Cable Beach – Broome, Western Australia, Australia

Glorious Isolation on the Edge of the Continent

The Australians take their beaches seriously, so when they claim that Cable Beach is the continent’s most beautiful, take notice. Large and lustrous South Sea pearls (from the world’s biggest pearl oysters) put Broome on the map in the early 1900s, but today it’s the epic 14-mile beach, almost half a mile wide when the tide is out, that draws connoisseurs.

The Indian Ocean’s waters are crystal clear, and pearly shells mingle with the sun- bleached sand, making it gleam and shimmer. In the small frontier town of Broome, the spirit of the pearling era is still evident among the Japanese, Chinese, Malay, and Aboriginal population.

The pearling masters’ indigenous architecture of wooden latticework screens, corrugated-iron bungalows, and colonial ver­andas is reflected in the luxurious Cable Beach Club, the only hotel adjacent to the beach. It’s a long way from anywhere, and most guests come starved for the laid-back atmosphere, though everyone should be able to shake off their torpor long enough to take a sunset camel ride along the beach.

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