Maggie and I recently spent a week in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It was a varied and wonderful experience.
Our week began with four nights in Broome, staying at the ever-reliable Mangrove Hotel, overlooking Roebuck Bay. The second photo gives you some idea of the large tidal movements common in this part of Australia.
It was the second half of July, the best month to visit Broome during its dry winter season. Daily maximum temperatures were in the high 20s (Celsius), with very low humidity. As the sun set each day, the temperature dropped quickly, making for idyllic alfresco dining.
The Mangrove Hotel features an expansive terrace overlooking the bay, from which you can view the famous ‘staircase to the moon’ from time to time. It’s a great spot for a leisurely evening of dining, chatting with other guests and watching the sky change colour.
We spent our first morning in Broome on a half-day ‘town tour’. We recommend doing something like this because the history, culture, coastline and layout of Broome are so diverse. A well-organised orientation will help you get the most out of your visit.
Significant Broome sights we saw on the tour included Gantheaume Point, home to fossilised dinosaur footprints …
… the Camel train on Cable Beach, where the original telegraph cable connecting Australia to Asia and beyond came ashore …
… the Japanese cemetery, final resting place of about 170 Japanese men brought to Broome to dive for pearl shell, also called mother of pearl. It was a very dangerous occupation. Some men died while diving, others when their boats were caught in cyclones …
… and a poignant memorial to the 88 civilians and military personnel killed by Japanese fighter planes – bullets, not bombs – in March 1942. Some of the victims had only just been airlifted to safety from Java by a fleet of Catalinas (flying boats or seaplanes). The memorial was ‘unveiled’ on the air raid’s 80th anniversary earlier this year.
Cheers for now!