Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
24-30 July 2006 - Broome (Part 3 of 3)

Location map This was our final week in Broome. The weather improved substantially with cool nights (13-15 degrees), often with heavy fog and dew overnight; but followed by days with clear blue skies and a hot sun pushing the temperature up to 35 to 40 under the A'van awning. The temperature dropped after sunset and a light jacket was needed when moving about outside after dark. The strong wind of the previous weeks was replaced by a welcome breeze in the afternoon. We have organised the A'van to keep out the worst of the hot sun and capture the breeze; our two little fans help keep the air moving and the van is comfortable

We find Broome is a pleasant place to stay for a while. Shopping is adequate, although the central area is quite small. The main shops are in the area called Chinatown which has historical connections and is near the small pier built for shelling luggers a hundred years ago. Chinatown was part of Broome white men avoided then; the name has been retained and some 'oriental' decorations put up but its pretty artificial. Broome has an architectural style (walls of horizontal corrugated iron painted pale grey trimmed; roofs of corrugated iron conventionally mounted and painted the same colour; exposed structural steel is brunswick green) which also has historical precedents and helps give the place its character. Two storeys seems to be the height limit. Chinatown is in line with the only runway at the airport less than a kilometre away and the noise of aircraft low over shops and restaurants is so common that it's usually not noticed; although the midday Qantas flight flew over the restaurant we were lunching at on Friday and we certainly noticed that. Although Broome is historically a port, the present-day centre of Broome has turned its back on the sea. This may be partly deliberate; the fringe of mangroves lining the shores of Roebuck Bay is a buffer between the residential and commercial areas and the sea.

There is a deep-water jetty some distance from Broome itself. The wharf has recently been extended to handle larger ships - usually for livestock exports. The deep-water port is in deeper water at the entrance to Roebuck Bay. Main freight is cattle exported from Kimberley pastoral leases and petroleum products imported for Kimberley use.

Broome is a very popular tourist destination and badly needs revised traffic flow measures. Some intersections are difficult to get across because of the traffic levels. Absence of traffic lights is probably seen, by some, as an advantage but during the dry season when six permanent caravan parks and two temporary caravans parks are full of caravans and cars a few traffic lights would be welcome.

I drove to Roebuck Bay beaches on several days; the dirt road was a good test for the Territory dust deflector which keeps dust off the upper part of the rear door very well but doesn't stop it gathering on the inside bottom of the door and dumping a curtain of dust on the unsuspecting user when the door is next lifted up. Roebuck Bay beaches are a mix of rocks, sand and silty mud; the mud is remarkably deep and sticky; local environmental studies are carried out using hovercraft to move over the mud.