Pearl Luggers and Pearling Tours
It is often said that Broome’s pearling industry is as rich in culture as it is in pearls. Come and experience a fascinating insight to Broome’s unique heritage at Pearl Luggers, in the heart of Broome’s Chinatown. Learn the perils of the deep and discover first hand what made the pearl divers life so hazardous and what drove so many to put their lives at risk. Was it the riches, the status or just the lure of the pearl?
Through guided tours and enthralling stories learn of the impact pearling has had upon Northern Australia and why such a large number of nationalities were enticed, often by force, into our pearling industry. View two of the last surviving and perfectly restored pearling luggers, the vessel synonymous with Broome, surrounded by a reconstructed tidal jetty and an authentic pearlers store.
You may wish to venture north for a tour at a working pearl farm!
- Book Willie Creek Pearl Farm experiences
- Book Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm Tours
- Book Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm Accommodation
- Book a cruise on Willie the pearl lugger
- View all pearl tours
Photo of Pearl Luggers entry at the Willie Creek Pearls Showroom in Chinatown (Dampier Tce) by Abby Murray Photography
Cable Beach is 22kms of pristine white sand and clear tropical waters. Watch the spectacular sunset over the Indian Ocean. Whether you want to stay near Cable Beach, or just enjoy a beautiful ocean sunset on Cable Beach, you can't leave Broome without some time on this world-famous beach. You will also see the camel rides happening in the morning, afternoon and at sunset.
The Shire of Broome provides a beach lifeguard service in partnership with the Broome Surf Life Saving Club during the dry season, April – October, 11.00 am to 4.00pm. Find out more about beaches and beach safety. A reminder to please observe all signage and speed limits when using a vehicle on Cable Beach and be aware of the tidal changes.
Cable Beach turtle nesting season is from October to February. Read more here
Photo by Abby Murray Photography.
Chinatown has been the multicultural heart and soul of Broome since the pearling crews set up their first camps and corrugated tin sheds in the 1880s. Today, Broome has developed into an iconic Western Australian tourism town and Chinatown is its heart and soul. A boutique retail hub and a site of historical significance, it is a unique and special place worth visiting.
The pearl and jewellery showrooms will tempt you as you wander the streets of Chinatown. Stroll through Johnny Chi Lane and down to view Streeter's Jetty. Chinatown plays host to a wide variety of community and cultural events, including some of the Shinju Matsuri dining events and the annual Chinatown Ladies Night. It is also home to many art galleries and photography galleries. You will also find the oldest outdoor picture gardens, Sun Pictures.
Broome’s town centre has been refreshed over recent years thanks to funding from the Shire and the State Government, with the $29.3 million Chinatown Revitalisation Project now completed.
- Download the Chinatown To Do & See Map
- Browse Food and Drink offerings in Broome and Chinatown
- Find out more about the iconic Roebuck Bay Hotel
- Browse the pearl showrooms
- Download the Jetty to Jetty app
Photos by Abby Murray Photography
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Located on the south east edge of Broome is Town Beach. The park and foreshore is the place to be for the ‘Staircase to the Moon’ and the Thursday evening markets, and it forms part of the ‘Jetty to Jetty’ walking trail. The Town Beach Foreshore Redevelopment was completed in mid 2020. We look forward to welcoming visitors to Broome to come and enjoy this amazing new area at Town Beach. The kids will love the water park at Town Beach for cooling off after a play on the beautiful new playground. Town Beach is also a wonderful place to relax for a picnic and enjoy a coffee from a nearby cafe.
Streeter’s Jetty on Dampier Terrace, prior to the recent reconstruction, was an original Broome jetty used by the pearl luggers.
Streeter's Jetty was built for pearl dealers and merchants E. W. Streeter & Co of London, and is known to have been in existence in 1897. A channel cut through the mangroves to Dampier Creek provided access to Streeter's Jetty for luggers and other small vessels. Associated with the jetty were the Streeter and Male Stores on Short Street. In 1897, the Government provided a town jetty at Mangrove Point, and a tramway was built to link the jetties and Chinatown.
The tramway operated until 1948. The jetty is subject to great variations in the tide, being sometimes covered with water, and king tides in particular damage the structure. - Source: Australian Heritage Council Register (AHC 18074).
This historically significant jetty is a favourite for tourists visiting the area, and remains an important reminder of Broome's past.
It was announced by the Shire of Broome in May 2021, that Broome’s iconic Streeter’s Jetty was set for a reconstruction, with the Shire of Broome given the green light to restore the important local attraction to its former glory. Thorough structural investigations were undertaken by an external engineering consultancy, who found the jetty’s piles and bracing were failing and a full replacement was required. Due to safety concerns, the jetty was closed to the public in February 2020. First constructed in 1886, this is the fifth time that the jetty has been demolished and rebuilt, with the last full reconstruction taking place in 2000.
The jetty was 69m in length and constructed of natural timber saltwater Cajaput piles. The option to rebuild the structure in its current form was explored but not found to be feasible as it would not meet Australian standards for crowd loading and vessel berthing. The Shire engaged with local stakeholders and the Heritage Council of Western Australia to provide input into the reconstruction of the jetty. The recently re-constructed jetty has 14 steel piles and a steel frame supporting timber decking, kerbs, handrails and a section of heritage façade, which were constructed from historic materials and replicate the existing jetty.
Streeter's Jetty was opened on the weekend of April 2022 for the public to once again be able to access this significant location.
To read more about the history of Streeter's Jetty, download this pdf from the Australian Society for Historical Archaeology (ASHA) or pop in and visit the Broome Historical Museum when you arrive.
Roebuck Bay Lookout
Take in the spectacular views from the Roebuck Bay Lookout. The recently completed Dampier Terrace and Frederick Street connection provides another entry to Chinatown at its southern end. The connection was improved with construction of the Roebuck Bay Lookout, an elevated platform designed to encourage people to visit the top end of Dampier Terrace and experience the sweeping views over Roebuck Bay and Dampier Creek, while learning about the culture and history of the area.
The Roebuck Bay Lookout is a new point of interest on the award-winning Jetty to Jetty self-guided heritage walk (available to download from iTunes/app store) which provides a rich visual history with unique personal accounts from those living in Broome during the height of the pearling trade.
Acknowledging the Aboriginal significance of the location, Yawuru artists Martha Lee and Ricky Roe have worked with Broome Senior High School students in the development of artwork and cultural information panels incorporated into the Lookout’s structure and signage. Distinctly designed interpretative panels are a key feature, casting breath-taking shadows that move with the sun across the structure, and complement the surrounding natural elements. The goanna and other animals on the concrete wall are found on Roebuck Plains and the dramatic roof shape reflects the bluenose salmon that breed in the Dampier Creek.
Co-funded by the Shire of Broome and the Australian Government through a grant administered by Tourism WA, the project will help to activate an underutilised corner of Chinatown by providing a shaded tourism and resting point. Broome Shire President, Harold Tracey, said the "Roebuck Bay Lookout was an impressive structure that provided an even more impressive panoramic view of Roebuck Bay, Dampier Creek and Chinatown".
Take the bus to Chinatown, hopping off at Johnny Chi Lane stop and enjoy a nice 300m walk down Dampier Terrace, past the Pearl Luggers to the lookout. From the Mangrove Hotel, walk north on Carnarvon St and turn right at Frederick St.
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First Nations Tours and Experiences
We have some of the world's most unique Aboriginal owned and First Nations led tourism businesses operating in Broome and the Dampier Peninsula region. We invite you to get out on country with First Nations tour guides to raise your cultural awareness and encourage the future growth of the Aboriginal Tourism industry. From mangrove experiences, mud-crabbing, fishing, Aboriginal art, food experiences and more, there is a cultural tour to suit everyone. Browse the Aboriginal Experiences or discover Cultural tours.
The Broome Visitor Centre has been providing booking services and information about local tours for over 45 years, so come in and talk to us about the tour options or give us a call on 08 9195 2200.
Sun Pictures - Outdoor Cinema in Broome
Sun Pictures is the world’s oldest operating open-air picture gardens and is open for the public to discover the history of this unique location. This is a major tourist attraction for Broome and allows visitors to step back in time and feel what it would have been like to attend the cinema in years gone by.
The Sun Pictures building in Broome’s Chinatown was constructed at the turn of the century (1903) on a site owned by the Yamasaki family.
This beautiful location has been restored over the 100+ years, but the charm of this iconic location has been kept. Walk through and uncover history with the film posters, equipment, projectors and other cinematic treasures kept on site.
Two films are shown each night, and this is a real treat for anyone visiting Broome. As Sun Pictures is located under a flight path, it can get a bit noisy when a plane comes in to land. This all adds to the thrill of an evening at Sun Pictures.
Gantheaume Point features amazing rock formations and is also home to some of Broome’s famous Dinosaur footprints including a plaster cast of some the tracks. Gantheaume point is a photographer's dream. The textures, sunsets, sunrises and colours are beautiful to see and capture. Walk through the trails of the Yawuru Minyirr Buru Conservation Park.
Care must be taken when exploring this area and we encourage all visitors to stick to the designated walking paths and be aware of large tidal changes in this area.
The lighthouse at Gantheaume Point was built in 1905 and was "one of ten lighthouses built on the West Australian coast between 1900 and 1913" according to the Heritage Council of Western Australia. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1984. The light is powered by mains electricity and can be seen for18 nautical miles in normal weather conditions.
"When the residence was no longer required for a lighthouse keeper it was purchased by Pat Percy and his wife Anastasia. Pat was a police sergeant at Broome, but took up the more lucrative pursuit of pearling. Pat Percy invented the pearl box, a secure box for safeguarding pearls on board the luggers until they could be handed over to the pearling master. He was a member of Broome Road Board and held the post of Chairman. Anastasia Percy suffered from arthritis and when they moved out to the lighthouse keeper's house, Percy found a large hole, washed by the spring tide, which he had cemented so Anastasia could relax in the water to alleviate her condition. The remains of the chimney of the lighthouse keeper's house were restored by the Historical Society." - Read more at the Heritage Council of Western Australia
Anastasia's Pool was damaged by a storm in 2014. A lighthouse keeper create the pool for his arthritic wife so during high tide the saltwater created a place for her to soak. These rockpools are dangerous and not suitable for swimming as undercurrents can drag swimmers out to sea.
Access to Gantheaume Point is via the Gantheaume Point Road, off Gubinge Road. During dry season, catch the Broome Explorer bus (only once per morning in high season, no return service) to Gantheaume Point and walk back along Cable Beach. The walk from Cable Beach to Gantheaume Point is about 5km.
There is no lifeguard patrol at this location. Gantheaume Point is 9kms from the Broome Visitor Centre.
Reddell Beach is a picturesque place, especially at sunset when the light highlights the radiant reds of the rocks. This beach is popular with the locals and is located on the unsealed Kavite Road to Gantheaume Point Lighthouse - a short drive from Broome. Access is via carpark 3. It can be quite rocky on low tide, but it is lovely to discover the interesting rock formations and take those 'Kimberley colours' photos that are so iconic for the region. White sand, red rocks and the ocean. There are no facilities or life-saving duties at this beach.
If you time your visit at high tide, you may be fortunate to witness a spectacular phenomenon when the ocean meets the pindan cliffs and the ochre colour bleeds into the normally crystal blue waters. The calm refreshing waters are ideal for swimming or paddling with the children, and the lack of crowds makes this well kept secret spot an idyllic location. Enjoy a picnic lunch or just laze about on the beach and soak up the sun.
Simpsons Beach is becoming quite famous due to the amazing colours and contrasts of the red pindan and blue water. With the mangroves and a famous tree that sits alone, Simpsons Beach is located close to the Broome Dinosaur Adventures base (use that location in google maps to get you there) near Broome Port and overlooks the beautiful Roebuck Bay. The colours of this beach are amazing as it’s a red sand beach which meets the beautiful blue water. Access is via stairs from the carpark (look for the sign that says Beach Access). This is a beautiful location for photography including weddings and is fast becoming one of the most 'instagram' worthy spots in Broome.
Photo by: Sloane Carvell | Instagram @crumbsandcorks
Discover Broome’s beauty, culture and rich pearling history on the Jetty to Jetty heritage trail.The Jetty to Jetty trail is Yawuru’s award-winning, self-guided heritage walk along the foreshore of Roebuck Bay.
Download the Jetty to Jetty app to enjoy a self paced walk and learn about the history of Broome. This award-winning app was created by Nyamba Buru Yawuru. As they say, you can "listen to the old people tell their stories in their words, as you move through the town at your own pace".
Discover Broome’s beauty, culture and rich pearling history on the Jetty to Jetty heritage trail. The Jetty to Jetty trail is Yawuru’s award-winning, self-guided heritage walk along the foreshore of Roebuck Bay. Set against the voice and country of the Yawuru people, it brings to life the multicultural character of Broome’s fading pearling heritage. Jetty to Jetty takes in thirteen historical and cultural sites that explore the rich culture of the Yawuru people and Broome’s pearling era.
Look out for the red signs as you move along the 2.5km long trail. Take a hat or sun protection, water, comfortable shows and ear phones or a head set to allow you to listen to the app.
*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander listeners are advised that this app may contain voices of people who have passed away.