Far out in the north-west of Western Australia lies Broome. Once isolated, it has now been discovered as a great getaway with beautiful sandy beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. The best time to visit is between April and September, when the heat is still within acceptable ranges.
Broome once thrived on its pearling industry. 80% of the world’s mother-of-pearl came from Broomes 400 pearling luggers. Most of the divers for pearl were from various Asian countries, and the town is still noted for its Chinatown. After the introduction of the plastic button, the mother-of-pearl industry collapsed, and today only a few boats still operate. You can visit some of the old, restored, pearl boats and hear former pearl divers talk about their trade at Pearl Luggers . The Broome Historical Society Museum (Saville Street) also gives information on the historical perling industry.
One of the more entrancing sights in Broome is the Staircase to the Moon. On a cloudless night you can see the full moon reflected in the rippling mud flats, which creates a beautiful golden stairway effect. This effect is most dramatic a few days after the full moon, when the sky has a chance to darken before the moon rises. The local tourist office will know the best dates and times to view this enchanting phenomenon.
Between May and November, Broome hosts a wide variety of festivals. There is the Fringe Arts Festival, with alternative arts and performers in early June, the Stompen Festival of Kimberly Aboriginal art and music in early October, the Dragon Boat Classic in early April, and many more. The largest annual Festival is the week-long Shinju Matsuri (Festival of the Pearl) somewhere in the second half of August commemorating the pearling past and celebrating the towns multicultural heritage. It features street parades, dragon boat races, and many traditional Japanese ceremonies. It’s a very popular festival, so be sure to book your accommodation well in advance if you plan to visit Broom during this time.