Bourke Area

Once a major 19th century river port and trading post, today Bourke is an historic outback town on the banks of the Darling River, famed for welcoming travellers. Take some time to relax here and discover heritage landmarks and Aboriginal culture, as well as thrilling outdoor adventure in the nearby national parks.

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

Historic charm & bush poets

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.

The Back O' Bourke Outback Show lead by stockman Paul Clarkson 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 Traditional Owners of the region, the Ngemba people - as well as farmers, stockmen, bushrangers and Afghan cameleers. Legendary Australian poet Henry Lawson lived in Bourke in the 1890s.

Paddle Vessel (PV) Jandra on the Darling River near Bourke

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 50min drive from Bourke is Gundabooka National Park, which stretches from the Darling River, across the plains and over Mount Gundabooka. See fascinating Aboriginal rock art of the Ngemba and Paakandji people, camp under the stars or stay at the historic Redbank Homestead.

Exterior view of the Port of Bourke Hotel in Outback NSW

Eat & drink

Enjoy casual dining and cold beers at the family-friendly Port of Bourke Hotel. Bourke’s Best Bites has great sandwiches and desserts, open until 3pm and Morrall’s Bakery has been serving delicious pies and freshly baked bread for over 110 years.

Camping area at Kidman's Camp in North Bourke, Outback NSW

Getting there & where to stay

It takes about nine hours to drive to Bourke from Sydney and eight hours from Canberra. Alternatively, you can fly to Cobar and hire a car for the two-hour drive. 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 can enjoy a slow-cooked meal and an evening of poetry around a campfire.