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Travel guide Broome

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Long white sandy beaches, dinosaur footprints, sparkling skies and lunar phenomena set in a rich cultural landscape make Broome an unforgettable holiday destination. The perfect place to unwind and rejuvenate, Broome's Cable Beach is arguably one of the most spectacular in the world. Lazing under the stars in the evening while listening to the waves, or running along the surf enjoying warm water and soft sand, you will be wistfully planning your return visit as soon as you leave.

When people refer to Broome as a "pearl" of a place, they're not kidding. This beautiful town set on 22km of white sandy beach began European inhabitation as a pearling settlement, which survived many tumultuous times thanks to two world wars decimating its pearling industry. During the wars, the town lost many of its population to the war effort, and the demand for pearls plummeted as customers had more pressing matters on which to spend their money. But perhaps the most devastating crisis to face the town was being required by law to place its own employees, employers, and friends into interment camps during the Second World War. As a considerable percentage of inhabitants at the time of the war were of Japanese descent, and as Australia was at war with Japan, the Australian government deemed it necessary to place these citizens into interment camps until the end of the war. Broome locals did not take this lightly; these were their friends and employees, many of whom had never even been to Japan! However, this substantially unraveled the industry and the good feeling between the people of different backgrounds in the town.

But this was not the first time there were cultural clashes. The region's original inhabitants, there for 40,000 years before William Dampier visited in 1688, were quite content to leave the pearls inside the oysters and carry out their lives simply and peacefully. That rapidly came to an end when the European settlers arrived, forcing Aboriginals to dive for shells and work aboard shell luggers.

Today, despite it's small population of less than 18,000, Broome has embraced its huge cultural diversity and visitors will benefit from the many tastes and traditions resulting from their Aboriginal, European and Asian cultures. A stroll into China Town will offer visitors some authentic Asian cuisine, and a visit to the Broome Historical Museum will give insight into the town's history, including how the town managed to pull itself together again to have not only an excellent pearling industry, but also a successful and substantial tourism industry.
Beach, beach and more beach

Cable Beach is nothing short of spectacular. Walk along the fine sand and enjoy the sensation as it massages your feet. Ride a camel along the beach and giggle at its weird lanky movements. Plan to jog all 22km during your visit - but then pike out and laze on a blanket instead. Set up a romantic picnic and snuggle with your darling while watching the sun descend as a huge fiery ball on the horizon. Cart along the sand toys and listen to your kids squeal for hours as they alternate between making sand castles and jumping over waves. Set up a tripod and snap sunset photos more spectacular than any postcard you've ever seen. Bask in the warm water of the Indian Ocean. Close your eyes and listen to the waves. Feel the breeze. Relax. Unwind and enjoy.

When you're not at the beach...
• Check out the 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point and be thankful you won't be able to encounter their original owners.
• Go bushwalking along the marked trails of Minyirr Park.
• Head to the Old Courthouse on a Saturday morning for the markets, where you can enjoy some yummy food and local crafts. 
• Visit Roebuck Bay and its bird observatory. On certain days of the month, you can stay for the “staircase to the moon”, a phenomenon that occurs when the full moon reflects off mudflats during low tide, to produce an illusion of a staircase reaching all the way up to the moon. The Broome Visitor's Centre has dates it will occur, assuming the sky is clear.
• Learn about the Aboriginal culture and history of the town at the Broome Historical Museum.
• Arrange a fishing tour, or ask some locals about the best places to throw your line from the beach.

When to go
Broome is best enjoyed as a winter escape. During the summer months, the deadly box jellyfish render the beaches too dangerous to swim, and there is also an increased likelihood of cyclones and monsoons. In contrast, winter brings perfect beach weather with no risk of stingers, and a chance of seeing the "staircase to the moon" three days per month between March and October. On these days, the local resort has festivities to celebrate.

Check out the Broome Visitor Centre  to see a schedule of upcoming events, which may help you choose your ideal time to visit.

How to get there
There are daily direct flights from Perth and Darwin, as well as regular flights from all other major Australian cities. Depending on your airline, you may need to connect in Perth for some flights.

Major highways offer a smooth drive from the north and south of Broome, and Greyhound arrives daily from Darwin and Perth.

Once you're in Broome, consider hiring a bicycle and using that as your main form of transportation. The flat, wide roads and sidewalks are a bike-rider’s paradise.

Stay in an authentic pearler's home renovated into a quaint boutique hotel, or relax in a 26-acre five-star resort on Cable Beach. Whether you are after a romantic bed and breakfast, economical choices, or self-contained suites, you'll find Broome accommodation to suit your needs at www.takeabreak.com.au

Ideal length of visit
A week is the perfect amount of time to unwind, frolic along the beaches, and take in the sights.

Further information
Pop into the Broome Visitor Centre when you arrive for friendly advice about tours and attractions.
Broome Visitor Centre
Corner of Broome Road and Short Street
Phone : +61 8 9192 2222
Toll Free: 1800 883 777
The Broome Visitor Centre also has an excellent website at http://www.broomevisitorcentre.com.au

About the Author
Kylie-Jane Degeling is a freelance writer who has lived in Adelaide, Yulara (Uluru), Alice Springs and Canberra, as well as five different countries throughout the world. After backpacking around Australia, she worked as a tour guide in Central Australia, before training for her Commercial Pilot License and working as a flight instructor, scenic flight and charter pilot. She later worked as a travelling IT trainer for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which involved spending time in each of their 16 District Offices around the country on a rotating basis.

Having experienced Australia as a backpacker, tour guide, pilot and business traveller, Kylie now enjoys family holidays with her husband Alex, and children Jezzy and Jordan. She says, “I have been lucky to see Australia from a variety of perspectives, and as a travel writer can use this experience to inspire others to find holidays they would enjoy.”  Kylie currently works as a travel writer in addition to being a government writer and columnist for two parenting magazines.

About the author
Find out more about Kylie at http://bit.ly/h_experts

More accomodation in North West & Kimberley
Point Samson | Port Hedland | Broome | Kununurra | Halls Creek | Karratha | Dampier | Roebourne | Cossack | Wickham | Newman | Marble Bar | Tom Price | Millstream | Karijini | Onslow | Wyndham | Fitzroy Crossing | Derby | Gibb River Road | Cape Leveque | Kimberley region | Pilbara | Cable Beach |

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  I've been to Broome and I have to say, it looks just like it does in the pix. Fantastic, relaxing place to stay and certainly more than just the beaches. Give it at least a week.
Posted on Nov 04 2009 at 15:05

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