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10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Broome

Written by Karen Hastings
Oct 7, 2019

Basking under a tropical sun and bathed by turquoise seas, Broome is a remote tourist town and a gateway to the natural wonders of the Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia. The scenery along this stretch of coast is stunning. Striking blue seas splash against red-hued coastal cliffs, and a startling diversity of shorebirds dot the tidal flats of Roebuck Bay.

The town was once the pearling capital of the world, luring many Japanese, Malay, and Chinese divers who came here seeking their fortune. Today, you can explore this fascinating history in the town's museum or on a popular pearl farm tour.

Other popular things to do include sunset camel rides along the sweeping shores of Cable Beach, basking on the beaches of Broome, kayaking, and whale-watching. Broome fishing is also fantastic-it's one of the top spots to cast a line in Australia.

Cable Beach looking towards Gantheaume Point

Broome and The Kimberley region is one of Australia's most remote areas. The distance from Western Australia's capital city of Perth to Broome is about 2,200 kilometers, and from Darwin to Broome it's about 1,870 kilometers, so once you make it here, whether by car or plane, it makes a great base for day trips to other attractions in The Kimberleys. Book a scenic seaplane tour to the spectacular Horizontal Falls or take a 4WD safari to Cape Leveque, or Windjana National Park, and Tunnel Creek along the legendary Gibb River Road.

For help planning all your sightseeing adventures, see our list of the top tourist attractions in Broome, Australia.

1. Cable Beach

Sunset camel ride on Cable Beach

Stretching for 22 kilometers, Cable Beach is an iconic strand of dazzling white sand and turquoise sea. The beach takes its name from the communications cable laid between Broome and Java in 1889. Today, 4WD vehicles trundle along the beach as sun seekers search for the perfect patch of sand-and there's plenty to go around.

Be sure to bring an umbrella or awning; the beach sizzles in the heat of the day. From November to May, dangerous irukandji jellyfish inhabit the waters, but swimmers can paddle along the shore at other times of the year.

Sunset camel rides are one of the top things to do at Cable Beach, and many travel brochures feature photos of silhouetted figures padding along the shore on these graceful beasts. After a day on the beach, you can refuel at the restaurant and café.

Keep an eye on the tides; they can vary by as much as nine meters.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Broome

2. Horizontal Falls Scenic Flight

Horizontal Falls Scenic Flight | Robyn Jay / photo modified

For an adrenalin-packed adventure, it's hard to beat a scenic seaplane flight to the magnificent Horizontal Falls. The falls are actually seething tides squeezed through two narrow gorges.

The popular Horizontal Falls Full-Day Tour from Broome by 4x4 & Seaplane gives you multiple perspectives of this breathtakingly beautiful region. First, you'll travel by 4WD along the Dampier Peninsular to pristine beaches. Then, you'll board a seaplane for an exhilarating flight along the red cliffs and rocky islets of the Buccaneer Archipelago, known as the Thousand Islands, of Western Australia's northwest coast to Cape Leveque, with a water-landing on Talbot Bay.

From here, passengers usually board a jet boat for an exhilarating cruise through the falls. Shark feedings and shark swims add to all the excitement (swimmers can view the action from the safety of a shark cage), and a picnic lunch on a pontoon tops off the day before your return flight to Broome.

If you're short on time, opt for the Horizontal Falls half-day tour from Broome, which includes flights in both directions to maximize your time on the water.

3. Staircase to the Moon

Town Beach | lin padgham / photo modified

About two or three days a month between March and October, locals and tourists flock to Broome's Town Beach for a mesmerizing sight. When a full moon rises over Roebuck Bay, its reflection gleams off the vast tidal flats, creating an optical illusion that resembles steps ascending into the dusk sky. The Mangrove Hotel overlooking the beach is a great vantage point.

During this popular phenomenon, Town Beach hosts the Staircase Markets, where shoppers can stock up on handmade gifts, and sample snacks from around the world (cuisine ranges from Thai and Chinese to laksa, satay, and pizza). Live music lends a festive ambiance.

At other times, Town Beach is a local's favorite with a popular café where mom and dad can relax while the kids run wild in the adjacent water park.

Official site: http://www.broomecourthousemarkets.com.au/staircase-markets

4. Gantheaume Point

Gantheaume Point

The striking contrast between the red cliffs and eye-popping blue sea of Gantheaume Point is sure to impress even veteran photographers. The point lies south of Cable Beach, about six kilometers from town.

At low tide, dinosaur footprints, reputedly more than 130 million years old, are barely perceptible in the exposed reef, but you can view a plaster cast of them embedded into the top of the cliff. But if you're hunting for the footprints in the intertidal zone, make sure you wear appropriate shoes for clambering over the rocks.

A lighthouse overlooks the Indian Ocean and, at the end of the road to Gantheaume Point, lies Anastasia's Pool. The former lighthouse keeper carved this small rock pool so his arthritic wife could bathe. It's a lovely spot to soak on a hot day.

To the left of Gantheaume Point is a great fishing beach.

5. Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park

Saltwater crocodile | lin padgham / photo modified

Cuddle a baby crocodile, see the rare cassowary, or pat a kangaroo. At the Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park, about a 15-minute drive from Broome, animal lovers can enjoy close-up views of some of Australia's quirkiest and most formidable creatures and learn about their habitat and behaviors.

This is more than just a crocodile park. Wallabies, dingoes, snakes, and lizards also inhabit the park, as well as a range of feathered critters, from emus to cockatoos and kookaburras. Stay for the croc feeding at 3pm, when some of the largest crocodiles in Australia demonstrate their surprising agility as they lunge for food.

About a five-minute drive from here, 12 Mile Bird Park features an array of exotic and indigenous birds representing 80 different species.

Address: Broome Road, Roebuck, Western Australia

Official site: https://www.malcolmdouglas.com.au/

6. Broome Historical Museum

Japanese Cemetery | Philip Schubert / photo modified

All newcomers should pop into the Broome Historical Museum for an overview of the town's fascinating history. Though small, the museum features informative exhibits on the pearling industry, cyclones, Broome's One Day War, seashells, and displays of aboriginal artifacts.

Allow a couple of hours here to fully absorb all the history, but if you run out of time, ask the friendly volunteers for a pass, so you can revisit the museum during your stay. Kids can embark on their own learning adventure with the museum's quiz. Visiting this museum is also one of the most popular Broome wet season activities, since it's one of the few things to do indoors.

History buffs who are particularly interested in Broome's pearling past may want to visit the Japanese cemetery, where a tall column commemorates the Japanese pearl-fishers who lost their lives in a cyclone in 1908.

Address: Robinson Street, Broome

Official site: http://www.broomemuseum.org.au/

7. Sun Pictures

Recline in a deck chair under a star-spangled sky and enjoy a movie at the oldest outdoor cinema in operation. Sun Pictures, in the heart of Broome's Chinatown, screens a couple of movies a night, and it also has an interesting story of its own.

The cinema was born in the early 1900s as a store owned by the Yamasaki family. The family happened to love movies, so they converted part of their shop into a little Japanese playhouse. In 1913, a pearler purchased the building and transformed the store into a cinema.

Sun Pictures welcomed its first official audience in 1916 with a silent movie and has been screening movies ever since, despite frequent tidal flooding over the years. Today, the cinema is heritage-listed, and a levy tames the tides.

Before the movie, film buffs can pop into the small museum and browse the cinema memorabilia.

Address: Carnarvon Street, Broome, Western Australia

Official site: https://www.broomemovies.com.au/sunpictures

8. Pearl Farm Tours

Pearl Farm Tours | Cliff / photo modified

Broome was once the pearling capital of the world, and today you can take a tour and learn how local pearl farms culture highly acclaimed South Sea pearls.

Willie Creek and Cygnet Bay pearl farms both offer popular tours, which demonstrate the entire process: from the initial oyster seeding to harvesting and grading. Tours are via land, sea, and air, depending on the tour operator and each traveler's time constraints.

Of course, no visit would be complete without an opportunity to purchase some of these South Sea beauties as a souvenir when you're shopping in Broome. You can pick up some pretty pearl jewelry at the many stores in Chinatown.

9. Whale Watching Trips

Humpback whales off Broome

Seeing a humpback whale breach from the turquoise blue water is an unforgettable experience, and you can reserve a front row seat for this must-see experience in Broome. From June through September, these gentle giants of the sea migrate from the frigid waters of Antarctica to the warm waters off Broome to mate, give birth, and nurse their young.

The best way to see them is on a 4.5-hour Whale Watching Sunset Cruise aboard a comfortable catamaran. Not only can you see these magnificent animals up close, you'll also hear their sounds with the onboard hydrophone. Snacks and some refreshments are included.

10. Day Trip to Windjana Gorge & Tunnel Creek

Windjana Gorge

If you don't have time for a multi-day trip to the rugged outback of The Kimberley, a day trip from Broome is a great way to get a taste of this spectacular region. The Windjana Gorge National Park and Tunnel Creek 4WD Tour from Broome visits these two top attractions and more. Along the way, an expert guide will share fascinating information about the local Bunuba people and their way of life, as well as details about the region's ecology.

First stop is the Boab Prison Tree, outside the town of Derby. Although legend has it that the tree was once a temporary prison, evidence suggests that it was actually used by the local indigenous people as a shelter and possibly a burial site.

Next, the tour traverses the legendary Gibb River Road, a famous 4WD-route through the Kimberley, and one of Australia's top outdoor adventures, to the saw-toothed Windjana Gorge, where you can gaze up at the soaring 100-meter rock walls and look for fossils along this ancient reef. Corellas flock in the surrounding gum trees, and freshwater crocodiles lurk in the pools.

From here, the tour heads to Tunnel Creek, where you can delve deep inside Australia's oldest cave system to see more freshwater crocodiles, bats, and dramatic stalactites and stalagmites.

All meals are included, as well as hotel pickup and drop-off in an air-conditioned 4WD. It's a long day, but well worth the time to see this remote, rugged region.

Where to Stay in Broome for Sightseeing

  • Luxury Hotels: One of the best places to stay in Broome, Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa is the only Broome resort overlooking famous Cable Beach. Polished wood floors and minimalistic design lend a stylish, subtle Asian flair to the rooms. Amenities include two pools, a luxury spa, four restaurants, mini-golf, tennis courts, and acres of lush gardens with lily-topped ponds. Other top luxury picks include Pinctada McAlpine House, an eight-room boutique guesthouse with sprawling verandahs and tropical gardens, and The Pearle of Cable Beach with one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas with full kitchens and private swimming pools. This is a great option for families and groups of travelers.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: As the name suggests, Bali Hai Resort & Spa offers a welcoming taste of Bali in Broome. The romantic villas come with four-poster beds, dark woods, open-air bathrooms, private courtyards, and kitchens, and you can recharge with aromatic treatments at the Balinese-style spa. A five-minute walk from Cable Beach, Blue Seas Resort offers spacious guest rooms with kitchens, centered around an inviting pool, and Moonlight Bay Suites on Roebuck Bay is another good-value choice, with bright one- and two-bedroom apartments.
  • Budget Hotels: For clean, contemporary true budget digs steps from Cable Beach, you can't go past Beaches of Broome. This backpacker's resort offers dorms, as well as private rooms with en suite bathrooms, and the affordable rates include a continental breakfast. Right nearby, Cable Beach Backpackers is another popular budget choice, with dorms, shared facilities, and a palm-lined pool. Though not technically a budget hotel, Mercure Broome offers affordable rates due to its older rooms. It's also not within walking distance of Cable Beach, but you can walk to town. For even more savings, consider one of Broome's caravan parks, which usually offer campsites for tents, as well as basic cabins.

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The Wonders of Western Australia: While you're in this ruggedly beautiful state, save time to explore some of the other things to see and do in Western Australia. Visit the vibrant capital of Perth, frequently voted one of the world's most livable cities, and explore the city's rewarding day trip destinations, like Rottnest Island, the picturesque Swan Valley, and historic Fremantle. In the state's far north, you can swim with whale sharks near Ningaloo reef and tour the remote red-rock wonderland of The Kimberley. Head south from Perth to bask on the dazzling beaches of Esperance.

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