Broome is situated in Kimberley Western Australia's north-west, on the northern side of Indian Ocean's Roebuck Bay. A little port, Broome rose to prosperity in the 1860s with the discovery of abundant coastal pearl oyster beds. The town was founded officially in 1883 and named after Sir Frederick Broome.
The city became a mecca for pearl-divers from across Asia, until in the 1950s pearling declined in the face of stiff competition from plastics industry. Some pearl harvesters still remain, and nearby cultured pearls are being farmed.
Town's population is around 15,000, growing up to over 45,000 per month during tourist season. The tidal range in Broome Harbour can be up to 34 ft (10,5 m), which results in large mangrove swamps and mud flats rich in wildlife. Tourists are attracted by the beaches and the "Golden Staircase to the Moon" - seasonal optical illusion created by moonlight reflecting off the ocean floor. Dinosaur footprints can be seen during low tide in the ocean bed west of the town, at Gantheaume Point.
For 2019, the port had scheduled a total of 59 cruise ship calls, of which 30 by larger and 29 by smaller ships. There are planned channel widening and dredging to allow docking for larger vessels.
Broome WA cruise terminal
Cruise ships in Broome dock at a pier connected via bridge to the shore. Upon disembarkation, the port provides free shuttle buses that transport cruise passengers to downtown's visitors center, and also back to the ship (for embarkation).
For 2019 was scheduled the installation of a new mobile gangway (passenger bridge) to improve transfer times. There is also a proposal for installing a floating pontoon (serving small- and medium-sized ships). It is the best engineering solution for harbour's large tidal range (over 10 m).
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