Each year in May, Broome transforms into one of Western Australia’s most popular tourism destinations with warm weather and cloudless days providing a welcome relief from the southern winter cold, perfect for lounging around the pool and long swims at the beach. Starting in November, the wet season returns, the tourist leave and Broome transform back into a sleepy outback town. This is the season that locals love the most, with high humidity, spectacular storms and temperatures ranging from 25°C at night to 34°C in the daytime. While not a place for the fainthearted, if you don’t mind the heat, it’s a chance to enjoy a luxury resort stay at half-price, see the locals at their most relaxed and experience what some would consider the ‘true’ Broome.
Here’s five reasons to visit Broome in the wet, but it’s just a taste of some of the fun and funky things to do. Keep in mind that every season is different and what’s awesome and exciting one day is off limits the next. Also, you can’t swim at the beach due to the lurking Irukandji. As with everything in the Kimberley, before you do anything or go anywhere, ask for local advice and you should be fine – depending on the local of course! Some of them are completely mad so we advise getting more than one opinion.
Photo Credit @shireofbroome
Chase the Lightning
Tropical lightning storms are an incredible natural event that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime and for many, it’s their main reason for returning to the Kimberly each wet season. The lightning displays off the Broome coast rival the world’s biggest firework shows. Many times the storms break around the Broome Peninsula and move from south to north. When the storm is to the south, head to Town Beach right next to Chinatown. In the Town Beach park there are plenty of grass areas overlooking the bay and the new jetty from which to see the show. Alternatively, drive 7kms down to Entrance Point where you can see the Broome Port, the jetty and red rock formations lit up with the storm.
If the storm has passed to the north, head to Gantheaume Point where you can park next to the road or turn right at the racetrack and take the short dirt road down to Gantheaume Beach. While a 4×4 is recommended, many 2 wheel drive vehicles frequent the beach without any trouble. Keep an eye on the tide as the ocean comes in fast. There is a lighthouse on the west side of the beach that provides a wonderful foreground for photographers trying to capture the storm. These same cloud formations turn the sunset into a stunning display of purples and pinks so make sure you are on sunset side of the peninsula around 5pm.
Photo Credit @nichassinger
For most of the year, Coconut Well is nothing more than a sandy wasteland next to the ocean. But when the tide hits 9 meters, which happens about three times every fortnight, the ocean spills over the sand dunes and transforms into a beautiful blue lagoon and popular local hangout.
The water spreads for several kilometres and while some parts can be deeper, most of the lagoon is no more than waist-deep, perfect for having a relaxing float to escape the heat. If you are looking for real adventure, bring something to float on and show up before the tide starts spilling in to ride the rising tide from the ocean back to the main part of the well.
To get there, walk from the parking lot straight towards the ocean then head left when you hit the dunes following the natural bathtub shape to where a channel has formed from the last high tide. If looking for an extra ride you can even float the tide on the way out. From there you can walk to the north and check out the hundreds of small rock pools filled with ocean life. The pools contain anything from snails and sea cucumbers to stranded octopus waiting for the next high tide. The rocks are extremely sharp so make sure to bring shoes and even gloves if you want to do some climbing around.
Photo Credit @Tomacrosse
The wet season means plenty of water and strong fast-flowing waterfalls. Air Kimberly offers a wet season only flyover of all of the famous Dampier Peninsula landmarks including King Cascade Falls, Mitchell Falls, Cape Leveque, and Montgomery Reef. It’s a great adventure and gives a unique view of these incredible natural wonders made even better when mixed with an afternoon lightning display. This is a must-do adventure for any photographer or nature lover.
Waterfalls not your thing? Try the wet season flyover of Purnululu National Park. Also known as the Bungle Bungles, this national park is filled with a maze of orange and black striped karst sandstone domes. Taking the scenic flight lets you skip the 40km dirt road with 3 river crossings that often close in the wet season due to flooding. The scenic flight lets you take in the whole mountain range at once and get a real sense of scale.
Photo Credit @hadagutful_expeditions
Outback tours operating out of Broome are available all year round and provide a completely different experience during the wet season. Some roads will be washed out by the wet weather but many will be passable especially with the right rig, which is all part of the adventure. Be prepared to see a much greener bush and more wildlife out and about. The rivers and waterfall both swell from the rain and are much more impressive during the wet season.
If you are looking for a day tour, head up to Cape Leveque for the Brian Lee Tagalong Tour. The road was permanently sealed last year and is accessible even in the rain. Brian will teach you all about local delicacies and the animals and plants that are in season during the wet.
Preplanned tours start at $3,000 from Adventure Wild Tours. They have everything set up for you and will constantly monitor the road closures and weather to ensure you have the best and most entertaining trip possible. For a more hands-on trip, Hadagutful Tours provides for up to 3 guests in an intimate setting in a brand new fully stocked 4WD Overland Expedition Truck for $4,000 per person. Visit anything from the James Price Point and the Bungle Bungles to El Questro and Kununurra.
Photo Credit @nichassinger
Fishing & Boat Cruises
While swimming at the beach is out of the question due to the lurking Irukandji, you can still get out and experience all the region’s natural ocean beauty. Book a fishing charter and head out to find some barramundi and threadfin salmon. The Barramundi have just matured and the wet season is when they head to the estuaries and river mouths to spawn. You can try and snag some from the beach or grab a ticket and jump on a local fishing charter.
Charters with Absolute Ocean Charters start at $345 and include 7 hours of fishing plus advice and local ‘know how’ from the guides. At the end of the trip they will even help fillet your fish for you. Or, keep things close to shore and hunt for mud crabs in the many creeks around the mangroves.
Not into fishing? Book a Snubfin Dolphin Cruise through Broome Whale Watching. Starting at $125 you get 3-4 hours in Roebuck Bay on a 50ft catamaran taking a look at the Snubfin Dolphin. Only found on the Northern Coast of Australia, the group of Subfins in Roebuck Bay is the largest grouping of Snubfins in the entire world. You will also have the chance to see dugongs and manta rays cruising around the bay.