On Thursday we went out to the 12 Mile area of Broome, to see a few of the tourist attractions.
First was the Wilderness Park. Closed.
Turns out that the Wilderness Park is actually a Crocodile Feeding attraction. We were ok with it being closed, we’ve been there and done that and we were happy to move on anyway.
Next was the Mango Place.
We took a walk around part of their mango farm then back to their shop where you can buy a range of mango condiments and fresh food and drinks which were quite nice.
After that we visited the Bird Park.
Now the Bird Park was definitely worth a visit, a large selection of mostly Australian birds on display, with a small petting zoo and a display of old tractors, something for everybody.
There were Red Tailed Cockatoos, dancing and talking loudly.
They also had White Tailed Black Cockatoos and Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and more.
This Corella named Norm would ring his bell whenever he wanted attention.
This was pretty much non-stop so he wouldn’t stay still enough for us to get a good photo, this was the best one.
This is a Major Mitchell Cockatoo, he was very cute, up close and personal but not talkative.
There were also Budgerigars, Canaries, Black Swans, Kookaburras Pheasants, Bush Turkeys and a lot more.
A Gouldian Finch.
Here’s a Golden Pheasant from China, strutting up and down.
This is a Conure from Brazil.
The Macaws were brilliant but aloof.
There were way too many species of birds to record here, but it was an enjoyable visit.
Back at the beach, the camels were out again, we stayed upwind where possible.
Three companies were doing tours and they were mostly attracting plenty of riders.
We found a night market at Town Beach in Broome so we went to see if we could find a good food stall to try out. Totally underwhelming after all the great food markets in Darwin.
We didn’t indulge so we went back to Cable Beach to check out the sunset. Oops, a bit late but good sky colour.
After this we went to nearby Divers Tavern and Heather finally had a good seafood selection.
Fish, scallops, prawns and squid, yum!
We are staying about 10 minutes from the beach as the crow flies but haven’t been able to find a route to walk to it directly. We would have to walk around by the road and pavement which is about 2 kms each way, and past houses, hotels, caravan parks etc., not very interesting.
So, on Friday, after consulting Google we set off cross country to try to find a way through.
Up a nearby hill, here is our neighbourhood behind us.
Turn around and there’s the beach
Heather went on as not good for Roger he also had to get back to the washing. I climbed up and down sand dunes sometimes on hands and knees, snaked around spinifex and small shrubs some of the dead branches reaching out and grabbing at my legs and clothes but being an explorer I ploughed on.
Out to the beach where we have been walking before and lo and behold I was confronted with another naked man. Haven’t seen any women yet.
Rog came & picked me up by the 4WD path onto the beach.
Later we went into the old Chinatown area of Broome, from where the pearling luggers originally worked. Here’s Heather on Streeter’s Wharf enjoying the ambiance (and the mangroves).
The mangrove trees were not here when this was a working wharf, it was open for the luggers to get right in to the dock and the beach in the town.
Broome makes a lot of its pearling past with a few monuments dotted along the streets, this one of a 2nd generation pearl diver in his diving suit.
The 1st generation divers would free dive with all the risks that went with that. Very dangerous stuff, much safer in a diving suit.
It seems that more than half of the shops in Broome are selling pearl jewellery, we don’t know how they all make a living but they do seem to.
The pearls since the mid 1950s are mostly cultured pearls which were used to produce buttons and ornaments. The industry is quite different to what it was before that now.
At first they made aboriginals dive for natural pearl shells. If they refused they would force them to or kill them. If they got sick or the bends they dropped them of and let them deal with it themselves. Needless to say most died agonising deaths.
The later divers, mostly Asian, would bring up pearl oysters to their luggers and shuckers would cut
growths off the outside and clean out the insides to leave the shells which would be kept for further processing. If they found any pearls, they were a bonus.
The bulk manufacture of plastic buttons in the 1950s killed the pearling industry as it was.
Now, the cultured are harvested humanely, and the oysters are returned to the oyster farms to produce more pearls, The shells are no longer harvested at all.
We passed the old Roebuck Bay Hotel, a rough pub in the day, now just a quaint place to have a drink or a meal.
Not a lot of evidence of the old Chinese influence in Chinatown, so a few decorations are being put in place.
In the day, the Asian divers lived here and the area was rife with booze, gambling and brothels. Not so now, or not from what we saw.
The old Sun Movie Theatre is interesting, and open air movie theatre still operating, currently showing Rocketman and Top End Wedding.
We went to the Broome Museum, here’s Roger meeting an old diver.
Well, his suit anyway. They weren’t this big really. This is how big it blew up to.
We saw some examples of old pearl buttons and ornaments.
The museum has a large collection of old sea shells on display, collected over many years at Broome by a Mrs Phyllis McDaniel about 100 years ago.
Broome is a magnet for tropical cyclones, it’s had 22 since 1920. This map shows the worst of them and compares Broome with other towns between Darwin and Karratha
The Wings of Broome is a sculpture in the town’s Male Park, made from a collection of old thongs or flip flops.
We went to Dinner in town and on to the Moscow Circus on Friday Night.
It was a good show and fun, but no pics sorry. An old-fashioned circus.
A fairly quiet day on Saturday, we went back to the Museum and went down to Town Beach for lunch.
This is the spot to come to for the Staircase to the Moon sightings as the full moon rises if you are here at the right time.
Later we went back to Cable Beach for a walk and our last sunset here.
Tomorrow, we’re headed home. Ah well, back to the cold.