(the western desert) lives and breathes . . .

G’day from Broome,

We’ve had another lovely day here in Broome. The weather is the same every day and today we hired bicycles and cycled all around the place, including Cable Beach. We also tried Chango Beer at Matso’s Broome Brewery. That’s a combination between Chilli beer and Mango Beer. The verdict: very fussable.

Fabio is an urbane and helpful Italian working at the backpackers’ hostel. He told Dan (I’m relying on hearsay just a smidgen) that he thought Broome was the ideal Australian destination for many Europeans because it offered so many of the elements of an Australian stay they look for viz. warmth, fauna, beach, outback, Aborigines, blowflies not too bad. That’s probably a pretty good assessment. Many of the visitors here at this time of the year are from Europe and some from Asia. They would certainly get a quintessential Australian experience here. 

    Broome is a thriving town, despite the loss of Woodside’s investment. I noticed today that real estate prices are fairly comparable to many of the big cities, including Sydney!! The average price in the real estate section of the newspaper was upwards of $600 000. Perhaps the explanation is the tangential bi-product of the mining boom and its concomitant housing shortage. There are few miners living here in Broome but there’d be quite a few of them cashed up enough to invest in readiness for retirement to the coast. 

    Cable Beach is a lovely beach with an extraordinarily wide gap between low tide and high tide. The sunset over the Indian Ocean was even better than expected. There’s something special about that huge yellow disc dropping over the horizon.  I have to report that there were dozens of four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach so that their lazy owners could witness the sunset through their windscreens.

Cable Beach sunset
sun set over the Indian Ocean Cable Beach

Cable Beach is a suburb of Broome and contains all of the trendier, swankier resorts and has a lot of people on the beach at this time of year (remembering that every day the weather is utterly predictable and perfectly benign). I have to say – this is the cynical side of me – that it’s a minor example of the triumph of marketing over reality and, like all such triumphs, has an aroma of the emperor’s new clothes about it. There is no surf and there are far too many people on it (by Australian standards anyway). There’s an umbrella every 15 metres and deckchairs in between. These cost, by the way, $5 per hour for the hire and there’s no shortage of takers. (Are these the very same people who claim that “things are tough these days” but don’t know how to budget? Even though there is no surf, there is a sign on the beach designating the strip allocated to surfboard riders. This is optimism at its best, surely. Dan said, “They’re kidding, aren’t they?”.

surfing lesson Cable Beach
surfing lesson Cable Beach

  Tomorrow, Dan and I are heading east – maybe as far as Fitzroy Crossing – seeing some gorges off the Gibb River Road on the way. We have hired a car and will set off early in the morning. That will be a big day but should be worth the trip and the cost. There’s a lot I pay for on these trips on the grounds that I’ll never pass this way again, so “hang the expense!” This will fit that description.  We’re hoping to get to Derby by late morning to see King Sound and the prison tree. On Saturday there’s a race meeting in Broome. We might just attend to see how much red dust they kick up in the races. 

Cheerio from Broome


Other photos from hereabouts

Boab trees Kimberley
Boab Trees near Derby Western Australia

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