| Oct 02, 2014
Sandy and Shane Liddiard arrived into sunny Broome as winners of the Shinju Matsuri Mix 94.5 Radio promotion.
I greeted both of them at Broome airport and practically the first words out of Sandy’s mouth as she stepped off the Qantas flight were “I could live here!” and I knew we would get along swimmingly! Living in Perth she was immediately impressed by Broome’s warm weather.
Sandy cleverly designated the travel bag on wobbly wheels to her hubby to take to the car and a few minutes drive later we were at Oaks Broome. One of the great things about this compact town is that it’s a maximum of ten minutes drive anywhere in Broome!
Even though we were earlier than the official check in time, the friendly staff at Oaks Broome had Shane and Sandy’s hotel room ready. As part of their prize, Oaks also provided them a complimentary daily buffet breakfast (Thanks Oaks!) The Oaks is in a great location and about a two minute drive to the town centre. I left Sandy and Shane to their own devices, so they could chill out and slip into ‘Broometime’. Sandy was still talking about how she loved the warm weather while I reckon Shane was keen to get to the pool and air conditioned hotel room!
Sandy and Shane stayed at Oaks Broome
I arrived at Oaks the next evening to collect them for their first Shinju Matsuri Festival event – A Taste Of Broome. I discovered that they had wasted no time relaxing! They had hired a car from Broome Broome Car Rentals (great name for a car hire company doncha think!) They’d checked out Broome’s Chinatown and also caught up with a friend that lives here.
Neil McKenzie gives a traditional welcome for A Taste of Broome
A Taste of Broome is a music and picture show. Food stalls are set up where you can purchase food and to a backdrop of historical photos, locals entertained with songs, music and dance performances capturing the Indigenous and multicultural history of this pearling town. As VIPs we were shown a table at the front, provided a drink and as the performances began we were given an Asian food platter to share. A Taste of Broome dates have been confirmed for 2015 so if you are heading to Broome in 2015 check the upcoming dates here
Delicious food reflecting Broome's Asian heritage
Oaks Broome is within strolling distance to Town Beach and so Shane and Sandy checked out the Shinju Matsuri Rotary Dragon Boat Regatta on the Saturday morning – always a laugh as community teams try to keep their boat upright. Sandy said at one point there were boats going in every other direction to where they should have been heading and some people ended up in the drink! The Broome Surf Lifesaving Club was the eventual victor and it’s reassuring to know our local lifesavers know their stuff in the water! Sandy and Shane also had a wander around the Broome Courthouse Markets.
Next we were off to the Shinju Matsuri Pearl Meat Cook-Off at Pearl Luggers! Set on the edge of Roebuck Bay with pearl luggers from a bygone era as the background we settled under the shade. Usually the location of a historical pearling tours (a must do when visiting Broome) the grassed area was transformed into mini cooking stations and as the weather heated up so did the cooking competition.
Broome's chefs competed in the Pearl Meat Cook-Off
Sandy samples one of the pearl meat dishes on offer.
The chefs of Broome’s hotels and restaurants compete for this much fought over title every year. Pearl meat is a delicacy and internationally can sell for $150 per kilo! The three of us turned into serious food critics as we tasted the dishes on offer and debated textures, flavours and presentation. Matso’s Broome Brewery was hoping to sway the public vote with free samples of their delicious alcoholic ginger beer! The head chef of Oaks was crowned the winner! A bit more time relaxing back at the hotel and then Shane and Sandy headed to the Shinju Matsuri Ball at the Roebuck Bay Hotel that evening.
Shane and Sandy wasted no time the next day. They participated in a Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour. Collected by coach with commentary for the 20 minute drive to the farm, they saw how pearls were extracted from Broome’s massive oyster, the Pinctada Maxima, and enjoyed a cruise along Willie Creek. Sandy also saw Broome from the air on a helicopter flight. A birds eye perspective of Broome is like no other given its creek and tidal system which creates unusual patterns in the landscape.
I caught up with Sandy and Shane at Broome Airport as they were leaving and they have vowed to return to this pearling town. Sandy and Shane you were great fun to hang out with, I hope the weather warms up for you in Perth and don’t forget to give me a call when you next visit!