The world famous Cable Beach is wedged between the Indian Ocean and an ever growing suburb of luxury resorts. A lot of its fame really comes down to good marketing. With the majority of the Australian population living on the eastern coast, a sunset over the ocean became an attractive sales pitch for Broome. Add a couple of camels and a luxury resort and you instantly had a great Australian get away.
When I first went to Broome, I hated it.
I had spent two weeks alone in the desert and the crowds of Broome during the busy season overwhelmed me. That’s not to say I didn’t leave with some good memories, and it was those memories that brought me back for a second attempt. This time I loved it.
To really understand cable beach you just need to get there. I’ve never seen anyone put into words what is so great about it, and I don’t think I am going to attempt to here.
If you’ve ever heard about the expansive white beaches of Australia, you were probably hearing someone talking about Cable Beach. It’s not expansive in the sense of having enough room for everyone, it’s expansive in the sense of getting completely lost in the void between ocean and dunes. At low tide, the shoreline moves hundreds of meters out and barely becomes a shoreline. It would be a better description to say that the wet sand just slowly turns to water.
If you’re a 4WD enthusiast, you can drive straight onto the beach and find a spot for yourself. It might be a good time to point out that this is also the largest nudist beach in the world. While you do see the occasional nudist, they tend to stay away from the crowds. Once you are past the crowds, the sheer distance between people means you really have the place to yourself. Drive far enough, and you are actually on your own.
The white sand sprawls for tens of kilometers between being interrupted by rocks. One such rocky outcrop is called coconut well. You can check out a full gallery on this spot by browsing to the Kimberley section of this site. In these photos, the tide is still going out. By the time the tide is all the way out, these rocks were a 5+ minute walk to get to the water.
Back to the touristy spots, the camel tours of Cable Beach are operated by a number of companies, and each one has it’s own colour theme. Personally, I’ve never taken a ride, but the sight of the camel lines travelling down the shore at sunset is so unique to Broome. I’ve never been the only person there taking photos of them.
As the massive tides of the kimberley roll out, the wet sand left in it’s wake becomes incredibly reflective. This isn’t some clever photography making it look like this. It’s an amazing experience to feel like you’re standing on a giant mirror. The intricate textures in the sand so pleasurable to look at. I find myself jumping and running around the beach studying the patterns emerging from the outflow of water.
Through some areas of the beach you will see millions of small balls of sand. They appear as the tide rolls out and the ever so complex ecosystem of the beach sand takes over. I’ve never managed to get a glimpse of the creature that does it, but I can tell you that they are tiny sand crabs which camouflage well into their backdrop. As the crabs burrow out a new home for themselves on the beach, the sand they excavate is rolled up and scattered around the entrance to their new home. It’s beautiful.
The busiest tourist destination on Cable Beach is near the Cable Beach Resort. Just to the north is a reef of rock that divides the flagged swimming area from the 4WD and nude beach to the north. The rocks are often busy with explorers either taking photographs or collecting shells and other interesting artefacts washed up and captured by the crevices.
Watching the sun disappear over the Indian Ocean at Cable Beach has a timeless feel to it. This is by no means an ordinary place. A combination of the enormous tides, the busy tourist activity, and the ability to get away from everyone into the void that Cable Beach offers makes it a must visit destination.