travel and life with lee mylne

Camel rides on Cable Beach

For those of us who live on the east coast of Australia, seeing the sun sink into the Indian Ocean is usually a highlight of a trip to Western Australia.

And nowhere is that experience more exotic than from Cable Beach, near Broome, where crowds gather on the sand at twilight in preparation for the end of the day. Beach chairs are set up, wine coolers opened, beers cracked and the cameleers load up their charges with eager tourists to walk the length of the beach. They start before the sun gets too low in the sky, turning to come back along the beach as the full effect of the sinking sun takes over.

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There are three camel ride operators on Cable Beach, each offering a similar experience in apparent harmony; talk to locals and they’re sure to mention the “camel wars” that raged a few years ago over rights to camel licences for the beach route.  That’s sorted now, and the camels plod along in single file each afternoon in a ritual that’s now synonymous with Broome. Different operators take slightly different paths but the experience seems much the same.

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I decided against a camel ride, preferring instead to watch them from afar, silhouetted against the backdrop of ocean and sky. And I was glad I had, as it’s a spectacular sight.

Camels on cable beach, Copyright Lee Mylne

The beach is also a gazetted road, so vehicles are allowed on sections of it, making it easy for locals in particular to pick a spot to settle in for the sunset.

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A Glass Half Full travelled as a guest of Australia’s North West

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12 Responses to “Camel rides on Cable Beach”

    • A Glass Half Full

      Thank you! I didn’t see them ever get too close. The camels are pretty far from the people most of the time, and the dogs seemed to love playing on the beach without being too far from their owners. Didn’t seem to be an issue for any of them!

      Reply
  1. Browsing the Atlas

    Oh, I’d LOVE to do this! I’ve always thought camel rides belonged solely to areas like Morocco and Egypt — places I’m a little afraid to venture alone. But Western Australia? That sounds do-able. You’ve filled me with hope.

    Reply
    • A Glass Half Full

      Australia has huge numbers of camels. They were brought here in the 1860s to help the explorers trying to cross the desert interiors, and a few Afghani cameleers came with them. They were so successful that about 12,000 camels arrived before the early 1900s. There are now hundreds of thousands, with Australia now having the world’s largest wild camel population, mostly in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It’s not uncommon to see them while travelling in those areas, and there have been moves to have a cull because the numbers are so great and there are problems from time to time with wild camels coming too close to towns like Alice Springs. Believe it or not, Australia actually exports camels to the Middle East! So yes, come to Oz and have your camel ride here!

      Reply
  2. Earth Under my Feet

    I was hoping to read that you had test-driven one yourself :-) I’m keen to find out what it was like in the driver’s seat as a trip on a camel is part of a tour of Morocco I’m interested in. There are a few camels here in Cape Town – near Kommetjie – that you can ride that I will probably have to cut my teeth (and bum bones) on. Great pics by the way :-)

    Reply
    • A Glass Half Full

      Oh, well not this time – but I have ridden camels plenty of times before! A bit on the rollicking side…hang on tight is my advice (especially when going up and down). They kneel for you to climb aboard! Give it a go – it’s fun. Glad you liked the pix.

      Reply

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