Broome By Camelback

Though not native to Australia, camels played a large part in exploring and opening up the country's big, dry, and empty interior. In the 1800s, around 20,000 camels were imported from the Middle East to use for cross-country travel—along with handlers (many from Afghanistan) who cared for them.

When railways and roads became the prime methods of transport in the early 20th century, many camels were simply set free in the desert. A steady population of wild camels—some 1,000,000 of them—now roams across the Australian Outback.

Broome has for many years been a place where people enjoy camel rides—especially along the broad, desertlike sands of Cable Beach. Two tour companies in town now offer camel "adventures" on a daily basis; yes, it's touristy, but it's great fun and a wonderful way to see the coast and get a taste of history.

Broome Camel Safaris. Open Monday–Saturday, Broome Camel Safaris offers 30-minute rides (A$30) or one-hour sunset rides (A$80). Broome, Western Australia. 0419/916–101; From A$30.

Red Sun Camels. Morning and sunset rides are available every day on Cable Beach. The morning ride lasts for 40 minutes and costs A$60; the presunset ride runs for 30 minutes and costs A$40; the sunset ride takes an hour and costs A$85. Broome, Western Australia. 08/9193–7423; 1800/184488; From A$40.

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