There’s nothing in the outback but sand and rocks, right? Wrong! Although the sun-scorched, red earth landscape of Outback NSW is more rugged than the city or the coast, it offers a surprising number of interesting activities. Towns like Broken Hill, Lightning Ridge, White Cliffs, Burke and Cobar - as well as having cool names – are also packed with Indigenous history, opals and relics, national parks and famous film locations. They’re also home to some of the most original art you may have ever seen. Channel your inner Crocodile Dundee and see the fair dinkum Aussie outback with our Outback NSW hotels.
The outback’s history is well-preserved in areas such as Broken Hill’s Mutawinji National Park, which has Aboriginal rock art from up to 30,000 years ago. Mungo National Park is where scientists found the remains of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, two skeletons over 40,000 years old. Discovered in 1969 on the shores of Lake Mungo, Mungo Lady is the oldest human in known history to be ritually cremated. As well as being an interesting place historically, Mungo is worth a visit for amazing landscapes like the Walls of China, where erosion has dramatically crisscrossed the ancient rocks with deep lines.
The unofficial capital of Outback NSW, Broken Hill is not only the home of BHP Billiton – the world’s biggest zinc, silver and lead mine – it’s also full of shops, cafes, restaurants and exciting art and cultural sights. Wander through the town centre for something to eat, or explore more than 30 art galleries, many featuring outback-inspired works. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Living Desert Sculptures at Sundown Reserve, 10km from town. Standing on top of a mighty hill, these unusually-shaped sculptures were created by artists from around the globe in 1993, and standing here seems like an almost mystical experience, especially when the sun is going down.
Lightning Ridge is famous for having the highest number of black opals in the world, and you can check out its thriving mining industry first-hand when you visit. Drop into the Australian Opal Centre or visit an actual underground working mine. For some non-opal activities, visit the artesian bore baths or a local art gallery, or see the Astronomer’s Monument, a ‘concrete folly’ that pays tribute to the world’s astronomers. Silverton, 26km north-west of Broken Hill, is a must-see for film buffs, with the Silverton Hotel and its dry, dusty surroundings used as a location for movies, from Mad Max 2 to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to Mission Impossible 2.
The best way to get to Outback NSW is with one of our flights to Broken Hill. Local tour operators can take you to all the region’s big attractions. If you don’t mind a dusty road trip, load up your Ute with supplies and go. If you really want to challenge yourself, drive the Darling River Run, which runs alongside Australia’s longest river and spans the length from Walgett to Wentworth. It’s a ripper of a journey! Book your Outback NSW accommodation now for some rural action.
Image credit Amanda Slater under Creative Commons