Staircase To The Moon: Everything you need to know

Staircase To The Moon, Broome
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From March through to October, a breathtaking natural phenomenon occurs.

From the picturesque surrounds of Broome’s Town Beach, you can witness the optical illusion that gives the appearance of a staircase rising up to the full moon.

What is it?

As the tides go out during the cooler months, a huge expanse of mudflats are exposed along the WA coast, from the Pilbara up to the Kimberley. With each full moon between late March and late October to early November, the reflection on the tidal flats of Roebuck Bay creates the stunning optical illusion of a stairway rising up to the moon. For precise dates and times, head to the Australia’s North West – although bear in mind the times may be different outside of Broome.

Where is it?

The Kimberley has some of the largest tidal movements in the world (up to 10m!), which helps to create this phenomenon. Best witnessed from Broome’s Town Beach, you can also see it further north on the Dampier Peninsula, as well as at numerous points further south in the Pilbara: including Onslow, Cossack, Karratha, Port Hedland, Point Samson and Cape Kerudren.

If you’re in Broome, you can also pull up a chair and enjoy the sight with a drink in hand at the Mangrove Hotel’s Bay Club. Now that’s livin’.

What to do:

Take in the majesty! It’s a pretty astonishing sight to behold, so that should be enough to keep you occupied – but as we’ve already said, you can enjoy it with a drink in hand at the Bay Club, or bring a picnic to enjoy on the foreshore.

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For select nights, the Staircase To The Moon Night Market will be set up at Town Beach – you can peruse local wares including jewellery, clothing, homewares and more, alongside local mango products and heaps of international food stalls.

While you’re in Broome, you can also take advantage of other magical offerings that the huge tidal shifts bring. Within the bay, an armada of World War 2 ships were wrecked in 1942: normally hidden by the ocean, during low tide the heritage-protected wrecks are exposed. Allow about an hour to walk the kilometre to the wrecks and back, wear enclosed shoes, and make sure to time your walk according to tidal movements!

What not to do:

During the season that the Staircase is visible, swimming is mostly safe at Town Beach – but if you visit during the wet season (which runs from November to May), you’re likely to come across Irukandji and Box jellyfish. Make sure to follow the advice of any signage at the beach or directions from lifeguards.

As with all visits to our natural spaces, adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles: meaning don’t leave any rubbish out there and try your best to look after the surrounding area – just don’t act like a drongo!

Header image: Shutterstock