Bourke Area

History, nature and country hospitality; this inviting Outback town on the banks of the Darling River has it all. Once a major 19th century river port and trading post, learn about Bourke's colourful past aboard the Paddle Vessel Jandra or at the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre.

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.

A stockman works with sheep during a show at the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre

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.

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 or Belah Shearers’ Quarters.

A sign reading 'Bourke: Gateway to the real Outback' on the streets of Bourke

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. You can also board the PV Jandra from Kidman's Camp.

For an authentic farmstay, 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.