The northwest coast of Western Australia is a wonderful place to be this time of year – the warm, sunny days providing the perfect escape from the dreary winter weather further south. Broome is one area of the northwest currently in the middle of peak tourist season, and it becomes an even more popular destination when the iconic Shinju Matsuri Festival takes over the town and neighbouring Cable Beach for a magical couple of weeks.
Japanese for “Festival Of The Pearl”, Shinju Matsuri originated from three cultural festivals – Japanese Obon Matsuri, Malaysian Hari Merdeka, Independence Day from British Rule in 1957, and the Chinese Hang Seng. A loving celebration of Broome’s unique pearling and multicultural history for decades, the festival just last year celebrated its 50th anniversary, and 2021 looks to be an equally special couple of weeks.
Where is it?
Shinju Matsuri features a variety of events held across Broome, Cable Beach and Gantheaume Point, around 2,2000km north of Perth, Western Australia. Driving there will take you a couple of days at least, with most people preferring the 2.5-3 hour flight from Perth.
When is it?
High season in Broome generally runs from between May and September, with Shinju Matsuri usually settling in somewhere around the second half of the season. This year the festival is running over two weeks from Sunday 22 August until Sunday 5 September.
What to do:
Shinju Matsuri is an opportunity to see Broome like never before, with beguiling dining events, float parades, mardi gras parties, special guest chefs and loads more. A few events are already beginning to sell out, so read on below for some of the program highlights, and head to the Shinju Matsuri WEBSITE for more info.
Located within Broome’s new Town Beach precinct overlooking Roebuck Bay, the Shinju Matsuri Festival Hub is where the action is all fortnight. Enjoy sunset drinks at the festival bar, catch some live local music, take part in a host of workshops and songwriter sessions, and much more. It’s the place to go when you want to properly settle into some relaxed Broome time.
Floating Lantern Matsuri
One of several truly magical experiences over the fortnight, attendees are invited to send a personal message out into the universe via a floating lantern at Gantheaume Point. The event is free to attend, you just need to pick up a lantern kit to put your message in – and don’t worry, all lanterns are collected and stopped before getting too far out to sea!
The Chinatown Feast is a hawkers style market held in the heart of Broome’s Chinatown precinct. There’ll be a plethora of street eats to indulge in, along with musical performances and more under the balmy Broome night sky. Although it had previously sold out, some additional tickets have just been released! Book HERE.
Willie Creek Pearl Meat Cook Off
A Shinju Festival fave, the Willie Creek Pearl Meat Cook Off invites Broome’s best chefs to create a pearl meat masterpiece that celebrates the spirit of Broome. Punters will get to taste those creations while enjoying a drink and some live music, before finding out who takes the crown of pearl meat master! Book HERE.
A Table Somewhere on Reddel Beach
One of several unique dining experiences over the Shinju festivities, A Table Somewhere invites you join their table and experience the pristine environment overlooking Roebuck Bay. Dip your toes in the turquoise waters and leave with full bellies and new friends. Book HERE.
BUGGARRIGARRA NYURDANY (Because Of The Dreaming)
An intimate evening of bush tucker and stories of the Yawuru Country & People, BUGARRIGARRA NYURDANY (Because Of The Dreaming) returns to Shinju Matsuri for 2021. Yawuru guides will take you on a tour highlighting artworks, installations and culture at Nyamba Buru Yawuru and the Liyan-ngan Nyirrwa Centre, before a specially prepared meal focusing on the unique flavours of Broome, the first nations people and Asian foods. Book HERE.
Sunset Long Table
Arguably Shinju Matsuri’s most iconic event, the Sunset Long Table dinner lets you enjoy a Cable Beach sunset like never before – dining at a long table on the beach as the tide goes out! Well known chefs will provide a delicious four course menu, paired with free flowing beer and wine for a night of dining like no other.
For more info on the fest and to book tickets to available events, head to the Shinju Matsuri WEBSITE.