Our plans were to learn about Broome (more on that later), laze in the sunshine, have some beach time and pool time and do a 2 day trip further out to Cape Leveque and explore somewhere more remote and rugged. Our 2 day trip was scheduled to begin with a 7am pick up on the Tuesday (we arrived the Sunday before) but we were stood up! We'd been forgotten! After phone calls and waiting we arranged for the jaunt to start on Thursday which meant we had a few clear days to fit in some R&R. And that's exactly what we did!
Lazing by the pool, catching up with reading and indulging in the poolside food and drink service delivered by a ridiculously chirpy waitress.
My favourite ice cream cocktail - Baileys, Kahlua, Frangelico, vodka, chocolate, ice cream - all those good things...
Cooling off and floating in the pool resting the mind and body.
We stayed at the Cable Beach Club Resort which was right on the beach. There was an adults only pool and our room opened out into this area so it was perfect for us. The resort itself plays up the Asian theme that is prevalent throughout Broome with red and green wooden lattice work and pagoda style trims to buildings. There are lion statues, terra cotta soldiers and stone horses dotted around. The decor is a little dated but the facilities, restaurants and staff were all very good.
World War II also affected Broome as it was bombed by the Japanese. Although Broome was known as only a small pearling town; it was also a refuelling point for aircraft, en route between the Indonesia and other Australian cities. As a result, Broome was on a line of flight for refugess. In addition, following the Japanese invasion of Java, Broome had become a significant Allied military base.
We learnt all about this on Monday when we spent the whole day in Broome town. Ok - well most of the day was spent at Matso's brewery, a local brewhouse where I enjoyed the fruit beer (there was lychee, mango and also a delicious alcoholic ginger beer) and Steve tried all the others.
Cape Leveque is a 250km drive from Broome and much of it us on an unsealed road which is basically a red dirt track. They call it the Kimberley massage because it is a very bumpy ride.
There was another couple on the tour who were from Melbourne. They had been on the road since April on an extended holiday going round the entire coast of Australia. However they plan on finishing their trip in October and realise that they're not going to cover all the ground they wish so they're going to cut down the middle hit Alice Springs and head to Queensland before heading home. And then they'll return to the Top End and cover the Northern Territories again next year and take another 10 month trip...lucky them!
After lunch we headed to another Aboriginal settlement called Lombadina where we looked at their handicrafts and visited the bush style church made from bush timbers. Our final stop was Cape Leveque itself where we watched the sunset on Western Beach. As the colours changed we watched the fisherman and one of them caught a reef shark which was pretty big! Steve commented that the bait he owuld have been pleased to have caught the size of bait this fisherman used! I guess big bait equals big catch.
The sunset was beautiful and the colours of the rocks also changed becoming redder and redder.
We had morning tea at Swan Point round a much needed fire as there was a cold strong wind blowing. Tara explained a little about her family and their tourism business. Following this we headed to beautiful Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm where we stopped for lunch. We also had a tour round the farm and learnt about pearl farming. Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm is Australia's oldest pearl farm and what was originally a family business based on collecting mother of pearl, it became the first Australian company cultivating cultured pearls.
Pearls are expensive! There was a necklace in the showroom priced at $55,000. The almost perfect pearl in the photo above is valued at $25,000 alone! Needless to say, we left with no pearls!
Returning to Broome late Friday meant we only had one more full day left. We spent that with one last town visit to pick up a souvenir or two and to browse the local market before recovering by the poolk and indulging in one last ice cream cocktail.
The evening was spent on Cable Beach looking at the camels and enjoying one last sunset.