I like to think that the outback of Australia is a special place. When you visit the outback, you can really get a feel for what life in Australia overall was like when it first became colonized. No big fancy cities here. No, just big open land of desert and dirt with a hot, hot sun.
Many travelers associate New South Wales with Sydney, beaches and lush surroundings, but the truth is that a large part of the state is pretty much outback. That’s right, you don’t have to go that far to get to what I consider the unique part of Oz. Just check out a few of these beauts right here in NSW.
Broken Hill is an oasis in the desert. This old mining town, known as the Silver City, has been converted into a haven for artists and those wanting to experience the “accessible outback”. To get here from Sydney, you can drive for 15 hours on paved roads or take a train.
Once here, you can enjoy the life of a quiet town or check out the galleries, watch the sunsets and hang out at the pubs. With it being an old mining town, you can believe that there are enough “hotels” (pubs) to drown yourself in, especially when it is just plain hot outside.
Living Desert Sculptures Site
Outside of Broken Hill, maybe a 30 minutes drive, is the gorgeous Living Desert Reserve. Located within the reserve is the Sculpture Symposium site full of sculptures from artists around the world that gathered in this one spot in 1993. After you’ve gazed into the endless nothingness of outback land from the sculpture site, there is the Living Desert Flora and Fauna Sanctuary to enjoy.
It’s pretty much a ghost town, but it was once a big silver mining locale. Silverton was one of my favorite stops on my outback NSW adventure because they not only park the Mad Max car out front of the hotel symbolizing this awesome location, but they also have the Silverton Cafe – my air conditioned, antiqued laden love affair. Get out of the heat and into an ice cream float or a piece of fresh made damper.
After you’ve had a fill and a recharge, head on over to the coin carvery for a chat with a friendly guy that will create you something nice out of metal.
When Menindee isn’t in a drought, this small town on the Darling River to the south of Broken Hill makes for an excellent stop to fish. When I went, though, 3 of the 4 lakes were dried up, so fishing wasn’t a great option for my boyfriend. It goes without saying he was pretty disappointed. Besides fishing, I think some good old fashioned relaxing is in order, along with a definite viewing of the awesome sunsets and a visit to the nearby Kinchega National Park.
White Cliffs is compared to Coober Pedy in my mind since it is an opal mining town in the outback where people live in underground dugouts. This little town is located about a 3 hours drive to the northeast of Broken Hill and features the world’s largest underground motel. Also on location is a number of open opal mines, giving the location a lunar-like landscape.
Although Wilcannia isn’t a town I would recommend to hang out in for an extended time, it is worth driving around to see all of the amazing sandstone buildings. Wilcannia will be one of the few stops in between the drive from Cobar to Broken Hill, so you’ll want to get some gas here as well as some snacks at the one shop in town before heading off.