An insider's guide to the colourful landscapes of Broome
A big place with an even bigger sky: welcome to the Kimberley’s tropical gateway.
We have rich red cliffs. You look out over the turquoise water and I just love that contrast between those colours. I’ve been here over 30 years now and those colours still blow me away."
Broome is a place holidaymakers refuse to leave. Astronomer Greg Quicke is one of those locals who came to the secluded Western Australian town for a few weeks and has stayed for three decades.
He fell in love with the landscape and the starscapes and eventually a “local” artist, Sobrane, who also got hooked on Broome after visiting from Sydney.
“Broome is so full of amazing places,” says Quicke, who runs Astro Tours. “There’s Cable Beach, which is the most magnificent beach in the world. We have rich red cliffs. You look out over the turquoise water and I just love that contrast between those colours. I’ve been here over 30 years now and those colours still blow me away.
“There are a lot of reasons why Broome is such a good stargazing location but having 300 clear nights a year is a big part of that.”
One of the best free night shows in town is the natural phenomenon “Staircase to the Moon” – an optical illusion of stairs reaching to the stars. It can be seen for three nights each month, between March and October. Locals flock to view it at Roebuck Bay’s Town Beach, where there’s a night market with food vans, live music, colourful stalls and a kids’ water park. The Mangrove Hotel, with its Hamptons-esque terrace overlooking the mangroves and tidal creeks of Roebuck Bay, is the place to sip cocktails while watching the moon.
Being an astronomer, Quicke is happiest sleeping under the Milky Way in his swag. “I love camping in the Kimberley,” he says.
For most visitors, tropical Broome is the gateway to the Kimberley – a region larger than Germany with a population of less than 40,000. Running through the heart of the region, the mostly unsealed 660-kilometre Gibb River Road travels past vast cattle stations, Aboriginal communities, thunderous waterfalls and boab-studded spinifex plains.
There are dozens of places in Broome to hire a campervan or 4WD with a rooftop tent, and Broome Hire Centre has camping equipment. Options that require less planning include joining one of the many coach tours, a cruise or taking a helicopter or floatplane adventure from Broome.
The Dampier Peninsula, stretching 220 kilometres north of Broome, is a magical slice of the Kimberley where red rocks meet talc-white sand and sparkling blue water. Two of the best Indigenous-run eco tours on the peninsula are Bundy’s Cultural Tours and Brian Lee’s Tagalong Tours, where visitors go spear fishing, bushwalking and mud-crabbing. For those who plan to stay, there is glamping accommodation at Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, nearby at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and at Mercedes Cove.
A unique way to explore the area is on the epic Broome to Cape Leveque mail run with postman Doug of Ahoy Buccaneers. Mail is delivered to the Aboriginal communities of Lombadina and Beagle Bay, as well as the Kooljaman wilderness camp and Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, which offers a range of land and sea tours. Those hitching a lift can either join for the day or be dropped at an accommodation provider and be picked up on the next run.
Glamorous camping can also be found at Ramada Eco Beach Resort, one hour’s drive south of Broome. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, the resort has a dreamy infinity-edged swimming pool and yoga studio, and villas and chic beach houses for the non-glampers.
Closer to Broome, Quicke says “spectacular camp spots” can be found along Minari Road, a bit further on from Willie Creek Pearl Farm, which boasts one of the Kimberley’s most popular farm tours.
Exploring extraordinary places and creating memories that will last a lifetime – it’s just another day in WA. Western Australia boasts a diversity of landscapes and experiences waiting to be discovered. With so much to explore, choose a long weekend break or a week long escape. Now’s the perfect time to book your trip to WA with Qantas.