Some of our most popular holiday destinations can be difficult to negotiate without a car, but Broome offers some fantastic walking experiences for visitors without wheels.
Most walks in Broome are relatively easy, with the general topography of the Broome Peninsula being quite flat. The town is split into two distinct areas – Chinatown, which is the main township, and Cable Beach, about 8kms from the town. While the 8km walk between town and the beach is easy enough, the regular bus service makes getting between the two locations extremely easy.
One of the most popular self-walks is from Cable Beach south-west to Gantheaume Point along the beach. If you’re not staying at Cable Beach Resort, you’ll need to first catch a bus there. The walk can be done in two ways – you can travel the return 5km stretch on the flat, firm sand and have a swim in between, or catch the first early morning bus (about 7.30am), which will drop you at Gantheaume Point for the walk back up to the Cable Beach area.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can take the walk north from Cable Beach along the nudist beach, a stretch that continues for about 15km. This is where the iconic camels can be seen every morning and afternoon. Before setting out, be aware of Cable Beach’s tidal changes, as the tides can move out at least 500m and, at low tide, you’ll find yourself walking a lot further. Try to start the walk on an outgoing tide if you can.
A new tour to Broome is the Point to Port walk. Mat and Sally Reynolds offer a guided experience from Gantheaume Point along the little-known Riddell Beach to the deepwater jetty at the port, finishing at the beautiful hovercraft base. The walk incorporates interpretation of the history, geology and wildlife of the area and is a great opportunity to learn about the extreme tides experienced in the Kimberley.
This walk is also extremely picturesque. The red rocks at Riddell Beach make a spectacular contrast to the azure blue waters of the ocean, and by alternating between the beach and cliff tops, walkers get sweeping views of the Broome Peninsula. You’ll need to catch the first bus, which gets you to Gatheaume at 8am. The walk is about 4km and the total walking time is one and a half hours. Tours cost $30 per person.
Chinatown is Broome’s main shopping precinct and the walk around this area is filled with many historical experiences. Broome was gazetted in 1883 and has managed to retain much of its old-world feel from the early pearling days. The best starting point for a walk in the area would be the ice-creamery in Carnarvon Street – a great place to also grab some light refreshments before your journey. From here you can inspect the four bronze statues in the main street, three of which pay homage to early pearling pioneers Tokuichi Kuribayashi, Hiroshi Iwaki and Keith Dureau (if you can’t find the ice-creamery go to the statues and see where they are pointing!).
Continuing down Carnarvon Street, amble past Sun Pictures (on the left) before returning to the middle of the street where you’ll find the new memorial to the Japanese air raid that hit Broome on March 3, 1942. The sculpture outlines details of the lives and the 22 allied aircraft that were lost as a result of the attack.
Turning into Johnny Chi Lane, take time to read the 20 story excerpts on the history of Broome, which can be found outside the shop fronts along the tiny street. They share some fascinating details about the development of the town and provide an intriguing insight into why Broome has been so successful in pearling, despite the many setbacks.
When you emerge onto Dampier Terrace, cross the road and head towards the top of Broome’s only hill, where you may well be tempted by the Kailis and Linney’s pearl showrooms. Both businesses welcome browsers, many of whom can’t help but succumb to the lure of the pearl.
The highlight of the Chinatown walk is Pearl Luggers, a unique pearling display built in 1999 that provides a lively and fascinating historical journey into the business that shaped the town. Walk around the restored pearling luggers or take a tour with one of the pearling guides who will give a 140-year peek into the hardship, perils and successes of the industry. Entry is free and tours start at $16.50 per person.
After enjoying Pearl Luggers, the most appropriate place to finish your town walk is at the Roebuck Bay Hotel across the road. An integral part of Broome’s heritage, this pub always has something on and provides the best cold beer in town.