Broome's Cable Beach is a dreamy location for the annual Shinju Matsuri Long Table Dinner, where diners 'eat between the tides'.

Story Therese Hall Photo Julia Rau

Dressed in tropical finery - sans shoes - hundreds of diners descend onto Broome's Cable Beach just before the setting sun clips the western horizon. The sand is soft underfoot as they make their way down a path from a grassy platform outside the Surf Lifesaving Club, where cocktails and canapés had been served, to the silvery expanse of sand at dead low tide.

Tables set with beach-chic elegance await them. But first there's a remarkable sight to soak in. When the sun's golden orb hits the horizon and light dances over glistening wet sand, diners can't take their gaze off it. Fortunately, the four-course Shinju Matsuri Sunset Long Table Dinner has yet to be served, so there's plenty of time to soak it up. "That was definitely one of the defining moments of the evening," says Three Blue Ducks chef Darren Robertson, who presented the 2017 dinner. "We were pretty frantic plating the first course, but we just kind of stopped and looked - it was just one of those moments."

The Shinju Matsuri Sunset Long Table Dinner comprises a series of 'ah-ha' moments such as these. Now in its fourth year, it's the pinnacle event of a 10-day cultural festival with roots deep in Broome's psyche. Japanese for 'Festival of the Pearl', Shinju Matsuri rekindles the romance of Broome's pearling past, when Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Filipino and Europeans converged on the Kimberley outpost to dive for pearl shells and crew on luggers.

This story excerpt is from Issue #119

Outback Magazine: June/July 2018