Near the junction of the Namoi and Barwon Rivers in remote northwest NSW, Walgett is a friendly Outback town full of charm and adventure. Once a busy paddle-steamer port, the village marks the northern gateway to the opal fields of Lightning Ridge and the epic Darling River Run road trip.
Walgett’s most famous resident, renowned Aboriginal country music legend Jimmy Little, lived here in the 1950s and is buried in the town cemetery. You can visit his gravesite and see the impressive memorial mural painted in his honour on the Walgett Water Tower as you arrive in town, now part of the Australian Art Silo Trail.
The Dharriwaa Elders Group exhibition centre offers fascinating exhibits of indigenous artefacts and a self-guided walking track. Follow the picturesque Tracker Walford Walkway, which winds along the Namoi River for 1.5km in memory of legendary local Aboriginal tracker, Norman Walford.
Artesian thermal baths
Relax at the free Walgett Artesian Bore Baths, where water from the Great Artesian Basin springs to the surface at a constant temperature of around 40 degrees. Approximately two million years old, the water has reputed therapeutic qualities and is perfect for a long soak.
One hour from Walgett, Burren Junction is also known for its free artesian bore baths. There’s also free camping on-site, as well as electricity, poolside showers, BBQ facilities, filtered water and a dump point. Burren Junction Bore Baths are currently closed, reopening later in the year.
Opal fields & national parks
If you’ve got a taste for adventure, Lightning Ridge is just under an hour’s drive north, where you can take a tour of opal fields and visit classic bush pubs as well as fossick for gems on red river banks. In the nearby Grawin opal fields, you can buy hand carved gemstone figurines at Marg’s Carvings.
Just out of town, Muddy Waters is a family-run 40 acre farm and fishing paradise on the Barwon River where you can camp and fish for Murray Cod and blue crayfish. Drive 3hr 10min east from Walgett and discover Pilliga National Park, home to rugged beauty and important Aboriginal historic sites.
Walgett is also a stop on the Great Inland Way, a tourist route that travels 2,956km from Sydney to Cairns, through inland NSW. This spectacular journey weaves together a rich tapestry of wineries, World Heritage national parks and historic towns that sprang to life during the days of the gold rush.
Eat & drink
Call into local favourite Stone's Throw, a gorgeous café and gift shop, much loved for its quality coffee and sweet treats or enjoy a delicious pit-stop at Blend & Co. Grawin Opal Miners Sports and Recreation Club, known as ‘The Club in the Scrub’, is a family friendly club where you can chat with local miners over a meal or a drink.
Getting there & where to stay
It takes about eight hours to drive to Walgett from Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. Alternatively, you can fly into Moree and hire a car for the 2hr 30min drive. 4WD vehicles are recommended for unsealed roads and many of the national parks. There are a number of places to stay, from motels to camp grounds.