Covering nearly 950kms of spectacular landscape and history through Outback NSW, the Darling River Run follows the course of the Darling from Walgett to Wentworth, a journey rich with indigenous history and the memories of Australia’s pioneering days.
Explore heritage trails and museums and enjoy quality fishing on the beautiful Darling River, where you will find ancient man-made fish traps. From rock art and incredible wildlife to historic landmarks, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do.
The Darling River Run takes you to the historic river port of Wentworth, at the great confluence of the Mighty Murray and Darling Rivers. Once Australia’s busiest inland port, this charming town in far south-western NSW is a conclusion that is rich in heritage and natural wonders.
Begin your journey in Walgett. Walgett is home to Artesian Bore Baths, warm natural baths filled by ancient springs from the Great Artesian Basin. This water is estimated to be around two million years old with reputed therapeutic qualities. Visit the baths for free, and enjoy a relaxing soak at a naturally heated temperature of 41.5 degrees.
Travel 134km west on the Kamilaroi Highway to Brewarrina, where the Barwon River joins up with the Darling River. Once the highest point paddle-steamers could reach on the Darling River system, Brewarrina is rich with fascinating history and indigenous heritage.
You’ll find plenty of things to see and do from heritage trails and museums to quality fishing on the beautiful Darling River, where you will find ancient man-made fish traps. These fish traps estimated to be over 40,000 years old.
Drive 98km west of Brewarrina to the legendary town of Bourke. Once a major 19th century river port and trading post, Bourke is a classic outback town with beautiful heritage, gorgeous natural attractions and warm outback hospitality.
Set among river red gums on the banks of the Darling River, the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre explores the history and culture of the Darling River and its surroundings, with interactive tales of the paddleboat trade, the Aboriginal people of the region, bush poets and Afghan cameleers.
For those who wish to explore further, about 40 minutes' drive from Bourke you will find the vast Gundabooka National Park, an area rich in Aboriginal heritage that stretches across the plains from the Darling River. See aboriginal rock art and walk near the majestic Mount Gundabooka.
You can also you can stay in the historic Redbank Homestead or Shearers’ Quarters.
Travel in a southern direction on the Mitchell Highway / Kidman Way for 4km out of town, and turn right on the Bourke–Wilcannia road. The road is unsealed, so before setting out check road conditions with the local Visitor Information Centre, local council, police or motoring authority. Rain may cause closure of these roads.
Once you are on the road you will follow the winding Darling River which is on your right hand side for 95km to Louth. Enjoy lunch at Shindy’s Inn, on the banks of the Darling River. Surrounded by photos of life on the Darling, this pub is known for its hospitality. If you are travelling in August you might experience the amazing annual Louth Races, which sees the town thrive with activity.
Drive 67km along the scenic Darling River Road through to Tilpa. Tilpa was once a busy port for the bustling river trade. The Tilpa Hotel is a classic timber pub, and walls inside are covered in travellers' messages. Every year the pub’s owners make a substantial donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, collected from visitors who pay a fee to add to their own contribution to the pub walls.
Chat to the friendly locals as you tuck into steak sandwiches and a cold beer before retiring after a long day of driving. The pub offers comfortable accommodation. 70km further along the Darling you will find Trilby Station, a working sheep station, once a part of the legendary million acre Dunlop, first in the world to complete a sheep shearing by mechanical means in 1888.
Trilby Station is 320,000 acres these days, running approx 24,000 Merino sheep and an extensive goat enterprise.The Murray family are your hosts and can trace their settlement on the Darling River near Louth back six generations.accommodation. Trilby Station offers fully renovated Stockman's Cottages and the new Shearer's Bunkhouse.
You may choose to avail yourself of the Powered Caravan Sites and secluded river Campsites dotted among age old river gums on the banks of the Darling River. For those who wish to stay longer and explore, the area is rich with prolific birdlife making it a great destination for camping and bushwalking. Join a tour, or visit the Paroo-Darling and Gundabooka National Parks.
Start the trip to Wilcannia, by crossing the river and continuing south-west to Wilcannia Road for 137km. The drive opens onto wonderful scenery along the Darling River.
Wilcannia was once one of Australia's busiest inland ports, and you will discover fine heritage buildings here. Visit the former Athenaeum Library from 1883, now the town's Pioneer Museum, where you can find the Wilcannia Historical Society Guide Book detailing the histories of all the town’s major buildings, including the 1880 post office and its attached residence, the Club Hotel which dates from 1879.
You can travel to Menindee on both the western or eastern side of the Darling River. The Wilcannia Road is the more frequently used and follows the western side of the river, through the oasis of Copi Hollow and past the Explorers Tree engraved by Bourke and Wills and Menindee Lakes Storages Dam Wall.
Situated between the birdwatchers’ paradise of Kinchega National Park wetlands and the mighty Darling River, Menindee is a wonderful base to enjoy stunning natural attractions, captivating history and warm hospitality. Enjoy a meal and stay in the Menindee Hotel, the second oldest pub in NSW where famous explorers Burke and Wills once rested.
Visiting the Menindee Lakes is a must. The region hosted some of Australia's most eminent explorers, and with an abundance of wildflowers and orchards, is something of a desert oasis. Photograph the lakes at sunset, fish for perch at dinner, and spend the night explorer-style at Pamamaroo Creek's Burke and Wills campsite.
Drive south to Pooncarie, where famous explorers Burke and Wills reached the Darling River on their ill-fated expedition toward the Gulf. Once a port for the paddle steamer trade, today you can visit the Old Wharf site on the banks of the Darling River.
Pooncarie is also upstream from the spectacular Mungo National Park. While not on the Darling River Run, the park offers fascinating features such as ancient Lake Mungo, the resting place of 60,000-year-old Mungo Man and the magnificent Walls of China formations which stretch along the eastern side of the lakebed.
Arrive in Wentworth, where the Darling River finally meets the mighty Murray River. At the historic river port of Wentworth, you can cruise aboard riverboats at the great confluence of the Darling and Murray rivers. Once Australia’s busiest inland port, this charming town in far south-western NSW is rich in heritage.
You’ll find many memorable things to do and see in the Wentworth region, from hiring houseboats to wine tasting at Trentham Estate Winery. Enjoy a scenic cruise aboard the PS Ruby paddle-steamer from the Port of Wentworth.
This area is also famous for the Perry Sandhills. Formed by winds spanning thousands of years, these ancient dunes are rich with aboriginal significance. They have also yielded the ancient remains of giant animals who once lived on this area .You can see replicas of these at the Wentworth Pioneer Museum.
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