The Long Paddock
What is the Long Paddock?
The Long Paddock stretches more than 600km along the Cobb Highway (named for the famous coach company) from Echuca Moama on the Victorian border, through to Wilcannia. It leads on to the iconic outback towns of Bourke, Broken Hill and White Cliffs. Use this simple three-day itinerary.
Real outback adventure on the Long Paddock Route
If you've ever wanted to get out and experience the wide open spaces of country NSW, then this is the perfect drive for you.
The Long Paddock touring route follows the length of the Cobb Highway (610 km) from Echuca Moama on the Victorian border, north to Wilcannia in NSW. It follows the stock routes that criss-cross Australia, when drovers used open stretches of unfenced land for moving stock or as feed in times of drought.
Moama to Mathoura: Check out some of the fabulous local food and wine or drive north along the Cobb Highway and stop in Mathoura, 40km from Moama. Here you'll find the country's largest redgum forest, along with great fishing and bird-watching opportunities.
Mathoura to Deniliquin: Keep driving to Deniliquin - a town at the edge of the Outback and regarded as the world's 'ute capital'. If you're visiting on the October long weekend you can experience the Deni Ute Muster - a salute to the iconic Aussie vehicle. Otherwise, a trip to Peppin Heritage Centre will get you into the ute spirit and allow you to soak up the history of the region's wool and sheep breeding industry. You can't miss this place - it's the one with the colourful mosaic ute out the front.
Deniliquin: Grab some lunch before taking time to admire the town's restored architecture, hike along a beautiful forest trail, or drive north to view Conargo's panoramic sunset views. For dinner, the locals swear by the RSL, and you'll find plenty of places to stay the night in town.
Deniliquin to Booroorban: Back on the road, pass through Pretty Pine and Wanganella, and pause to view the ARTback sculpture at Black Swamp before stopping in Booroorban. Stop for a cool refreshment at the Royal Mail Hotel, an original staging post on the Cobb & Co run, and admire the 'Headless Horseman' painting in the bar.
Booroorban to Hay: Booroorban is a bird lover's paradise so you may wish to spend some more time here or continue over the vast saltbush plain - some of southern hemisphere's flattest terrain - into Hay. See the 'Lang's Crossing' ARTback sculpture on the riverbank, learn about the town's pioneering, pastoral and goldrush history at one of its museums or celebrate the history of Australian shearing at the award-winning Shear Outback interpretive centre. Here you can explore a staggering array of exhibits and paraphernalia, all devoted to the art of shearing. Tour the Shearers' Hall of Fame and the historic Murray Downs Woolshed; and check out the ever-evolving calendar of events and programs. You'll find something tasty for dinner on Lachlan Street, and Hay offers numerous accommodation options, including motels and outback farmstays.
Hay to Booligal: Drive 38km north to see the remains of the One Tree Hotel. A popular staging post in its day, it was made famous by Banjo Patterson's poem Hay and Hell and Booligal, and is today a fascinating reminder of a bygone era. Continue north past sprawling paddocks and station homesteads to Booligal. Check out the annual sheep races, have a drink at the Duke of Edinburgh hotel, or simply marvel at the expanse of dusty open plains.
Booligal to Ivanhoe: Proceed 90 minutes to Ivanhoe to follow the town's heritage trail through eight historically significant locations - most of which are located within a block of the main street. Stop for lunch at the RSL before returning to your car.
Ivanhoe to Wilcannia: It's a two-hour drive to Wilcannia, once one of Australia's busiest inland ports. Today a much quieter town, Wilcannia still boasts plenty of historic treasures, including well-preserved sandstone buildings and a National Trust-listed bridge. From here, you can connect up with The Darling River Run where there is plenty more to explore.
Shear Outback. A shearer laying out the shorn wool in front of tourists, Hay. Image Paul Foley
Deniliquin historic court house, Riverina. Image Damien Ford
Three drovers with their dogs, Hay, Outback NSW. Image Mike Newling
Port of Echuca wharf on the Murray river, The Murray. Image Rob Blackburn
Avoid driving tired and reach your destination
When driving, always consider how tired you are - fatigue is one of the top three contributors to Australia's road toll.
Ensure you have had enough sleep before your trip and share the driving wherever possible. When driving on Australian roads take advantage of the many 'rest areas' available, regardless of whether it's a long-distance or short-distance trip.
Easily locate rest areas and plan your rest breaks for your next journey by visiting www.rms.nsw.gov.au