From Broome to Fitzroy Crossing

  Sonia & Marica   |     23/05/2019


We visited Broome in the middle of May and it was a perfect time because the dry season had already started: during the day it got really hot reaching 35 degrees whilst at night we had around 20 degrees and it was a little bit chill.

Broome is a beach resort town in western Australia’s Kimberley region. Along its Indian Ocean coastline, the white sands of 22km-long ‘Cable Beach’ offer a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. You can just walk along the beach and enjoy the beauty. But be aware of crocodiles! Before entering to the beach we found a sign with the date of the last seeing of crocs and it was just 2 days earlier. However we found so many people into the water that we decided to enter as well for a very quick swim.

Do you know why is it called Cable Beach? In 1889 an undersea telegraph cable linking Australia to Java and the rest of the world came ashore in Broome, hence the name “Cable Beach“.

Here you can also visit the ‘Gantheaume Point’ where, dinosaur tracks are revealed in the beach’s red rocks during low tide; we couldn’t see the tracks but it’s worth a visit and if you are brave enough, jump from one of the cliffs into the blue ocean!

Broome has also an historic ‘Chinatown’ which overlooks Roebuck Bay, a jumping off point for cruises to local pearl farms; in fact this town is home to some of the world’s most perfect pearls and many people buy jewellery. You’ll find so many pearl jewellery stores and it’s almost impossible not to buy anything.

Speaking about attractions, you can even book a tour for the ‘Horizontal Fallsto see the awesome power of Kimberley tides, but it’s quite expensive. For example, there is this company - - which offers tour to the falls and scenic flight at the same time for 795$. It surely must be amazing but we couldn’t afford it.

If you like local markets, then we suggest to go to the Courthouse Markets on Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 1pm. Here you can find many jewelleries, clothes, food stalls and also some live music from local bands. You can meet also many Aboriginal people selling their beautiful art crafts.
There is also a Night Market at the Town Beach every Thursday but we missed that.

During our stay, we’ve been so lucky to assist to the spectacular event called ‘staircase to the moon”. It happens between March and October each year, when conditions are just right. This natural phenomenon is best seen from Roebuck Bay, when the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats at extremely low tide and creates a beautiful optical illusion of stairs reaching to the moon.

When this event happens, for the first two nights, all Broome Markets stalls gather at the Town Beach from 5 to 9 pm. It’s a beautiful local community market featuring art, crafts, food and drink and live music.

If you are keen to get some drinks in the town we suggest you :Matso’s Brewery, Divers Taverna and Skylla Lounge Bar.

We spent in Broome 4 days and we stayed at the Broome Caravan Park. It’s 5km far from the town centre and 5 km from Cable Beach, with a lovely swimming pool, kitchen with BBQ and laundry. We paid 20$ per person per night - unpowered site. If you want a busier environment, then you should try the Cable Beach Caravan Park (22$ per person per night – unpowered site). We went there to check it but we decided not to go since was too crowded.

To be honest we expected something more from Broome because of the high reputation that it has, but what we found is that the Cable Beach area is full or resorts and the town centre it’s not that special. We couldn’t probably be able to fully appreciate this place because we were just passing by, but we honestly didn’t get those “good vibes” we felt elsewhere. Of course if you are travelling on the west coast you should stop by but we wouldn’t suggest spending more than 4 nights here. One important thing: plan your visit according to the full moon; it’s just so special!

The following after Broome has been Derby (only 2 hours away – 200km) where we visited the Boab Prison Tree. The tree is believed to be about 1500 years old. It was used as a staging place for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days. The prison Tree is a registered Aboriginal Site..

From Derby we decided to go to Windjana Gorge National Park. It’s 124km from Derby to the turn-off and a further 21km to the camping area.
To reach this National Park we took the famous Gibb River Road. It is one of the off-road outback great adventures. Originally constructed to transport cattle from surrounding stations, this route spans over 660 kilometres of unsealed road, travelling through floodplains and rugged gorge country, linking Derby to the west Kununurra in the east. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. Luckily, we have got our chippie (Mitsubishi Pajero).

Regarding the National Park, you have to pay the entree fee (13$ per car unless you have the Holiday pass) and the camping fee if you want to sleep there (13$ per person); you will need to carry cash with you because there is a self-registration system.

The picturesque Windjana Gorge is part of an ancient 375 million-year-old Devonian Reed system. Spanning 3 km, the gorge walls are over 100 metres high. The area has deep cultural significance for the local Bunuba people who have lived there since their earliest memory.

We did just the trekking till where we could find water and see freshwater crocodiles both during sunset and in the early morning (30 min return). And after that, we spent the night at the camping. The best camping ever within a natural area: nice spot with drinking water, starry sky and amazing showers with even hot water that works with solar panels. It’s really worth it to stop there for a night.

The day after we went to Tunnel Creek National Park (30 km from Windjana, about 1 hour of the unsealed road). It is Western Australia’s oldest cave system and it is famous as a hideout used late century by the Aboriginal leader Jandamarra.
If you walk 750 m into the cave, you can see stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is home of several bats. Make sure you take a torch, wear shoes that can get wet because you need to walk into the water and avoid to touch crocodiles (don’t worry, they are freshwater ones).
We stopped until when we could walk without entering into the water because we didn’t have proper shoes, but it’s was really interesting to visit it and watch at the crocodile that seemed immobilized with the mouth.
Indeed do you know why they lie with the mouth open? It’s because of the refrigeration system; they need to keep active their brain and so they open the mouth for making the air entering!
After this adventure, we finally reach Fitzroy Crossing (115km from Tunnel Creek – 1 hour and a half). It’s been a week of a mix of adrenaline and fear by meeting the famous freshwater crocodiles that habit this area.

Regarding the road from Windjana to Fitzroy Crossing: if you are not used to the corrugated road it’s a little bit difficult to be concentrated all the time to avoid holes and to avoid to break some parts of the car. We did it without any damage (luckily) and we are happy to have driven on such a famous road even if for a few kilometres. If you have more experience with off-road try to do all the 660 km and tell us about your adventure!

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Two tireless travellers, with the look and the thoughts wandering beyond the borders of the world.