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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.



New outback travel brand, Out of the Ordinary Outback, has won two silver awards for its tour arm, Tri State Safaris, at the NSW Tourism awards held at Luna Park in Sydney last night (November 24)….
Based in Broken Hill, Tri State Safaris was awarded silver awards for its excellence in two categories: Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism.
The twin accolades add to the 11 national tourism awards, 22 local and regional tourism awards and 22 NSW tourism awards that Tri State Safaris has won since its launch in 1992, reaffirming the tour business as one of Australia’s leading outback tourism operators.
The NSW Tourism Ecotourism award recognises ecologically sustainable tourism, with a primary focus on tourism in natural areas that encourage environmental understanding, appreciation and conservation. Tri State Safari tours have Advanced Eco Certification, and they are committed to educating customers on how they can contribute to protecting and preserving the natural environment.
The Adventure Tourism award recognises outdoor adventure experiences that encourage participation and personal challenge. This matches closely with Tri State Safaris’ philosophy in which they promote life-long memories and a desire to discover more of the Australian Outback: ‘Remember when a holiday was a real adventure!’

The NSW Tourism awards recognise tourism excellence across the state, promoting and rewarding tourism businesses that have shown significant achievement and success throughout the year. New outback tourism brand, Out of the Ordinary Outback, was officially launched in Broken Hill last month by bush-loving travel enthusiast Scott Smith. The new company embraces Tri State Safaris as well as four, character-filled, accommodation properties in far west NSW -White Cliffs Underground Motel, Warrawong on the Darling, the Ivanhoe Hotel and the Copper City Motel in Cobar.
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Mick, Jo, Scott and the crew, had a blast last month, when the crew from Sydney Weekender came to visit us once more in Outback NSW. The filming centred around our new 3 Day Outback Exposure itinerary this time, with a visit to Warrawong on the Darling, White Cliffs and Mutawintji and a cruise across the Menindee Lakes. Tune in to Channel 7 on Sunday 26th February 2017 at 5:30pm EST to catch us in action!

Video The last month has seen the grand opening of our new premises, the launch of our Out of the Ordinary Outback centre and Cafe, new tour itineraries, a visit from Sydney Weekender ……and plenty of great adventures!

A new, $400,000 outback tourist information centre and cafe was officially opened in Broken Hill today (October 28, 2016) as the centrepiece of a new tourism brand – Out of the Ordinary Outback – which promises a major boost to the tourism industry of the NSW outback. The new Out of the Ordinary Outback centre and café at 422 Argent St, Broken Hill, with its giant outback murals, is the new headquarters for the larger, new-look company which now encompasses multi-award-winning tour business, Tri State Safaris – established in 1992. Passionate bush lover and tourism businessman, Scott Smith, bought Tri State Safaris earlier this year and added four NSW outback hotels – the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel, Wilcannia’s Warrawong on the Darling outback camp, Cobar’s Copper City Motel and the Ivanhoe Hotel – with exciting visions for the role the new brand and Broken Hill centre will play in the evolution and growth of outback tourism in NSW. The four properties are now a feature of many of Tri State Safari’s 18 tours.

Launching in the wake of drenching rains which have ended the local drought, safeguarded local water supply and sparked one of the most spectacular display of wildflowers in years, the new Out of the Ordinary Outback umbrella brand promises to breathe fresh, new life into the outback experience for visitors exploring far western NSW and the nearby, ancient landscapes of South Australia and south-west Queensland.     

Owner Scott Smith said the aim of the new company brand and centre in Broken Hill was to showcase authentic and diverse outback experiences to growing numbers of local and overseas visitors and lift standards in accommodation and service in the region. “I love this part of the outback, which is incredibly rich in scenery, wildlife, indigenous history and colourful characters and so by bringing these tour and accommodation experiences together under the Out of the Ordinary Outback marque I want to share with guests extraordinary and unforgettable experiences that are of the beaten tourist trail.

Mr Smith purchased Tri State Safaris, which offers a range of 1-12-day 4WD tours from Broken Hill and also a tour in WA and NT, from well-known founders Michael and Joanne McCulkin, who will help establish the new brand until April, 2017. “I am thrilled to be taking over such a reputable company and while we aim to grow and diversify the business, creating more tours and jobs and bringing in more visitor dollars to this remote region, we will continue to do what Tri State Safaris has always done best – deliver quintessential Australian outback experiences,” Mr Smith said.

“Tourism has replaced mining as the chief economic generator for Broken Hill and far western NSW and I hope Out of the Ordinary Outback and our expanding portfolio of product plays a pivotal role in the future prosperity of this region.”

Special launch offer

To mark the launch of the new brand, Out of the Ordinary Outback is offering a 20 per cent discount on its three-day Outback Exposure tour with Tri State Safaris if booked by January 31, 2017. Starting and ending in Broken Hill, the tour takes in the Menindee Lakes, White Cliffs Underground Motel and Wilcannia. Departures are available any date with a minimum booking of two people. Including the discount, the tour is available from $1104 per person, twin-share, including meals, or from $1199 for solo travellers.

For general information on outback tours and accommodation, contact the new Out of the Ordinary Outback centre on toll-free 1300 688 225