue ringed octopi, and a giant sea snail. Scratch a green turtle's shell (they will follow you around the tank to get one), feed a 40kg barramundi (they actually create a vacuum to suck the fish from your fingers with a POP!), and pet a barrmundi cod. They also have a touch tank for kids with sea urchins, anemones, clams, and soft coral. You can walk around by yourself, we just happened to catch a tour at 10am (there were 5 of us), but call ahead to inquire.
This is also where they breed trachus, which only the local peoples are allowed to gather (to the tune of 15 billion tonnes per year). The shells are exported to Italy where they are polished and made into mother-of-pearl buttons, or put into car paint to add sparkle.
$5 town visitor fee plus $5 to visit the hatchery, all of which goes to local projects. Tickets for both are available at the hatchery, which is well-posted as soon as you enter the community.
Pooh ah Ming, the Chinese cook, tells a different version however. He maintained that the five Filipinos planned to steal the ship and took their opportunity when Perrez was assaulted.
In the ensuing struggle, Perrez stabbed Reddell who tried to get help and his son emerged and shot Perrez but he was killed by a sailor called Magdologo who also killed the carpenter when he tried to help the boy.
Next morning the five Filipinos and a Dyak called Pedro de la Cruz bullied the rest of the crew. They decided to sail to Indonesia and sell the vessel for whatever they could get but first they sent the bodies overboard with an anchor and then killed Jimmy the aborigine and the Japanese sailer Ando. Both were tomahawked by de la Cruz leaving the 6 mutineers and 7 crew who sailed first to Adaut and then Macassar in the Celebes.
When they docked the surviving crew went straight to the Dutch authorities who duly arrested all on board.
Two policeman from W.A. were sent over, including the conscientious Constable Patrick Percy who had learnt some Malay. They took statements and returned with the six mutineers who were charged with mutiny and murder.
Both Perrez and de la Cruz were hanged and three others served life sentences while a sixth was set free.
The Ethel returned to its original work of servicing the lugger fleet.
Me, I couldn't stop taking photos of this wonderland of shapes and colours; hope you find time to do the same.
I was curious. No-one went past Gantheaume Point but there was a road there. Curiosity got the better of me and I found the most stunning place in all Broome, just a couple of kilometres from the CBD. Here is the story of how it got its name.
The Ethel was a New Zealand built brigantine designed to run to and from Broome supplying pearling luggers.
Its skipper, Captain Reddell, had a reputation as a hard drinking man who was strong on discipline. In fact, he had already been charged with assaulting two Chinese.
On a clear night the Ethel sailed from Roebuck Bay. It was the 19th October, 1899 and it carried a multi-cultural crew of Dyaks, Malays, Chinese, one Japanese and one aborigine plus 5 Filipinos and 3 whites, the other two being Reddell’s son and a carpenter.
A fight started around 10 p.m. when a Filipino, Peter Perrez, was at the wheel. His version is that Reddell came up and abused him because he was not steering straight but the ship was under the influence of a strong tide.
The captain struck Perrez and asked his son to bring his gun and he duly shot Perrez who retaliated by stabbing the captain. After that he took Reddell’s gun and shot both his son and the carpenter. (continued)
Well, we had to go to Derby as DH had a meeting here. I took the opportunity to see as much as I could in a day. If you have the time and inclination I would suggest only a day. However, you can also organise flights to Horizontal Falls from here as well. Derby is actually in the middle of the Kimberleys so it is quite a convenient place to organise flights.
Please also visit my Derby page to see specific places along the way to Derby and Derby itself..
The trip to Derby is quite interesting. As you drive further north and east the vegetation and colours change from light red and tall grasses to more boabs and deep red.
Streeters Jetty off Dampier Terrace is a small old wooden jetty built out through the mangroves for the old pearling ships to come close into town.
From the road, doesn't look worth walking down, but if you kneel down and look over the edge, you can see tiny red sand crabs hiding in their burrows in the mud with their one giant claw sticking out. . There are also yellow sand crabs, and some small boys pointed out mud-hoppers, strange creatures that look like fish with legs that skip over the mud and water.
When I enlarged the photo I saw that there are also black crabs. The place is teeming with little crabs.
About half way up the coast line heading towards the main Jetty in Broome you can turn down a road and head for a lighthouse, down by the lighthouse to yhe left on low tide you can see Dinasaur footprints on the rocks in the sea not many people can find them or even know anout but thay are there just make sure you go when it`s low tide and look look for to big rocks these are the 2 that have the footprints.
... Broome, its safe and some of the gardens are illuminated at night. Just after the sun has set and the camel beach tours are finished for the day you may even see little red lights high up above the footpath... curious? It's the camel trains walking home on the footpath. They wear little red blinking lights on their saddle blankets so you can see them. Yes, its so dark in Broome at night you can't see a camel! :o)
As previously mentioned, you get a great view of the sunrise from the sand dunes to the East of the town - you can also get close of some beautiful birds of prey which come swooping really low over head. In fact they are a good height above the ground but as the dunes are so high they fly just a couple of metres above.
I saw 5 of them together when I was there in 2001 and they seemed pretty fearless if you were sitting still.
Whilst Cable beach is excellent for sunsets, a short walk East from the town will bring you to a large sand dune overlooking some mangroves from where you get an excellent view of the sunrise.
The link to the map on my Broome page should help you find it!
Gantheaume Point is situated at the southern most end of Cable Beach and is most well known for the dinosaur footprints preserved in the rock. Unfortunately the prints spend most of their time submerged beneath the sea, and are only visible at the lowest of low tides.
But fear not - all is not lost!
Even if you miss seeing the footprints (like we did!), Gantheaume Point is still worth a visit. The red rock formations stand in stark contrast to the sandy expanse of Cable Beach, and you can easily spend an hour exploring.
You can take a bus to Gantheaume Point, or alternatively it is about a 90 minute walk from Broome, beyond the Japanese cemetary.
This photo was taken at a huge bird aviary at Broome, it is a very famous one and i can't remember the name of it!