BROOME, WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S HIDDEN TROPICAL OASIS
Broome is a well kept secret. Until I started a road trip in that direction 7 years ago, I’d never heard of this seaside paradise. People often ask me where I lived in Australia, but give me a strange look – as if I’ve misunderstood the question – when I reply. But it’s remoteness and the fact it remains so unknown are probably major contributors to Broome’s appeal. Broome, to me, is the most stunning and incredible place in Australia. Here’s why:
THE BROOME DOME
It’s a legal requirement that you download at least three weather apps before you set foot in Broome. In fact nowhere on earth will you find such a concentrated population of weather experts, all with their own interpretations of the rain radar or the dragonfly-per-cubic-meter ratio. Which is strange, because for 8 months of the year Broome has no weather. I’ll sum up the forecast for April to November right now: Sunny and 30-35 degrees. Every day.
Of course there’s the Wet Season, though. But don’t be fooled into thinking that means rain. No, it just refers to the sweaty state of your clothing for four months. Coming from New Zealand it was a strange phenomenon to witness the excitement that comes with the prospect of rain, and the disappointment when the rain fails to materialise. But this is the daily reality of Broome’s Wet Season; For these four months it’ll be 35-40 degrees and humid. Like – I’m not embarrassed about my full back sweat stain because everybody has one humid – It’ll still be sunny most of the time and there will be huge cloud build-ups and epic lightning storms most afternoons. But these storms are just a visual spectacle; the rain only provides relief to those on the outside of the “Broome Dome”.
Trust me, though, the visual spectacle is worth it!
Cable Beach isn’t all camels, hippie backpackers and naked old people, there’s also 22km of pristine white sand! In all seriousness, the first thing I did when I got to Broome after that road trip was park up at Cable Beach and dive into the water; I’ve had an unhealthy obsession with the place ever since. The turquoise water ranges from about 24 – 30 degrees year round, and you can either find a spot between the flags or wander a bit further and have plenty of beach to yourself. Best option is to drive anywhere north of the rocks and find a lonely spot to park your Land Cruiser. There you can crack open an Emu Export and watch the world (aka camels and naked men) go by.
If you do drive on to the beach just remember to check the tides. The tidal variation in Broome is one of the most extreme on the planet – up to 10m in variation at times! It’s not uncommon for tourists to park up and go for a swim, only to return and find the Indian Ocean where their car used to be.
The great thing about swimming at Cable Beach is that most days you can relax in the knowledge you probably won’t be eaten or poisoned. This makes it safer than 90 percent of Australia. Sure there’s the occasional Croc sighting or Irukandji sting, but in reality Cable Beach is incredibly safe. As far as I’m aware there’s never been a shark (or crocodile) attack, and in the time I lived in Broome I only ever heard of a handful of jellyfish stings. Just don’t go swimming in any of the nearby creeks.
BEST SUNSETS IN THE WORLD
Of course I can’t write about Broome without mentioning the sunsets. Often when something is so talked-up the reality can be a little underwhelming. This wasn’t the case with the Broome sunsets. Day after day the sky lights up in colours you’ve only previously imagined. I was there basically every afternoon for three years and I can recall very few occasions when I wasn’t completely blown away.
Hot tip: The sunsets in the Wet Season are generally more spectacular with all that extra cloud around. For some epic reflections time your trip to coincide with extreme low-tides at sunset!
If there’s somewhere on earth that can make an average photographer look good it’s Broome, which is lucky for me. Often it would require a lot of skill to take a bad photograph. The landscape, colours and contrasts are just ridiculous. It’s not hard to see why Broome quickly became a hotspot for drone photography. With the pure white sand of Cable Beach to the broken red rocks of Gantheaume Point and hardly believable water colour of Roebuck Bay, it sometimes feels like you’re on another planet. An observation that is best made from the air.
GATEWAY TO THE KIMBERLEY
The Kimberley is one of the most remote, untouched and vast regions on the planet. It’s hard to describe just how vast and remote, but I’ll give it a go: With an area of 427,513 square kilometres it’s three times the size of England and has a population of around 35,000. Broome is the big city and gateway to this region, although Broome only has 15,000 residents and is more than 2,000km from Perth, the state capital. Perth itself is one of the most isolated major cities on the planet.
During an 11 day cruise from Broome to Wyndham I barely scratched the surface of what lies out there, but what I have seen was mind blowing. The whitest sand you can imagine, more waterfalls than you can count, world class fishing and of course the incomparable Horizontal Falls.
Tip: The horizontal falls day trip isn’t the cheapest attraction in town, but it’s not ranked number one on Tripadvisor for nothing. The views are ridiculous and the experience is like no other. To quote my Dad, who’s spent the last few years travelling to Europe, North & South America and has seen much of Australia & New Zealand: “I’ve seen some incredible places, but this is right at the top of the list.”
Many of these images are available for purchase in the Print Store!
PHOTOGRAPHER | TRAVELLER | CYSTIC FIBROSIS ADVOCATE
New Zealand born and currently living in Germany, I developed my photographic style on the beaches of Western Australia. I have a passion for people, travel and the natural world, and I’m constantly seeking the perfect light. Take a look at the About page to find out my story.