Thursday, 9 December 2010

A sauna and a sunset

I can’t decide if I like Broome or not. On the one hand it’s swelteringly humid and ridiculously spread out; but on the other (cocktail-holding) hand it does have some fabulous hotels – and I’m staying in one of them.

The grand dame of Broome accommodation is Cable Beach Club, a stunning resort within beachtowel swinging distance of the famous Cable Beach sands. The rooms and bungalows are dotted around what feels like a botanical gardens, all draping trees and exotic plants, and there are humpbacked wooden bridges over little lagoons to lead you from pool to spa, room to restaurant. It’s a wonderful place to spend the day and I’ve very much enjoyed taking in the last sunshine I’m likely to see for some weeks by the (adults only, hurrah) pool.

Unfortunately though, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind for my time here, nice as it is. I wanted to get to know the town better and maybe even get out into the surrounding bush but, as everyone keeps telling me, this is a bad time of year to be here. It comes as quite a shock after several weeks of high-season sunshine and busy resorts to suddenly find myself in low season, surrounded by closed up shops and restaurants and unable to join a tour because nothing is running. It’s like months have passed without my noticing. Numerous places are shut until next year, the hotels are quiet and the streets are near-deserted as everyone escapes indoors to avoid the unrelenting sauna-like heat.

So I’ve had to join them. I did venture into Chinatown where the touristy shops were open for business and the café terraces were full but now I don’t have a car it’s very difficult to get anywhere much else. I shared a taxi from the airport with a local guy who told me not to walk around alone at night and having been on the streets during the day it’s not hard to see why this is the local advice, so my evenings have been spent hotel-bound.

Fortunately this hotel has one of the town’s best restaurants, at least as far as setting is concerned. My dinner tonight was at the Sunset Grill, so-named because the terrace looks out towards Cable Beach and those famous ball-dropping sunsets. The food wasn’t the best I’ve had but the view certainly was and as I tucked into steak and local shiraz, I was able to watch the blazing sun disappear into the Indian Ocean. I may not have quite got to grips with Broome but could anywhere else have provided a better end to my Aussie adventure than that?

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