Sculptures in the desert
About 10 km from Broken Hill, in the middle of the Living Desert Reserve, is Sundown Hill, the site of the Living Desert Sculptures. Follow the easy walking trail that takes you past these beautiful sandstone sculptures, even more striking in this desert setting.
About Broken Hill
Perhaps the most well-known of Outback NSW towns, Broken Hill is known for its thriving arts community, mining heritage and access to many outback adventures. Broken Hill is home to the world’s largest silver, lead and zinc mine, established by Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (now BHP Billiton). Charles Rasp and two mates established BHP here in 1885 after pegging out a mineral lease at a rocky outcrop known as ‘the broken hill’.
For visitors today, Broken Hill offers mining tours and museums as well as many other experiences. Many established artists work here, big-budget films have been shot in Broken Hill and in nearby Silverton, eating out options are many and varied, and it’s a great base for exploring the stunning national parks of Outback NSW, including Sturt National Park, Mungo National Park and Gundabooka National Park.
For art enthusiasts, Broken Hill is a veritable delight with more than 30 galleries exhibiting works by artists long fascinated with the outback. Accommodation ranges from elegantly restored hotels to campsites, and discerning diners will enjoy the Broken Earth Restaurant. Visitors looking for a quick bite shouldn’t miss Bells Milk Bar and Museum for its famous sodas, spiders and milkshakes.
The Albert Kersten Mining and Mineral Museum is an interactive museum and interpretive centre that unravels the history of the earth with a fascinating, hands-on insight into geology, mineral exploration and mining. You’ll see hundreds of mining artefacts as well as a 42-kg silver nugget. Other ways to explore mining heritage is on a Broken Hill Heritage Tour or by heading underground, on a walking tour of the Daydream Mine, near Silverton.
Silverton, 25 km west of Broken Hill, has been called the Hollywood of the Outback because of the films and ads shot here and nearby. They include Mission Impossible II, Wake in Fright, A Town Like Alice, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Mad Max II. Enjoy a beer at the Silverton Hotel where you can see still photos from the films or book the Priscilla Suite The Palace Hotel in Broken Hill for a memorable stay.
Art in Broken Hill
The vast skies, sun-seared rocks and towering mining equipment have inspired some of Australia’s best known artists. Broken Hill has a large population of working artists and around 30 art galleries including the oldest regional gallery in NSW, the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery. It’s the best place to see artworks by some of the best known, local artists including Pro Hart, Eric Minchin, Jack Absalom and Badger Bates.
One of the best places to eat out in Broken Hill is at Broken Earth Café and Restaurant. Located atop the famous Line of Lode pile of earth in the centre of the city and with spectacular views, especially at sunset, the restaurant offers a delicious seasonal menu. You’ll also find Red Lush Wine Bar, Thom Dick and Harry’s café and gourmet grocer and Bell’s Milk Bar where you can savour an old-fashioned milkshake or lime spider.
There are plenty of comfortable outback beds in the Broken Hill area. Some of the best are in elegantly-restored hotels from another era. These include The Astra, The Royal Exchange, The Imperial, the Miners’ Arms B&B and The Palace Hotel. Many of these hotels feature restaurants, bars as well as excellent service and facilities.