Broome

Travel period 20-21 May 2017

Where the Red Desert Meets the Sea

Broome is a unique town, on a peninsula, where one of the world’s last great wildernesses meets the Indian Ocean.

Also known as a pearling town, Broome is rich and colourful history has created a multicultural melting pot that is reflected in the town’s welcoming and laid-back feel.

How to Get There

We travelled to Broome from Derby via the Great Northern Hwy, taking about two hours by car. If you travel from interstate, Virgin Australia and Qantas fly to Broome and it is serviced by most Australian capital cities. Otherwise, it is a 2,226-kilometre drive from Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. 

The crystal clear waters and mangrove lined banks of Willie Creek Pearl Farm are home to all kinds of wildlife, from barramundi to brolgas and even a saltwater croc!

Overview of Broome

Broome is a town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Located 1,681 kilometres north of Perth, it is the largest town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The town is a popular holiday hub and gateway to the wild Kimberley region. Its famed Cable Beach faces west, allowing for gorgeous, unspoilt sunsets every evening on the vast sandy beach and the remote Outback post in an untouched wilderness, where nature and adventures beckon.

We arrived in Broome just after 10am, then we stopped at the Visitor Centre to inquire about accommodation for the night and booked the Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour.   

As it was too early for us to check in, we started to explore the town and visited the Broome Courthouse Markets.

Broome Courthouse Markets

Held in the beautiful Heritage listed gardens of the Broome Courthouse, the Courthouse markets trading every Saturday all year and Sunday from April to October. It was a great colourful vibe at the Courthouse markets, with a large range of food vendors including Indonesian, Filipino, Chinese, Indian, Thai, hamburgers, crepes and gourmet coffee. 

As we were wandering around, we could not resist sampling some of the local food such as the Indonesian chicken satay, Thai curry puff, Vietnamese steamed pork dumpling, iced coffee and iced mocha frappé; let us tell you that they were delicious! There were other regular local stalls selling plants, books, fresh produce, jewellery and clothing made from unusual materials.

The Courthouse markets is finishing at 1pm, and that gave us plenty of time to soak up the local arts and crafts before we kept going to our next destination, which was the Willie Creek Pearl Farm.

Willie Creek

Willie Creek Pearl Farm

We travelled to Willie Creek Pearl Farm via Broome-Cape Leveque Road, and it takes about 40 minutes. Located just 38 kilometres north of Broome, Willie Creek Pearl Farm is a family owned and operated business.

Being recognised as one of the most awarded tour attractions in Western Australia, the company has been inducted into the Western Australia Tourism Hall of Fame three times and won two Sir David Brand Awards.

Broome is the home of the South Sea Pearl, the finest in the world and Willie Creek is one of the places that farm Australian South Sea Cultured Pearls. At Willie Creek we learned about history of pearling in Broome and modern-day Pearling. It also offers the complete pearl experience, from the pearl farming to jewellery manufacture.

The Tour

We booked the afternoon Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour through Broome Visitor Centre, and opted for the self-drive. If you do not have your own transport, you can opt “by coach” option or try the “by helicopter” option for the unforgettable travel experience.

As a pearl lover, for me this place is a paradise in an isolated part of the world and a beautiful place to experience the wonders of pearling.

The tour started in the purpose-built hatchery where we learned about the collection and spawning of oysters, also to understand the value of pearls and insights into the creation of stunning jewellery.

The hatchery

A delicious afternoon tea was included in the tour. Variety of cakes, fresh fruits, Australian damper, hot and cold drinks all served and set in the beautiful garden for us to enjoy.

After the afternoon tea break, we were escorted to enjoy a boat ride on the beautiful azure waters of Willie Creek, where we could see first-hand the delicate operations of seeding and harvesting oysters. The knowledgeable guide also explained about the tides, the temperature and the nutrient rich of the water, which makes the perfect environment for pearl producing.

Boat ride

Back onshore this is where the tour ended. Before we left, we made a visit to the jewellery showroom and bought a stunning Australian South Sea Pearl pendant and stud earrings. Love it! Well worth a visit. 😉

The Australian South Sea Cultured Pearl is the most revered pearl in the world for its stunning lustre, colour and size. From this tour we learned a lot about the process of modern cultured pearl farming and what makes the perfect pearl. This was a fascinating tour and we really enjoyed it.

View of Willie Creek Pearl farm from the boat

It was an easy drive back to the town, then we stopped at Moonlight Bay Suites complex to collect the key for our accommodation tonight which located only 150 metres away from Moonlight Bay.

Accommodation

We stayed at Bayside Holiday apartments. The apartments are located opposite Roebuck Bay only minutes from the Chinatown shopping precinct. The fully self-contained apartment was pretty big with separate living room and free cable TV is included. It has an outdoor swimming pool and barbeque area.

After we had a rest and freshened up, we decided to go out for dinner. Having being introduced to Matso’s by fellow travellers, we decided to visit Matso’s brewery.

Matso’s

It is an iconic place to go in Broome, and turned out to be an excellent decision. On the day we went the place was booked out, so we were given the outside table only for an hour before the next booking come.

We ordered the curry dish, the beer tasting and the mango beer, they were great! We really enjoyed it. However, the price is on the high side though!

Beer tasting at Matsos

It was a fun place with friendly staff and awesome speciality brews on tap. The idea of offering sample size measures was great and they do a really good mix of meals. A very enjoyable experience.

The next morning, before we drive back to Derby, we made an early morning walk on the Cable Beach – a vast 22 kilometres stretch of pure white sand and turquoise waters, it is deserving of its regular spot in the best beaches of the world list. It is a perfect place for fishing and kayaking, as well as riding camels off into the sunset.

We have never felt so transfixed by a small place. The desert on one side, the Indian ocean on the other. One that on the surface attracts a lot of visitors eager for a tropical climate with throbbing beach and endless coastline. The other that a thrill seeker as you venture into the outback wilderness.

There is so much to see and discover, so many unique, ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences. From fun beach and adventure sport to aboriginal culture and outback experiences, Broome has it all!

Happy Travels!