It’s dawn on Town Beach and as the sun rises over Roebuck Bay an Indigenous man stands on the groyne calling to the sun in his language, asking for strength and guidance.
I take a moment to chat to him as he walks back. He tells me that he is far from his home; his family and children are in Victoria. He went on a trek after feeling a calling to visit Uluru. He then felt he had more to discover and travelled on to Broome. He feels the place will offer him further opportunity to heal and help him be a better man. He is truly finding himself.
It’s a moving and spiritual moment; one of the many highlights on my inaugural visit to Broome.
Broome has much to offer visitors and since the lifting of travel restrictions people have descended on the town in droves.
As a first timer to the region I was excited about exploring the historic pearling town and explore I did.
Home base for the trip was McAlpine House; a heritage home built in 1900 for a master pearler and then purchased by Lord McAlpine in the 1980s. It’s now a boutique lodge (fully licensed) on Herbert Street owned and operated by Marilynne Paspaley. Offering eight well-appointed rooms centering around the swimming pool and breakfast room.
Staying here feels like you are a part of the history of the town and Marilynne and manager Ronaldo make guests feel very welcome with their delicious daily breakfasts and wealth of knowledge of the town, offering a homely and tranquil place to stay.
Broome is busy so if you are heading up there make sure you book ahead for restaurants and tours. Due to the border closures there are staff shortages and getting into restaurants and doing tours on the fly isn’t always possible.
There’s an abundance of restaurants in Broome and one of my favourites included the Aarli, which offers an Asian fusion menu. We sat in the courtyard and enjoyed the warmth of the Australian tropics while feasting on some sensational dishes. I am still savouring the kingfish sashimi marinated in young coconut, kaffir lime leaves and chilli.
Matsos Brewery is also a great spot to visit and we went twice, enjoying the atmosphere, good brews and food.
One evening we jumped in the hire car and headed 35kms up the Derby Road to Roebuck Roadhouse for a real Australian outback experience. I had been told from the car hire people they do a brilliant steak and we were not disappointed. It was a real slice of outback Australia and we feasted on the biggest and very delicious ‘surf and turf’. On the way home we stopped on a side road to soak up the stars which abound in the clear night sky with no city lights to interfere.
In six-days we covered a lot of ground and really got a feel for the town, learning much about its history.
It’s pearling history means it’s a multicultural town and this is reflected when taking a walk around the very ordered Japanese cemetery filled with people who made Broome home and ultimately their final resting place. They also have an Islamic and Chinese section.
The Broome Historic Museum is a must do, offering a huge collection of information about pearling, dinosaur footprints in the area and a stunning shell collection that even wowed Queen Elizabeth II in 1963.
We wandered through Chinatown and had the opportunity to attend the final markets of the season at the newly renovated Town Beach.
I browsed the shelves of the Kimberley Bookshop and popped into Magabala Books, the Indigenous bookshop and publisher and found some interesting material.
Roger from Broome Trike Tours is a character. He zoomed us around town giving us a great overview and history while showing us some of his favourite spots. But hold on to your hats for this exciting experience.
The big adventure for the week was heading to Horizontal Falls with Go Beyond Broome to discover the northernmost tip of Western Australia, the Buccaneer Peninsular. This part of the country is breathtaking and I am so glad we included this trip in our itinerary. It’s a 10-hour day tour which includes a light plane ride to Cockatoo Island, followed by a fascinating cruise through Yampi Sound and Talbot Bay. Horizontal Falls is a natural phenomenon caused by fluctuating tides making it literally a horizontal waterfall and the boat zooms through the tidal flow. It’s exhilarating, spectacular and fun.
Our tour guide, Amy, was very informative; we learnt so much from her about the flora, fauna and history of the area. There was so much beauty to take in I was just gobsmacked and it was worth every cent. The ancient landscape made us feel humble.
As our holiday drew to an end, I felt relaxed, happy and lucky to be able to appreciate this northern town. I now want to experience a few days in the wet season.
There’s something about this town that gets under your skin… there’s nothing better than a week on Broome Time!
McAlpine House, 9192 3886, www.mcalpine house.com.au
Go Horizontal Falls Tours, 9192 5577, www.gohorizontalfallstours.com.au
Broome Trike Tours, 0407 575 237, www.broometriketours.com.au
The Aarli, 99192 5529, www.theaarli.com.au
Matsos Broome Brewery, 9193 5811, www.matsos.com.au