Planet View: S17°55.662′ E122°13.020′
Street View: S17°55.662′ E122°13.020′
We made our way to Broome from Derby a few weeks ago, finishing up the last few chapters of Malcolm Gladwell’s interesting book Outliers on tape during the roughly 300 kilometer drive. We can understand why Broome is one of the top winter tourist destinations in the country after spending a couple of weeks in the area, the place has it all: a fantastic dry season climate, beautiful swimming beaches, a plethora of restaurants and bars as well as some great fishing off the local beaches and jetty. 28-32°C (82-90°F) every day and 26°C (79°F) in the water, who could ask for more?!
For our first week in Broome we returned to being crammed-in like tinned sardines at the Cable Beach Caravan Park. We soon discovered that getting a spot to sleep in Broome in the tourist season is absolute mayhem. The 10 or so caravan parks (there’s no camping in town) book out weeks in advance, some grey nomads book their spot for the winter a year in advance! Luckily we’re pretty flexible, not requiring much space or power, so were able to slot in at Cable Beach for our first week in town. Even though the place was jam packed the facilities were excellent and we enjoyed being able to walk to beautiful Cable Beach for a morning run or afternoon swim. There are a couple of restaurants at Cable Beach itself, Lisa sprung for a $16 cocktail at the Cable Beach Club one afternoon as we watched the sunset and camels come in from their day of tourist rides along the beach. Cable Beach Caravan Park was like a small city unto itself, all the oldies residing there for the dry season seem to know each other and regularly visit each other’s caravans for dinner and drinks. It’s the biggest caravan park we’ve seen, with almost 400 bays the owners must absolutely rake in the cash. I had to stifle a smile on a number of occasions in the bathrooms as the old men would line up at the washbasins for their daily shave and denture cleaning, having a good conversation with their toothless gums hanging out!
Broome’s town centre is full of restaurants and pubs, one of our favorites was a brew house called Matso’s, where we had a good afternoon session sampling all their beers and ended up staying for dinner. Our favorite is called a ‘chango’: a half-and-half mix of their mango and chili beers. The chili was way too spicy to down a whole glass of it on its own. We returned to Matso’s during our second week back in Broome for another dose of changos, such a good mix of sweet and spice.
I took Lisa for a dose of real Aussie country culture at the Broome Speedway one Saturday night. We sat on The Tank’s bull bar alongside the race course, watching the cars race around the clay track and occasionally being pelted by mud as the street stock class reversed directions for certain races. One class of cars, called ‘supers’, were amazing to watch. With 900+ horsepower behind the wheels they hurl into corners at more than 110 miles per hour, they moved way too fast for a photo in the dark lighting. That’s some serious speed on a clay track! They moved around the track so quickly it appeared they were in a constant turn, always steering around a corner or correcting from oversteer. A lot of fun, and we’ll never forget Lisa mistaking the father and daughter next to us for boyfriend and girlfriend!
A short drive from the town centre is the Port of Broome, a bustling location for fishermen, tourists and live cattle being shipped off to Asia. We stumbled upon half-price afternoon oysters at the swishy Wharf restaurant, Lisa enjoying a few natural with a glass of sparkling and me opting for Kilpatrick. We returned to the port on another afternoon to fish off the jetty, I pulled in about 15 Garfish during an hour session, a lot of work to clean them all but well worth it once they were on the plate. During our second week in Broome we again tried our hand at fishing off the jetty, it was a quick lesson in the power of the tides in this area of the country. The tides here switch from week to week between Neap Tides and Spring Tides: Neap Tides usually have a range of one or two meters between high and low, while Spring Tides have massive eight to 10 meter fluctuations. The immense amounts of water moving during Spring Tides makes the coastal waters very murky and choppy, fishing off the jetty or beach during a Spring Tide is almost a waste of time, it seems. We didn’t even get a bite whilst trying to fish during a Spring Tide off the jetty at Broome’s port.
We also took some small excursions out of Broome to the surrounding areas of 12 Mile and Roebuck Bay. Roebuck Bay is located at the northern end of 80 Mile Beach, just behind the peninsula on which Broome’s located. No swimming in the bay as it’s supposedly full of sharks, but we enjoyed walking the beach and checking out the Broome Bird Observatory located just behind the dunes. 12 Mile is located 12 miles (surprise, surprise…) east of Broome on the way back inland, an array of plantations and horticultural businesses. We stopped off at Kanagae Estate and sampled some of their many mango products: mango wine, hibiscus port and some scrumptious mango-infused pies for lunch.
From Broome we say goodbye to The Tank and again switch to living out of backpacks for a couple of months while we travel through Southeast Asia. But we’ll be back in Western Australia toward the end of October to continue our anti-clockwise route around the Land Down Under…
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