Tag Archives: Broome

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE, PT. XIIIC – Arts & entertainment in Broome

Broome may have the feel of an outback or frontier town but it’s full of art and entertainment to be envied by any big city. One of the first places in the historic Chinatown centre Suzi and I visited was the famous Sun Pictures movie house.
Inside the front doors, we found a number of museum displays including the old projectors and the outdoor seating for screenings under the stars – very similar to Winton’s Royal Cinema. Next was the beautiful Short Street Gallery which looks modest but it holds so many treasure….hundreds of world-class contemporary indigenous artworks… https://www.shortstgallery.com.au/  

The gallery’s director (sorry, I cannot remember his name just now) was so knowledgeable and shared the artists’ stories and backgrounds with us. He also directed us to their bigger storage facility (they rotate the artwork on a regular basis to keep visitors updated with new paintings). It was just 10 minutes’ drive away so Suzi and I popped over there for a visit…so glad we did. WOW! There are numerous galleries around town plus many of the restaurants and cafes display local artists’ works but after the Short St Gallery experience, my head hurt from being visually bombarded with colour, energy, stories and history. Time for a rest so Suzi and I hopped on the Broome Tramway bus for a touristy experience viewing buildings and historic places with someone else doing all the driving! Fun as well as educational…definitely recommend that. Next time, we visit the crocodile sanctuary for a full-on reptilian adventure where Suzi and I get up close and personal with hundreds of crocs!

 

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE, Pt. XIIIb – PEARLS, PEARLS, PEARLS!

Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by pearls, and after a school project on Broome and the early pearling industry, I vowed that one day I would own one. It’s taken me several decades to get there, but the #1 must-do for me in Broome was…buy a beautiful pearl. So I went on my own grail quest to find the pearl that would be mine. First thing was to learn more about how pearls were harvested, where they were found, how to tell a good pearl from a great pearl, how to listen when they “talk” to you. Your pearl will choose you!  Suzi chatted with the lovely lady at Broome Pearl Merchants store who shared all she knew with us. I checked out all the display cases (below) and although the jewellery was stunning, no pearl called out to me…. All around the shopping precinct, we found historical references to the industry from back in the last century and 1800s. It took a couple of shopping expeditions until I found MY pearl. I finally found it in the Pearls & Boheme store (pearls-boheme.com) – I saw the pendant in one display case then walked around the store a couple of times, but I kept coming back to that one big, bright shiny pearl. I told the lady working that day that I was interested and would come back for it. I needed time to decide whether I was going to spend a little more than I had planned. That night, I tossed and turned and all I could think of was that one pearl. So the next day, Suzi drove me into town to complete the transaction – I walked in the store to be met by owner and jewellery designer Brigitte Hoesl-Lindenberg. Yes, the pearl had been put aside for me…yaay!
PS: yeah, as you can see there was no make-up for me to look pretty. Would you wear it in 35degree heat? Naaah. The pearl sparkled enough for both of us…LOL. Pearl is now with me here in Toronto and all I need is a special event to wear it. But as Brigitte said “every day is a special event – wear your pearl”. So I sometimes sit and watch tv with it, I’ve even gone grocery shopping wearing it. And I’m wearing now as I write this blog.
Next Broome story will be on the fabulous old Sun Pictures outdoor cinema and the art galleries featuring the works of local indigenous artists. And after that….we go croc hunting!!

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE, Pt. XIIIa – THE BEACHES OF BROOME

What can I saw about the beaches around Broome? I don’t think “fantastic” or “extraordinary” says enough.  The most popular and famous one is Cable Beach – 22kms long and bounded by red ochre cliffs and sand dunes, the wide expanses of white sand offers great beach combing and walks, especially at low tide. There are numerous resorts and caravan/camping grounds along the length of it, and Cable Beach has first-class dining venues, lots of parking lots…perfect for family activities as well as romantic strolls. Lifeguards are on duty at the beach from May to October and it is advisable to swim between the flags. Suzi and I had several enjoyable visits….

Cable Beach is famous world-wide for two things: the sunsets and the camels. Camels? Yes, there are 2 camel ride companies who take tourists up and down the beach atop the friendly beasties – Suzi and I decided to pass on that (the rides are pretty expensive) – but we enjoyed the sunsets every night, driving 5 minutes down to the main viewing area and along with hundreds of sun worshipers, watched as the sun dropped below the horizon. So beautiful and exciting…people would cheer and clap each time.

There are several more fab beaches around Broome, such as Roebuck Beach and Town Beach (below) with its long fishing jetty and a history that included WWII bombings and strafings that killed hundreds. But beware, there are salt water crocs, jellyfish and sharks that can kill ya! No swimming or paddling for me! Overall, it’s pretty safe on Broome’s beaches, just read the signs and know your seasons – when we went, it was not jellyfish season and the crocs were pretty scare. You’ll get the best view of the beaches flying into the town…when I looked out the window and saw this, my heart started pounding….get me to the beach! Next blog….I hit the Broome pearl boutiques and buy my fantasy pearl!No photo description available.

 

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE, Pt.XIII – SWEPT AWAY IN BROOME!

Apart from Perth, Suzi and I spent the longest time in the beachside town of Broome, located up the top of Western Australia. As a kid, I remember doing a school project on Broome, all about the pearl industry that thrived up there in the early 20th century that continued through the 60s and 70s when the Mikimoto cultured pearls from Tahiti took over the market (thank goodness natural pearls are back and Broome rules once again). I thought no more about Broome until a few years ago when I discovered Aussie actor Aaron Pedersen’s body of work shot on location up there in The Circuit tv series (pictured below) and most recently Mystery Road II; once the decision was made to come home for a long visited, a stay in Broome was set!Flying in from Darwin, the expanse of beachy coastline was extraordinary….so exciting to land in such a remote town that’s full of history. Eduardo got a special welcome (above) aided by the flight crew who helped him down…yes, my little emu was treated to 1st class service on board. Once we touched down and checked into our lovely holiday cabin less than a mile from the spectacular Cable Beach, we started checking out all the attractions and activities – wow, so much to do and see in Broome. So I’ll be splitting the Broome blog into multiple parts to focus on the town, the beaches, the pearls, the red dirt roads and the crocs! So first, let’s go shopping…..

Our camp ground was so pretty and filled with birds and trees and leafy shrubs. It felt like we were in the jungle…but thankfully there were no spiders or snakes.We were only about 10 minutes from the downtown shopping precinct and thanks to beautifully maintained roads, the daily ride in was smooth and comfortable. Many of the shops were once pearlers’ huts that have been converted and upgraded, or new buildings that kept the feel of last century’s vibe.  Johnny Chi Lane (shown above) is a walkway between the two main streets and is lined with groovy boutiques and cafes. We stopped in at the Green Mango Café (below) which was once a big hippy hangout and has now morphed into a renowned café featuring organic handcrafted foods. It’s not air conditioned but well-worth the sweat! Check them out on Facebook.We then popped into the Broome Gallery owned by artist James Down. Loved his colourful work (originals, prints and souvenirs). I bought a couple of emu-themed postcards and enjoyed browsing the poster displays – oh if only I had more suitcase space! Although Broome is a very hot region, the streets were lined with beautiful tropical trees and flowering plants, as well as some sculptural installations showing of the culture and art that can be found here.
Suzi suggested visiting the Saturday craft market so off we went to the old court house that was actually featured in The Circuit tv series which filmed there 2007-2009. Sure, things had changed a bit it was still recognizable and I got a thrill walking around where Aaron had trod – yeah, I had a real fan-girl moment there….LOL. We pulled into the parking lots across the road and when I looked up, I saw this…we were at the local jail!So many wonderful friendly vendors with food, art, jewellery… I fell in love with these two prints (above) by artist Betty Rupe (www.kimberleyart.com.au) and they are currently being framed back here in Toronto. Can’t wait to hang them on my wall. Emus and brolgas are native to the region so these are perfect Broome memories for me.

Whew, what a full day we had so with a great big BBQ grill across from the cabin, Suzi decided it was a lamb night for us. And I found my favourite soft drink to enjoy with the chops! Next blog will feature the beaches and the magnificent sunsets that have made Broome so famous around the world. And camels…lots of camels!

 

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE – Pt V. THE BEACHES

Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world can be found in Australia and I was lucky to visit a few. The whitest sand and most stunning vistas can be found in the Whitsunday Islands that lay off the n.e. coast of Queensland between the mainland and the Great Barrier Reef. Sadly, I didn’t visit there this trip, however, Broome’s famous Cable Beach made up for it with incredible sunsets and miles of soft white sand.

After Suzi and I left the red heart of the country, we flew up to Darwin – bathers need to be very careful where they swim as salt-water crocs as well as sharks and jellyfish patrol the shallows looking for unsuspecting tourists who soon become dinner! It wasn’t the season for any of the big predators but still, we were careful to look but not touch! Great sunsets happen every night so it was great to join the crowds watching as the sun dipped down over the Timor Sea. After our stay in Darwin, we flew s.w. to Broome in Western Australia, which is known for its pearling history as well as the famous Cable Beach and the camels who give rides to tourists (not me, thank you very much). Loved Broome and wish I could have stayed longer – such friendly people and great seafood (barramundi is a tasty meaty fish and I certainly ate my fill). Our final stop was Perth, the state capitol of Western Australia and my home town. Throughout the 60s, my family moved around, first living at the beach before building up in the hills overlooking the city.  My sister Jenny who lives in Perth along with her own family kindly drove me to my fave beaches which include Cottesloe and Swanbourne, then onto Trigg (used to be called Trigg Island) as well as her own fave beach, a secret shelling beach close to Fremantle, the big port. I am such a beach baby! I love me some sand, surf and sun…throw in a palm tree or two, and I’m in heaven. I hope you get to find your favourite beach and bliss-out on your next vacay!

 

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE – Introduction

So now that I’ve been back in Toronto for 5 days, I’m finally catching up on sleep (crossing the int’l date line twice plus going thru numerous time zones creates havoc with mature bodies!) but am still re-adjusting my body clock. I’ve uploaded all my photos – over 1,000 snaps – to my laptop and will start to post blogs featuring the wonderful towns and cities I visited, the beaches and the bush, the flora and fauna (in particular the stunning gum trees and wildflowers), the cool people I met and the unique events, historical places and indigenous arts and landmarks. I was also able to re-connect with my sister, her husband and my nephew in Perth, Western Australia. Some places exceeded my expectations while others somewhat disappointed, but the nearly 2 months I spent Down Under in August & September took me to childhood homes and fun places I remember so I look fwd to sharing these unique experiences with you all.  Thanks to my friend Suzi Stewart who made all the travel arrangements plus undertook all the driving, everything went well and we encountered no disasters…just a missed flight in Brisbane which resulted in Qantas putting us up for free in a 5-star hotel with food and taxis – how sad! And thanks also to Marilyn and Jeff Bromley in Brisbane for their kind hospitality. Marilyn, Suzi and I met through the Aaron Pedersen (pictured below) Fcbk fan page and the bond was strengthened when Suzi and I planned our trek to the beloved actor’s film & tv locations in the outback, and quest to find the actor himself after his sudden & mysterious retirement… sadly our efforts were all for naught so the Big Man is safe in his secret happy place!!Time now to put the coffee on and get cracking with my tales of outback travels, yummy food (esp. meat pies), extraordinary experiences and great friendships. SO over the next few weeks, you’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me…..