Australian Outback
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Outback New South Wales - 2 - 3 Week Tour

Click to See Interactive Tour Map of Outback New South Wales - 2 - 3 Week Tour

 

Sydney to Dunedoo (1 day) - 5 hrs drive
Your NSW Outback adventure begins as you leave the outskirts of Greater Sydney for the first leg of your trip which  takes you to the strangely named town of Dunedoo (said to be derived from the Aboriginal word for Swans). 
 
   
IMAGE: The Zig Zag Railway, Lithgow Valley, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy Tourism New South Wales
 
 
Lithgow,around a third of the way to Dunedoo, may hold quite a bit of interest for Railway buffs with the opportunity to ride the Zig Zag Railway (Diesel Locomotives) in Lithgow Valley, Steam locomotives used Weekends, Wednesdays and school and public Holidays).  Another three kilometres of track run at the State Mine Heritage Park and Railway where you can also learn about the region's rich mining heritage.  The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum continues the industrial theme where you can view the rich history of this regionally important factory and it's impressive arms collection.  Also nearby is the Archvale Trout farm (where you catch beautiful fish in one of the special ponds), the eerie Glow Worm Tunnel at Newnes Plateau and the Belgrave Alpaca Stud.

The next town to consider is Mudgee which offers up the Mudgee Taste trail or the Mudgee Gourmet Trail as well as a number of local winemakers to tempt the taste buds.  At the Robert Steins Winery there is also a collection of Vintage Motorcycles.  Nature lovers may appreciate taking a breather at the nearby Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. As you leave Mudgee keep an eye on your mileage as around 19kms out of Mudgee on the side of the road is Frog Rock a natural rock formation in the shape of a crouching frog.

 

IMAGE: Kangaroos, Warrumbungle National Park, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism New South Wales
  
 
Less than half an hour onward from Mudgee is the town of Gulgong
which rewards a visit with the Gulgong  Pioneer Museum, a regional ceramic display at the Visitors information Centre and the impressive architecture of the Prince of Wales Opera House (built in 1871making it the oldest operating opera house in the Southern hemisphere).  A side trip to the North East of Gulgong takes you to Ulan where you can view Ancient Aboriginal hand stencils at Hands on the Rock, before it's onward to Dunedoo, the first major stop in your travels. Dunedoo to Walgett (1 day) - 3.75 hrs Drive
Before leaving Dunedoo consider checking out the Dunedoo Museum for military and local history, Dunedoo Art & Craft for a myriad of local creations and some of the fine Antique Shops.
First stop out of Dunedoo is Gilgandra. Natural History enthusiasts may enjoy detouring to nearby Warrumbungle National Park to see it's stunning combination of volcanic spires and rainforest vegetation.  Within Gilgandra itself can be found the Gilgandra Rural Museum (full of farming machinery and relics), the Coo-ee Heritage and Visitor Information Centre (showcasing the fascinating history of the Coo-ee March of 26 men on their way to volunteer for WWI at Sydney with another 237 men they collected along the way) and The Hitchen House Museum (wartime memorabilia).  Garden lovers will appreciate Orana Cactus World (over 1000 different types of Cacti), the Kerlin Gardens Lavender Farm and the Jack Mcgirr Arboretum.  The fascinating collection of dolls spanning from 1940 until the present at Grandma's Dolls will also appeal to many.
The next town before Walgett is Coonamble where you could take a break from the drive and enjoy the flora and fauna at the Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve, or picnic at Warrena Weir (swimming and waterskiing) or amongst the riverside greenery of Smith Park.  Before leaving for Walgett why not consider visiting Coonamble Historical Museum to find out interesting titbits of town and regional history.

 


IMAGE: Opal Fossicking, Lightning Ridge, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism New South Wales


Walgett (1 day)
Staying the day in Walgett finds you in close proximity to eight different rivers, a veritable fisherman's paradise.  A deep sense of the regions history can be gained by viewing the First Settlers Grave at the North of the Town and, as the biggest of it's kind in the southern Hemisphere, the awesome sight of the Giant Grain Solo will appeal to many.
The nearby town of Lightning Ridge will also be worth a visit.  Opal miners of the region prize the Black Opal that is found in the area and you can try your hand at fossicking to see what it's all about.  If fossicking doesn't seem quite your cup of tea there are a myriad of places where you can purchase beautiful opal jewellery.  Golf nuts will be well satisfied with the unusual oiled sand greens of the local course.  For others the Goondee Aboriginal Keeping Place and the Lightning Ridge Bush Museum will prove very fascinating.  The regions Mining heritage and industry can be explored at the Bottle House Mining Museum (also an example of innovative architecture) as well as by visiting the Walk In Mine where you can also purchase souvenirs and opals.   A number of art galleries showcasing regional artists can also be found here.

Walgett to Bourke  ( 1 day) - 3 hrs Drive
On the way to Bourke (the next stop on your outback tour) consider visiting Brewarrina.  There you can see more excellent examples of the region's historic Buildings and find out more about the paddle steamers of the region at the Settlers Museum.  The feeling of the significance of the area to the Kouri people can be obtained by visiting the Aboriginal Cultural Museum and seeing the heritage listed Aboriginal Stone Fisheries (built on the bed of the Darling River a short distance downstream form where the weir was later built) to help feed the different language groups  who gathered there as a meeting place.  Anglers wishing to do their own fishing will enjoy Four Mile Reserve for Murray cod, yellowbelly or catfish.
 

 

IMAGE: Bearded Dragon, Bourke, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism New South Wales
 
 
Bourke (1 day)

The town of Bourke, the name of which is synonymous with the Outback ("Back of Bourke" meaning the outback for many generations) has an amazing array of delights to offer the visitor.  Whether it is bushwalking through the natural splendour at Mt Oxley or marvelling at the Aboriginal rock art at Mt Gundabooka National Park the surrounding areas are beautiful and majestic.  Bourke is rich in history; from the Heritage trail & Historical buildings that it reveals to the Fort Bourke Stockade recreation located a short distance out of town. With its location on the banks of the Darling River the regions paddleboat heritage is amply displayed with the Replica of Bourke Paddleboat Wharves and cruises on the Paddle Boat Jandra.
Bourke's unique outback heritage is on display at the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre and also through the Mateship Country Minibus Tour.  Don't miss the Back O' Bourke Gallery for the work of local artists, or the Fred Hollows Memorial & other historically interesting graves.

Bourke to Cobar (1 day) - 2.25 hrs Drive
Upon arrival in Cobar take a moment to get your bearings at the Great Cobar Heritage and Visitor information Centre and there find out about the Heritage Walk and the Miners Heritage Park and of course the Cobar Regional Museum.  Unusual attractions within Cobar include the Worlds Largest Beer Can at the Grand Hotel (5 meters High and registered in the Guinness Book of Records) and the longest balcony in NSW at the Great Western Hotel from which you can take in the views of the town if you choose to take a moment to relax.  Some excellent aboriginal rock paintings can be seen at the Mt Grenfell Historical Site, while the Commonwealth Meteorological Station offers demonstrations of Radar Tracking.

Cobar to Broken Hill (1 day)  - 5.25 hrs Drive
The long trip from Cobar to Broken hill is well broken up by a stop at Wilcannia.  Here you can divert to the Paroo Darling National Park's internationally significant wetlands (with over 60 different species of bird and a number of protected fauna) or follow the Heritage Trail in the town to see the legacy of the once prosperous town in it's sandstone architecture, visit the Pioneer Museum and see the graves of the towns pioneers at Wilcannia's Cemetery.

 

IMAGE: Sculpture Symposium Park, Broken Hill, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism New South Wales
 
 
Broken Hill (2-3+ days)
Often referred to as the Silver City (hence the name of the Southern highway leading out of the town) Broken Hill's mining heritage is very well represented.  While the Heritage Trail (self-guided) shows the through the nineteenth century buildings the prosperous heritage of the town, the Silver Trail self-guided tour (2hrs of driving taking you to visit 113 sites of interest) showcases the heritage in the surrounding countryside (details available from the visitors centre).  The Line of Lode Miner's Memorial and visitors centre hold fascinating insights into Broken Hills Mining past with many well preserved structures and detailed histories.  The regions mineral riches are well reflected by the Albert Kersten Geo-Centre (with an extensive mineral collection which includes a 42kg silver nugget) and Silver City Minerals (with over 4000 minerals catalogued)

The unique natural history of the Broken Hill Region can be seen by a trip to Muawintji National Park, or closer to home the Riddiford Arboretum (named after a former Mayor of Broken Hill and a tribute to the contributions of self taught botanist Albert Morris to the Broken Hill community) holds an extensive collection of local flora.  Garden lovers will also appreciate the Oasis Desert Lavender Farm and Nursery.
The flavour of Broken Hill's local history can be gauged by the "The Heroes, Larrikins and Visionaries of Broken Hill Walk" and the RSL Hall of Fame Museum.  Also of note is the Stuart Park Reserve with its Titanic Memorial (erected by local bandsmen as a memorial for the ships band that perished while playing to calm the passengers when the Titanic sank).

Broken Hill is also Headquarters of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air where you can take tours that help you appreciate the contributions of these special organisations.
The significant contribution of Broken Hill to Australian art can't be denied.  More than 30 art galleries featuring local artists can be found within the city including the Pro Hart Gallery and (Jack) Absalom's Gallery among the more notable.  The "Living Desert" park where eye-catching sculptures have been placed on the tops of hills within the park is another example of the artistic contribution of this outback oasis.

 


IMAGE: Menindee Lakes, Menindee, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism New South Wales
 
 
Broken Hill to Wentworth (1 day) - 4.5 hours Drive
Leaving Broken Hill, travel Southeast along the Menindee Road to reach Menindee.  At Menindee you can enjoy the lushness of Laidley's Ponds and the other Darling River fed lakes (thought in total to hold more water volume than Sydney Harbour).  Historical sites include visiting the Bourke and Will Camp-site at Pamamaroo Creek (from where they began their ill-fated 1860 expedition), the wreck of the paddle-steamer Providence, and taking Self-guided Heritage Tour.  Activities possible at Menindee include Fishing, Swimming, Skiing and other Water sports.
 

 

IMAGE: Walls of China, Mungo National Park, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism New South Wales
 
 
Wentworth - (2 days)
Just on the border with Victoria, There is much to see and do in the area around Wentworth.
Within Wentworth itself there is the Wentworth Museum and the Pioneer Museum (which has replicas of the mega-fauna skeletons that have been found in the local region) and even the Old Wentworth Gaol that provide a strong sense of the area's history.  Inside the town you'll also find monuments to the Ferguson tractors that helped save the town during the 1956 floods, the statue of the hermit "Possum", riverboat tours and the River Junction and Viewing Tower where you can admire the beauty of the area where the Murray and the Darling blend.
From Wentworth you can easily reach the majestic Mungo National Park, one of the first places in Australia to receive World Heritage listing, full of beautiful vistas and aboriginal heritage sites).  The awe inspiring Perry Sand hills are also nearby, made famous by it's use as a backdrop for various TV and Film projects.  The Junction Island Nature Reserve and Canoe Tree, The Scotia Sanctuary and Lock 10 and Wier are all in close proximity, as well as the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens at Buronga.

Just across the river and into Victoria you will find the large inland city of Mildura.  While in Mildura make sure to sample the fresh local produce available from farms, markets and restaurants as well as taste the wonderful wines from the local wineries.  Gourmets will find much to appreciate as the feast on the seasonal fair available at the award winning restaurant of the Mildura Grand Hotel as cooked by famous chef Stefano de Pieri.
The adventurous can then Ride historic Paddle steamers, navigate their own canoe through the tranquil billabongs or enjoy a multitude of other water sports from swimming to water skiing.  Dryer exploits available include taking a hot air balloon flight, golfing and gokarting through to roller-skating.

Mildura Arts Centre with it's sculpture park, theatre, museum and gallery showcases works by Sir William Orpen, Edgar Degas, Sir Frank Branqwyn and others while architecture and historical buffs will enjoy Historical buildings such as the Psyche Bend Pump Station, Wentworth Wharf and the Rio Vista Mansion.
Nearby Mungo National Park can be explored and enjoyed thoroughly with the insight of an Aboriginal guide as they share its dreamtime heritage.
A trip to Meringur (South west of Mildura) reaches the Millewa Pioneer Village with a number of buildings and memorabilia concerning early farming life on display.

 

IMAGE: Paddle Steamer Melbourne, Mildura, Victoria
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism Victoria
 
 
Wentworth to Hay (1 day) - 3.5 hrs Drive
Continuing back to Melbourne, consider a rest stop at Robinvale and perhaps take a picnic to enjoy the lush surrounds at Euston Weir and Lock 15.  Alternatively (on a side road just as you leave town heading towards Melbourne) is reputedly the largest windmill in Southern Hemisphere (built in 1948 and that previously was used to supply the town's water) where you can see great views of the river and nearby bridge.

Onward, next comes Balranald. Balranald has a number of heritage sites including the Old Gaol and Schoolhouse, a Museum, a Heritage Park, Greenham Park, an Art Gallery, and Yanga Lake/Yanga Station site that soon is to become a national park.
 

 

Hay (1 day)
The next stop on your travels is the town of Hay.  The flatness of the surrounding Hay Plain makes it ideal for stargazing or watching the beautiful sunsets.  To gain insights into Hay's history consider taking the self-guided Heritage Walk or visiting the Hay Gaol Museum, the Cob and Co Coach Display and Shear Outback, the Australian Shearers Hall of Fame.  Sturt's Marked Tree, showing the trail Captain Charles Sturt followed down the Murrumbidgee River can also be viewed by travelling 10 minutes North East out of town on the Midwestern Highway.

Hay also has some significant sites commemorating the World War's effect on the locals with the Dunera Memorial that celebrates the arrival of the Dunera Boys, a fascinating part of local history, as well as the Hay War Memorial High School Museum
In terms of natural history you can enjoy the Johnston Park/Hay Weir area, the Hay Wetlands Nature Reserve or take the Self Guided Nature Walk and of course you can bet plenty of fresh air and exercise with opportunities to go fishing,  canoeing and bird watching.

 

Hay to Cowra (1 day) - 4.45 hrs Drive
Leaving Hay, you'll soon reach Goolgowi with its Pioneer Memorial Park and the Palmyra Reserve that make an attractive rest stop.   West Wyalong, still almost two hours from Cowra, is another good place to rest with a Heritage Walk and Historical Museum for those who wish to check up on local history.  The West Wyalong Local Aboriginal Artefact Shop (genuine locally produced aboriginal crafts for sale) and the True Blue Mine Poppet Head (a replica of the one used on the 1894 gold mine) make for an extremely diverting time for some while the peaceful surrounds of Lake Cowal will refresh others.

The last town you'll pass through before Cowra is Grenfell.  From Grenfell you can access nearby Weddin Mountains National Park or Bushranger Ben Hall's Cave.  Inside the town, as the birthplace of legendary Australian poet Henry Lawson there is the Henry Lawson Obelisk and a Bust of Henry Lawson to see as well as the Grenfell Historical Museum.  You can also visit nearby Seaton's Farm with it's collection of machinery and historical ambience.

 


IMAGE: Japanese Gardens, Cowra, New South Wales
Photo: Photographer Unknown, Courtesy Tourism New South Wales
 
 
Cowra (1 day)
The town of Cowra has an unusual and worthy distinction as being one of the few non-capital cities in the world to be awarded a World Peace Bell.  Australia's World Peace Bell (created from coins donated by the 103 member countries of the Untied Nations) was awarded to Cowra in 1992 for it's contributions to world peace and international understanding through strong relationships forged with Japan and other nations. Examples of this are found at the Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, the Japanese and Australian War Cemeteries and the Prisoner of War Camp site where the Cowra breakout occurred during World War II in which 1000 Japanese internees attempted to escape leading to the deaths of 231 internees and 4 Australians.  The three sites are linked by Sakura Avenue, a road lined by beautiful Cherry blossom trees.  A hologram of the breakout can be viewed at the Prisoner of War Theatre.  Further sites include the Lone Pine Park (featuring a tree propagated from the Lone Pine at Gallipoli), the Cowra Italy Friendship Monument
and the Cowra Military and Migrant Camps.

Other nearby interesting sites include the beautiful Conimbla National Park, the Cowra Regional Art Gallery, the Cowra Fun Museum, Cowra Bridge Pylons (Depicting the history of the Wiradjuri people and painted by local aboriginal artist Kim Freeman), the Darby Falls Observatory and the Lachlan Valley Railway.
Sports enthusiasts may enjoy visiting the Cowra Golf Club or Cowra Bowling Club while the more adventurous may like to enjoy a  Paranormal Tour of Cowra.
 

 


IMAGE: Mount Panorma, Bathurst, New South Wales
Photo: Phtotographer Unknown, Courtesy of Tourism New South Wales
 
 
Cowra to Sydney (1 day) 4.5 hrs Drive

On the home stretch back to Sydney  if you stop at the town of Blayney you can admire a number of Historic Buildings or visit the Viv Kable Museum (in the town library).  Otherwise, why not consider taking in the local scenery from the Blayney Lookout or catching your breath at either the Heritage Park or Carrington Park.
The next major town after Blayney is Bathurst, synonymous with V8 racing and where you can visit the National Motor Racing Museum and  (sedately) drive the Mount Panorama Circuit. 

Bathurst holds much more however than just racing.  For a start you could fossick or pan for gold at the Bathurst Goldfields, visit the beautiful Grove Creek Falls, enjoy the view at McPhillamy Park Lookout, or browse the Regional Art Gallery or Fox's Gallery.  Then you could learn about the heavens at the Bathurst Observatory, find out about life on the farm at the Sheep and Cattle Drome, or see the natural riches on display at the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum.  Further attractions include the Slattery Museum (the site of Australia's first X-ray), visit the Chifley Home or the Ben Chifley Dam, enjoy the Okhuma Japanese Garden, or follow the Outdoor Museum Self Guided Tour. Further Australian history can be enjoyed at The  Miners Hut and The Cob and Co Show.
 

 

 
IMAGE: Blue Mountains National Park, Blackheath, New South Wales
Image: Photographer Unknown, Courtesty of Tourism New South Wales
 
 
At Blackheath you could enjoy the natural surroundings by Bushwalking or visiting Perry's Lookdown or Hargreaves Lookout or even Govett's Leap.  The unusually named Stop Laughing This is Serious Gallery (specialising in cartoons and illustrations) will be enjoyed by many while the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens will prove a gardeners delight.  Golfers however might like to stop by the Blackheath Golf Club for a round.
If you choose not to play at Blackheath, why not play at Katoomba's Golf Course or perhaps instead try your hand as a pilot by enjoying the facilities at Flight Simulator Adventures.  Natural attractions in the Katoomba area include the Three Sisters at Blue Mountains National Park and riding the Scenic World Skyway cable car.  If you rather, stop at the Edge Cinema to watch a  feature film of the Blue Mountains on its massive 6 story screen or visit the Katoomba Fine Art Gallery which holds a range of local artists work sure to include landscapes among other beautiful works before continuing on to Sydney and the end of your outback adventure.
 

Click to See Interactive Tour Map of Outback New South Wales - 2 - 3 Week Tour

 

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