Tilpa is a small town with a big heart. A fascinating stop on the legendary Darling River Run, this historic town sits on the western bank of the Darling River and was once a bustling trade port for paddle-steamers. Today, it’s known for its charming Outback pub and welcoming community.
The Tilpa Hotel is a classic, character-filled pub made of corrugated iron and timber. Established in 1894 to service the river boat trade, today you can chat to the friendly locals as you tuck into a meal or enjoy a cold drink. The pub also offers comfortable accommodation if you wish to stay the night.
The Tilpa Hotel’s walls are an entertaining read, covered in travellers’ messages. Visitors pay to leave a message, with the money donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Further north along the river, you’ll find Trilby Station, a working sheep station, which also has a campground, cabins and caravan sites to stay at.
Two hours' drive northeast you’ll find the village of Louth. Stop at Shindy’s Inn, a friendly pub on the banks of the Darling River with its walls covered in photos. This famous pitstop is also the town’s only shop and cafe. Look out for the towering monument to Mary Matthew, one of the founders of the town, in the town cemetery.
Visit in August for the famous Louth Races. This annual event brings together travellers from far and wide for a fun weekend of horse racing, fashion and entertainment. It’s an outback experience not to be missed, and you can also enjoy it while camping by the river.
The White Cliffs area around Tilpa is home to fascinating opal mines and abundant birdlife, making it a perfect spot to birdwatch, bushwalk and camp. Explore the stunning Paroo-Darling National Park nearby, where you can paddle or walk around peaceful Peery Lake or camp at Coach and Horses campground.
Get off the beaten track at the Gundabooka National Park towards Bourke and keep an eye out for red kangaroos. Don’t miss the Mulgowan (Yappa) Aboriginal Art Site walking track where you can see ancient Aboriginal rock art of the local indigenous people.
Getting there & where to stay
Tilpa is an 11hr 30min drive from Sydney, 10hr 30min from Canberra, 12hr 30min from Melbourne and 11 hours from Adelaide. You can fly into Broken Hill and hire a car for the five-hour drive. You may need a 4WD for unsealed roads and national parks. Places to stay include the Tilpa Hotel and outlying stations that offer an authentic Outback experience.