Dining, Pearls, Cable Beach, dinosaur hunting and swimming laps
Arriving in Broome, we drove around and inspected four dog friendly caravan parks listed on Wikicamps. The folks selected the Broome Caravan Park. It was just out of town but had a big swimming pool complex with a 25-metre lap pool. The rough plan was to do tourism in the mornings and swim laps and relax in the afternoons.
The first morning we visited the harbour area. There’s a dog off lead beach at nearby Entrance Point. It was great to run free and have a swim, especially after so much time in crocodile territory! We walked around Chinatown, where Chinese traders, Japanese, Indigenous and Malay pearl divers had been based back in the day when Broome was a wild west town. Initially the mother of pearl that lines oyster shells drove the commerce. There was racial segregation and virtual slave labour back then. These days Broome is mainly about cultured pearls and upmarket tourism. The folks had lunch at the Wharf Restaurant, where the food and wine were both excellent! A couple of chips‘accidentally’ dropped on the floor. Nice!
The second day we walked on Cable Beach. I was starting to feel right at home, running on the beach and swimming every day. We went to the old Streeters Jetty behind Chinatown, where the mother of pearl boats used to unload. It’s quite short but the folks spent a bit of time reading the various historical plaques. Later we walked up to the Roebuck Bay lookout for a panoramic view over the mangroves. It was getting hot by about 11.30 and we went to Matso’s Brewery for lunch. Dogs allowed in the courtyard. They had an excellent barman called Sam, obviously a dog-lover, who brought me bowls of water and had his picture taken with me. The folks had a beer tasting paddle then chose a beer to have with their lunch. The Sow’s Ear [a malty ale] for the Silverback and the Hit the Toad [a smooth lager] for the Sparrow. Again, the meals were excellent. This time a couple of bits of calamari fell my way. I love restaurants!
The third day was very different. The folks were up at 5am. ‘We’re going dinosaur hunting’ the Silverback said. ‘You have to be there at low tide’. I knew Broome had the biggest tidal variation in Australia – up to ten metres; [I saw it on Travelling with Ernie Dingo] but I didn’t think we had dinosaurs anymore. Maybe he meant looking for big bones. I jumped out of bed enthusiastically!
We drove to Gantheaume Point, arriving just as the sun rose. It was dead low tide and the rock shelf was exposed for about 300m. It was a super, off lead, slippery scramble to the beach, jumping from rock to rock. The folks took their time getting down. I’d been up and down several times and had a couple of swims in a rockpool by the time they got there. I had my nose set to fine scan, my assessment was ‘no bones within a kilometre’. I didn’t let on; I was having too much fun!
Other people started arriving. After a while the folks found a Therapod track set into a rock, the others came over to look. Then someone spotted another one. The penny finally dropped; we were hunting dinosaur footprints. We scrambled around for more than an hour but the tally remained at two footprints. The folks went back to the van very pleased with their efforts. Back in town, we had breakfast at the Dragonfly Cafe. Great food, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. The manager had a Salvador Dali moustache. The folks are big art fans and once went on a Salvadore Dali art tour of Spain, I’ve heard the stories so many times it feels like I should call him Uncle Sal!
Sunset Camel Rides
That evening the folks went on a Sunset Camel Ride on Cable Beach. with Sundowner Camel Tours, which they really seemed to enjoy, I kept well clear! Instead, I spent time with a nice couple from Tathra, with their kids and dog. They had spag-bol for dinner. It smelt awesome, but I deferred to their dog for the bowl licking. She was 15 years old, only had three legs and they were minding me while the folks rode camels after all. It would have been rude to do anything else.
Sunset on Cable Beach is a ‘must do’ Broome activity. People drive their 4WD’s onto the beach, park up, get their camp chairs out and sit having dinner watching the sunset. Others just walk down and sit on the rocks with bottles of bubbly. The camel rides are a Broome institution, kids play on the beach, people swim and fish. There were even people playing ukuleles. It’s like a ‘Burning Man Festival’, but it’s every night in dry season. As we walked back to the car the folks held hands. They are so cute sometimes!
We enjoyed Broome. All the meals were great, there were interesting things to see and do and the pool at the Caravan Park was fantastic. True to the plan the folks swam laps every day.