BROKEN HILL: THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Broken Hill lies in the far north west of NSW, 1160 km from Sydney but is actually closer to Adelaide, just 517kms. Being so close to the SA border (50kms) the town actually operates on SA time.
An historically incredibly important town, Broken Hill conjures the essence of two great Australian themes – Outback and Mining.
The town lends its name to one of the most important mining companies in the world BHP (Broken Hill Proprietary Company) for good reason. In 1883 boundary rider Charles Rasp found the world’s largest deposit of zinc, lead and silver. And the boom was on.
The name Broken Hill comes from Charles Sturt who named the Barrier Ranges which the town sits on and noted a Broken Hill in the middle of it. The original Broken Hill has been mined away.
The town is dominated buy what can only be called a man made rocky hill – that has been hauled up from underground.
Street names like sulphide, cobalt, argent, chloride and oxide make sure mining is never from anyone’s mind.
Today mining is still the most important industry but increasingly art and tourism are playing a role.
Where to Stay
There are surprisingly loads of places to stay in the city with motels, pubs in the truest send of the word, B&Bs, caravan parks and cottages. Surrounding Broken Hill there is limited accommodation at Silverton.
What to Do
Loads, really. The surrounding area is rich with things to do. The trip to Silverton and Mundi Mundi plains is a highlight. As is the desert sculptural gardens. Then there are the numerous art galleries, the most famous being Pro Hart. Surrounding Broken Hill are some incredibly interesting wildernesses, the Kinchenga National Park which includes Lake Menindee and Mutawintji National Park. Often it is best to use local guides, Tri State Safaris being the best local operator.
When to Travel
In the southern winter. From October to March it is uncomfortably, ridiculously intensely hot. There are two other times when the town is full and rooms are hard to come by. The highlight of the social calendar is the St Patrick’s Raceday held not as the name would suggest on St Patrick’s Day but the closest Saturday to the day of green. The other booked out day is the agricultural show, Agfair which is held usually the first weekend in May and race day.
REX flies daily to Broken Hill from Sydney, Dubbo and Adelaide. The Indian Pacific arrives every Sunday and Thursday from Sydney and Fridays and Tuesdays from Adelaide. Countrylink operates other services and travel packages. Buss R Us operates services from Adelaide and Mildura. Three hire companies, Hertz, Avis and Thrifty have affiliates or franchises at the airport.
Remember when a holiday was a real adventure? That’s our philosophy! Winner of six Gold Australian Tourism Awards, Tri State Safaris offer small group 4WD tours to iconic outback destinations including Broken Hill, Silverton, Mungo, Mutawintji, Sturt and Kinchega National Parks, Birdsville, Simpson Desert, and the Kimberley. Enjoy flexibility, reliability and personalised attention, while benefiting from expert knowledge and professional guidance. Whether you’re interested in Australia’s culture, heritage, environment, wildlife, geology or scenery, the award-winning Tri State tours has something for everyone. Contact Details T: (08) 80882389 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: tristate.com.au...
As the longest-serving tour operator in the Far Western Region of NSW, Silver City Tours is a fantastic way to explore this region. These organised tours – from half-day to six day adventures – allow you to ‘sit back, relax and enjoy’ in comfort, safety and style. Our half and full-day tours of Broken Hill and surrounds include White Cliffs Opal Field, Menindee Lakes and Kinchega National Park, Silver Trail – The Complete Experience, City Sights and Heritage Tour, and much more. Special tours can also be arranged for groups. Contact Details T: 1300 723 583 W: silvercitytours.com.au...
Broken Hill offers each visitor a diverse, culturally-rich outback experience. Take a few days to discover the area’s vibrant colour, amazing scenery and friendly people. Explore diverse national parks, view distinctive architecture, experience expansive vistas, or take time out to relax in the real outback. With a mix of modern conveniences and authentic hospitality, it will be an experience to remember. Contact Details T : (08) 8080 3560 E: email@example.com W : www.brokenhillaustralia.com.au
Discover the natural beauty of the NSW outback by train with TrainLink. Explore places like Broken Hill, Menindee Lakes, White Cliffs Opal Field, Mutawintji National Park, Cameron Corner, the Flinders Ranges and Birdsville. TrainLink offers a range of packaged tours throughout the Broken Hill region that include return rail, accommodation, many meals, and fully-escorted touring. Or create a more personal experience by combining your accommodation with some local day tours. Contact Details T: 13 28 29 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: nswtrainlink.info
The Silver City is a place overflowing with outback soul and adventure right on its doorstep, writes Jessica Schumann Drenched in light, vast blue skies and clear nights ablaze with stars, Broken Hill is a Mecca for artists and is a culture hub in its own right. Situated just 50km from the South Australian border, the affectionately named Silver City is rich with authentic experiences, artefacts waiting to be discovered, and an overflow of nationally significant heritage. Broken Hill will greet you with classic outback hospitality, impressive history and a powerful punch of breathtaking beauty. It is one of the...
Where is it? 20km West of Broken Hill, on Silverton Road How to see it for yourself? To get to Silverton from Broken Hill, drive for about 20 minutes along Silverton Rd. Why I love it “The colour of the sand matches the colour of the rusting car, which is embedded in the most amazing landscape in the NSW outback. It’s a must-see!” – Hartmut Toepler Image by Hartmut Toepler...
Where is it? 29km west of Broken Hill, 4km west of Silverton How to see it for yourself? Drive from Broken Hill along Silverton Rd, following signs to the Mundi Mundi Lookout. Why I love it “From here you can see more than 150km over a whole lot of nothing. Even the curvature of the earth can be seen. It’s an iconic place as parts of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert were filmed here.” – Hartmut Toepler Image by Hartmut Toepler...
It’s the outback NSW mining town that may just be Bloke Heaven, but there’s much more to it than big machinery and holes in the ground, writes Elisabeth Knowles. 5 REASONS TO VISIT BROKEN HILL NOW 1. The mining history, past and present. It’s bizarre to see a town built around a 7km-long mullock heap, and fascinating to dig deeper – forgive the pun. 2. The art history. Legendary painter Pro Hart lived here. There are more than 30 galleries in Broken Hill, the biggest of which is the oldest (and most impressive) Regional Gallery in NSW. 3. The film...
Down to earth experiences are everywhere Broken Hill offers a wealth of experiences, from majestic landscapes and evocative art to mining heritage, indigenous culture and bush lifestyle. The ‘Silver City’ stands at the centre of a vast region alive with possibility. A region that has inspired generations of pioneers, artists, film makers, publicans and restaurateurs, alongside some of Australia’s most influential mining entrepreneurs. Almost $1 billion worth of silver, zinc and lead gave the city a strength that supported Australia through two world wars, two global depressions and massive social change. Become part of an extraordinary history...
Where is it? 9km north of Broken Hill, NSW Take a picnic and watch the sun set over one of the world’s most spectacular outdoor galleries, the Sculpture Symposium: 12 individual stone works carved by Australian and international artists in 1993. To see the sculptures at their best, get there at either end of the day as a pink and yellow sky swirls around, perfectly complementing the works. Broken Hill itself is rich in history, with spotless parks and gardens, more galleries than pubs and fantastic restaurants.
Kinchega National Park lies about 111km southeast of Broken Hill. Liz Schaffer pays it a visit I catch my first glimpse of the transformed Kinchega National Park from the back seat of a Cessna. To fly over an expansive, tree-lined lake in an environment previously known for its seemingly limitless red horizons is bizarre to say the least. For the first time in ten years the Menindee Lake System, which has a holding capacity 3.5 times that of Sydney Harbour, is completely full. Kinchega’s Menindee and Cawndilla Lakes are part of this valuable system and are responsible for the area’s...
Australian Traveller Magazine's 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes It’s easy to jag a one-off win – look at Manly-Warringah, or Hawthorn – but to win three in a row requires something special. All Cathy and Rick Edmonds ever wanted to do was to supplement their income with a cottage they could be proud of. They took an ignored 19th Century miners’ cottage on Broken Hill’s main street, added a dash of love and care and somewhere along the way not one, not two, but three consecutive NSW tourism awards for deluxe accommodation fell into their laps. After a hard drive...
Craig Roberts unearths an overlooked tourism gem in Broken Hill – a rock collector with a mineral display to rival any in the country. Without being pushed into the role, artist Howard Steer has seemingly taken over as unofficial Godfather of the Broken Hill Arts Community. He has taken it upon himself, not unlike his old friend Pro Hart, to promote everything the region has to offer. This includes non art-related attractions. Sometimes the best things you find are not the ones you were looking for. It’s Howard who put us onto this one. Unlike Howard, Milton Lavers is no...
A cynical Craig Roberts explores the artistic landscape of Broken Hill and discovers plenty to be amazed by . . . When most people think of artists today, the image tends to be of über-pompous university educated gits who cut cows in half, paint a canvas plain white, or cover tables in sugar satchels and then have, for some inexplicable reason, money thrown at them. This is a prejudice I hold with great resolve. Though I’m always happy to be proved wrong, I do hate modern art. Skill, patience and persistence rarely thrive in big city life, so it’s not...
The Broken Hill Bush Mail Run is a no-frills “tour” that’s as real as they come. Nothing’s staged, nothing’s contrived. It’s just you, the ever-changing scenery, some highly eccentric mailboxes and hundreds of kilometres of honest to goodness outback. Words by David Whitely Sheep logic works entirely differently to ours. The three woolly merinos can hear us approaching along the dirt track. They can sense the dust storm being kicked up behind the Landcruiser. They know this means danger, but as we thunder ever closer they panic and break into a run. And it seems that straight in front of...
LATEST ON FACEBOOK
LATEST TWEETSTweets by @AustTraveller
WHERE ARE YOU TRAVELLING TO?
Select a state to view more
- The ‘ghost towns’ of outback NSW
- East coast country cottage chic
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #53 road trip the Legendary Pacific Coast, Sydney to Brisbane
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #63 take a beach break, Sapphire Coast, NSW
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #86 a beach break on The Shoalhaven Coast, NSW
- Dream road trips: Broome to Exmouth (via the Warlu Way)
- Dream road trips: Esperance to Perth (via Margaret River)
- Dream road trips – Perth to the Pilbara (return)
- Ultimate Escapes: WA’s Great South West Edge – wine, white sand & wilderness
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #19 escape to the Rowley Shoals, WA
- Ultimate Escapes: Queensland’s Wet Tropics
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #11 stay at Lizard Island, Qld
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #54 holiday in Queensland’s triple threat
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #78 walk Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #85 swim with Manta Rays, Lady Elliot Island, Qld
- Ultimate Escapes: Timeless North, NT
- Get lost in style in the Northern Territory
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #18 see the wet season in the Top End
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #27 make the Red Centre pilgrimage
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #56 (tie) follow Larapinta Trail (World Expeditions), NT