Visit this historic river port and enjoy the unhurried pace, conversations with friendly locals and the sight of kangaroos gathering along the riverbank. A delightful village in The Murray region, Pooncarie is the closest upstream town to the magnificent Mungo National Park and a stop on the Darling River Run touring route.
During the 19th century, Pooncarie was an important river port and is still referred to by locals as The Port. The town’s wharf was once frequented by paddle-steamers laden with wool as they plied the Darling River. You can visit the Old Wharf Site, where there’s a cafe serving hearty breakfast and coffee.
Head along to the Pooncarie Field Day, a biennial celebration of all things country with 100 rural exhibits and activities, from sheep shearing and yard dog trials to gleaming utes on display. An important event on the local social calendar is the annual Pooncarie Cup, a traditional outback horse race in October.
Mungo National Park is an unforgettable experience. Part of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area, discover a starkly beautiful landscape of ancient dry lake basins and sand formations, and learn about the area’s Aboriginal history. Accommodation is available at the heritage-listed Mungo Shearers’ Quarters.
Pooncarie a 7hr 30min drive from Melbourne and around 12 hours from Sydney, making it ideal for a multi-day road trip. It’s a 3h 40min drive from Broken Hill and is also a stop on the Darling River Run. You can also fly into Mildura Airport and rent a car for the 90min drive northeast.
You’ll find several places to stay. The Pooncarie Telegraph Hotel Motel is a classic outback pub that offers comfortable accommodation. Another option is the two-bedroom Port Pitstop Cottage, which overlooks the tranquil Bilbarka Park. Or you can appreciate the serenity and camp on the banks of the Darling River.