Many people think of camels on the beach at sunset when they think of Broome. The northern Western Australia beachside town is iconic for such pictures of orange sunsets and silhouetted camels being ridden by tourists. But there is much more to Broome than just the camels and amazing sunsets, with the town and its surrounds becoming an increasingly popular Australian destination. Nearby are the Horizontal Waterfalls, while the Bungle Bungles are a multi-day trip away. You can also go whale watching, visit the Dampier Peninsula and explore the Kimberley Coast.
Broome has evolved from its days of being a pearling town in the 1880s and has plenty to offer.
Getting to Broome
Many Australians visit Broome as part of road-trip around the country, but if you don’t want to spend days in a car then there are easier ways to get to the remote town. Qantas and Virgin Australia both operate regular flights between Broome and the Western Australia capital of Perth, with a flight time of about 2.5 hours. Qantas also runs direct flights between Melbourne and Broome as well as seasonal flights from Sydney to Broome and Brisbane to Broome. Flight times are about 4.5 hours from Melbourne and around five hours from either Sydney or Brisbane. Flights are also offered from Darwin, with a flight time of just over 1.5 hours.
Broome offers a wide range of hotels, motels, resorts, villas, bed and breakfast facilities and backpacker accommodation.
The jewel in the crown of the local accommodation offerings is Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, located on the famous Cable Beach. The resort features an adults-only pool, a separate family pool, a tennis court, gym, mini golf course, playground and four restaurants offering a wide variety of food. The Oaks Cable Beach Resort, which is located just behind, is also popular and offers spacious studio rooms as well as 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and 3 bedroom villas. Resort facilities include a huge lagoon-style pool and deck, an infinity pool, children’s wading pool, free off-street parking and an onsite restaurant. Oaks Broome Hotel, Bali Hai Resort & Spa and Mangrove Hotel are other highly-rated accommodation options in Broome.
If you are willing to travel out of town a little, the Eco Beach Resort about 1.5 hours’ drive south of Broome is also considered a great place to stay. Set along the picturesque coastline of Cape Villaret, the resort offers 25 ‘Eco Villas’ which are connected by over 1km of elevated recycled boardwalks. There are also 30 safari-style tents, as well as ‘The Beach Houses’ which have uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. Eco Beach Resort has an on-site restaurant and runs a raft of local tours that can be booked for an additional cost.
Broome Travel Insurance
Given the remote location of Broome, taking out travel insurance prior to a trip is highly recommended. Being a relatively small town, Broome only has a small hospital and serious emergencies may need to be airlifted to major capital cities for treatment, potentially at high costs. Things can also go wrong with travel plans on what may seem like an easy domestic trip, with hiccups like lost or delayed luggage, flight delays, missed departures and flight cancellations. If you unexpectedly become ill or injured before your trip, you could also be out of pocket for thousands of dollars in prepaid costs. Travel insurance can protect you with cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits, medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation and even loss or damage of luggage and personal effects. Make sure your trip to Broome is properly covered.
Things to do in Broome
No visit to Broome is complete without a visit to Cable Beach to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean in the evening. Cable Beach is a 22km long stretch of white-sand beach with bright blue waters and has plenty of space to sunbake or swim. Another good spot to watch the sunset is Gantheaume Point, where locals drive onto the beach and enjoy a beverage of an evening. Kids are also entertained by the interesting rock formations around the point.
If you want to see some crocodiles, head to Malcolm Douglas Broome Crocodile Park, where you can watch a feeding as part of your entry fee. Sun Pictures Cinema is a unique old outdoor cinema experience if you want to catch a movie, while Broome Town Beach has an expansive and free outdoor water playground for kids.
Broome Camel Ride on Cable Beach
Three tour operators run camel rides on Cable Beach – Red Sun Camels, Sundowner Camel Tours and Broome Camel Safaris. All are highly-rated and offer sunset rides as well as rides at other times of the day. A one-hour sunset camel ride costs around $100 for adults and $70 for children. Cheaper morning and pre-sunset tours are also available.
Broome Whale Watching
Broome is considered one of the world’s best places to catch a glimpse of a Humpback whale in the wild. The Kimberley region’s waters see over 35,000 Humpback whales set up home as part of their annual migration from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic. The whales spend the winter months from June to October in the warmer waters around Broome.
Multiple operators in Broome offer whale watching tours during these months.
A unique sight, Horizontal Falls is located in the turquoise waters of Talbot Bay where fast-moving tidal currents push through two narrow gorges to create what looks from the air like a waterfall. The waterfall moves in both directions each day, based on if the tide is coming in or going out. The area is not accessible by car, but scenic flights and boat tours are available from Broome year-round.
The famous Bungle Bungles are located in the Purnululu National Park, on Western Australia’s border with the Northern Territory. A World Heritage Area since 2003, the Bungle Bungles have been formed by 20 million years of erosion, creating colourful sandstone towers that are look like beehives. The Purnululu National Park is about nine hours’ drive from Broome, making it a multi-day trip or tour but a worthwhile one.
One of the best ways to explore the wider Broome region is by boat. Multiple small-ship cruise operators run multi-night sailings out of Broome, taking in places like Montgomery Reef, Horizontal Falls, Mitchell Falls, King George Falls and Berkeley River. You can even try your hand at a bit of fishing while onboard some of the cruises.
Located a little over 1.5 hours’ drive north-east of Broome, the Dampier Peninsula is described as the “gateway to the Kimberley Coast”. The Dampier Peninsula has everything from open woodland to tidal flats and mangrove creeks. There is red-earth inland and unspoiled beaches on the edge of the Indian Ocean. The Cape Leveque road is sealed, but high-clearance 4×4 vehicles are still required to access some locations. Tours to the peninsula operate from Broome.
Broome to Darwin
Broome is actually closer to the Northern Territory capital of Darwin that it is to Western Australia’s own capital of Perth. The distance from Broome to Darwin is 1871km (1163 miles), while the quickest path by road from Broome to Perth is 2047km (1272 miles).
The drive from Broome to Darwin takes you through some of the most spectacular natural attractions that Northern Australia has to offer. If you do take the drive, it is worth stopping at places like Geikie Gorge, Lake Argyle, Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), Yellow Water and Kakadu National Park along the way.
When is the best time to visit Broome?
The dry season from May to October is traditionally considered the best and most popular time to visit Broome. Most tours from Broome operate year-round, but local flooding can cause some surrounding attractions to be closed from time to time during the wet season.
Broome enjoys a warm climate year-round. Average maximum temperatures are at their highest between October and April, ranging from 33 to 34.3 degrees Celsius (91 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit). May to September are the coldest months but are still far from cold, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 29 to 32 degrees Celsius (84 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). The region’s dry season generally spans from May to October, while the wet season runs from November to April. However, rain during the wet season generally comes in the form of short, heavy downpours in the afternoons or evening and not prolonged rainy days.
What is the population of Broome?
According to the 2016 census, Broome had a population of 13,984 people. The population can swell with temporary tourists during peak season. Broome traditionally hosts about 1.8 million visitor nights each year, the vast majority of which are domestic travellers.