Our Broome experience probably didn't start as we would have hoped but ended up working out perfectly. Unfortunately In Broome you cannot pre-book any caravan parks so upon arriving we had to drive around looking for somewhere to park up….unfortunately not as easy as we would have hoped. After driving around to caravan parks all over the place in the heat and getting a bit flustered we finally caught a break and found a spot at a caravan parks overflows overflow . Yes we were lucky to get the last spot, wich ended up working out quite well as they were only 35$ instead of 50+ at any of the proper parks where people were packed in like sardines. So we set up in our nice private area and planned out our week ahead in Broome. Our second night there we were lucky enough to get to experience the Taste of Broome and it was so worth it! Comparing it to the other Taste festivals we have been to in Australia this one was realy special not as much for the food or wine but for the culture. Of course it was a nice warm evening and upon arriving we got the waft of all the Yummy asian food being cooked, there were about a billion stars out and local Aborigal Artwork, books, products and more. Then we got shown to our assigned seats and waited for the show to begin as we indulged in the best dumplings i think we've ever had! all the while listening to beautiful aboriginal local artists. Now we really had no idea what the show actually was? It really ended up being a great history lesson on Broome and the reason it has all the culture that it does. With real footage and photos of the poor pearl divers that came from Japan to find there fortune, and the Aboriginals that have lived here for centuries. There were great performances by Stephen "Baamba" Albert a local aboriginal man that has some pretty great humour to add to the night. All in all it really was a great experience and would come highly recommended from the both of us.
The next morning was a Saturday and the market was on... so as the local crow enjoyed waking us up every morning at 6:15 we were more than ready for 8 o'clock to come so we could hop on the bikes and go get a coffee. With a few new goodies in hand we had another little look around and booked a couple tours. Time to go back to the caravan and get the summer clothes out of storage, put the winter woolies away and reorganise the closet space as every inch of space really needs to be maximized. Later in the day is time to check out the famous Cable Beach! As we drive down the beach it is littered with trucks, everyone out to try to catch a glimpse of this infamous sunset. To top it all off Cam had done a little sneaky run to the shops to pick up some tapas and wine to have dinner on the beach. It really was interesting to see the camels in the distance its just not something you see on many beaches, if any. Perfect end to the day!
Mango wine……well of course we were going to check it out! Yes the Mango Place (as it is appropriately called) was a good stop on our way out to Willes Pearl farm with mango everything from Vinegar's, Chutneys, dressings, smoothies, beef and mango pies, and of course wines and ports.
Next stop Willies Pearl farm where they took us out on a boat into Willie creek and explained how the pearling itself takes place. The first thing our skipper tells us as we pull away from the dock is there are 3 local crocs so keep your hands in the boat if you see anything. Oh yes there local 4 1/2 meter croc was spotted the last few days!!! But much to my dismay we weren't greeted by there rather large friend as I have been hanging to see my first Croc in the wild. Funny as much as I love pearls I really never though much about how they come about, it really is quite the process. Pearls themselves only really started being produced in 1850's before that time as they say Broome was Built on buttons! Let me explain that one. Buttons were made by pressing them out of the oyster shell until plastic came along and was much easier and cheaper to produce. Before then Broome produced most of the world buttons. Sadly the Aboriginals had been trading shells for years before the english settlement. Coastal dwelling Aborigines had collected and traded pearl shell with fisherman for possibly hundreds of years. After settlement the Aborigines were used as slave labour in the emerging commercial industry. From 1862-68, local Aborigines worked 'dry shelling' without wages, collecting oysters in the shallow waters of Shark Bay. Six to eight Aboriginal men and women in a boat would 'naked dive' for shell. This meant they had to dive down deep with no oxygen, no snorkel and no mask. Hard to believe people felt they had the right to do this to other humans. Makes you sick to think about it.
So After learning about the importance of size shape and lustre what is the difference between a salt water and freshwater and how to spot a real pearl, now off to the show room to pick one out…… haha ya right! I wish! But it did certainly make me appreciate why they are so expensive. Oh well another day!.
With a couple quite days of laundry and bike riding around Broome and a few nice sunsets just taking it easy. Had a great catch up dinner with the lovely Lilly Zhao down at the cable beach sunset bar and grill. It was so nice to see a familiar face and get a few tips about what to see and do. Also I am a few weeks behind on the blog, so have a lot of catching up to do.
Our last night in Broome as we were waiting to head out for our Asto tour (amazing by the way) we could hear a loud crackling sound and both looked out to see huge flames blazing in the distance, we both went running out to see what was going on. Thankfully it was a controlled burn but it certainly made the tummy flip. The major downside is that the fire only being about 150mitres away we got completely smoked out for the night. With the caravan ashy and smelling smokey for days. The Asto tour was our favourite tour in Broome, arriving at a very dark parking lot we made our way down an even darker path to a big open area that was barely visible until our eyes adjusted to the dark(which apparently takes 10 minutes) with stools arranged around huge telescopes we were greeted by our lovely host Greg Quick. We really had no idea what the night would hold for us but…. we were pleasantly surprised at the knowledge greg was passing on. Simple facts that we were all taught in school but that have completely left our thought process, things that make you think and remember just how small we really are. Over all we would both strongly suggest the experience to anyone heading to Broome just for that little bit of a break from Cow's Gorges and red dirt.
So the next morning we are up early and ready to get back on the road, so we thought…..until I opened the cupboard to get some brekki and found we had friends and a lot of them too! Yes we had been taken over by ants! So after throwing out and checking through everything we had a bit of a later start than we had hoped but thankfully we didn't have to far a drive to Derby. Derby is the Home of the Boab tree, and we only had one night here just waiting to do the Horizontal Falls Tour. It is a fairly small town with it main attractions being the Boab Tree's which are just beautiful!