Broken Hill

The legendary outback city of Broken Hill is rich with history, a vibrant artistic community and cast of colourful characters. Discover amazing galleries, famous sculptures, cool cafes, palatial federation heritage and towering mining landmarks in Australia’s first heritage-listed city.

Couple visiting the The Line of Lode Memorial in Broken Hill, Outback NSW

Mining history

Learn about the city’s fascinating history on the Broken Hill Heritage Walk Tour. A stroll down Argent Street reveals many great shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes including The Palace Hotel. You might recognise this iconic hotel from the cult Australian movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Couple enjoying the Drag Bingo night at The Palace Hotel in Broken Hill, Outback NSW

Broken Hill is Australia’s oldest mining town, with a colonial history dating back to the 1880s. Poised dramatically above the landscape, the Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial celebrates the life and work of more than 800 miners who lost their lives here. This striking memorial provides a commanding view of the town.

Albert Kersten Mining and Mineral Museum offers a hands-on insight into the science of geology and mining. See artefacts from the city’s mining history and almost 2,000 specimens, including an impressive 42kg silver nugget, and learn the story of the Royal Flying Doctors Service and the vital work they continue to do.

Couple enjoying a visit to the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in Broken Hill, Outback NSW

Art in Broken Hill

The Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery is the oldest regional gallery in NSW. See works from the Brushmen of the Bush, a group of five artists who included Pro Hart, Eric Minchin and Jack Absalom. There’s also an excellent collection of Indigenous works from Badger Bates, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Couple enjoying a walk through The Living Desert and Sculptures attraction in Broken Hill, Outback NSW

There are many other galleries and studios in town, including the Pro Hart Gallery and Willy Nilly Art. Twenty minutes’ drive north of Broken Hill, you’ll find the stunning Living Desert Sculptures. Created by 12 international artists in 1993, the dramatic sandstone sculptures adorn a trail through the centre of the Living Desert Reserve.

Brightly dressed drag queens ride through Broken Hill in a convertible during the Broken Heel Festival

The Broken Heel Festival, held in September, features divas, DJs, and live music that pays homage to the iconic film and stage musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Other great Broken Hill events are the Heritage Festival in April and the Perfect Light Film Festival in November.

Eat & drink

There’s plenty of ways to enjoy a cold drink in Broken Hill, from classic pubs and bars such as the famous Palace Hotel to the welcoming Broken Hill Distillery. For a delicious breakfast and great coffee head for the Silly Goat Cafe, or drop in to Bell’s Milk Bar for a delicious milkshake topped with authentic 1950s decor.

Couple stepping back into time at Bell's Milk Bar in Broken Hill, Outback NSW

Getting there & where to stay

Broken Hill is a 13hr drive from Sydney, 11hr from Canberra, nine hours from Melbourne and just under six from Adelaide. You can fly into Broken Hill Airport and hire a car to explore the region. You may need a 4WD for unsealed roads and national parks. There are lots of places to stay including motels, historic cottages, campgrounds and farmstays.