You don’t have to travel to the red centre of Australia to experience the magic of the Australian outback. Outback NSW offers an experience that is second to none. What’s better, the outback in New South Wales is accessible to everyone and has all the amenities you need to ensure you have a safe, comfortable stay.
There’s an expression Australians frequently use when asked where a remote town is located. “It’s out the back of Bourke,” you will be told. This could be anywhere, but it basically can be translated as, “It’s a long way from anyplace else.” Bourke is the western-most town on the Darling River run. Originally discovered by European explorer Charles Sturt, who considered it uninhabitable because he happened to pass through the region during a drought, Bourke later became a stockade and then an important trade centre.
Today, Bourke is no longer “a long way from anyplace else.” The Darling River Run, one of Australia’s classic drives, takes you even further into outback NSW, to Valgett. Just an hour’s drive west of Valgett is the iconic Australian outback town of Lightning Ridge. Lightning Ridge became part of Australia’s history and folklore when Black Opals were discovered there and miners came seeking their fortune. Today, it is a fascinating and totally unique town most well-known for its eccentricities.
The Capital City of Outback NSW and one of the most interesting towns you will ever visit is Broken Hill. Broken Hill is a thriving and prosperous town thanks to its rich deposits of silver, which give it its nickname, “Silver City.” One of the most popular outback destinations in New South Wales, the surreal beauty of the landscape around it has attracted a number of well-known Australian artists. There is some argument about how Broken Hill got its name, but the best guess is that it comes from a statement made by Charles Sturt, who wrote, “Silver ore was later discovered on this broken hill in 1883 by a boundary rider named Charles Rasp.”
If you want to have an experience like no other in outback NSW, then you simply have to spend at least one night in White Cliffs. Located just a few hours drive from Broken Hill, White Cliffs is home to Australia’s oldest opal fields. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see anything when you get there. With a few un-notable exceptions, all of White Cliffs attractions and amenities are located underground.
While the arid splendour of outback NSW will captivate and entrance you, you will appreciate the wonderful greenery of Wentworth Murray Darling, or Wentworth, for short. Situated on the banks of two of Australia’s great rivers, the Darling and the Murray, Wentworth gives you the opportunity to enjoy and explore the most verdant part of the New South Wales outback.
For most travellers on the Darling River Run, Wentworth is their first and last stop before returning to “civilisation.” Some never make that return trip. They become so enchanted with the outback, they never leave. If you want to experience that enchantment in comfort, don’t worry, there are plenty of outback accommodations to choose from as you make your way out “the back of Bourke.”
Sidney Morgan writes for Book it Now about travelling in Australia, with tips and advice like how to find Broken Hill accommodation when travelling in the Australian outback.