Broome is a small and easy-to-navigate West Australian city. Wide, flat roads and plenty of footpaths make it very pedestrian friendly, for cyclists or walkers. Chinatown, Broome's shopping hub, is particularly lovely to walk around due to its historic buildings. Be sure to spend a day walking or cycling the city if you have time.
Car hire is simple in Broome, with several major car hire companies offering a wide variety of vehicles. If you want to explore some of the nearby sights in the Kimberley, a car is the best way to get out and explore. 4WDs are a particularly popular option for nearby off-road driving, so if you are confident make sure you take advantage of a bigger vehicle.
Motorbikes and scooters are available to rent across the city. Provided that you know what you're doing, they are a convenient way to get around to the city sights and explore the beaches. There aren't too many places in Australia where hiring a motorbike or scooter trumps a car, but Broome is one such destination.
Buses run every half hour during high season and every hour during low season. Buses run seven days a week, covering all major stops including Cable Beach, Chinatown and the boulevard shops. Bus timetables are readily available in tourist information centres, hotels, on the buses or at the Broome bus service website. Save money with a day pass for the bus.
Take into account the weather before visiting Broome. During the wet season – between October and April – prices may be cheaper, but many tourist attractions, and even roads, may be closed. The city is also prone to cyclones at this time of year. However, during the dry season Broome comes alive as tourists and locals enjoy the 30° heat and warm evenings.
Broome is a fairly safe city no matter what time of year you travel there, although walking alone at night isn't advised due to the poorly lit streets. When walking in the day, it's advisable to take a bottle of water with you everywhere and take regular breaks. Broome gets exceedingly hot during the dry season.
Potential dangers include poisonous sea life, such as box jellyfish, stonefish, scorpion fish, lionfish and blue-ringed octopus. Sharks are not such a concern as in other areas of Australia. However, crocodiles are often spotted in the rivers and creeks. The general advice is not to touch any creature you're unfamiliar with and keep clear of the rivers. The dry season is safest as far as jellyfish are concerned.
Broome is an outdoorsy city and, as such, you'll want to dress the part. Dining is generally informal, so you needn't worry about spending the day walking around in thongs and casual wear. During hot season, the heat is relentless and, although the sea breeze may help cool you off, heatstroke is a very real problem. Dress sensibly in light, breathable fabrics.
From Sydney you can get to Broome in 5 hours when flying with Qantas.
Get into Broome from Melbourne in around 4 hours, 30 minutes with Qantas.
Fly out of Perth with Qantas, Virgin Australia and Skywest and get there in 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Most of the major car hire companies have outlets in Broome Airport, including Avis, Budget Car Rental, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Driving around Broome is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get around. It's also fairly cheap depending on how long you are staying, particularly if you plan on travelling out of town for a day.
Taxi companies all offer pick-ups from the airport. Broome International Airport is very close to the city, so fares are relatively cheap when transferring via taxi. When exiting the terminal you will come across a taxi rank where you can hire a cab to take you directly to your accommodation.
Several bus companies run services from Broome Airport to the city, with drop-offs at major hotels and districts. Many even offer a pick-up service on your way back to the airport, too. Speak to your hotel reception for further details, as it can be a handy service to take advantage of if you have a very early or late flight.
Depending on where you are staying (and how much luggage you are carrying), you may find it easier and cheaper simply to walk to your accommodation. The airport is nestled in the heart of the city, so you will likely only have a brisk walk to wherever you are staying as soon as you exit the airport.
Take a tour to go and explore Cape Leveque. One of the most unspoiled, remote areas of the world, Cape Leveque is a bumpy ride away but the views off the Dampier Peninsular are well worth the bruises. The tour will also take you to Cape Leveque's beaches, the churches at Beagle Bay and to the Aboriginal communities at Lombadina.
The Bungle Bungles is part of Purnululu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The orange striped ranges of sandstone are some of the most photographed rock formations in Kimberley. This is one experience you will likely never forget, as the imagines you will take in are truly magnificent and unique to this part of the world.
Gantheaume Point is utterly stunning. Its dramatic bright red rock formations plunge into the green Indian Ocean underneath a clear blue sky. As if that wasn't worth the trip alone, there's the opportunity to kayak and, at very low tide, you can see the 130 million year old footprints of dinosaurs that once roamed the area.
East meets west as colonial and Asian architecture collide. Chinatown was once the buzzing heart of the city, full of pearl sheds, brothels and Chinese restaurants. Much of its lively soul remains, and evidence of the past is apparent everywhere in the museums and buildings. While in Chinatown, you must check out the pearl showrooms and the Sunday market on Johnny Chi Lane.
Classy and contemporary, Club Restaurant is also your best bet when sampling local specialties, including barramundi and pearl meat. Seafood is the order of the day, so go with an empty belly if you really want to get a taste for Broome. If you aren't too keen on tastes of the ocean then you can enjoy a range of other items from the spectacular menu.
If you are looking to meet some of Broome's more knowledgeable residents then Aarli Bar may be for you. One of the city's cooler hangouts, Aarli bar dishes up gourmet bar food including seafood, mezze and rustic homemade pizzas at reasonable prices. This is one of the hippest eateries in the whole of Broome, so book ahead!
Noodlefish serves some of the best seafood in town, including plenty of the local haul. However, if you've had enough of seafood, it's also famous for its Asian dishes, including Szechwan duck and pork belly curry. Customers can BYOB and the restaurant doesn't take cards, so be prepared with plenty of cash before you head out.
Overlooking the mangroves of Roebuck Bay, it's hard not to feel as though you're in a tropical paradise when dining at Black Pearl. The effect is amplified by the fresh seafood and grilled meats that are served up every day. Black Pearl prides itself on using local produce, making it a foodie's paradise. Again, book ahead for this one!
As is the way in Broome, Zanders is a laidback affair. Kick-start a lazy beach day with a fresh tropical fruit smoothie, or go for a gut-busting lunch of burgers, pizza or just a light salad as you watch the waves roll in and out of Cable Beach.
There is no shortage of bars with a view in Broome, and Matso's Café & Brewery, overlooking Roebuck Bay, is no exception. One unique feature it does have is its exquisite locally brewed beers, including chilli lager and ginger beer – not for the faint of heart, or taste,
For after hours fun, options are fairly limited in Broome. However, Bungalow Bar on the water makes a lively spot to continue the party. Backpackers make up the majority of patrons after dark so a raucous night out is always on the cards.
Whether you opt for the bar menu, offering nibbles such as pizzas, barbecued pork ribs and wedges, or go for the a la carte menu, offering wild caught barramundi, steaks and grills, you can enjoy a long, lingering evening filled with beer, wine or cocktails while overlooking the ocean from this chilled out veranda.
Start the day the only sensible way with a swim on Cable Beach, known to be one of the most beautiful stretches off coast in the world. In the afternoon, get to grips with Broome's incredible pearl diving history at Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour, a working pearl farm which details the torturous methods of old. Intombi is another option for history buffs – the refurbished lugger offers afternoon cruises along Cable Beach with food and drink. Head back to the beach after sundown and continue the party in Chinatown.
Breakfast at a beach café can be followed by a trip to the local art galleries. Broome is a hub of creative talent, which is well showcased in galleries including Monsoon, Short St. Gallery, Windram Art and Dacou. Next, rest your feet while still enjoying the great outdoors at Sun Pictures, an open air cinema with deck chairs that shows current box office hits.
Head out early to Gantheaume Point, where you can spend the day kayaking and snapping some of the most scenic pictures you'll ever take. Once you've worn yourself out, head back to Broome for a lazy afternoon taking a sunset camel ride along Cable Beach and then munching on the area's famous seafood at Roebuck Bay.
Take a bumpy ride to Cape Leveque for a chance to go mud-crabbing, swimming at incredible beaches and discovering the local Aborigines and their history. This is a full day trip that will get you back to Broome at around 9pm – just enough time to squeeze in a beachside beverage and an early night.
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