Menindee

The oldest European settlement in western NSW and the first town to be established on the Darling River, this tiny Outback outpost was an important trading hub in the 19th century. Today, Menindee famous as the last stop for ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills as well as its stunning natural landscapes.

Outback history

Menindee was founded in the 1850s and the first business to open was the Menindee Hotel (now called Maiden’s Hotel). It’s the second oldest hotel in NSW and you can still stop in for a meal or a drink. Burke and Wills visited the hotel in 1860 as they made their way north, searching for a route across the continent.

Just outside of town, see the place where Burke and Wills camped beside Pamamaroo Creek. The site of the Old Kinchega Homestead tell the story of the region’s Aboriginal and European heritage. Once the heart of a vast sheep station, the ruins paint a captivating picture of life in the late 1800s.

Don’t leave without exploring the historic Kinchega Woolshed. Built in 1875 from corrugated iron and river red gum, the woolshed is a well preserved piece of Australian pastoral heritage, with six million sheep sheared here during its 97-year history. See the presses, machinery room and original steam engine that powered the hand shears.

A tour group boards the River Lady cruise boat on the Menindee Lakes

Natural wonders

Hop aboard the River Lady boat for a cruised along the Darling River and Menindee Lakes. The waterways are dotted with ghostly river red gums and thousands of birds make their home here. Tours run every day and depart from the weir around 20min outside of town.

Kinchega National Park is also famous for its birdlife. Flocks of black swan, pelican, duck and egret live on the banks of the Menindee Lakes. There are many self-drive routes through the park and you can camp by the river. The Kinchega Homestead Billabong walking track takes in historic homestead ruins and ancient Aboriginal sites.

Afternoon sun shines over a herd of cattle grazing on grassland near the Menindee Lakes

Getting there and where to stay

Menindee is an 11hr 30min drive from Sydney, around nine hours from Canberra and Melbourne, and seven hours from Adelaide. You can fly into Broken Hill and hire a car for the 1hr 15min drive. You may need a 4WD for unsealed roads and national parks. Accommodation includes motels, campgrounds and the historic Maiden’s Hotel.