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The Broome Hit List: What to do and where to go on a three or five day stay

From sunset camel tours to mystical rock pools: let this be your go-to guide to Broome

Photograph: Tourism Western Australia

Originally founded as a pearling port, with a fascinating history where Japanese, Aboriginal and European cultures collide, Broome is a tiny town 2,400 kilometres north of Perth that is visually and culturally so stimulating just one visit is never enough. With red dirt – the Pindan – fiery sunsets, milky low moons and azure waters, it’s no wonder the population swells from 14,000 to more than 45,000 during tourist season. The minute you land and catch your first glimpse of Cable Beach, watch your wristwatch morph into a Dali creation as you enter a new dimension: Broome Time.

Eat: 18 Degrees

This is the ideal destination for those who love to tapas or enjoy food sharing. With an expansive share plate option, no matter how big your party, a variety of tastes are catered for. The cheesy balls are a must, because, fried cheese, obviously. The herb-crusted wild barramundi with peach is a must and the pork fillet comes with crackle. When in Broome, a cocktail is as necessary as insect repellent and 18 Degrees’ drinks menu is thorough and climate appropriate.

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Eat: Zenzai

One of Cable Beach Resort’s eateries just happens to serve the best food in Broome. The Japanese-inspired menu is jam-packed with delicacies made from local produce. The traditional Japanese dishes are hard to pass up though thanks to melt in your mouth sashimi, crispy tempura, yakitori and yaki-ton. It’s the perfect fare for Broome’s hot and steamy summer nights.

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Eat: Matso's

Known for its mango and ginger beers, Matso’s food is equally as impressive. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all week. For breakfast you can’t go past lemon myrtle chia coconut pudding, while lunch is all about pub grub and hearty salads, paired with beer. The dinner offerings are for those seeking something substantial after a day of crocodile park touring and driving. The ginger beer pork belly with pickled paw paw and candied cashews is the culinary version of an entertaining night out at the Roebuck Bay Hotel.

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Stay: The Mangrove Hotel

As well as serving the coldest beer in Broome, an achievement not to be sniffed at when the average temperature can be upwards of 32 degrees, the Mangrove, which reopened after an extensive refurbishment in 2015, also offers uninterrupted views of Roebuck Bay and a little slice of Palm Springs above the 26th parallel. Rooms are airy and comfortable with great sized bathrooms. The spacious communal areas are expertly fitted out for those wanting to log on to the real world occasionally. It’s the place to stay for those wanting Champagne service and amenities on a beer budget.

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Stay: Cable Beach Resort

Pack a compass. This luxury resort on the shore of Cable Beach is expansive, boasting five restaurants, two pool areas, tennis courts, a mini golf course, world-class spa and a yoga studio as well as the luxury accommodation. Cable Beach Resort has undergone more facelifts than most Hollywood stars but each refurbishment has been worth it. It’s the place to be and place to be seen, especially during high season when nearly every weekend is occupied by a big budget party or charity function

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Play: Dawn walk on Cable Beach to Gantheaume Point and a sunset camel tour on Cable Beach

Play: Dawn walk on Cable Beach to Gantheaume Point and a sunset camel tour on Cable Beach

Take advantage of east coast jet lag and rise early (at least once) and stroll the 7.7 kilometre trek from Cable Beach up to Gantheaume Point. The red cliff rockface at the southern tip of the beach is one of the best vistas in Broome. Get there in time for low tide to see the 120 million year old dinosaur prints. Alternatively at high tide you’ll get a glimpse of Anastasia's Pool that was created amongst the rocks by the former lighthouse keeper for his wife who suffered from arthritis and believed the salt water which filled the pool had possible healing properties. Like Venice with its gondolas, Broome has camels. At the end of the day jump on a friendly camel on the beach and be guided along the shore to watch the sunset. This safari type activity is a must for any Broome newcomer

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Play: Cold beer at the Roebuck Bay Hotel and tour Chinatown

Play: Cold beer at the Roebuck Bay Hotel and tour Chinatown

Broome was once the world’s pearling capital and back in the day pearlers from China and all around Asia and Europe would ascend from the water and return to shore with money to burn inside the gambling halls and opium dens of Chinatown. Today it is now the main shopping district with galleries displaying and selling Aboriginal art and pearl retailers selling jewellery made on site. After a hard day of retail therapy pop into the Roebuck Bay Hotel, the town’s famous pub, for a cleansing pale ale. The Roey is famous for its nightlife, especially with backpackers and locals.

Play: Walk the Staircase to the Moon

Play: Walk the Staircase to the Moon

One of the most moving and fascinating experiences that occurs in the Kimberley is the natural phenomenon that is Staircase to the Moon. It happens only in WA’s North West where the full moon rises over the mudflats at low tide as the night sky creates what looks like a stairway to the moon. Depending on weather, sun set and the tides, the Broome area experiences about three a month from March to October. A great vantage point in town is the Mangrove Hotel’s beer garden.

Play: Vinyasa yoga at The Loft Studio

Play: Vinyasa yoga at The Loft Studio

One would think Broome, thanks to its seasonal humidity, would be lend itself to the practice of Bikram, but vinyasa and yin are a crowd favourites at Broome’s premier yoga studio, the Loft. Whether you are a regular yogi or just need to decompress and stretch the body out from the hours most likely spent travelling by car or place, the Loft has something for everyone. Over 55s classes are a speciality as is candlelit Yin, the perfect tonic to take to help get up onto “Broome Time”.

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Eat: Aarli Bar

A famed breakfast spot, Aarli’s coffee is a must as is the Asian-style breakfast. Miso-scrambled eggs are popular and the breakfast rolls are hard to pass up. Add one beef brisket to cart, add Sriracha hollandaise, cheese and slaw and enjoy. Come back for dinner and enjoy a cocktail, like the Lemon Collins starring home-made limoncello, and share a plate of steamed buns with Korean fried chicken after a full day of sightseeing and pearl shopping.

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Eat: Zenzai

One of Cable Beach Resort’s eateries just happens to serve the best food in Broome. The Japanese-inspired menu is jam-packed with delicacies made from local produce. The traditional Japanese dishes are hard to pass up though thanks to melt in your mouth sashimi, crispy tempura, yakitori and yaki-ton. It’s the perfect fare for Broome’s hot and steamy summer nights.

Read more

Eat: Matso's

Known for its mango and ginger beers, Matso’s food is equally as impressive. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all week. For breakfast you can’t go past lemon myrtle chia coconut pudding, while lunch is all about pub grub and hearty salads, paired with beer. The dinner offerings are for those seeking something substantial after a day of crocodile park touring and driving. The ginger beer pork belly with pickled paw paw and candied cashews is the culinary version of an entertaining night out at the Roebuck Bay Hotel.

Read more
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Eat: 18 Degrees

This is the ideal destination for those who love to tapas or enjoy food sharing. With an expansive share plate option, no matter how big your party, a variety of tastes are catered for. The cheesy balls are a must, because, fried cheese, obviously. The herb-crusted wild barramundi with peach is a must and the pork fillet comes with crackle. When in Broome, a cocktail is as necessary as insect repellent and 18 Degrees’ drinks menu is thorough and climate appropriate.

Read more

Stay: Eco Beach

This eco-friendly resort is for those wanting to get away from it all. Situated 130 kilometres south of Broome, Eco Beach is glamping with an edge. Ocean fishing, turtle watching and paddle boarding are all available as are spa treatments, like hot stone massages. All guests have the option to attend complimentary yoga sessions every morning before breakfast is served at Jacks Bar. All waste is composted and electricity is all solar sourced. Accommodation is either raised tents or eco-friendly chalets.

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Stay: McAlpine House

What was once the Master Pearler’s home is now an exclusive boutique retreat in the heart of Broome. With only eight rooms, the property also features a Chinese Tea House, parrot bird aviary, library, and because it was made to be Instagrammed, high-speed Wi-Fi (a luxury in WA’s north). A permanent staff is also on call, 24 hours a day. This is the A-list’s choice when they come to town – Jerry Hall was once a regular visitor.

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Play: Take a pearling tour

Play: Take a pearling tour

Get to know a little more about Broome’s pearling history and how it has shaped today’s practices on board a Willie Creek Pearl Tour. The four-hour excursion demonstrates a pearl farm in full operation, includes a boat cruise, refreshments and time in the jeweller’s showroom. All trips include hotel pickup and drop off in an air-conditioned coach.

Play: Visit Malcolm Douglas's Crocodile Park

Play: Visit Malcolm Douglas's Crocodile Park

For those with an interest in crocodiles and the conservation of crocs of all shapes and sizes a tour of the late crocodile hunter’s animal sanctuary is an interesting look into the world of these animals that roam the waterways of Broome and the surrounds. The daily feeding display is a highlight as is the guided tour around the expansive wilderness park that is home to giant saltwater crocs, emus, dingoes, kangaroos and freshwater alligators.

Play: Attend Cable Beach Polo

Play: Attend Cable Beach Polo

This annual event brings the who’s who to Broome for an afternoon of chukkas and chilled Champagne on Cable Beach. Some of the country’s top polo players take part in the Cable Beach Polo tournament to compete for the Paspaley Cup, while guests take it all in from the VIP marquee or the more low-key Beach Polo Bar. Tickets to the event usually held in May sell out quickly.

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Play: Dawn walk on Cable Beach to Gantheaume Point and a sunset camel tour on Cable Beach

Play: Dawn walk on Cable Beach to Gantheaume Point and a sunset camel tour on Cable Beach

Take advantage of east coast jet lag and rise early (at least once) and stroll the 7.7 kilometre trek from Cable Beach up to Gantheaume Point. The red cliff rockface at the southern tip of the beach is one of the best vistas in Broome. Get there in time for low tide to see the 120 million year old dinosaur prints. Alternatively at high tide you’ll get a glimpse of Anastasia's Pool that was created amongst the rocks by the former lighthouse keeper for his wife who suffered from arthritis and believed the salt water which filled the pool had possible healing properties. Like Venice with its gondolas, Broome has camels. At the end of the day jump on a friendly camel on the beach and be guided along the shore to watch the sunset. This safari type activity is a must for any Broome newcomer

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Getting there

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By: Time Out Promotions