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Staircase to the Moon


Australia has many unique natural phenomenon occurring throughout each and every state, both on the seaboard and in the outback. One such natural wonder only occurs between the months of March and October each year on the Kimberley Coast in Western Australia. Broome is situated on the Kimberley Coast in northern WA and as such experiences sunsets over the water.

The Kimberley Coast experiences one of the largest tidal shifts in the world, often to be as much as 9 meters. (29 ˝ feet). Because of the huge tidal shifts, at certain times of the month, at extreme low tide, as the moon rises and the tide recedes, a “stairway” reflection appears on the exposed mudflats creating this wondrous optical illusion of a staircase reaching right up to the moon.



This spectacle brings many tourists to the Kimberley Coast at Roebuck Bay in Broome. Other areas to witness this spectacle are Cooke Point in Point Hedland, The Lookout at Cossack, Hearson’s Cove near Karratha and Sunrise Beach in Onslow.

To accompany this event, on certain nights, a spectacular night market situated on the town beach is held, where all manner of goodies can be sourced including beautiful local pearls, handmade clothing, a fantastic range of delicious tastes from around the world (reflecting the international mixture of cultures that exists on the Kimberley coast), and lots of other interesting crafts.

To coincide with the Staircase to the Moon happenings in August and September each year the Shinju Matsuri – Broome’s “Festival of the Pearl” is held. This festival was first held in 1970 when local community leaders worked to bring the many different towns’ cultural celebrations together in one wonderful festival. The Japanese Obon, Malaysian Merdeka and the Chinese Hang Seng were combined into one “Festival of the Pearl”. The festivities showcase traditional and contemporary performances that celebrate Broome’s unique culture, history and diversity.



Cuisine diversity plays a large part in the life of Broome at any time of the year, and especially during the “Festival of the Pearl”. With such a melting pot of cultures from around the world you can be assured both a sensory and visual feast on the Kimberley Coast from March to October each year.
The dates for the Staircase to Heaven spectacle for 2012 are:

  • May 7th, 8th and 9th
  • June 5th, 6th and 7th
  • July 4th, 5th, and 6th
  • August 3rd, 4th, and 5th
  • September 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • October 1st, 2nd and 3rd

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    Content copyright © 2014 by Judie Bellingham. All rights reserved.
    This content was written by Judie Bellingham. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Judie Bellingham for details.

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