Winter has officially cometh and for us Melbourne-types, it effectively means we’re screwed and be wanting of hotter climates. Fortunately I happen to know of a rest in the north-west that can solve this problem quite easily; the coastal town of Broome. Thanks to some stories told by the travelling auntie and uncle I’ve since made the trip twice, first in 2010 and then in 2011.
Accommodation wise, Broome is an easy stop made by the droves so book well in advance. For my first visit (a layover before heading south to Ningaloo) I stayed at the hostel, Broome’s Last Resort, and was quick to learn that it is the last resort. The shotty conditions were enough to send me over to the Kimberley Klub on my second stay, another hostel with a tropical vibe which was a significant improvement (they do come with a lot of rules). Had a few good nights and met some people I wasn’t like to forget; there was one German girl who was forever grateful for me making her McDonald’s toy work correctly. I’ve been Facebooking with that dear imp ever since.
With those essentials out of the way I want to list a few highlights; a few days is all you’ll need to get them in. First on my list are the Chinese and Japanese cemeteries, the latter being the resting place for 919 pearlers who drowned in the pursuit. A little difficult to find (some local kids helped me out) but walking amongst the fallen did have a hallowed feeling about it which I believe is just.
SHEEP NOTE: I’m only very ‘anorexic’ (aka thin) in both Chinese and Japanese so I’m hoping I’ve posted the correct photos. If I’ve stuffed up, the mistake will be fixed ASAP.
Now, my family have always been fans of camping (my youngest nephew might disagree though) and additionally, we like to watch the travel docos. The late Malcolm Douglas was a favourite of ours; his insight into the Australian wild always shut us up and we did consider him to be better than Steve Irwin (it’s just an opinion). So, I made a stop at his crocodile park which in all honesty came with its share of thrills. Some notable Aussie wildlife is on display, along with American alligators which was a first for me, but the massive apex predators are, first and foremost, the drawcard.
Those done and dusted, Cable Beach is the final highlight I’d be liking to share. An easy bus ride out of town, this is where just about everybody goes for a day trip. When I rocked up they had a polo competition on (not my thing but everyone’s different) and many others going at their own pace. Having to wait for my real plan to unfold I just ate fish and chips and read my copy of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Kinda blissful.
Now, many a folk and some great panorama shots will tell you that riding the camels along Cable Beach are a huge must, so that’s what I did. Ships of the Desert, the company I rode with was more than rewarding, but it’s my understanding they’re no longer operating. I was upon Rajah’s hump for about half an hour and it was money well spent. Whilst the fellow backpackers were lurking about, this is very much a family affair also; the youngest riding was a toddler. The camel handlers were good conversations had and they provided photo proof of the day which they truthfully described as the ‘cheapest souvenir in Broome’. They really did give the best hump on Cable Beach.