Sick of looking at the same four walls that you’ve been confined to for the past 3 months? With the green light barely ignited on domestic travel, there’s never been a better time to pack the car and head away for a well-deserved break. Covid-19 has certainly taken its toll and we are all in desperate need of a change of scenery.
Imagine setting off along the M31, zoning out to your favourite tunes, heading for a more peaceful destination where the only thing on your to-do list is to hit the re-set button and take much needed time out for yourself.
You’ll find the perfect destination for R&R only a short 12 hours car ride from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD (13 hours if you decide to take the train!)
The mining town of Broken Hill is about as stereotypically ‘Aussie outback’ as it gets. The very ‘wide brown land for me’ that Dorothea Mackellar speaks so fondly of in her legendary ‘My Country’ poem and featured on the big screens in the famous Mad Max 2 sequel.
Whilst visitors primarily flock to heritage-listed Broken Hill for their dose of ‘good old’ country life, the areas raw beauty, natural charm and array of attractions keep them coming back.
We’ve listed our must-visit attractions while you’re in town:
The Living Desert Sculptures located 9km north of Broken Hill. Here you’ll find a collection of unique sandstone sculptures, each created by international artists in 1993. The sculptures capture the essence of the breathtaking landscape and glow brilliantly as the setting sun lights up the desert sky.
You’ll find Aboriginal history in abundance at The Mutawintji National Park. After viewing some of the best collections of Aboriginal art in NSW at the Mutawintji Historic Site, explore the area by bushwalking along the Bynguano Range walking track or tick of a bucket list item by camping out under the dazzling outback night sky.
And while on the subject of dazzling night skies, the clear night sky just outside of Broken Hill is so ideal for stargazing that Outback Astronomy offers guided tours through the Milky Way. Sign up for a sky show and unravel some of the mysteries of the universe; pinpointing stars and constellations; and learn about dark energy, asteroids and secrets behind our moon.
About 15 miles north of Broken Hill is Silverton, a town of 90 or so residents that, in traditional Australian fashion, manages to maintain a thriving pub. Don’t let size fool you, this little hotel punches well about its weight! The Original Silverton Hotel is one of the most iconic landmarks in the area (so it’s a must see with your own eyes kind of attraction) – having starred in block buster movies such as Razorback, Mission Impossible II, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and of course Mad Max 2.
Movie buffs can go one step further and visit the Mad Max Museum – Australia’s first and only museum dedicated to Mad Max 2.
A few kilometres north of Silverton, the view from the Mundi Mundi Plains is like nothing else – aptly referred to as ‘the edge of the world’. The hill drops away and the vast plain at your feet seems to stretch away to eternity over the sun-scorched canvas of the desert landscape. A must for those looking to witness the outback sunset in all its absolute glory.
And a trip to the outback just wouldn’t be complete without visiting a ‘classic outback pub’. And the Packsaddle Roadhouse, 175km north of Broken Hill is pretty much as classic as it gets. Full of charm, character, miscellaneous collectables, and regulars with stories to share, this stop will be the icing on your outback experience cake (or rather the froth on top of your icy beer!)
With so much to see and do, it’s important to have great accommodation as a base while you visit.
Our accommodation pick while in town is the Broken Hill Outback Resort.
Offering the perfect balance between nature and luxury, the Broken Hill Outback Resort is designed for anyone seeking quality accommodation in the heart of the Australian outback. With a mix of powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites on level, grassy areas complete with a high spec amenities block, camp kitchen, kids playground, King Spa Cabins and a Bar/ Restaurant, this resort brings a little luxury, comfort and convenience to the outback.
Equipped with its own private veranda and spa bath, King Spa Cabins range from $155 – $175 a night. With the Mt Gipps Hotel located on site, there’s no need to cook, delicious meals are a breeze.
Surrounded by breathtaking views of the Barrier ranges, the Broken Hill Outback Resort allows guests to soak in the vastness of the outback with its serenity and quintessentially Australian rugged landscapes all while enjoying the comforts of resort living. The location also provides the perfect backdrop for inspirational sunrise and sunset viewing. And if you’re lucky enough to be staying at the resort on a Sunday, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting local Broken Hill camels from midday!
And don’t think for a minute just because we’re recommending Broken Hill as your final destination doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to see and do along the way…in fact the journey there and back is part of the overall outback experience!
Dubbo – Looking for a pit stop to stretch your legs after 5hrs into starting your trip? Dubbo is ideal. With its famous Taronga Western Plains Zoo, your legs will be thankful for more time in the car after you’ve visited! Allow around 2-2.5hrs hours to walk the 3.4km zoo circuit. The perfect spot to scrub up on your animal identification skills, grab some fresh air and a bite to eat.
Cobar – Cobar is an active mining town 458km/4.5hr drive from Broken Hill, where the new Cobar Mine currently operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The Fort Bourke Lookout offers an incredible view of the mine, and the surrounding landscape. Make sure you’ve got plenty of charge on your phone for photos and videos when you stop by.
Wilcannia – Wilcannia, an 11hr drive from Sydney, was once a thriving river port on the edge of the Outback, transporting wheat and wool along the Darling by paddle-steamer in the 19th century. Today, its dusty streets are still lined with a remarkable collection of heritage buildings and there’s an emerging movement of local artists.
The historic town of White Cliffs is a stone’s throw from Wilcannia, less than an hour’s drive along. Known for being home to Australia’s oldest commercial opal field, there are opal showrooms to visit and a unique Underground Motel to spend the night (another tick for that elusive bucket list!)
However, if above ground is more your thing, and you’re chasing the real Australian Outback experience but with comfort thrown in, then Warrawong on the Darling is for you. Offering an abundance of wildlife and unspoilt tranquillity it really is the perfect spot to stop and absorb what the outback is all about – including the ever-changing colours of the sunsets.
Located on the banks of the Darling River in NSW, just off the Barrier Highway, 3km east of the Wilcannia township, Warrawong on the Darlin offers all you’ll need in accommodation – modern cabins, caravan and bush camping all along the billabong. With a high-spec amenities block, grassy sites along the natural lagoon and river and beautiful scenery, this is the ideal night stopover (or longer) for comfort seeking campers.
With Broken Hill (and many of the surrounding tourist towns we’ve highlighted) offering spectacular landscapes, sunsets, night skies, mining history, art galleries, festivals, shopping, local and chain restaurants (yes, tell the kids Broken Hill does has a Maccas!), and much more, there really is something for everyone!
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get up and get out, clear the head with some good old country air and embrace a change of scenery and pace. Not only is a great excuse to charge your batteries, it’s a great chance to charge your cars battery as well – after all, it’s likely to have been sitting idle (albeit in the garage) for the past 3 months too – and especially while petrol is as cheap as it is!!!