When most people think of the outback, they think of Uluru and Alice Springs – the Red Centre. But Outback NSW is also an enticing, sunburnt canvas of raw, desert beauty, without the crowds and far closer to Australia’s major cities (just five hours from Adelaide).
Broken Hill is also a wonderful, out-of-the-ordinary road trip destination. It’s also a perfect place to visit right now, with most of us eagerly seeking fresh air and space and with regional economies in need of an economic boost after the dramas of 2020.
Australians have always loved road trip adventures, perhaps because our vast continent lends itself to so many epic journeys. The excitement, adventure and raw joy of a road trip holiday to the Australian outback is unique and compelling. Whenever I’m cocooned in the office, I feel the pull of open, outback roads, big skies, far horizons, red earth, friendly pubs, colourful characters, enticing road signs and a captivating sense of wonder. And then there’s the camaraderie with your partner or friend as you sing along to your favourite tunes, share life stories, tell jokes or solve all the problems in the world. It’s time, it’s space, it’s an escape, it’s a journey of many kinds – and there’s nothing quite like it.
In fact, Broken Hill is about as far as you can go in NSW without crossing into another State. The historic town, with its outback movie-set pubs, cafes, hilltop sculptures, art galleries, space observatories, indigenous culture and rugged outback scenery, is so far west in NSW that it runs on South Australian time. Of course, you can also fly or catch a train to Broken Hill but the authentic, unbridled joys of an outback road trip to a new destination has to be compelling.
One of the newest and most exciting places to stay in Broken Hill, a destination immortalised in the hit movie, ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, is Broken Hill Outback Resort 13 km out of town and nestled amongst ochre plains and sand dunes.
Established in 2018 by NSW outback tourism business, Out of the Ordinary Outback, Broken Hill Outback Resort boasts 24 deluxe cabins offering either indulgent jacuzzis or showers overlooking the desert, with 21 also offering large relaxation decks with outback views. The remaining three cabins – all brand new – are designed for families or up to five people with two bedrooms and a sofa bed. Each cabin offers king-size bedding, a living area, flatscreen TV and kitchenette. This relaxed and invitingly green oasis in the outback also offers a fully serviced camp and caravan ground grouped around a charming, 130-year-old pub completely restored by Out of the Ordinary Outback to offer a bar and bistro restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Feasting on gourmet pizzas with a beer while soaking in the rays and listening to chilled tunes is a simple but undeniable pleasure that easily fills the soul – especially after a couple of days on the road.
New deluxe, ready-to-use swags can be hired including linen and there’s a fire pit at night so all resort guests can gather to toast marshmallows under starry outback skies. There are live bands on weekends and a swimming pool and outdoor cinema are on the drawing board to enhance the resort further. Also new at Broken Hill Outback Resort are camel rides during school holidays to reflect the vital role Afghans and their imported camels played in the development of the remote area in the 19th century and early 20th century.
While at the resort, explore the quirky city of Broken Hill – the spectacular Miners Memorial Lookout overlooking the city and the Living Desert sculptures just out of town overlooking the endless plains are a must-see. Also be sure to take the short drive to the nearby, zany ghost town of Silverton with its character-filled outback pub and stark plains which were used in many movies including ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ and the Mad Max films.
For exploration, Out of the Ordinary Outback also owns Tri State Safaris, which runs day or multi-night tours around the region. Out of the Ordinary Outback also owns six other properties in far west NSW – The Argent Motel and The Tourist Lodge – both in Broken Hill, and the Copper City Motel/Hotel in Cobar, Warrawong on the Darling at Wilcannia, the Ivanhoe Hotel Motel and the famous White Cliffs Underground Motel – Australia’s largest underground accommodation. If driving to Broken Hill from Sydney, Out of the Ordinary’s properties in Cobar, Wilcannia and White Cliffs make ideal stopovers mon the journey.
Not so keen on the long drive to Broken Hill? Jump on a flight Rex (Regional Express). They offer direct flights from Sydney and Adelaide, and awesome thru-fare deals from other capital cities and regional ports. Check out the latest flight schedules at rex.com.au