Broome is located in northwest Australia and is a major stop on the backpacking and RV Australia travel trail.
The city was founded in the 1880s as a pearling town and named after the territory’s governor. Today, the area’s mining boom has created an influx of people into the city.
When you visit Broome, you’ll find a small, sleepy little seaside town with not much to do except lounge around in the sun. It’s out of the way nature means it doesn’t see a lot of visitors per year (to be fair, neither does most of Western Australia). The heat and humidity here can get unbearable, and the phrase “Broometime” is often used to describe the city’s sluggish pace.
While there’s not much to do here, it’s worth a visit to enjoy the slow pace of life. There’s a beach, some museums and activities around town, and some good eateries. The town is also an excellent base for visiting the nearby Outback.
Use this Broome travel guide to help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your time in this laid-back coastal town!
Table of Contents
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Broome
1. Tour the Pearl Farms
Broome used to be the largest pearling port in the world. Founded around 1880, pearls were an important commodity used for making cutlery, buttons, and jewelry. By 1900, there were 300 ships here, though the industry fell into decline during World War II (and then, after the war, plastic was invented, which diminished the need for pearls). You can learn all about the region’s rich history at the Pearl Lugger Museum (tours for 30 AUD). If you want a more hands-on experience, Willie Creek Pearls also offers a two-hour boat tour for 129 AUD. You’ll learn about the risks and challenges of the industry while also getting to hold and touch all kinds of valuable pearls. You can also take a tour to harvest your own pearls for 500 AUD.
2. Enjoy Cable Beach
Cable Beach is Broome’s biggest attraction, a 23-kilometer (14-mile) stretch of sandy white beach. Every day, the high tides wash the sand clean, making it one of the most pristine beaches in Australia. It faces west, so there’s an incredible sunset every day. You can fish, kayak, swim, surf, or just relax. There’s also a nudist section nearby too (north of the rocks) if you’re feeling like letting loose.
3. See Dinosaur Footprints
Broome has the largest and most diverse dinosaur footprints in the world and when the tide below Gantheaume Point gets low enough you can see some of them. There are around 20 different kinds of tracks, which stretch some 80 kilometers (50 miles). Many are over 130 million years old. If you want an in-depth experience, take a tour They aren’t cheap (225 AUD), but the guides are excellent and provide a lot of context. You can also download an app and do a self-guided tour if you’re on a budget.
4. Spend Time in the Kimberley
Broome is also close to the Kimberley, an outback region three times bigger than England that’s filled with stunning gorges, beautiful waterfalls, and a vast desert landscape. It was one of the first areas settled in Australia some 65,000 years ago (Europeans arrived here in the 1830s). There are all kinds of day trips and hikes here that you can do solo, as well as multi-day guided tours. Expect to pay around 1,200 AUD for a 3-day guided excursion. If you’re going solo, popular overnight hikes include Piccaninny Gorge and Lurujarri Dreaming Trail.
5. See James Price Point
If you’re heading to the Kimberley, don’t miss the stunning landscapes of James Price Point. It’s a vivid headland just 52 kilometers (32 miles) north of Broome and home to some stunning rock formations and towering red cliffs. It’s absolutely beautiful and worth seeing with your own eyes!
Other Things to See and Do in Broome
1. Relax at Riddell Beach
Riddell Beach isn’t as well known as Cable Beach, but it’s only 8 kilometers (5 miles) outside of Broome between Riddell Point and Gantheaume Point. Like Gantheaume Point, Riddell Beach has gorgeous red pindan cliffs set against the Indian Ocean. It’s rockier than Cable Beach, but the landscape is more interesting (and the beach is less crowded).
2. See the Staircase to the Moon
You’ll have to nail the timing to see this one, but it’s worth it. During the dry months, the rising full moon creates an optical illusion of a staircase leading up to it over the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay. It’s such a popular event for the locals that there’s even a market set up for it. You can usually see it a few times a month between March-October.
3. Go Fishing
In Broome, you can fish for tuna, mud crab, barramundi, and a whole lot more! Roebuck Bay is especially a popular area for fishing, and you can arrange a fishing charter trip, heli-fishing (yes, that’s a thing), kayak fishing, and even spearfishing. Plus, while you’re out in Roebuck Bay, you can keep an eye out for the rare Snubfin Dolphin. Expect to pay around 359 AUD for a shared fishing charter.
4. Watch a Film Outdoors
Sun Pictures is a heritage-listed movie theater; it’s the oldest operating outdoor theater in the world! It still shows new releases and it has retained much of its original character. Relaxing in one of the well-worn deck chairs while eating popcorn under the starry sky and watching a film is one of the best things you can do in Broome. The theater was opened in 1903, and if you’re inclined, you can take a history tour for 5 AUD (June-August only). Tickets for a movie are 18.50 AUD and movies are played nightly.
5. Visit the Broome Historical Museum
This is a small historical museum run by a group of volunteers but it’s full of artifacts, old photography, and tons of pearling memorabilia from Broome’s past. The Sailmaker’s Shed is especially interesting, as it was once the home of Charles Bagge’s sailmaking business. It won’t take long to see everything, but it’s worth a visit to get a sense of the region’s past. Admission is 12 AUD.
6. Relax at the Buddha Sanctuary
The Buddha Sanctuary at Cable Beach is a wonderful ornamental garden that invites guests to relax, meditate, practice yoga, or simply just enjoy the space. Opened in 2003 as a community space, it has a deck platform, landscaped gardens, lots of shade to relax in, and a 3-meter (10-foot) crystal Buddha statue. It’s free to visit, or you can sign up for a yoga class for 20 AUD (mats and blocks are included) or 150 AUD for a 10-class pass.
7. Visit the Japanese Cemetery
This tranquil cemetery is dedicated to the memory of the Japanese workers who lost their lives to Broome’s pearling industry in the early 20th century. Harvesting pearls and operating pearl luggers was risky business, and many foreigners died as a result (many others suffered from the bends, aka diver’s paralysis, as well). The cemetery is peaceful and beautiful, with more than 900 graves marked by pink beach rocks and stones inscribed in Japanese.
8. See the Crocodiles at Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park
Named for Australian wildlife filmmaker Malcolm Douglas, here you can see crocodiles, dingoes, kangaroos, wallabies, emus, giant snakes, and lizards. It’s very much a family place (expect lots of children!) but it’s a good way to see some unique wildlife. In the shop, you can watch some vintage footage of Malcolm’s documentaries. Admission is 35 AUD.
9. Wander the Broome Courthouse Markets
The Broome Courthouse Markets are held every Saturday and Sunday (April-October) from 8am-1pm in the heritage-listed gardens of the Courthouse. What started as a small group of locals trading local products 25 years ago has now turned into dozens of stalls chock full of food, arts, and crafts. There’s always a really upbeat vibe here and it makes for a great place to do a bit of shopping and snacking.
10. Take an Aboriginal Walking Tour
Broome and the surrounding area have a rich Aboriginal history and you owe it to yourself (and the locals) to learn a little about this fascinating culture. You can join Bart Pigram from Narlijia Cultural Tours on a tour where he’ll tell you all about the history of the region as well as stories from the pearling industry and the role of Aboriginals in the industry. He’ll also talk about how the Yawuru people made use of the surrounding landscape. It’s 85 AUD per person (there are also several other tour options available, including a cultural catamaran tour).
For more information on specific cities in Australia, check out these guides:
Broome Travel Costs
Hostel prices – There are only a couple hostels in Broome. A bed in a 4-6-bed dorm costs 29-39 AUD per night. Private rooms start at 75 AUD. Free Wi-Fi is standard and all the hostels have self-catering facilities so you can cook your own food. Only one hostel (Kimberley Travellers Lodge) includes free breakfast.
For those traveling with a tent, camping is available outside the city for 20-30 AUD per night for a basic tent plot (for two) without electricity.
Budget hotel prices – For budget hotels, you are looking to spend at least 150 AUD for a double room. There aren’t a lot of budget options here so be sure to book in advance if you want a hotel (there aren’t a lot of hotel options in general). Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, AC, and TV. Most hotels have pools as well.
Airbnb has limited options here too, with private rooms starting at 125 AUD per night (but averaging double that). Entire homes/apartments start around 200 AUD per night but often cost double or even triple that price. Book early to find the best deals.
Food – Food in Australia is diverse, with each region having its own specialities. While you can find cuisine of all types here, popular traditional choices include BBQ meat (especially sausages), meat pies, fish and chips, seafood, chicken parmigiana (chicken schnitzel topped with tomato sauce, ham, and melted cheese), and of course the infamous vegemite on toast.
That said, food isn’t cheap in Broome compared to other parts of Australia due to its out-of-the-way location. Most restaurant entrees cost at least 25 AUD. Fast food (like McDonald’s) costs 13 AUD for a combo meal. Pizza costs 14-18 AUD for a small.
If you want to splash out, a three-course meal at a restaurant serving traditional Australian cuisine costs around 30 AUD.
Beer costs around 12-13 AUD while a bottle of water is 2 AUD. For a cappuccino or latte, expect to pay 5 AUD.
If you plan to cook your own meals, expect to pay 90-100 AUD for a week’s worth of groceries. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, seasonal produce, and some meat or fish.
Backpacking Broome Suggested Budgets
On a backpacker budget, you can visit Broome for around 80 AUD per day. This budget assumes you’re staying in a hostel dorm, cooking all of your meals, limiting your drinking, using the bus to get around (or walking), and doing mostly free activities like hiking and enjoying the beach. If you plan on drinking, add 10-20 AUD to your daily budget.
On a mid-range budget of 225 AUD per day, you’ll be able to stay in a private hostel room or Airbnb, eat out for a few meals, enjoy a couple of drinks, rent a bicycle to get around, and do some paid activities like museum visits and an Aboriginal walk.
On a “luxury” budget of 425 AUD or more, you can get stay in a hotel, rent a car for a few days, eat out for all your meals, enjoy a few nights out, and do guided tours and hiking excursions. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!
Broome Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Broome can be an expensive place to visit. If you aren’t careful, you’ll blow through your entire budget in no time flat. Here are some ways to save money when you visit:
- Drink goon (box wine) – Goon is infamous on the Australian backpacker hostel trail. This cheap box of wine is the best way to drink, get a buzz, and save a lot of money at the same time.
- Cook your own meals – Eating out is not cheap. The best way to reduce your costs is to cook as many meals as possible. Stay in a hostel or Airbnb with a kitchen to ensure you can skip the restaurants.
- Car share – Australia is a big country that can be expensive to get around. If you don’t have a ride, hitch a ride with other travelers using sites like Gumtree, Jayride, or a hostel message board. And if you do have a vehicle, offer rides to other travelers. They can chip in for gas to help you lower costs.
- Book tours as a package – This region has a lot of exciting activities and tours that eat into any budget. Booking activities together through a hostel or tour agency can get you a discount and save you hundreds of dollars as a repeat customer.
- Work for your room – Many hostels offer travelers the opportunity to work for their accommodation. In exchange for a few hours a day of cleaning, you get a free bed to sleep in. Commitments vary but most hostels ask that you stay for at least a week.
- WWOOF it – WWOOFing is a program that allows you to work on organic farms in exchange for free room and board. Everyone I’ve met who stays in the country long-term does it for at least one month. It’s a great way to reduce your expenses and extend your travels.
- Stay with a local – If you plan ahead, you can usually find a Couchsurfing host to host you during your stay. This way, you not only have a place to stay but you’ll have a local that can share their insider tips and advice.
- Bring a reusable water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle with you to save money and lower your plastic use. LifeStraw makes a bottle with a built-in filter to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
Where to Stay in Broome
While small, Broome still has a couple of hostels worth checking out if you’re on a budget. Here are my suggested places to stay in Broome:
How to Get Around Broome
Public transportation – The Broome Explorer Bus is the best way to get around Broome (and is really the only public transportation in town). A 24-hour pass is 15 AUD and a 72-hour pass is 35 AUD. There’s also a 10-ride pass for 38 AUD. Otherwise, a single-fare ticket is 4.50 AUD.
Bike rental – The terrain around Broome is flat and easy to navigate on a bicycle. Broome Cycles has a variety of bikes available, including children’s bikes and fat-tire bikes for riding on the beaches. It’s 30 AUD per day for a standard bike and 60 AUD per day for a fat tire bike. The more days you rent, the cheaper it gets. They also have electric bikes.
Taxis – While convenient, taxis are expensive. Fares start at 6 AUD and go up by 4 AUD per kilometer. Skip them if you can! There is no Uber here.
Car Rental – Car rentals aren’t cheap here, costing upwards of 150 AUD per day. You don’t need one to get around Broome, but they can be helpful for exploring the region. For the best deals, use Discover Cars
When to Go to Broome
The best time to visit Broome is during the dry season, which lasts from May to October. The weather is the best during this time, with warm days and nights, and clear skies nearly every day. The average daily high during this time is around 30°C (86°F) or higher.
The wet season usually lasts from November to April. It gets hot during this period and temperatures average around 33°C (91°F) (though it can get much hotter as well). Thunderstorms and torrential downpours can occur, especially during January and February when monsoons and cyclones are more common. Getting into the Kimberley area is not recommended during this time due to flooding and other hazards.
Most people prefer to come just after the wet season when things are lush and green, but not yet overrun with travelers. In other words, avoid the wet season!
How to Stay Safe in Broome
Broome is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel. Violent attacks and petty theft are rare. People are nice and helpful and you’re unlikely to get into trouble here.
Most incidents in Broome tend to occur because visitors are not used to the region’s unique climate and wilderness. Be sure you have plenty of sunscreen and stay as hydrated as possible. If you’re hiking, make sure you know what to expect ahead of time. Be on the lookout for snakes and spiders, and if you’re bitten, seek immediate care.
Furthermore, if you’re swimming, heed the red and yellow flags. Yellow flags indicate swimming conditions may be dangerous; red flags mean the beach is closed.
The climate during Broome’s wet season can be quite severe, with unpredictable weather and heavy rainfall that may cause flooding and impassable roads. This is especially true of the Kimberley area. You also have to be aware of jellyfish during the wet season: the large Box Jellyfish and the smaller Irukandji jellyfish are found off the coast of Broome from November to May. They’re dangerous, and you do not want to be stung by one!
Mother nature in Broome is NOT a force to be reckoned with so prepare accordingly.
Solo female travelers are generally safe here, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone at night intoxicated, etc.). Consult other solo female travel blogs for specific advice.
If you’re worried about travel scams, you can read about common travel scams to avoid here. There aren’t many in Australia though.
If you experience an emergency, dial 000 for assistance.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:
Broome Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do group tours, go with Intrepid. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. And, as a reader of this site, you’ll get exclusive discounts with them too!
- Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. Just enter your departure and arrival destinations and it will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost. It’s one of the best transportation websites out there!
- SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
- LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
- Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
Broome Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Australia travel and continue planning your trip: