Once a major 19th century river port and trading post, Bourke is an inviting outback town on the banks of the Darling River. Discover historic landmarks, Aboriginal culture, as well as outdoor adventure in national parks within easy driving distance of Bourke town.
Things to do in Bourke
Follow the Bourke Town Trail to see historic landmarks from the Cobb & Co stagecoach days, including the blacksmith’s workshop, Carrier’s Arms Hotel and Bourke Courthouse. The heritage-listed courthouse is where bushranger Captain Starlight was charged after his capture in 1868.
At the Back O’ Bourke Exhibition Centre, hear tales of early exploration and the paddleboat trade, and learn about the Aboriginal people of the region, farmers, stockmen, bush poets, bushrangers and Afghan cameleers. Legendary Australian poet Henry Lawson lived in Bourke in the 1890s.
During winter, if the water level allows, learn about Bourke's colourful past aboard the Paddle Vessel Jandra, a replica of an 1895 paddle steamer. Tickets and packages are available from the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre. All cruises depart from Kidman’s Camp.
About 50 minutes' drive from Bourke is Gundabooka National Park, which stretches from the Darling River, across the plains and over Mount Gunderbooka. See Aboriginal rock art, camp in the outback, or stay at the historic Redbank Homestead.
Eat and drink in Bourke
Enjoy a casual dining at Diggers on the Darling, which also offers a courtesy bus. Bourke’s Best Bites has great sandwiches and desserts, open until 3pm and Morall’s Bakery has been serving fantastic pies and freshly baked bread for over 110 years.
Getting to and staying in Bourke
It takes about 9 hours to drive to Bourke from Sydney and 8 from Canberra. Alternatively, you can fly to Cobar which is less than 2 hours’ drive away. 4WD cars are recommended for unsealed roads and many of the national parks.
There are a number of places to stay, from motels to campgrounds. For an authentic farm stay, make the 125km drive to Trilby Station, a working Outback sheep station with cottages and powered campsites on the Darling River. Alternatively, Comeroo Camel Station is 150km northwest of Bourke, and also has cottages and a campground.
Located 12km north of Bourke, Kidman's Camp offers comfortable accommodation and true outback experiences, such as Poetry on a Plate, where you enjoy a slow-cooked meal and an evening of poetry around a campfire.