Where would you go if you had to maximise your chance of perfect weather? The Gold Coast? Cairns? Perth? I was left pondering this very question earlier this year as I planned the location for our October 2019 fashion pages.
The brief was simple: I needed an Australian destination with buckets of natural beauty, massive expanses of blue sky and warm, balmy days…in the middle of winter. Mission impossible? If you’ve lived through a Sydney or Melbourne winter, you may think so, but after a little Googling I was delighted to discover my dream destination had a name, and that name was Broome.
Situated on the Kimberley coast of WA, Broome is world famous for its epic beaches, rugged rock formations and red sand. It also boasts the highest percentage of perfect blue-sky days in a year out of anywhere in Australia. This is the kind of priceless trivia that makes a fashion stylist double take: perfect weather = perfect shooting conditions, yes, please!
After a little research, I knew we had to shoot on Cable Beach. Not only is Cable Beach renowned as Western Australia’s most beautiful (no mean feat), it also boasts some of the most prolific red sunsets you’ve ever seen. After digging a little deeper, I discover a camel ride at sunset is one of the most iconic experiences in this part of the world. I could see it now – luxe bohemian pieces, mixed back with military and utility influences, then just add a model and some of the areas best- looking camels and this story would practically shoot itself!
With the choice of direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane or daily via Perth, getting to Broome is painless. We arrive mid-afternoon and take advantage of our hotel – Cable Beach Resort and Spa’s – complimentary transfers. A study in laidback luxury, Cable Beach Resort and Spa features understated oriental-inspired architecture, a nod to the area’s divers cultural history. It also offers direct access to Cable Beach, perfect for our shoot – or for your next holiday.
First on our to-do list is finding the perfect location for the shoot the next day. Despite looking at plenty of photos ahead of our arrival, nothing could prepare us for just how magical Cable Beach is IRL. Expansive, remote and pristine, the scale of the coast line is totally epic, and we need a 4WD from Sunshine Car Hire in Broome to travel up the beach and find the perfect spot. Driving on the beach is surprisingly easy (stick to hard sand) just remember the tide times as access is closed at high tide so you don’t get stuck.
Dinner on our first night is at Cichetti, one of the Cable Beach Club’s four restaurants, serving up relaxed modern Italian. Sitting outside among the lush garden by candle light I kind of wish I wasn’t here on the job! We tuck into share plates and try one of Cichetti signature dishes – Cygnet Bay pearl meat and prawn tortellini – and a glass of vino from their impressive wine list.
Our digs are one of the hotel’s bungalows, a relaxed, tropical hideaway that compliments the landscape effortlessly. Inside, the décor oozes laidback luxury with a huge balcony and plenty of room to prep for the shoot the next day. Once again I find myself thinking, “I MUST come back here when I’m not working!”
Most shoot trips have a crazy-early call times, but because we want to capture that famous crimson sunset, we have an uncharacteristically leisurely start to the day with breakfast in the Sunset Bar and Grill around 8. After brekky we have down time to hang out by the pool, a luxury I can’t ever remember enjoying on a fashion shoot trip. The Ocean Pool (one of two at the hotel) is my hot tip. With crystal clear water, no kids allowed and sun lounges en masse, it’s the perfect spot to while away the hours.
Around lunch we head down to the beach. Our model Lily goes to hair and make-up while we set up for the afternoon’s shoot. Our guest stars – camels courtesy of Red Sun Camels – arrive around dusk, just in time for our photographer Steven to capture Lily against the magic of the WA sunset.
Our start time the next day is a little more standard – 4:30am to kick off hair and make-up – this is the not-so-glamorous side to working in fashion. This morning we’re shooting on Cable Beach again, capturing the rest of the shots for our fashion story before the light gets too harsh in the middle of the day.
We wrap around lunch time and enjoy a bit of down time before our evening flight home. Lunch is delicious Thai at Kichi Kichi, another standout restaurant onsite at the Cable Beach Club. With a crew of 6 we get to try almost the entire menu, but I can’t go past the fresh Oysters with lemongrass, lime leaf and chilli sauce.
With time rapidly running out, I’m gutted I can’t experience the spa first-hand but I do make a mental note of what treatment I’ll be booking in for on my next visit (a Vichy shower for the win!). The Chahoya Spa by L’Occitane offer treatments inspired by healing philosophies from around the world. In addition to amazing facials, massage and body therapies they also offer extensive hydrotherapies. After a treatment you can head to the Buddha Sanctuary for a spot of meditation by the 3.5 metre, hand-carved crystal Buddha (believed to be the largest of its kind in the world!) or get involved in one of the free daily yoga classes. Be still my beating heart! I literally haven’t even checked out of the hotel, let alone boarded my flight and I am already planning my return. Broome, you had me at hello.
5 things to do in Broome
Our trip whet my appetite for a proper holiday in this incredible part of the world. Here’s what’s on my dance card for my next Broome escape:
- Gantheaume Point – red rock cliffs and crystal blue water make for an insta-worthy backdrop or a memorable picnic spot (or both). Conveniently located about an hour’s walk from the club.
- Sun Pictures – The world’s oldest outdoor cinema! Opened in 1916, its survived wars, cyclones and king tides. Sit in a deck chair and drink in the nostalgia.
- Courthouse Markets – Every Saturday morning, these local craft and produce markets showcase the areas finest produce and wares.
- Coconut Well – about 25kms from Broome by 4WD, this aqua lagoon that makes for great snorkeling and photo opps.
- Buccaneer Archipelago – 1000 rugged islands begging to be explored with amazing secluded beaches, lush rainforest and clear water.