Broome’s Wildlife Sanctuaries


Roebuck Bay’s tidal mudflats provide one of the world’s richest sources of food for migrating shorebirds, making this area one of the finest locations for birders to observe some spectacular wildlife. At Broome Bird Observatory there is both daytime and camping options for visitors hoping to observe this rich biodiversity.

North of Hobart lies Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary which features Tasmanian species like pademelon and eastern quoll. While just south of Melbourne lies Healesville Sanctuary which provides animal encounters on nature trails.

1. Roebuck Bay Marine Park

Roebuck Bay offers an enchanting natural spectacle, with turquoise waters receding to reveal a horizon of mud flats. This pristine environment supports one of the world’s richest communities of migrating shorebirds; thus making the Broome Bird Observatory (BBO) an excellent way to observe their favourite species. Accommodation, camping, tours and education services are provided here along with the brand new Clive Minton Discovery Centre to mark this feat of nature!

Yawuru Nagulagun Marine Park lies directly south of Broome from Gantheaume Point to Cape Villaret in the north and provides an idyllic tidal zone, filled with marine life and habitats, sea grass meadows, exposed mudflats, benthic fauna as well as large concentrations of migrating shorebirds. Furthermore, this area is important due to its Aboriginal cultural values which is jointly managed with Yawuru people.

Roebuck Bay Marine Park boasts an astonishing diversity of invertebrate mud dwellers that is unparalleled anywhere else on Earth. Tiny snails, colourful top-shells, and other forms can be found up to an astounding density of up to 2,500 per square meter – an outstanding ecosystem which also serves as food source for predatory fish species and nurtures juvenile dugongs.

Take a scenic cruise of the bay and admire its natural beauty while viewing marine life. Or join a dolphin and whale watching tour and spot rare snubfin dolphins in their natural environment; who knows, maybe even spot one during their annual migration.

Roebuck Bay’s tidal creeklines offer year-round fishing opportunities. The mangroves host various finfish such as barramundi, threadfin salmon, and mangrove jack. Be sure to bring along a hat and sunscreen, along with an emergency personal locator beacon (PLB) just in case an emergency situation arises.

2. Broome Bird Observatory

Broome Bird Observatory was established as part of Birds Australia in 1988, and now ranks among the world’s premier shorebird migration sites. From March to May each year, massive flocks of waders visit Roebuck Bay’s mangrove-lined shorelines; BBO records, promotes, and celebrates these beautiful birds for all to appreciate.

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The BBO team is deeply passionate about the amazing migrations of shorebirds and have dedicated over three decades to documenting and promoting them. Their primary aim is to protect the well-being of the birds while increasing awareness about their amazing journeys. In addition, they host other community programs including camping trips and tours of their sanctuary.

If you love birds and winged creatures, the BBO offers one of Australia’s finest displays of winged species. An excellent alternative to staring at animals in cages at a traditional zoo experience, its nature-oriented experience allows visitors to immerse themselves in nature with expert guides available to explain what’s happening around them.

BBO boasts an incredibly diverse ecosystem; beaches, mudflats, floodplains, saltmarshes, mangroves, savanna and pindan woodlands can all be found within its boundaries. Over one third of the Kimberley bird species have been recorded here alone!

The Broome Bird Observatory (BBO) can be reached in just under an hour’s drive east from Broome via Crab Creek Road. While accessible in a car, during wet season conditions can often make its last six kilometres unsuitable for cars; four wheel drive vehicles may be necessary.

From March through May, visitors to the BBO during migration season (March-May) can witness birds taking off in V formation each evening for their journey north – it’s truly stunning and an ideal way to end any visit!

The BBO cares for a range of animals beyond birds; in addition to birds they rehabilitate kangaroos, goats and anteaters as well as local snake experts and businesses that support them. Their dedication is inspiring and uplifting! They work tirelessly to raise community awareness of factory farming horrors while actively trying to spare animals from slaughterhouses; their commitment is truly impressive and uplifting!

3. Mulligans Flat Sanctuary

Broome’s wilderness is truly unparalleled – from Roebuck Bay’s sparkling seas and red dirt creeks and mangroves that wind throughout, there is an impressive diversity of habitats which provide homes for an impressive array of animals – not only iconic snub fin dolphins and Gouldian finches are found here but you may discover all manner of special plants and fauna hidden there too!

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At Mulligans Flat Sanctuary in Broome is one of the best places to see wildlife: an enclosed predator-proof woodland enclosure which allows visitors to learn more about a wide range of native and indigenous Australian species while keeping them safe from danger.

Mulligans Flat is a unique box-gum woodland sanctuary protected by a predator exclusion fence managed by Woodlands and Wetlands Trust of ACT. This habitat serves as an incubator for ecosystem research as well as reintroductions of locally extinct woodland fauna including Bettongia gaimardi (bettongs) and Burhinus grallarius (bush stone curlews).

Bettongs, small relatives of kangaroos with pouches and an nocturnal lifestyle that allows them to hold nesting materials in their tail, have been extinct locally for over 80 years; thanks to researchers at ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society they are back thriving at Mulligans Flat Sanctuary! Bettongs serve as great “ecosystem engineers”, helping its restoration processes take effect more successfully within its boundaries.

Mulligans Flat has seen two successful reintroductions of Eastern Quolls (Dasyurus viverrinus), following on the success of translocating Bettongs (Betongus). Quoll populations at Mulligans Flat appear to have thrived through other restoration practices such as adding course woody debris which increases invertebrate populations – providing prey for these animals in turn.

Mulligans Flat is home to an abundance of grey kangaroos and swamp wallabies as well as echidnas, long necked turtles and blue tongued shingleback lizards – as well as being an unparalleled birding destination with honeyeaters, tree creepers, rosellas and speckled warblers all calling this spot their home.

Mulligans Flat Sanctuary can be entered from various entry points, with two located near Forde and Amy Ackman Street respectively in Canberra. Open to the public and offering guided tours on an ongoing basis. Wildbark, the Mulligans Flat Visitors Centre located near Throsby in ACT is another fantastic way to experience Mulligans Flat Sanctuary on foot while learning more about its residents and their stories. Koitoya was honored to design pieces for Wildbark using local timbers; making this an excellent destination for family outings!

4. Roebuck Bay National Park

Broome is home to world-famous beaches and sunsets, and the Kimberley region features rugged gorges, meandering rivers and mangroves that boast abundant wildlife – from dolphins and blue-tongue lizards to unique to this part of Australia species – providing visitors with an opportunity to discover an array of rare and remarkable fauna during their visit.

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Yawuru Nagulagun Roebuck Bay Marine Park, named in honour of HMS Roebuck, is one of Australia’s premier marine parks. Recognised as a Wetland of International Importance by Ramsar, Roebuck Bay serves as an oasis for fish and invertebrate life with 10-metre spring tides revealing vast intertidal mudflats rich in nutrients that support an array of marine life including dugongs, green turtles and the world’s largest population of rare Australian Snub Fin Dolphin.

Roebuck Bay boasts a diverse birdlife and is internationally-recognized as one of the best shorebird viewing sites. Every year, thousands of migrating shorebirds stop off here before continuing their long journey northward to breed on breeding grounds in northern hemisphere climes – visit Broome Bird Observatory to witness this spectacle in its natural setting!

Are you passionate about protecting Broome Bird Observatory as well as the marine park it protects? Join Yawuru man Bart Pigram at the Broome Bird Observatory for a tour led by ancient Dreamtime tales and modern accounts about how important its ecosystems are for flora and fauna, or take a boat cruise into Roebuck Bay where bottlenose dolphins or graceful swimming turtles might make an appearance!

Broome Animal Sanctuary is an exquisite piece of paradise and home to over one hundred lucky residents, from Joseph the pig who was found under a bench to Peaches the adorable piglet who was saved from slaughter. Follow them daily on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook for an insight into their lives!

Make yourself aware of all kinds of wildlife roaming the roads around Broome and beyond, including wallabies, goannas, cattle, pheasant coucals and snakes; be vigilant and drive safely at night especially.