Broome is sometimes perceived as an expensive destination. Let’s face it, it’s a long way from Perth and it’s a really remote spot, but once you get to know the town, you’ll find there’s plenty to do that doesn’t break the bank.

Guest Post contributor, Rosemary McGuigan, has uncovered 5 self-guided activities that cost very little, if anything, and today brings us 5 almost free, rather lovely, things to do in Broome.

things to do in Broome
Sunset on Cable Beach

Staircase to the Moon

Number one on our list is Broome’s ‘staircase to the moon’ which is well known amongst travellers, and especially those on the big trip around Australia.   Many visitors plan their stay to coincide with this natural phenomenon.

The ‘staircase’ is created when the full moon rises over Roebuck Bay at very low tide and the reflections of the moon on the rivulets of water on the mudflats creates a ‘golden staircase’ to the moon effect.

You might also like: Top 15 Amazing things to do in Broome

For three nights each month, between March and October,and when the moon is full, thousands of visitors gather at vantage points on the shores of Roebuck Bay to witness the ‘staircase’. With cameras, smartphones and iPads poised, everyone tries to capture an image of the moonrise.

It is not an easy image to capture; we have tried and mostly failed over the years. People forget to turn off the flash on their device which results in an image of the darkness, or the back of someone’s head, but not the moon! It is easier to buy a mounted or framed image from one of the professional photographers, some of whom have galleries in Chinatown or market stalls.

free things to do in Broome
Pic courtesy of Australia’s North West (James Morgan Photography)

The two best places to view the ‘staircase’ are the Mangrove Hotel, perched high on the landscape with sweeping views of Roebuck Bay, or Dampier Creek and the coastline around to Broome Port. You can have a meal and a beer at Mangrove (as the locals call it) while waiting for the moonrise.

Alternatively, Town Beach also provides sweeping views of the bay and the moon rise. To add to the atmosphere, Broome’s market community set up their stalls of delicious foods and wares. Grab something tasty for dinner and wait for the moon to rise.Get in early though as both venues get very busy on these nights.

View the 2015 Staircase to the Moon dates and times here.

Self-Guided Walk through Chinatown and Old Broome

Broome is flat with few undulations and has good pathways. It’s a perfect place to explore on foot or bicycle.

For the cost of less than a cup of coffee, purchase a copy of the Broome Heritage Trail booklet (available from the Broome Historical Museum), and self-explore the many historic points located around the ‘old Broome’ area.

Decked out with a broad-rim hat, sun protection, comfy walking shoes and bottle of water, you can take in as much or as little as you want. Some of the sites have changed significantly from their original and without this helpful guide you may not be aware of the history. The guide will direct you on an enjoyable journey of discovery about some of Broome’s historical sites – and get some gentle exercise along the way!

Things to do in Broome
Image Rosemary McGuigan

Town Beach

Town Beach is a favourite escape for Broome locals and not a place many visitors find.   It is tucked away at the end of Robinson Street in the ‘old Broome’ location. With shady lawns, café, boat launching ramp, picnic tables, BBQs, pioneer cemetery and 180 degree sweeping view of Roebuck Bay, it is a perfect place to laze away a sunny day.

There is a short stretch of sandy beach where the kids can paddle, but it is not a place where we swim. With the boat launching ramp at one of the end beach, that can get busy with vehicle movements, and with the rapid tidal changes, there can be quite a distance between the beach and water deep enough to swim. Or if the tide is in and lapping the high tide mark, there is a significant drop as soon as you enter the water.

Things to do in Broome
Image Rosemary McGuigan

The Shire of Broome has built a fabulous water playground which is open from 9am-5pm each day except Tuesday. Parents can sit and relax in the shade while the children cool off and wear themselves out splashing around.

Broome Historical Society Museum

Also located in the Town Beach precinct at the end of Robinson Street, is the Broome Historical Museum which is open daily most of the year. We liken the Museum to Doctor Who’sTardis…it looks little on the outside, but it seems much bigger on the inside and has an enormous store of history. The Museum’s building started life as a general store in the early 1900s but became the Customs House and Bond Store in 1903. In the 1980s the Shire of Broome purchased the building and in 1981 it opened as the museum.

The Broome Historical Museum features history of the pearling, luggers, exploration, good times and tough times, shipwrecks and the Japanese attack on Broome in World War II.

Things to do in Broome
Image Rosemary McGuigan

Like many regional museums, Broome’s museum relies on a dedicated group of volunteers. Show your support and visit. You will be amazed by what you will learn!

Located opposite the Museum is a cafe and if you do not have your own transport, the town bus stop is located 50m from the front door.   Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to visit this little gem of Broome.

Bedford Park

Located on Hamersley Street and situated between the Mercure Continental Hotel and the shores of Roebuck Bay is Bedford Park which is the site of Broome’s War Memorial. Each Anzac Day thousands of residents and visitors join together for the Dawn Service and to pay their respects.

The interpretive shelter provides some information about the Japanese attack on Broome.   Visitors tend to drive past this little park without realising that it has a few surprises. There are a number of historical monuments and plaques to discover amongst the varied palms and boab trees and you can take a rest on the benches.

Broome’s newest memorial is literally across the road from Bedford Park. Dedicated in 2010, the 3 metre bronze statue is that of a female diver coming out of the water with a pearl shell in hand. This statue is dedicated to the women who have contributed to Broome’s pearling history for over a century.

Things to do in Broome
Image Rosemary McGuigan

The statue is dedicated to and acknowledges the women who were exploited as divers along the coastline south of Broome. Called ‘blackbirding’, Aboriginal women were kidnapped and forced to work on the pearl luggers where they dived for pearl shells in deep water, often without breathing apparatus.   It is a sad fact that many of the women drowned and it is not a happy part of Broome’s history.

Author Bio: Rosemary McGuigan is the owner of Best Of The Kimberley, an accredited agency for travel, tours, accommodation and more in Broome and The Kimberley. Images, unless otherwise stated, are courtesy of Rosemary McGuigan. Connect with Rosemary on Google+.

For your travel enjoyment today I’m linking up with Travel Photo Monday with Noel Morata and Travel Photo Thursday

Has anyone been to the north west town of Broome? Why not tell us your favourite spots.

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  1. I love Broome, and it’s been too long since I was last there! I love Cable Beach and the huge tides, the treefrogs and just the atmosphere of the place that’s so casual, relaxed and tropical. Great post btw, I’ll keep it in mind for my next visit.

  2. Denise Gillies

    It’s also a long time since I was in Broome. It was enjoyable to recall the atmosphere of this unique location. The new facilities sound wonderful.

  3. Being a budget conscious traveler, I think we did all of these activities while we were in Broome. We were there for the Stairway to the Moon, but my photos weren’t anywhere as good as this one. Another free activity is a trip to Gantheaume Point where there are spectacular colourful rocks and the dinosaur footprints. Great post.

  4. I was sitting here reading and literally said out loud (to myself), “Hey, I’ve heard of the Staircase to the Moon!” lol. So, count me in for that for sure. But, I what I would really like to visit would be the Broome Historical Museum. Specifically regarding the WWII history part of it. Great post as always, Johanna! Have a great week 🙂

  5. Lovely to hear some cheaper/free things to do – yes, the cost of getting to Broome and accommodation is the reason I have never been! But I would dearly love to go. One day!!

  6. I agree, Amanda. The cost of getting there I think is the biggest drawback.

  7. Hi Mike, glad you enjoyed, and Wow, I’m impressed that you’ve heard of Staircase to the Moon!

  8. Hi Kathy, thanks for your additional tips for ‘free things to do’. Great one 🙂

  9. Great post! Broome sounds like a fascinating place. That golden staircase created when the full moon rises over Roebuck Bay looks positively magical

  10. I really love visiting Chinatowns in any city…such a great way to explore other cultures and always super tasty and cheap food! And that staircase sunset seems incredible!!! Thanks for linking up this week at #TPThursday!:-)

  11. Broome is a fascinating place with a long and interesting history. We went back there for the second time a few years back. It must have been before the lovely statue of the female diver was unveiled. Friends of ours go to Broome every year to escape the south’s winter. Happy travels and thanks for an interesting post.

  12. Escaping the south’s winter in Broome Jill sounds just right to me 🙂

  13. That’s a pleasure Jess. Yes, Chinatown’s are a great way to explore different cuisines.

  14. Hi Michelle, yes, the staircase to the moon is an incredible experience and sight 🙂

  15. The photo of the Staircase to the Moon is so pretty that I can see why people try so hard to emulate it. I can picture myself standing there trying to get just the right shot, too.

  16. Hi Michele, yes, it’s a hard shot to capture. Apart from the light, you need a bit of space. I got a nice pic of someone’s head and thought it was the moon 😉

  17. I LOVED my 2012 visit to Broome – although I’m a fair weather traveller, and went during the cooler winter months! My favourite thing to do was sunset watching at Gantheaume Point – although you could go there ANY time of day and find something free to do, even if it was just people watching!

  18. So true, Red! Thanks for your lovely comments. Yep, there’s just so much space to be free in.

  19. Just like Red Nomad OZ, I too loved my trip to Broome, and would be thrilled to return. It was the simple combination of great food and coffee, beaches, camels and pearls that did it for me. But, this post is just terrific. I love the imaginative approach to affordable activities. Incidentally, I so admire the sculpture of the female diver. Very beautiful!

  20. Thanks for stopping by Wanda. Yes, the “Broome-Combo” is magic, isn’t it!

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