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Jo takes on the challenge of basket weaving and exploring Hancock Gorge (not at the same time!)

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  • Bye Bye Broome!

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

    Camels on Cable Beach in Broome WA 

    Guest Blogger Stephen Swabey spent a week in Broome and beyond and has kept us up to date on his adventures in this pearling town.  Thanks Stephen for reminding us about how fantastic this part of the Kimberley is and we hope to see you back here soon.

    Our last day in Broome came too soon. We caught up with Glen from Australia’s North West Tourism and chatted about our experiences over the week. We let him know how impressed we had been by the way in which Broome and the Dampier Peninsula had made adventure easy to achieve, with comfortable accommodation, fine food, and fascinating activities readily organised. As the plane climbed out of Broome airport we had one last glimpse of the sands at Cable Beach. Yep, the camels were still plodding along.

  • Dinosaur Footprints, Camel Capers and another beer at Matso's!

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

    Camels on Cable Beach Broome 

    Nearing the end of his journey in Broome and beyond,  Guest Blogger Stephen Swabey makes the most of his time in the pearling town:

    Our last full day in Broome started with a big breakfast at Matso’s Broome Brewery. The fresh wind blowing through the night had dropped a few trees around the town and it seemed to want to drop into breakfast. Matso’s was shuttered up against the cool wind, which is not usual, the staff assured us. We caught up with Matt again over breakfast and remarked how well we’d been looked after at, and enjoyed, Matso’s. We wandered into Paspaley shopping centre to look for a few postcards to send to friends, before dropping back to Moonlight Bay Suites to get picked up for an afternoon town tour.

    Kimberley Wild Expeditions’ bus soon had us rolling round the parts of Broome that would be difficult to see without a hire car and some local knowledge. We visited the area of Broome in which pearling luggers used to pull up to shore for supplies and to offload their product. Only one lugger sits there now, high and dry in a little museum, testament to the difficult conditions the early pearlers had to endure. We visited one of the pearl shops and listened to an explanation of how pearls are cultured and farmed. We dropped into Sun Pictures, which is an old open-air movie theatre in Broome’s centre. Then, a bit of deja vue, as we stopped at Matso’s for a tasting of their beer and a talk from one of the staff about how it is brewed. 

    On to Gantheaume Point, where dinosaur footprints can be seen at extremely low tides on the rocks. Happily, the footprints have also been cast into concrete at the top of the lookout behind the lighthouse, so they can be seen more readily at other tides. The sea eagles nesting in the lighthouse ’tower’ were in residence and we watched one return with a large fish for its chick. This part of the Broome coast is all red rocks, golden sand and blue sea. It’s makes for very picturesque photographs. 

    Not as picturesque as camels on the beach just north at Cable Beach, however. The final jaunt for our holiday was a gentle sway on the Red Sun Camels’ train while the sun set twice - once into the sea and once into the wet sand reflections. Careful instruction from our guides on how to cope with lurching camels rising from their haunches made sure we stayed in our saddles. Many folk were out on the beach enjoying the view, and the passing of the camel trains.

    Too soon, we headed back into town and grabbed a bite to eat before watching a recent movie release at Sun Pictures. The deck-chairs flapping in the breeze told us it was an abnormally cool night. We were also excited by the realistic sound effects of an aircraft zooming through the cinema, but it turned out to be a plane landing at the airport - having no roof on your cinema means the real world can intrude sometimes.

  • Back to Broome

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

     

    Guest Blogger Stephen enjoyed Cygnet Bay Pearl's Great Tides Tour and is continuing his journey around the Kimberley.  Over to you Stephen...

    We had a restful cool night tucked down in the comfy safari tent bed at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and stirred late, to breakfast while watching the morning’s farm activities going on in the workshops opposite. Boats had left for the day’s work, but all sorts of maintenance and vehicle rearrangements were being organised. We drove back out onto the main road and headed south back to Broome. It seemed like the road had got worse since we’d driven up three days previously, but perhaps it was just because the tar seal at the north of Dampier Peninsula had spoiled us. 

    Finally, the black-top hove into view again, just north of Broome and we trundled into town to drop the vehicle off at Broome Broome Car Rentals, who kindly delivered us to our last accommodation at Moonlight Bay Suites. These self-contained units are wonderfully situated overlooking Roebuck Bay. The spacious apartment, with separate bedroom and luxurious bathroom was a lovely place to unwind after the juddering down the bush roads. That evening, we wandered across the road to meet Matt Cooper, who manages Matso’s Broome Brewery restaurant/pub on Hamersley Street. Matt showed us round the brewery on site, which brews some of the fine Matso’s beer. The movement of the Matso’s building is an interesting story in itself, with several shifts in function and location since it was built in 1910. 

    The idiosyncratic history of the Matso’s building is reflected in fine style in the unusual beers and ciders Matso’s create. Toni has enjoyed Matso’s alcoholic ginger beer for some years, so she (and I) were delighted to learn that Matso’s also have a mango beer, a lychee beer and a chili beer. For more traditional imbibers, the Smokey Bishop dark lager and the Pearler’s pale ale are also top drops, and have interesting stories behind them. Matt brought over a tasting tray and helped us enjoy the various beers, while we selected from Matso’s eclectic dinner menu, while regaling us with stories about running a boutique brewery and restaurant in a town a long way from anywhere metropolitan.

  • Wild Water Ride in the Kimberley

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

    Giant Tides at Cygnet Bay Kimberley

    Guest Blogger Stephen Swabey enjoys the swirling waters of Cygnet Bay:

    Just a few kilometres further up and on the east coast of the Dampier Peninsula, sits Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. The rustic driveway from the main road down to the Pearl Farm hints that you’re not arriving at a manufactured, manicured tourist attraction. This is the real deal. A stone causeway from the visitor parking to the cafe and visitor centre passes boats, tractors, remnants of oyster cages and all sorts of marine paraphernalia. The cafe and visitor centre have an informality that welcomes and puts at ease. Hidden in the bush a few minutes walk from the Pearl Farm buildings are tent sites and safari tents. 

    We dropped our gear in one of the safari tents and walked back to the visitor centre for an introduction to the pearling business, Dampier Peninsula style. With a long history in the area, the original operation started by Dean Brown in 1946 as a mother-of-pearl collecting venture. Branching out into cultured pearls through work Dean’s son Lyndon did to replicate the secret processes used by Japanese farms, the business now also offers tourism activities centred on the wild waters of the King Sound. 

    One of the wildest water experiences is the Giant Tides tour, which starts in a most deceptively genteel fashion with a quick hop onto a boat on land. And no, it’s not on a trailer - the Sea Legs boats from innovators in New Zealand have legs with wheels on. Driving into the sea from the pearling operations area is faintly surreal. Then the legs flip up and, whee - we were off. For a while. It all came to a slightly damp stop at another boat in the middle of the bay. The upcoming ride suddenly looked serious. This new boat had sit-aside seats with pommel bars to grip. Gulp.

    At least to start with. The new boat rose onto the plane and started skipping across the small waves towards One Arm Point. Speed means exhilaration. Tight turns mean exhilaration. Sweeping over the whirlpools and standing waves created by the spring tides swirling round the islands off One Arm Point was exhilarating. The eight to nine metre tides at this time of year were demonstrating the raw forces nature can summon with simple gravitational attraction, as the mass of water was crammed into narrow channels and round rocky headlands. Our guide and skipper stopped every so often to explain some of the interesting history behind the various islands before treating us to another wild ride into a whirlpool or two.   

    Toni was not completely impressed. Fairground rides that swoop and climb, twirl and judder were never her favourite. It seems impossible, but I’m sure she left paw-shaped dents in the stainless steel pommel bars in front of her seat. I thought it was just great. We skipped back towards Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, admiring red sunset stains in the sky, caught on wind-blown dust and bushfire smoke. A quick transfer to the Sea Legs boat, and we climbed ashore again, like some primordial amphibious monster. After showering out the sea salt, we walked back to sample the oyster-related dishes on Cygnet Bay’s interesting dinner menu, before retiring to listen to the evening crickets and bats outside our safari tent.

  • Out Bush with Brian in the Kimberley

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

    Brian lee 

    Guest Blogger Stephen continues his journey around the Kimberley and spends some time on the Dampier Peninsula approximately 200km north of Broome:

    It's strange going to sleep with the noise from two beaches playing in stereo through your tent. The imaginatively named Eastern Beach and Western Beach frame the area around the Cape Leveque headland where the lighthouse and Safari tents sit.

    The tents are named for local personalities and each is set on a raised wooden platform, with a kitchen equipped with a small kitchen with fridge-freezer, crockery and utensils, with a BBQ, dining table and chairs, and a bathroom.

    We wandered the few minutes down the track for breakfast, to find we'd over-estimated everyone else's enthusiasm for seeing first light: No-one was around. No matter, we headed down on to Western Beach, following the marked track and avoiding stepping on the fragile purple rocks. It was high tide and the rising sun was colouring sand, sea and rocks in rich hues. Fishermen on the beach were the only others sharing the quiet hours of early morning.

    After breakfast at 8 am the calm was rent by the arrival of tours by bus, plane and 4WD. Brian Lee from Brian Lee's Tagalong Tours was back to lead us and six other carloads of visitors down Eastern Beach to Hunter's Creek. Since our 4WD could not be driven on beaches, Brian kindly let us ride with him, together with all the kit and caboodle that a beach man requires - fishing rods and crab wires, spears and 4WD rescue gear. 

    Halfway down the beach was a sobering reminder of what can happen if you don't tell others where you're going, and try to ignore the rules. A newish 4WD sat beyond the fence marking the limits of the public driving area, battered by waves that scooped it from where the driver had abandoned it, stuck in sand. Now wheel-less, its bull-bar drooping, doors folded back and all the good bits gone, it was a temporary monument to enthusiasm overcoming common-sense.

    All our tour's 4WDs safely moved on to Hunter’s Creek itself, to start looking for the elusive mud-crab. As we crested the first dune by the creek, the tide had just turned and the blue, blue water was sweeping along the side of the sand-dunes, heading for the sea. Brian explained that the creek had previously been used for ship-building and commercial fishing. Today, the only hunter around was the stingray clearly visible swooping over the sandy bed of the creek. A little further on, Brian assured us the resident saltwater crocodile hadn’t been seen for a while, so we all grabbed cameras, mud-crab fishing tools, and waded out into the mangrove clumps. Dear reader, no mud-crabs were harmed in the making of this blog. Whether our sloshing around sounded too many alarm bells or - like us - the mud-crabs were on holiday, we came back with naught.

    No matter, dinner at Kooljaman that night was just as good as the night before. We said as much to the chef, who was a relatively recent arrival too. Another evening of listening to the gentle surf just beyond the dining area at Kooljaman, before a wander back to the safari tent, was a great way to round off a day of interesting pootling.
  • Dirt Road to Paradise - Broome to Kooljaman at Cape Leveque

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 28, 2014

    Dirt Road to Kooljaman
     

    Our guest blogger Stephen Swabey continues his trip into the Kimberley:

    You remember that Prado I mentioned on Day 1. Well it earned its keep. You see the road up the Dampier Peninsula from Broome isn't sealed all the way. The middle section is a sand highway, alternating between smooth Pindan hard pan and tyre-sucking sand. It's not difficult driving, but lumpy with occasional corrugations. The Prado suspension dealt with it all calmly and, with the northern half in tarmac, we covered the roughly 200 km to our accommodation at Kooljaman in good time.

    Driving in to Kooljaman, the low-key buildings, camping areas and tracks are set back discreetly from the star attraction here - the glorious coast. We peeked over the rail of the dining area around the pizza oven and glimpsed the striking red-purple of the low cliffs, before checking in. Then as we drove to our safari tent, perched on the hill just below the working lighthouse, we saw visual snippets of golden beach, red rocks, blue ocean and green forest. This classic palette of Aussie colours and hues is rarely found in one place. Our excursion tomorrow was going to be stunning, we could see.

    We met our guide for the morrow, Brian Lee, at the Kooljaman restaurant. Brian runs Tagalong 4WD Tours on the eastern beach at Kooljaman, but is involved in so much more, including the creation and management of Kooljaman itself. The first thing you notice about Brian is his magnificent mane of silver hair and his full beard. These lend him a mystic air, but Brian is anything but mystic - his interest in the world around him and his obvious delight in sharing his understanding with others is practical and engaging.

    Brian took us off in his beaten up Landcruiser to the settlement of One Arm Point, where he explained the settlement history of the area. Also at the point is the community hatchery, where the operators showed us the large tanks filled with various fish, seaweed and shell species. The ocean at the point was roiling as tides and currents battled through the islands, driven by the 14m range experienced four times daily. We knew we'd see more of this in a couple of days.

    We returned to Kooljaman for a dinner of great inventiveness, execution and taste. The menu features both western and traditional ingredients assembled in visually appealing ways. We'd been told previously that, although the local communities are dry, the Kooljaman restaurant is BYO, so we'd come prepared.
  • Shops, Champagne and Sunsets - Stephen slips into BroomeTime!

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 13, 2014

    Sunset at Cable Beach, Broome 

    We have a guest blogger!  Meet Stephen Swabey Winner of the 2013 Characters of the Kimberley Campaign with his prize being a trip to Western Australia's magnificent Kimberley region!  Over to Stephen...

    Sometimes the journey is as interesting as the destination. It was hard to tell, as forest greens of the east coast gave way to ribbons of dry rivers and fields of dunes of central Australia, quite what would await us in Broome.

    Qantas was early, but Broome Car Rentals were waiting for us and - having no bags to collect - we whisked through the formalities to take possession of our Landcruiser Prado 150 for a few days.  More on this 4WD later...

    A Sunday market was running in central Broome, with all sorts of interesting wares. A quick trip round Woolworths at Broome's well-provisioned shopping mall for some essentials  (there's a Coles in town too, if you're that way inclined) and we were off to Cable Beach Resort.

    I don't know about you, dear Reader, but any hotel that greets you with a glass of champagne as you arrive is starting in the right way. Overlooking the pool area, our room in the Corella wing at the Resort was comfy, well-appointed and quirky, mostly in the bathroom space. We made a quick exit to the adults-only pool below for some serious attempts at indolence. Dinner was at one of several restaurants on site and breakfast the next day at the Sunset Bar overlooking the ocean.

  • Staircase to the Moon

    by Jo Durbridge | Oct 25, 2013

    Staircase to the Moon


    Last weekend I headed down to Town Beach in Broome  with a photographer and our Nokia Lumia competition winners  to see the Staircase to The Moon.  No matter how many times I see this natural phenomenon I still think it is breathtaking and I was eager to share this experience with my guests for the evening.

    So what exactly is Staircase to the Moon? its an amazing trick of the light that only happens on certain dates between March and October at a few locations along the Pilbara and Kimberley coast.   It is caused by the rising of the full moon reflecting off the exposed mudflats at extremely low tide - creating a beautiful optical illusion of stairs reaching to the moon. 

    The moon was due to rise at 7.06pm (the moon is very precise!) and so we grabbed a great viewing position on the old  Broome Jetty a good hour earlier.  We are glad we did given how popular this natural attraction is with visitors and locals.

    At first we thought the staircase might be impeded by cloud, but after a few minutes it shone bright with its staircase clearly visible.  My guests were delighted with the spectacle as was James Morgan who sent the resulting photos (one of them pictured above) to media outlets all over the world.

    Afterward we grabbed a couple of wood fired pizzas and some fruit smoothies at the Town Beach Staircase Markets and enjoyed an evening picnic while relaxing to local singers entertaining the crowd.

    Staircase to the Moon is a fantastic experience and once seen it is never forgotten!  It can be viewed in Onslow, Dampier, Cossack, Point Samson Peninsula, Hearson Cove, Port Hedland and Broome and for more information and 2014 dates check our Staircase to the Moon page on our website.


  • Shinju Matsuri Festival is in Full Swing!

    by Jo Durbridge | Sep 17, 2013

     

    Broome’s Shinju Matsuri Festival officially kicked off on Friday evening as the crowds gathered in Chinatown for the opening ceremony.  While there were speeches, a night market and entertainment it was clear that the children were waiting to see one attraction, and one attraction only - Sammy the Dragon! It was great to see hear children asking “Where's Sammy?” and “When will Sammy wake up?” as it has become an annual ritual for many of them who have attended Festival events since they were toddlers.

    Sammy the dragon Shinju Matsuri Festival Broome

    Sammy the Dragon, the much loved icon of the Shinju Matsuri Festival

    Sammy the Chinese Dragon is an amazing, colourful creature who is awoken every year at the Festival.  His many legs are powered by volunteers who learn the not-so-easy task of walking and dancing in rhythm while winding themselves through the crowded streets much to the delight of the appreciative audience.

    Now in its 43rd year the Shinju Matsuri, Festival of the Pearl has a huge range of events over ten days and you can check out the list of events on their website.

    Australia’s North West Tourism and the Shinju Matsuri Festival ran a competition on Perth radio station Mix 94.5. The excited winner Carly Dunn and her partner Daniel Adams were flown to Broome to enjoy this weekend’s festivities. Not only did they have the opportunity to attend Shinju events but they also won four nights accommodation at Pinctada Cable Beach Resort & Spa and a Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour.

    Carly and Daniel check into Pinctada Cable Beach Resort & Spa

    Ben checks Carly and Daniel into Pinctada Cable Beach Resort & Spa. The Pinctada sign behind reception is made of individual polished Pinctada Maxima pearl shells.

    As well as the official opening I also attended the Shire of Broome Acquisitive Art Awards (you can view the exhibition at the Broome Civic Centre until this Thursday) and was also a guest at the Long Table Lunch. 

    Long Table Lunch

    A huge crowd enjoys the Long Table Lunch.

    Every year I think the Long Table Lunch can’t get any better and every year it does!  The organisers outdid themselves transforming the Broome Civic Centre with lanterns and Asian table settings and fantastic entertainment.  The wonderful five-course Asian inspired lunch from various restaurants and cafes in town was delicious and I ate so much that I skipped dinner! 

     Daniel enjoys the Long Table Lunch

    Daniel is ready to devour  his Thai fish cakes and Matso's Broome Brewery Mango Beer at the Long Table Lunch.

    Sunday saw families lining the streets of Chinatown for the annual float parade and then kicking on to enjoy the Mardi Gras Concert on Male Oval.

    It was a big weekend in Broome and the Festival has only just begun!  The Pilbara and the Kimberley have a huge range of outdoor events given we have fantastic weather for most of the year.   If you are thinking of heading to Australia’s North West for a break, why not time it to experience one of our amazing events.  Check out our events calendar for further information.

  • Photo Shoot in Australia's North West

    by Robyn Maher | Sep 04, 2013

     

    Recently I had the pleasure of accompanying travel photographer David Kirkland, Nigel Perry from Blue Seas Resort and his partner Nikki Gardner on a photo shoot of Broome’s stunning Cable Beach and spectacular Karijini National Park in the Pilbara Region.

    David is one of the most widely published travel photographers and writers in the Asia Pacific region. He specialises in capturing memorable promotional photographs for national and regional tourism authorities and produces world-class images for international resorts and boutique properties.

     David sets up the shot on Cable Beach

    (Photographer David Kirkland sets up a shot on Cable Beach in Broome)

    I definitely hit the jackpot when Nigel and Nikki agreed to be the talent for this Australia’s North West Tourism image library photo shoot.  Both extremely photogenic plus super organised with their wardrobe, props and good humour for many early morning starts and late nights.   

    For our road trip from Broome to Karijini we made sure we had lots of lollies, snacks and music by Broome band the Pigram Brothers. Before driving into Karijini National Park, be sure to stop at Auski Roadhouse for a burger with the lot and I mean the lot!

    Nikki and Nigel are guided by David to get that perfect shot

    (Nikki and Nigel are guided by David to get that perfect shot)

    Our generous hosts at Karijini Eco Retreat looked after us very well with delicious meals prepared by Chef Trevor, awesome packed lunches, hot water bottles for the cold nights and the most comfortable king bed I’ve ever slept on in unique eco tents.  It was great Bob & Sue Stump from Lestok Tours could join us for dinner one night.  Lestok Tours have operated out of Tom Price for many years and do fabulous Karijini and mine site tours. While staying at Karijini Eco Retreat enjoy the stars with Remtrek Tours and for the more active traveller experience Karijini gorges with West Oz Active Adventure Tours

    Though working, we had plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of Joffre Falls, Oxer’s Lookout, Hamersley Gorge, Hancock Gorge, Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool.  A visit to the park’s Visitor Centre is a must!

    arijini National park - Nikki, Nigel & Robyn

    (Nikki, Robyn and Nigel at Karijini National Park)

    The Warlu Way is a designated drive trail through the Pilbara, a great way to take in the highlights of this great region.  On our last day we travelled the Warlu Way to Tom Price then on to Paraburdo for our flight home.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank David Kirkland for his enthusiasm and expertise and Nigel and Nikki for being incredibly obliging, helpful and all round good talent!  We look forward to sharing the photos with you all very soon.

  • Giddyup it’s Broome Cup!

    by Jo Durbridge | Aug 14, 2013

    Well not until this Saturday, when Broome gears up for its final horse racing event of the season!  If you have never been to a ‘country cup’ I can highly recommend it. There are fantastic race meets all over Australia’s North West and you will find that our country towns come alive with a range of special events and entertainment to complement the race days. Singers Jimmy Barnes and Kate Miller-Heidke will both be performing gigs in Broome this weekend.

     Betting on Ladies Day at Broome Turf Club

    (Putting their bets on at Ladies Day  Let's hope they had a win!)

    I was returning to Broome on a flight from Perth on the weekend and it was great to see ladies with hat boxes as hand luggage boarding the flight ready to enjoy Ladies Day and Broome Cup.

     Frocks & Facinators at Ladies Day Broome

    (Ladies Day saw fabulous frocks and fascinators trackside) 

    Dressed to the nines all the ladies looked terrific at the Broome Turf Club yesterday and with entertainment, champagne, fashions on the field and a bit of two-up thrown in, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are feeling a little ‘delicate’ this morning!   Rest up people it will be time to do it all again this weekend!  See you at Broome Turf Club this Saturday!    

  • Cossack Art Award Celebrates 21 Years

    by Robyn Maher | Jul 25, 2013

    Once again Australia’s North West Tourism was an Associate Sponsor of the Cossack Art Award and travelled to the Pilbara to enjoy the program.

    Journalist Mark Naglazas from The West Australian Newspaper joined me in Karratha to attend this year’s Cossack Art Award staged annually at the historic Cossack settlement within the interesting architecture of the Old Post and Telegraph Office and the Bond Store, with its magnificent granite and bluestone masonry.

    Robyn Maher and Mark Naglazas at Cossack Art Awards

    (Robyn Maher and Mark Naglazas at the Cossack Art Award. Image: Lillian Frost)

    This event is a project of the Shire of Roebourne with Rio Tinto as Principal Partner. The Cossack Art Award is recognised internationally and nationally as the most isolated and richest acquisitive art award in regional Australia.

    Shire of Roebourne staff at Cossack Art Awards

    (Shire of Roebourne staff amongst some of the artwork. Image: Lillian Frost)

    6x6 Arts Forum was the first event for the program.  A relaxed evening of arts conversation and networking with the judges, artists, curators, volunteers and staff behind the art award.  This event featured six artists speaking about their art practice for six minutes.

    Mark and I were fortunate enough to join Archaeologist Ken Mulvaney, acclaimed judges Lindy Lee and Seva Frangos, Ron Bradfield, Tabitha Minns & Gavin Buckley from Artsource, Caspar Fairhall (2013 Cossack Art Award Artist in Residence) and William Barton, world renowned Didgeridoo and classical guitarist for an informative tour of the ancient Petroglyphs at Hearson’s Cove, Burrup Peninsula.  This was an unforgettable experience to view Aboriginal rock art dating back 20,000 years.

    William Barton performing didgeridoo

    (William Barton performing didgeridoo and guitar. Image: Lillian Frost)

    The Sponsor’s Preview night was a wonderful opportunity to view all 293 entries, 108 being from the Pilbara.  MC Verity James ensured proceedings ran smoothly and 2012 ARIA award winner for best classical album William Barton performed the didgeridoo and classical guitar that captivated guests in the stunning surrounds of Cossack’s heritage buildings.

    We also visited the Roebourne Art Group, Yinjaa-Barni Art Centre and the new Roebourne Amphitheatre and learnt all about Weerianna Street Media and Big Hart’s Hip Bone Sticking Out Project.

    The Cossack Art Award Opening Night was buzzing with excitement as we waited to learn the winners.  Total prize money for the awards is $109,000 – 9 Category’s plus Best Artwork by Pilbara Artist and Best Overall Artwork.  

    Mark and Robyn check out Cossack Art Award

    (Checking out some of the 293 pieces of artwork at the Cossack Art Awards. Image: Lillian Frost)

    Judges Lindy Lee & Seva Frangos had the difficult task of choosing the winners.  Best Overall Artwork was awarded to Artist Lesley Munro for  'The Way Back', Prize Money $15,000 and $15,000 Artist in Residence Program.

    Artist Lesley Munro  with her winning artwork 'The Way Back'

    (Artist Lesley Munro and her winning artwork. Image: Lillian Frost)

    Sunday morning the public got to join the judges Lindy and Seva in an exhibition floor talk conversation and tour to discuss the judging process and the value of open art prizes.  Following the Judges Floor Talk was the popular event Cossack Family Day attracting thousands of visitors.  This event showcases the creativity of the community with market stalls, craft workshops and live entertainment including Dorothy the Dinosaur!

    On our last day we travelled to Dampier to join Brad Beaumont from Discovery Cruising.  We cruised to Sam’s Island, Pirates Cove, viewed rock art sites on East Lewis Island and observed loading of salt and iron ore on to massive ships.  The Dampier Archipelago is made up of 42 islands, we enjoyed a taste of these beautiful islands and beaches and enjoyed the stunning landscape from Brad’s boat the “Blue Marlin”.

    Enjoying a cruise on Discovery Cruising's 'Blue Marlin'

    (Cruising the Dampier Archipelago on the 'Blue Marlin' Image: Robyn Maher)

    Special thanks to Sean Turton from ibis Styles Karratha, Vanessa Subramoney Shire of Roebourne, Jen Hourquebie from Archipelago Arts, Brad Beaumont from Discovery Cruising and of course Mark Naglazas for coming to the Pilbara from Perth and his coverage of the awards in The West Australian Newspaper. 

    Interested in visiting the Pilbara?  Find out more: at Roebourne Visitor Centre and Australia's North West. 

  • Kimberley Colours Amazing From Scenic Flight

    by Jo Durbridge | Mar 15, 2013

    Scenic Flight Broome inthe Kimberley

    Seeing the Kimberley from the air is an amazing experience and thanks to KAS Helicopters I got to do just that on a half hour scenic flight over Broome this morning. 

    Fellow passenger Karen from Victoria had a bonus Kimberley experience when a large lizard wandered towards us prior to us boarding, which you can see in the photos on the right (scroll down a bit)

    This is the first time I have been on a helicopter and I was blown away by what I could see.   Red dirt, lush green landscape from the recent rains, the stunning turquoise water of the Indian Ocean and also the creek systems that leave intricate patterns looking like artwork when viewed from above. It was Google Earth come to life!

    As it was high tide, Cable Beach was a thin white ribbon that stretched for more than 20 kms.  Pilot Beck provided commentary and pointed out landmarks which included amongst others, Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, Kerry Stokes’ Holiday house and Willie Creek Pearl Farm.  She then flew us back down the coastline where we had a birds eye view of Gantheaume Point the home of  dinosaur footprints and Anastasia’s Pool.

    KAS Helicopters have a huge range of flight options available.  From helifishing through to flying  above attractions such as the  Horizontal Falls, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm,  One Arm Point,  Fitzroy River and more.  They also offer charter flights or if you want to pop the question they can even set up a fine dining experience on a secluded beach - how romantic is that!

    The Kimberley landscape and its contrasting colours lends itself to an amazing scenic flight and with an ‘Aerial Highway’ of airstrips dotted throughout the Kimberley it is well worth making this part of your Kimberley adventure.

  • Is the Kimberley and Pilbara on your bucket list?

    by Jo Durbridge | Mar 10, 2013

    Australia's North West Tourism Display at the Victorian Caravan and Camping Show

    If you are in Melbourne come and see us at the Caravan and Camping Show at Caulfield Racecourse.  Its open again tomorrow and Tuesday.

    Its been great to meet so many people interested in visiting the Pilbara and Kimberley.  The Gibb River Road - 660 kilometres of adventure which takes you through the heart of the Kimberley and some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia - is a high priority for many people I spoke with. Cape Leveque, Horizontal Waterfalls and Karijini National Park are also on many travellers bucket lists.

    Australian swimming legend Lisa Curry (she has dropped the Kenny) came by the display and picked up a copy of the 2013 Australia's North West Holiday Planner.  We have given out hundreds of this free publication which is also available through our website.

    I'm normally based in Broome and was suprised to find they are having a bit of a heatwave in Melbourne so I am feeling quite at home with the blue skies and sunshine!  I'm looking forward to meeting more travellers over the next two days.

     

     

  • Fun and Food in Fitzroy Crossing

    by Jo Durbridge | Feb 27, 2013

    Floodway between Fitzroy Crossing and Broome

    Australia’s North West Tourism attended a meeting in the Kimberley town of Fitzroy Crossing on Monday.  Set amongst lush lawns, the Fitzroy River Lodge was a welcome sight after the 400km drive from Broome. Located on the banks of the Fitzroy River the lodge has a great range of accommodation from self- contained studios through to an extensive campground.  My motel room had been refurbished and was very spacious. 

    Following the meeting we were greeted by friendly staff with canapés, but what had us all talking was the wonderful three course dinner we were served at the Riverside Restaurant. I had the beef medium rare and as Manu from My Kitchen Rules says “it was cooked to perfection.”  The entrée of prawns and smoked salmon was a great starter and how the chef managed to get 20 plus perfect looking strawberry soufflés to the tables is beyond me.  It was all rather fancy and as the chef appeared from the kitchen into the dining room,  he was met with a round of applause. In fact the service we experienced from all the staff throughout our stay was faultless.  Our guests from outside the region were still talking about the dinner as we headed back to Broome the next morning!

    The drive back to Broome was an interesting experience!  Our Perth guests saw some amazing sights along the Great Northern Highway due to the heavy rainfall, giving them an insight into our tropical season and how much the landscape can change within 24 hours.  One overly enthusiastic passenger wound the window down in his eagerness to take photos and copped a spray of water from the floodways we were passing through.   It was a surreal sight seeing the many termite mounds swamped by water and I wouldn't be surprised if some of these images are submitted for the 1001 Extraordinary  Experiences in Western Australia.  Have you entered yet?

  • The Kimberley goes to Sydney, Melbourne & Perth

    by Robyn Maher | Feb 05, 2013

    True North

    North Star Cruises Australia pioneered luxury adventure-cruising along the Kimberley coast more than 25 years ago and the ship was in Sydney recently to showcase their cruises to a VIP crowd. 

    In True North style, guests were treated to Kimberley cuisine which included delicious barramundi with Broome mango, kangaroo with wild hibiscus, pearl meat with green ant infusion, and Kimberley honey with crème fraiche dip with focaccia prepared by head chef Andy Tonge.

    Laidback music was provided by Broome’s Pigram Brothers as we cruised Sydney harbour at sunset. The ship also hosted a lunch event near the Sorrento Sailing Club for guests in Victoria. 

    Guests were taken on a tour of this magnificent purpose built ship that travels with a full-time helicopter before Craig Howson, Director of North Star Cruises Australia welcomed everyone aboard. Andy, their on board Naturalist, presented the variety of cruises on offer, showing guests some stunning footage of the True North cruising the spectacular Kimberley coast.

    I enjoyed mingling with guests to talk about the region and what touring and accommodation options are available in Broome and Kununurra pre and post their cruise.  At each of the events guests had the opportunity to win a beautiful Linneys pearl bracelet.

    Representatives from Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa were also on hand to discuss their range of accommodation options, Chahoya Spa & Salon, the Buddha Sanctuary, and more. 

    Perth guests which included past passengers, potential passengers, media and tourism industry partners enjoyed a sunset cruise last Thursday night from Henderson where  we sipped fine wine, ate delicious food as the sun sank into the Indian Ocean. Thinking of heading to the Kimberley?  Go to www.australiasnorthwest.com or like us on Facebook page www.facebook.com/northwestaustralia for all the latest information. 

  • Watch out! Matso's Chilli Beer has Bite!

    by Jo Durbridge | Oct 26, 2012

     

    Enjoying a beer at Matso's

    Matso’s Broome Brewery got the thumbs up today from Perth travel agents that had flown to Broome as part of a Skywest and Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa Familiarisation Program.  We jointly hosted a lunch with Matso’s  to welcome the  agents, and I can tell you that spending a Friday afternoon sipping beverages at this chilled out microbrewery is a tough job but someone has to do it!  Matso’s ‘beer boffin’ Justin continued to tempt the group with a variety of beer tastings including the famous alcoholic Ginger Beer, Mango Beer and some even braved the Chilli Beer which certainly has bite as Skywest’s Stacey discovered - I can't repeat what she said after her first sip!  Sue from Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa was the designated driver and the group are now set to have even more relaxing drinks at Cable Beach Club’s Okari deck followed by dinner at the Thai Pearl Restaurant and then a round of minigolf!  Me thinks that is a perfect way to spend a Friday in Broome!

  • Eat a Naked Burger in Broome!

    by Jo Durbridge | Oct 17, 2012

    Opening day rush for burgers

    After much anticipation by Broome locals, Lord Mac’s Burger Bar opened in Broome yesterday!  The creative burger names relating to the pearling town have been a hit including The Luggers Lot, the Pinctada Maxima, The Gantheaume, The Pearler and The Willie Creek and more! 

     

    However the burger name that has captured everyone’s attention is the North of the Rocks Naked Burger (so named because there is a bit of nude bathing done north of the rocks at Cable Beach!)  So what is the naked burger?  The answer is: any of their burgers without the bun! 

     

    Now locals get a little excited when something new comes to town and this was no exception.  I took my place in the loooooong line that had formed for the opening day dinner rush.   I was impressed with the friendly staff who, while under the pump and flat out flipping burgers, regularly advised the growing crowd how long their burger wait would be.

     

    So was it worth the wait?  Sure was!  My Lord Mac (named after Lord McAlpine who is celebrated for putting Broome on the tourist map) consisted of  a perfectly cooked beef patty with rocket, brie cheese, tomato with relish and aioli.  Vegetarians will like The Big Mushie and The Veg Head and there is something for everyone with burgers containing delicious fillings from tandoori chicken to Threadfin Salmon. For more info check out their Facebook page  http://www.facebook.com/#!/LordMacs?fref=ts more info.

     

    Lord Mac’s I’ll be back!

     

    PS. I’m no food photographer so the photo of the Luggers Lot in the Blog Gallery does not do it justice!

  • Salt and Pepper Croc & Prawns on the Beach

    by Jo Durbridge | Sep 03, 2012

     Camels on Cable Beach

    All good things must come to an end and as I write this, competition winner Tanya and her fiancé Mark are flying home to Perth following their getaway in Broome.  They sure managed to see a lot in the few days they were here!  As well as attending Shinju Matsuri Festival events, they also crammed in a beer or two at Matso’s Broome Brewery, saw a spectacular Cable Beach sunset and even dropped by the Broome Motocross.  While relaxing in the deck chairs at Sun Pictures, they were amazed at the realistic sound effects of the Vietnam scene in The Sapphires when they realised an actual plane was flying over – a regular occurrence for the outdoor cinema and part of its quirky open air charm!  Tanya summed up her holiday as ‘busy but great ’  While she had many highlights, she raved about the quality of Broome’s food.  From the fantastic dining at Pinctada Cable Beach Resort & Spa Selene Brasserie to the salt and pepper crocodile of the outback plate at Matso’s, to casually munching on prawns at the beach, Tanya and Mark loved it all.  Have a safe flight home guys, you were great fun to host, all the best for your wedding in April, and I’m sure we will see you again in Broome some time soon!

  • The Party Continues

    by Jo Durbridge | Sep 02, 2012

    Float Parade

    Broome continues to celebrate Shinju Matsuri  (and Father’s Day!)  with a focus on family events. Little Sammy’s Family Day, The Carnival of Nations and the family favourite, the Shinju Float Parade, attracted locals and visitors alike on this beautiful sunny Broome day. Hundreds of people lined the streets of Chinatown this afternoon waving and cheering on the colourful floats.  While parents chatted with each other on the sidelines, kids scrambled for lollies thrown from the floats, while dodging the water squirters that always make an appearance to keep the crowd cool.  As the sun sets, the crowd has gathered on Male Oval to enjoy the Mardi Gras Concert featuring local Broome talent.  What a great way to end the weekend!

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