Our Big Trip - Northern Territory & Western Australia



The Big Trip: Western Australia

Western Australia Western Australia Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Rocks, crocs and beaches that go on forever – for a wild time this summer head for the Kimberley

Rocks, crocs and beaches that go on forever – for a wild time this summer head for the Kimberley

‘Pearls should be worn,’ jokes Paula O’Brien as we drive down a rough track bordering the remote waters of King Sound. On her finger is a large ring sporting a lustrous example the size of a fat chickpea. It’s the sort of bold jewel that would immediately get eyes swivelling at a posh dinner party, but Paula’s wearing it amid the hot and dusty wilds of the Dampier Peninsula, where cyclones rampage and the coastline is a bewitching canvas of turquoise sea, green bush and red soil.

‘All the girls have pearls here,’ Laura laughs. ‘It’s an occupational hazard.’ She works at Cygnet Bay Pearls, a family-run saltwater pearl farm where you can learn how these prized adornments are cultivated, then buy them ‘from the cellar door’ rather than a glittering showroom.

Broome with a view: the endless sands of Cable Beach© Tourism Western Australia

Civilisation lies 200km south, down a dirt road that leads to the booming resort of Broome, Australia’s pearling capital since the 1890s when it dominated the world trade in mother-of-pearl buttons. The first divers were Aborigines – in particular pregnant women who, it was thought, had the lung capacity to stay underwater the longest – followed by indentured Asians. It makes grim history, but today Broome has a Chinatown with street names such as Johnny Chi Lane, and an incongruous run of glitzy boutiques selling pearls galore.

‘That’s our fainting sofa,’ an assistant tells me, ‘where the men collapse when they hear the prices…’ A fine show-off necklace will set you back at least £2,500, but there are many other ways to have a pearl-perfect time here. You can stay at McAlpine House, an antique-filled pearling-master’s residence that is now an eight-room boutique hotel with tropical gardens, while the Pinctada Spa offers treatments using pearl products to enrich the skin.






Video: BMW Riders on a weekend trip in Western Australia

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Date: 30.11.2018, 12:46 / Views: 84471