Broome is a pearling town on the north coast, noted for its pearl industry, beaches, mangroves, large tidal range and a phenomenon called ‘staircase to the moon’. Once a month, between the months of March and October, the rising of a full moon coincides with a low tide. At this time, thousands of locals and tourists congregate on the waterfront areas to have barbeques and ‘staircase parties’. As the moon rises above the horizon, moonlight is reflected off the huge tidal mud flats that fringe the edge of the ocean. Reflections cast by the rising moon can be seen around the world but Broome is notable because its extensive mudflats create especially long staircases.
Our arrival in Broome overlapped with the staircase to the moon of July 2008. After a few weeks of relative isolation in the outback it was a great contrast to find myself amongst thousands of revellers in celebration of this unusual event.