The Shinju Matsuri Festival

Broome has a rich, vibrant art scene, with local galleries, special exhibitions, and events throughout the year for every type of discerning art lover. But the crowning jewel of the Broome arts and festival scene is the Shinju Matsuri festival.

Shinju Matsuri Festival
Shinju Matsuri Festival. The festival of the pearl, in Broome.

The history of Shinju Matsuri

The Broome Shinju Matsuri, or Festival of the Pearl, has been running since 1970. It originated as a celebration of the safe return of pearl divers to shore, translated through the lens of the multicultural melting pot that made up the town. 

When is it?

The Shinju Matsuri runs annually during the dry season throughout two fun-filled weeks. The 2024 Shinju Matsuri runs from Saturday 17 August to Sunday 1 September 2024.

Lions dance, chinese festival

Shinju Matsuri activities in Broome

The Shinju Matsuri is a Broome institution, and there are many fun and exciting activities to see and do for both young and old.

Shinju Matsuri Opening Ceremony

When: Saturday 17 August

Where: Town Beach

Time: 4:00pm

Cost: Free

The Shinju Matsuri Opening Ceremony is always a big event for Broome’s cultural calendar. Held at Town Beach, the event kicks off at 4pm on Saturday 17 August and is free for everyone to attend.

Starting with a special Yawuru Welcome to Country, to welcome visitors from far and wide to land on which the event is held, it features a selection of performances long into the night, culminating in the traditional waking of Sammy the Dragon (skilfully guided by a team of Broome dancers).

Chinese lanterns

Shinju Matsuri Float Parade

When: Sunday 18 August

Where: Chinatown

Time: 3:00pm

Cost: Free 

This iconic parade has been a key part of the Festival since its earliest days, and pays homage to Broome’s vibrant cultural background. With a vast array of bright and colourful floats of all designs, the parade winds its way through town.

It’s a true community event, with the floats all being designed and built by local school groups, community groups, and businesses, reflecting the diverse Broome community.

The opening Float Parade of the Shinju Matsuri captures the energy, excitement, and pure fun of the festival.

Chinese lanterns in Broome

Floating Lantern Matsuri

When: Sunday 25 August

Where: Gantheaume Point

Time: 4:00pm

Cost: Free, or $20 for a lantern kit

The Floating Lantern event is a free community event that everyone is welcome to attend. It’s a particularly magical experience: visitors are encourage to purchase a lantern kit, write their thoughts onto it—whether it’s a personal thought on life, loss, happiness, dreams, or even your favourite song lyrics. Then, as the sun starts to set, participants light their lanterns, and set them free on the tide at Gantheaume Point. 

Chinese dragon

Pets in the Park 

When: Tuesday 27 August

Where: Festival Hub, Town Beach

Time: 4:00pm

Cost: Free

The 2024 Shinju Matsuri features a newer event, one that celebrates not just the cultural heritage of the town, but also its love of our animal companions.

Pets in the Park is the opportunity to bring your beloved pet down to the Festival Hub, and show them off on the specially-designed catwalk. Whether they have two legs, four legs, no legs, fur, or feathers, every pet is welcome. It’s a different take on the festival experience, and a fun event for the whole family.

Sunset Long Table Dinner

When: Saturday 31 August

Where: Cable Beach

Time: 5:00pm

Cost: $299 per person

Round out the Shinju Matsuri with a stunning night of good food, good drinks, in a location that’s iconically Broome. Nestled in the sand on Cable Beach, a selection of long (really long) tables are set up. Take your seat, and get ready to indulge at one of WA’s most exclusive dining tables. 

The menu changes each year, inspired by the rich cultural tapestry of Broome, and driven by the quality local ingredients to showcase what the Kimberly has to offer. Diners can enjoy roving entertainment throughout the night, as you eat and drink as the sun goes down over the horizon.

Pets in the park

Closing Ceremony

When: Sunday 1 September

Where: Town Beach

Time: 5:00pm

Cost: Free

The famous Festival Finale brings the Shinju Matsuri to a close. It’s an afternoon and evening of performances showcasing the energy, talent, and exuberance of the Broome community. Featuring market stalls, food vendors, and spaces to enjoy a picnic for the family, the evening closes with a ceremonial farewell to Sammy the Dragon, saying goodbye to Shuniu Matsuri for another year.

Market stalls in Perth

Where to stay for Shinju Matsuri

Shinju Matsuri is one of the biggest activities in Broome’s cultural calendar. And as it’s centred around Town Beach, it’s best to stay somewhere nearby to truly immerse yourself in the festival atmosphere.

The Continental Hotel is located just a few minutes’ walk from Town Beach, perfectly placed to make the most of your time here. With a range of comfortable rooms, with space for everyone—from the adventure-seeking individual to a full family—it’s the ideal hotel to experience the 2024 Shinju Matsuri Festival.

So when planning your trip to the Festival of the Pearl, book your room at The Continental Hotel.

The continental hotel, Broome