Set on the banks of Evelyn Creek (named after Captain Charles Sturt’s brother), Milparinka may be small but it’s big on country swagger. Once a bustling gold mining capital, the historic settlement is now home to just a handful of people and a single pub. It’s also the gateway to some of Corner Country’s most remarkable national parks, and offers a fascinating glimpse of outback life, with beautifully restored colonial buildings, atmospheric ruins and locals always eager to welcome a visitor.
Classic outback pub
Built in 1882, the Albert Hotel is the ideal watering hole to meet Milparinka’s friendly locals – it’s the only pub in town, and a popular hangout. Parts of the original building have been preserved throughout and can be seen in the bar area as well as the onsite accommodation; there’s also a campground. At the height of the gold rush, it was one of four hotels that served the mining town of 300 people.
Milparinka Hotel, Milparinka
Gold rush history
When gold was discovered in this part of Corner Country in the 1880s, Milparinka sprang to life, nourished by water from Evelyn Creek. You can step back in time and relive this history at the Milparinka Heritage Precinct, a collection of restored colonial buildings including the former police station, which now serves as an art gallery, souvenir shop and tourist information centre.
Built in 1896, the sandstone Courthouse is the centrepiece of the precinct, designed by James Barnet, the architect of the Sydney Post Office. Here, you can learn about local Aboriginal heritage and Charles Sturt’s expedition to this part of NSW. Also in the precinct, the Baker House is an old family home that offers an insight into the lives of Milparinka's early inhabitants.
Sadly Captain Charles Sturt’s second-in-command, James Poole, never made it past Milparinka on their ill-fated 1845 expedition in search of an inland sea. About 10km northwest of town, you’ll find a headstone marking his grave.
The Sturt’s Steps Touring Route follows the route taken by Sturt northward from Broken Hill. Think of this as your own journey of discovery through the landscapes across which Sturt struggled, connecting 1,100km of sealed and unsealed roads in an easy and safe-to-navigate circular route from Broken Hill to Packsaddle, Milparinka, Tibooburra and Cameron Corner. Information shelters are located along the route and downloadable apps.
The other major attraction in Corner Country that takes its name from Captain James Sturt is Sturt National Park, an enormous arid landscape protecting millennia of Aboriginal history and today home to wildlife such as giant red kangaroos, emus and wedge-tailed eagles. Retrace the inland sea expedition on Sturt’s Tree Walk. Self-drive park tours include Gorge Loop Road and Jump-Up Loop Road, and are ideal for well-equipped 4WDs. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour with a local operator.
Milparinka is around 16 hours’ drive from Sydney and Brisbane, 12 hours from Melbourne and nine hours from Adelaide. You can also fly into Broken Hill and hire a car for the three-hour drive north. You may need a 4WD for unsealed roads and national parks. The only place to stay in town is the Albert Hotel or a free camp by the river.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.