spirit of place

Whenever I find myself waxing lyrical about a place, exhorting a [poor unfortunate] listener to “even if you’ve only got 5 days”, it’s to “go to Broome”.

What’s so odd about this? I am country girl from the Hunter Valley, NSW (known for agriculture, coal mining, vineyards, horses) an eastern Australia state, and Broome on the coast in the Kimberly region of north Western Australia is as far away as it gets in this country. It’s famous for pearls, crocs, camels on the beach & dinosaur footprints.

And, when I say Broome, I don’t mean the resort rich Cable Beach, where the camels are, I mean old Broome, which quite surprisingly retains much of the character of its origins.

How the G.O. & I came to be in Broome is covered in other posts. Getting there is this story. It was the middle of a cold wet winter in Sydney. The rest of my family were braving floodwaters to travel to the annual June long weekend get together at Hawks Nest. At Sydney airport the G.O. & I couldn’t see our plane out the window through the rain.

My frequent flyer points afforded us modest business class seats which only just assuaged the discomfort of my companion who being 6’3″ and not a good flyer counted every minute of the 5 hour flight while mentally caressing the packet of cigarettes in his carry on.

In the late afternoon approaching dusk, after flying over much spectacular desert, the pilot announced our approach and we caught our first glimpse of Broome’s primary colour topography. Time stopped. For a long second I was displaced. I was flying home? And, I felt that way, the entire week of our stay.

Later, astrology provided a clue. Astrodienst’s Travel page, my birth details and a lined map of Australia gave up this:

“Venus/IC Line
More beneficial on the western side of the line.
Along this line, you will find ideal places for relaxation, peace and quiet. Creative people can retreat from the hectic pace of everyday life and find a new creativity within themselves. If you are looking for a place to retire in, then a closer look at these places could well be worth your while. You are surrounded by familiar things, trusted people, and enjoy the pleasantness of an environment, which constantly soothes your senses. Terms such as homeliness, home and security gain a deeper meaning…”

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“Spirit of place! It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety; and where it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its breath, its name.” Alice Meynell

11 thoughts on “spirit of place

  1. Hunter Valley? Spent my extremely brief honeymoon there, after a quick Sydney register office wedding on a Friday evening. Couldn’t get into the posh place in HV on the Saturday so settled for Singleton. I don’t think it mattered. Usual story here, need to ask expert traveller of Australia about Broome, don’t know how far north he went in WA, he went to Darwin from Melbourne, so hardly en route 😀


    1. Where I come from is not too far north of Singleton, and my family moved to & lived Singleton for a long time but after I let home. The HV is a nice place to honeymoon, and the wine region has made it quite a popular destination.


  2. Sounds like a lovely place…actually, any place in Australia sounds like a lovely place, a place I want to visit “someday.” Umm, do they allow you to lug any pearls home?


    1. Thank you. I haven’t got to posting about the unlovely places…yet. Yes, plenty of pearls in the shops for your purchasng or admiring pleasure. Many locals interestingly are bedecked with pearls – it must be a Broome thing.


  3. Wonderful photos, Ella. I was surprised to see camels in Australia. Until today, I’d have never even considered their presence there. Goes to show, you learn something everyday. 🙂 Thanks for the lesson.


    1. Thank you they are an unsual (to me anyway) & colourful part of Broome but I did resist the temptation of a camel ride. Wiki explains – Camels were “were imported into Australia during the 19th century for transport and construction as part of the colonisation of the central and western parts”, but “motorised transport became popular “in the early 20th century and many were released into the wild. Scarily, “camels in Australia are the only feral herds of their kind in the world, and are estimated to number more than 1,000,000, with the capability of doubling in number every nine years”. So, “Live camels are exported to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Brunei and Malaysia, where disease-free wild camels are prized as a delicacy. Australia’s camels are also exported as breeding stock for Arab camel racing stables and for use in tourist venues in places such as the United States.”


  4. This is so interesting! What about the crocs? Are they the scary sea-crocs that I have heard live around your side of the world and if so does that mean that swimming is off limits? I noticed the kite surfer in one of the pics, so folk are venturing in, but is it safe?


    1. Thank you – so nice of you to say. Yes, there are crocs in the northern areas of Australia and swimming is prohibited and or strictly monitored in some areas. I’m not sure about crocs in Moonlight Bay where the kite surfer was. People were also swimming there & at Cable Beach, I don’t remember seeing any signs, so I think those areas would be ok. I was a quite wary as we did a bit of off the track exploring but didn’t see a croc in the wild until we got over to Kakadu in the NT.


  5. Thank you – Gantheaume is lovely at sunset, similar to Cable Beach. Not sure about Moonlight Bay which is famous for stairway to the moon, during the full moon. I’ll be scheduling the next trip around it 🙂


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