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Iconic outback accommodation venue set to complete extensive renovations in March

The White Cliffs Underground Motel has announced it will reopen on March 18th, 2018. The unique Outback accommodation venue closed on December 15th to begin a variety of extensions, renovations and refurbishments. During the four months of closure, a number of room upgrades have been completed with more are underway, including the addition of ensuite bathrooms in a third of the rooms.

General facilities will also experience an upgrade with the addition of a family room and games room. The motel will also expand above ground with an outdoor lounge with many modern features including wood fireplace and flat screen television.

Located almost entirely beneath the ground, upgrades for the Underground Motel have been a unique and complicated process. The venue’s 32 rooms have been dug, shaped and carved almost entirely by hand, using jackhammers and blowers. High quality water, power and amenities are available thanks to the innovative work of Outback tradesmen.

The renovations come as part of the plan to revitalise the iconic Outback venue, after its purchase by growing outback enterprise, Out of the Ordinary Outback. Renovations already completed include an underground pub with beers on tap and the popular reinvention of its established restaurant.

The White Cliffs Underground Motel aims to uphold its reputation of adapting to customer needs. Motel management predicts that the addition of ensuites will continue to show patrons how much customer feedback is valued.

To read more about the White Cliffs Underground Motel (or to be amongst the first to enjoy their new renovations) visit their website or follow them on their Facebook page.


Eddy Harris, Barkandji artist and story-teller, articulates the stories of his people and his connection to country with magical paintings and woodcarvings.

Words by Riley Palmer. Article published in Rex Airlines in-flight magazine February – March Edition

As a child, Eddy Harris would use a stick to draw little pictures in the burnt red sand, a layer of which coated everything in his hometown of Wilcannia, in north western New South Wales.

He saw the images as a beautiful way to express himself: to articulate and process the stories he was told, what he saw in the world and how he felt. Today, art serves much the same purpose for Eddy. “I don’t want to be better than anyone else,” he says humbly. “That’s not what I’m about. Art is about challenging myself and painting what I feel and see. That’s me, I paint what I’m about.”

Coming from a large family, Eddy was surrounded by kin who taught him about the land and his culture through art. “I’d see me old uncle carving boomerangs under a gumtree, and there’d be another one carving a shield,” he explains. Eddy recalls the men telling stories about the land and their ancestors while they carved their artefacts and this clearly had a huge impact on him and his siblings. “There’s eight of us, five boys and three girls,” he says. “I lost my oldest brother now, but all of us brothers done art work, woodcarvings and paintings. And my eldest sister done a little bit of painting as well, but she’s passed on too.”

Eddy believes it is vital for the artistic skills and traditions he and his siblings learnt through their kin to be passed on to the indigenous youth of today. “It’s very important to keep our culture alive through art,” he explains. “The kids need to know what they’re about and to understand what some of the older people in the community are doing. Seeing the artwork around is important, it sends a positive message.”

Telling tales of the land and his ancestors, Eddy is a wonderful role model and mentor to the next generation. He combines traditional practices with his unique style, to create images such as ‘River Gathering’, which features the black abdomens, fragile legs and ogling black-and-white eyes of hundreds of ants assembled in a seemingly organised fashion. Asked what story this painting tells, he says, “I went to the river to collect some timber with my brother, and I saw these ants. One was dead and the others had gathered around to carry it. It made me think that ants are just like us; they come together when one of them passes on, they come together when there’s food around and most of the time they carry over their weight.”

Displaying a sense of community much like the one Eddy grew up in, it’s little wonder that ants have become a motif throughout much of his artwork. Another motif that runs throughout Eddy’s artwork is the land of his tribe, the Barkindji people. For instance, his painting ‘Barka Billabongs’ is about the Darling River, along which the Barkindiji travels. Eddy says, “This painting shows parts of the land where the water lays in deep holes and all the birds come in. There’s also other sites, like a mussel site and old campfires that are a thousand years old.” Eddy’s description of the striking blackand- white painting provides added meaning to what is already a beautiful artwork; it is also a map of the land.

“The land is very important to us,” Eddy explains. “That’s where our ancestors are. That’s where I get my inspiration from and where I collect my timbers for woodcarvings. I try to get out there as much as I can. The feelings that you get from country, knowing our ancestors lived and were buried there, you feel their spirits with you. I guess not everyone feels it, but I do. It’s a good thing.”

Eddy’s artworks capture this connection he feels to both his ancestors and the land, which, in addition to his evident talent, goes some way to explaining how he has become so commercially successful. Despite many of his artworks being displayed nationally and internationally, Eddy’s future aspirations lie much closer to home. Asked what he hopes his legacy will be, he says, “Hopefully we get our own museum in this area with Barkindji stuff. I’d like to donate some pieces to that, to give some of my work back to community. And maybe I can help inspire some of the kids to go forward and become artists.”

This article was written by Riley Palmer and Published in Rx Airlines in-flight magazine Rexmag February-March edition.


Broken Hill prepares for the 52nd Broken Hill Community Credit Union St Patrick’s Day Races to be held on 18th March.

The annual St Patrick’s Day Races have been a yearly tradition for many past and present Broken Hill residents. A time to gather with friends and family, the event incorporates horse racing, field fashions and food. The city expects to have an influx of visitors from Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne as well as many smaller cities and neighbouring communities.

Details of all St Pat’s events can be found on the website:

Out of the Ordinary Outback recommends that travellers plan carefully for their stay during this time. Accommodation venues are booking quickly. We have limited availabilities at our Broken Hill venues, the Argent Hotel and the Tourist Lodge.

Tri State Safaris has a number of tours available during this time. Prescheduled tours will depart before and after the weekend for visitors extending their stay.

For information on Out of the Ordinary Outback, visit or call 1300 688 225


Families, travellers and holiday-makers expected to be amongst the first to enjoy $5 million outback resort

The much-anticipated Broken Hill Outback Resort has commenced taking bookings for April. The resort will boast 60 caravan sites available from 1st April, 2018, and 24 king-size cabins available slightly afterwards. The venue will also feature a restaurant that is predicted to open soon after.

Overlooking the Barrier Ranges and Sturt desert pea-pocked plains 13km east of Broken Bill, the cabin, caravan and camping park will surround the historic Mt Gipps Hotel, which was built in 1890 but closed in 1987. Work totalling $5 million has been undertaken to restore the former hotel which will boast a bar, restaurant and reception.

Landscaping work and cabin construction has evolved the Barrier Highway property, which now also features a swimming pool and facilities for campers and caravaners. The popular Outback Astronomy tourist attraction, which offers guided views of the stars at night, is just 4km away.

News of the resort follows twin announcements in March this year that Out of the Ordinary Outback had bought a Broken Hill motel to rebrand it as The Argent and that it would also build a new $750,000 hotel and conference centre at another of its properties, Copper City Motel, in Cobar.

The Mt Gipps Hotel property was purchased last year by Out of the Ordinary Outback owner and passionate bush lover, Scott Smith, who dreamt of reviving the abandoned building for the enjoyment of outback holidaymakers.

“The old Mt Gipps Hotel is a beautiful heritage building they was crying out for some love and care so our plan to make it the handsome centrepiece of this new outback resort will breathe new life into the building and add colour and interest to holidaymakers travelling through the far west of NSW,” Mr Smith said. “Guests at the Broken Hill Outback Resort will be able to stay amongst the vast frontier country for which the outback is famous, with its big skies and never-ending horizons, with Broken Hill just a 10-minute drive away.”

A new website for bookings at the Broken Hill Outback Resort will be launched later this year.

Launched in October, 2016, Out of the Ordinary Outback encompasses outback tour company, Tri State Safaris, The Argent motel in Broken Hill, Warrawong on the Darling tourist camp and cabins at Wilcannia, the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel, Cobar’s Copper City Motel, the Ivanhoe Hotel, the Alma Hotel and an Out of the Ordinary Outback visitor centre in the centre of Broken Hill.

For information on Out of the Ordinary Outback, visit or call 1300 688 225



Pub to offer new dining and entertainment in Broken Hill with half-priced meal offer 

Outback NSW tourism operator, Out of the Ordinary Outback, launched in 2016, has expanded its portfolio of tourism and leisure assets with the purchase of its ninth property – The Alma Hotel in South Broken Hill.

Out of the Ordinary Outback has begun refurbishing the heritage-listed Alma Hotel, built in the late 1800s, with the aim of making the family-friendly pub in Hebbard St a hub of leisure and entertainment in the area.

The dining room has been refreshed and a sports bar added while over the next three months Out of the Ordinary Outback will develop a new family-friendly beer garden for locals and travellers alike to enjoy.

While the Alma does not offer accommodation, eat in and take-away meals have been introduced for lunch and dinner, serving quality pub food with kid’s options available. Live music is also on offer on Sunday nights.

To mark the hotel’s new lease of life, Out of the Ordinary Outback is offering guests a special meal deal – buy a main meal at the Alma Hotel’s new bistro and get the second for half price.

Out of the Ordinary Outback owner, Scott Smith, said the addition of The Alma Hotel to the company’s portfolio would complement its other combination of offerings across far west NSW, while the revitalisation of the hotel would enhance its appeal to locals and travellers alike. “We hope the Alma Hotel will become a popular and intrinsic part of Broken Hill’s social, leisure, entertainment and dining scene and encourage the locals to come together and enjoy good food, refreshing beverages and great company.” 

The Alma Hotel is open from 10am to midnight daily. Call the Alma Hotel on 08 8087 3260 or visit

Out of the Ordinary Outback encompasses outback tour company, Tri State Safaris, and nine properties. These include Broken Hill properties – The Argent, Tourist Lodge and the Alma Hotel, Warrawong on the Darling caravan, camping and cabins Holiday Park, the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel, Cobar’s Copper City Motel, the Ivanhoe Hotel, and the Broken Hill Outback Resort which will open in April 2018, offering caravan and camping accommodation. Out of the Ordinary Outback also runs its own visitor centre in Broken Hill.

Visit or call 1300 688 225.


10 Reasons why Broken Hill became Australia’s First Heritage Listed City

In January 2015, ten years of in-depth research, reasoning and paperwork finally concluded with a ground-breaking announcement. Due to its historical, cultural, technological and economic contributions to Australia, the entire city of Broken Hill, would be included on Australia’s National Heritage List. But the historical community isn’t finished yet. Three years on from their monumental achievement, Broken Hill City Council confirmed its ambition to be included on the World Heritage List – a goal to which it is actively working toward.

To explore why Broken Hill is a worthy nominee, TravelIN writer, Emma Ryan, shares 10 reasons why Broken Hill became Australia’s first heritage city.

10 Reason’s Why Broken Hill is Australia’s First Heritage Listed City – written by TravelIn writer Emma Ryan.

Planning on visiting Australia’s first heritage city? Get the most out of your stay with Out of the Ordinary Outback. Accommodation available at our new $5 million site Broken Hill Outback Resort and centrally located The Argent Motel. Tours available weekly with Tri State Safaris.

For information on Out of the Ordinary Outback, visit or call 1300 688 225



Outback visitors to feast on underground lunch on Christmas Day for $60

Despite it’s name, the remote, outback town of White Cliffs can’t offer a white Christmas but the sunbaked hamlet’s famous underground motel will share the spirit of the season with a festive, subterranean feast on December 25.

Locals and visitors to the tiny opal township 1025km west of Sydney and 781km north-east of Adelaide will head to the White Cliffs Underground Motel for a three-course lunch under the earth on Christmas Day, enjoying a constant temperature of 22 degrees while expected 36-degree heat cooks the 120-strong town above.

Tickets to the underground lunch at 12.30pm on December 25 are still available for those keen for a true-blue Aussie Christmas in the NSW outback.

The managers of the unusual, 30-room motel, Sean Auld and partner Mandy Foster, will cook the lunch – their first at the property since they started looking after the cool, ‘dugout’ motel in June this year. For $60 a head, guests will enjoy a prawn cocktail or mango chicken salad for entrée, ham, turkey and roast vegetables for main course and traditional, home-made, plum pudding with brandy custard for dessert.

And Santa is also expected to make an appearance at the lunch in far-west NSW

“We’re expecting around 50 diners for lunch on Christmas Day but we can look after 100 or so – the more the merrier,” said Sean. “A coach-load of 25 people from Adelaide are staying with us for Christmas and they’ll be here celebrating Christmas in a unique way with us. It will be lots of fun, especially out of the heat.”

The motel – the biggest underground accommodation property in Australia – dates back to the early 1900s when opal minders sought sleeping quarters away from the heat.  It later became a family home and opened as a motel in 1989, sporting a licensed restaurant, café, bar and above-ground swimming pool.

The White Cliffs Underground Motel was bought by passionate bush lover and tourism businessman, Scott Smith, in mid-2016 as part of his new outback tourism company, Out of the Ordinary Outback, which also owns the Warrawong on the Darling holiday park at Wilcannia, Cobar’s Copper City Motel, the Ivanhoe Hotel and well-known, outback touring company, Tri State Safaris. The four properties are included for overnight stays on many of Tri State Safaris’ itineraries in far west NSW.

Christmas Day lunch at The White Cliffs Underground Motel is available for $60 a head while accommodation in a double or twin room is priced from $149 a room per night including continental breakfast, or $118in a single room. Cooked breakfasts are $10 extra.

Call the motel on 08 8091 6677 or Contact Us


Stay three nights and get fourth night free – Outback NSW

New outback touring company Out of the Ordinary Outback is offering modern-day swagmen – and women – a free night’s stay at the new-look Warrawong on the Darling camp, nestled by a billabong  at Wilcannia in outback NSW.

The ‘stay three nights and get the fourth free’ offer is available for caravan and camping accommodation at the sprawling , 688-hectare outback camp which hugs the legendary, gum-lined Darling River for 12km at Wilcannia, 965km west of Sydney and 700km north-east of Adelaide.

Under the stay for four – pay for three offer, outback explorers can stay for four nights on a powered site for $111 (nightly rate is $37 per night) on an unpowered site for four nights for $81 ($27 a night). Prices based on two people per site. There is no expiry date for the open-ended offer.

Offering a taste of the ruggedly beautiful ‘big sky’ country of far west NSW and fast gaining a reputation as one of the best stopover points for outback tourers, Warrawong on the Darling boasts new cabins, secluded caravan and camping sites by the river and billabong, a new amenities block, laundry, camp kitchen and BBQ area, a small shop and art gallery, bushwalking tracks and friendly hosts.

From late March to late October, Warrawong on the Darling also offers an authentic camp diner around the fire for $15.    

While staying at the park, guests can fish and canoe on the river and billabong, spot local fauna and birdlife, enjoy spectacular sunsets and sunrises gaze at the star-filled night sky and explore historic Wilcannia – once the third largest inland port in Australia during the great river boat era of the mid-19th century. Guests can also use Warrawong as a base for day trips to the opal mining township of White Cliffs, the Aboriginal drawings and rugged ranges of Mutawintji National Park and Menindee Lakes – now filled with water after recent rains.

Fresh from its revamp this year, Warrawong on the Darling is owned by new outback touring company, Out of the Ordinary Outback, launched last month by passionate bush lover and tourism businessman, Scott Smith. Out of the Ordinary Outback also includes well-known, outback touring company, Tri State Safaris, the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel, Cobar’s Copper City Motel and the Ivanhoe Hotel.