4 outback road trip itineraries to Broken Hill
Broken Hill’s heritage, landscape and art scene lure travellers deep into NSW’s outback. Make the journey as fun as the destination with these four road trips that promise gourmet, culture and nature experiences en route.
Take a culture trip from Sydney
Exiting Sydney in a westerly direction and cruising through Blue Mountains’ misty forests, start your itinerary by slipping off the Great Western Highway at Bathurst. Explore Australia’s oldest inland European settlement that’s gilt with gold rush history, charged with motor sports prestige and set against the backdrop of Mount Panorama. While here, take a tour of the grand Abercrombie House and stop by celebrity chef Matt Moran’s The Rockley Pub for a fortifying meal.
Moving ever westward, gourmands will enjoy a pause at Orange, a charming country hub and the centre of cool climate wines. Sip and dine at the likes of Charred Kitchen and Bar and Printhie Wines, or take a Country Food Trails tour for a concise itinerary of attractions. Next up is Dubbo, where a visit to the acclaimed, open plains Taronga Western Plains Zoo feels like driving through a savannah. You can even bed down amid the calls of the wild at the onsite Zoofari Lodge.
No road trip along the Great Western Highway can be considered complete without a selfie with the Big Bogan at Nyngan, a statue that looks exactly how it sounds. Then continue onto Wilcannia and take a detour to White Cliffs to join the or look for emus at Paroo-Darling National Park before driving the final two hours to the Silver City.
Wine & dine your way from Canberra
A trip to Broken Hill via Canberra offers plenty of delights for food-lovers: the route is blessed with fertile wine country and welcoming country towns that are well-known as food destinations.
Just 30 minutes from Canberra, Murrumbateman is a picturesque agrarian region populated with boutique, cool climate wineries – check out iconic vineyards like Clonakilla and Helm. Stock up on road-trip snacks at Murrumbateman Chocolate Co and stay the night in the stylish Abode.
From there take the road to Gundagai, making sure to stop at adorable Jugiong’s Sir George for a produce-driven meal, fresh baked goods and excellent wine. If you partake a little too robustly in the latter, stay the night at the chic accommodation, otherwise, carry on to the spa at the hilltop EcoCabin at Kimo Estate.
The next day, head to Wagga Wagga, where you can cook up your own feast at the Food I Am Cooking School. Here you can also learn about 60,000 years of living Wiradjuri culture on a half-day tour with Bundyi Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge – slow down and dive deeper into traditional bush tucker, language, cultural tools and significant sites. On the road again, pause at Narrandera to admire the Water Tower Art Trail, before camping in the bush at Wilcannia’s picturesque Warrawong on the Darling ahead of your next-day arrival to Broken Hill.
A country escape from southern Australia
If you’re travelling up from Adelaide or Melbourne, your route to Broken Hill will meander through rough-hewn country gems, vast plains and outback landscapes.
Make your first stop at the riverside town of Wentworth, where you can make a juicy stop at Mourquong’s Orange World for a fruitful tour and refreshment at this citrus farm. Glamp the night at one of the luxe safari tents at Outback Almonds before spending the next day touring shifting sands at Perry Sandhills and admiring outback flora at the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens.
The next day, if you’ve got a 4WD and keen to tackle dirt roads, check out the otherworldly rock formations of Mungo National Park. Revel in the magnificence of this incredible part of Australia, where you can camp, hike, take a self-drive tour, and explore the Walls of China before making your way to Menindee. The first-established town on the Darling River, here you can set out onto the water at sunset with River Lady Tours. Enjoy an ice-cold beer at Historical Maidens Hotel before retreating to a nearby campsite to gaze up at the night sky as prepare for your arrival to Broken Hill.
Follow an explorer’s footsteps (and a sculpture trail) from Broken Hill
When Captain Charles Sturt set off on an expedition through Outback NSW in search of Australia’s mysterious ‘inland sea’ in 1844, he brought with him 15 men, 11 horses, 200 sheep and even a boat in tow.
You can follow his journey through Corner Country – though much more comfortably in your car or caravan – along part of the Sturt’s Steps Touring Route north of Broken Hill, which now features a sculpture trail at several towns and localities along the way.
Set off along the Silver City Highway for Packsaddle. Make a pit stop at the Packsaddle Roadhouse, and take in Ian Marr’s engraved stone sculpture just next door. In Milparinka, you’ll find incredible artworks by Broken Hill artists Gritta Walker, Bonnie Quayle and Jodi Daley. A series of immersive museum complexes has been built among the historic original buildings, and The Albert Hotel, which has been trading since 1882, is a must-stop for lunch and a pint.
Further on is the gold rush town of Tibooburra, where you can see a replica of Sturt’s upturned boat as he searched for the elusive ‘inland sea’. You might choose to spend the night at the Tibooburra Hotel or Family Hotel, both are more than 100 years old, and at the latter, you’ll find famed (and some cheeky!) murals by Russell Drysdale and Clifton Pugh. Be sure to check out the iconic town sign and camel sculpture.
Further north in Sturt National Park, see the historic dingo fence, and the enormous wire bandicoot sculpture that honours the protected Australian species, and Sturt’s former refuge at Fort Grey campground. Take a slight (by outback standards) 30-minute detour to visit Cameron Corner and the iconic Corner Store pub; check out the big wire bilby sculpture as you leave NSW; and stand at the meeting point of the New South Wales, Queensland and South Australian borders.
Get there quicker…
Get there quicker…
While road-tripping to Broken Hill is part of the adventure, if you’re eager to arrive quickly, you can simply fly to Broken Hill Airport. It’s a two-hour flight from Sydney or just over an hour from Adelaide. Or hop on the Outback Xplorer Train from Sydney; the journey takes 13 hours, but with no driving you can sit back and relax the whole way there.