The stars of Outback NSW

By Justin Walker March 19, 2020
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With its combination of awesome off-road touring and camping, pristine national parks and amazing night skies, Broken Hill and its surrounds make for the perfect outback touring adventure.

It’s hard to beat the Broken Hill region for that quintessential outback adventure road trip.

Accessible for visitors from the eastern seaboard, a week’s break (or, of course, longer) in this spectacular region is easily accomplished. You can fit in some amazing adventures – and check out myriad spectacular sights – quite comfortably within that time frame.

Whether it’s camping in some of Australia’s most amazing national parks, such as Kinchega and Mutawintji (or on a working sheep station), checking out some of Australia’s explorer history, spotting some of the region’s rich bird- and wildlife, experiencing some awesome examples of the world’s oldest-living culture, or spending some time in the many character-filled pubs, the Broken Hill region is it.

Exploring Mutawintji National Park, Mutawintji.

The wild side

Mutawintji National Park is around two hours drive north-east of Broken Hill, and is rich in Indigenous history and culture, as well as some excellent bushwalking tracks and fantastic campsites.

The red-hued ramparts of the Bynguano Range towers over the main entrance to the park, with pretty Homestead Creek Camping Area below it and the start point for a number of walking tracks in the park there as well.

The bushwalks range from Grade 2 to Grade 5, with durations between one and six hours.

The Thaaklatjika Mingkana track is the easiest and shortest walk. It winds through gorge country to Thaaklatjika (Wrights Cave) and has fine examples of Aboriginal paintings, stencils and engravings.

The longest walk traverses the Bynguano Range and it’s here that you’ll spot ground-dwelling animals and birds in abundance. 

Exploring some of the bushwalking tracks in Mutawintji National Park.

Kinchega National Park (the first declared national park in western NSW) is even closer – at 1.5 hours south-east of Broken Hill – and is not only amazing in its own right, but also houses one of the region’s most famous natural attractions: the Menindee Lakes system.

Dotted with river red gums along its shores, the lake system is one of Australia’s prime bird watching destinations. It is also home to some of this country’s most beautiful sunsets, along with the remnants of the “Providence” – an old paddle steamer – and Kinchega Woolshed.

There is plenty of camping in this national park along with three self-guided driving tours throughout the park (maintained by NPWS).

You can trace the Darling River on the River Drive, the Lake Drive follows the shores of Menindee and Cawndilla lakes, and there’s the Homestead Drive, which will take you to the park’s original homestead. 

Camping at the spectacular Menindee Lakes is a must-do on your outback NSW adventure.

In regards to homesteads, station life is still alive and thriving, with visitors also having the chance to camp at some working properties in the Broken Hill region.

Eldee Station is one example of the region’s station-stays and is a brilliant ‘working sheep/cattle property’ experience for the family. There is an excellent campsite right near the homestead (plus cabin accommodation) and plenty of easy to challenging 4WD tracks traversing the neighbouring Barrier Range and taking you and your family up to some simply breathtaking viewpoints, overlooking the vastness that is outback NSW.

Enjoying some beautiful gorge country on one of the 4WD tracks at Eldee Station.

That sense of space

And speaking of the vastness of outback NSW, this description extends above the ancient landscape, to the star-crowded night skies that the region is so famous for.

Outback Astronomy offers visitors the chance to learn more about the universe – and admire the sheer volume of stars in the night-sky – with educational nights during the year. Along with expert guides, Outback Astronomy provides reclining camp chairs and powerful binoculars for you to take full advantage of the lack of ambient light in the region, which allows the stars to shine so bright.

Of course, you can also just sit back in your own campsite, in one of the aforementioned national parks or working stations, and just look up and see it for yourself. And that’s part of what best describes the appeal of an adventure road trip to outback NSW and the Broken Hill region.

It’s the all-encompassing richness and diversity – from the ancient, rich-red sand under your feet to the ageless, star-smothered skies above, to that feeling of endless space and its abundance of quirky and entertaining characters.

Another magical outback NSW evening at Eldee Station campground.

For more information on this amazing part of NSW, see Visit NSW

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