Broome’s Natural Phenomenon


Broome’s iconic attraction, the Staircase to the Moon is an captivating optical illusion caused by when the full moon rises over Roebuck Bay and reflects off exposed low-tide mudflats. However, it only occurs a few nights a month from March to October so be sure to plan your visit around these dates!

The Staircase to the Moon

Western Australia’s north coast is famed for its golden beaches and breathtaking sunsets, but three cities in Western Australia’s Pilbara – Broome, Port Hedland, and Dampier – also offer another natural phenomenon that draws visitors by the thousands: when a full moon rises over Roebuck Bay at low tide and illuminates exposed mudflats at Roebuck Bay during low tide a phenomenon known as Staircase to the Moon occurs (it only happens periodically annually!). Be sure to plan your visit accordingly for best results!

Roebuck Bay provides the ideal setting to witness the Staircase to the Moon; Town Beach and Mangrove Hotel are particularly scenic spots. These hotels also host special night markets during its run from March through October, perfect for experiencing this remarkable spectacle!

As weather and tide conditions can greatly impact the best viewing opportunities, when planning your visit it is wise to consult the Staircase to the Moon website for updates before heading out. We advise checking local news as well as visiting this website prior to arrival for updates.

One of the best ways to experience this natural phenomenon is through joining a Staircase to the Moon tour, led by an expert guide who will share stories of pearling in Broome as well as providing you with an ideal vantage point from which to view this stunning phenomenon. You’ll also be treated to a traditional Kimberley morning tea while learning more about its local history!

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Broome Explorer Bus tours are offered on select nights during the Staircase to the Moon event; please check their website for availability. This bus service operates to and from Town Beach and leaves 20 minutes prior to moonrise before returning there once the event has concluded.

Roebuck Bay Lookout offers another excellent vantage point from which to enjoy viewing the Staircase to the Moon, and is an excellent way to avoid crowds. However, be mindful that its mudflats may pose a potential safety risk, so follow all instructions provided by park rangers and stay clear from water’s edge.

Taking pictures

As both amateur and professional photographers can attest, capturing the Staircase to the Moon can be challenging. After all, this natural phenomenon only appears two or three nights a month from March through October and its timing depends on factors like moon position, weather conditions and tides. To capture it at its finest you should arrive early at Town Beach and secure a suitable location along the foreshore.

The Staircase to the Moon occurs when the moon rises over Roebuck Bay at low tide and exposes large expanses of mudflats, reflecting off of rippled wet sand surfaces into an otherworldly spectacle that draws thousands of visitors each nightfall to witness this extraordinary sight.

Broome stands out among Kimberley locations by offering an optical illusion known as Roebuck Bay tide flats tidal flats, where its tidal flats create a unique stairway effect when the moon is full.

For an enjoyable visit, wear comfortable shoes and bring a hat or sunscreen for protection. Bring water and snacks as there may be many stalls offering food, drinks and souvenirs along Town Beach’s foreshore.

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Finding your way to the Staircase to the Moon viewing nights can be challenging as parking space at Town Beach can be limited. Luckily, Broome Explorer Bus provides a shuttle service on certain nights; simply book your seat on their website or at the Tourist Centre!

Other experiences worth experiencing while visiting Broome include taking a sunset cruise along Cable Beach strip and witnessing Humpback whales during their annual migration. A day trip to Dampier Peninsula or Hearson’s Cove may offer the chance of witnessing the Staircase to the Moon; however, more advance planning may be required in order to witness this breathtaking natural phenomenon; you could always return another time!

Getting around

One of Broome’s premier attractions, Staircase to the Moon is an astounding natural phenomenon that only occurs twice or three nights each month when Roebuck Bay’s exposed mudflats at low tide become exposed by full moon rising over Roebuck Bay mudflats, creating the optical illusion of stairs leading up to it. You should plan your visit around one of these Staircase nights so as not to miss this breathtaking lunar event!

Staircase to the Moon occurs when conditions align perfectly, such as a full moon and clear skies. Although you can spot this phenomenon elsewhere in Western Australia, Broome mudflats offer the best view.

This unique appearance is caused by moonlight reflecting off rippled tidal flats at low tide, creating a “stairlike” pattern of reflections on rippled flats at a low tide. Unfortunately, its effects only last briefly so if you want the best view make sure to arrive early!

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For maximum chances of viewing the Staircase to the Moon, it is wise to visit from March through October when conditions are usually ideal: during these months the weather tends to be sunny and warm – providing for ideal viewing conditions.

Make an effort to arrive at the mudflats before sunset for optimal results, and enjoy admiring the glorious sky while sipping a glass of wine while anticipating its amazing light show!

Roebuck Bay in Broome offers one of the best opportunities to witness the Staircase to the Moon, but other locations around Kimberley also provide stunning views of it, such as Settler’s Beach near Cossack ghost town restoration project; First Avenue In Onslow; Hearson Cove near Karratha; as well as special viewing platforms at Port Hedland and Point Samson.

Broome’s Town Beach Precinct provides the ideal place to witness the Staircase to the Moon, especially during Mangrove Hotel Markets on every first full moon night between April and October. Furthermore, extra services run between the Town Beach Markets and Mangrove Hotel Markets by Broome Explorer Bus which bring people directly from Town Beach Markets back again – great way to view this wonderful spectacle!