Hit the outback of New South Wales to experience true isolation – an area often overlooked, yet so significant to shaping the way our nation has been defined. From our trailblazing explorer history entwined with deep Indigenous cultural roots, this region is one of the best places to show off Australia’s raw beauty.
Walk through red sand and dry riverbeds to restricted Indigenous sacred sites and float on mirror like billabongs with a sundowner in hand as native birdlife frolics around you. Gaze at the starry velvetness above and learn of the night sky’s stories and legends with an expert astrologer. Explore national parks etched with dreamtime stories, bought to life by your expert Indigenous guide and search for resident wildlife.
Bunker down for the night in an underground hotel and mine for opals. Get active on a working sheep station and try your hand at real outback life, before spending the night in the shearer’s quarters. Enjoy a traditional countertop meal at one of Australia’s most remote pubs where you are sure to meet some unique characters keen for a yarn. An incredible experience for those eager to get beyond the city and venture a little further.
Day 1 – Arrival Broken Hill
Welcome to the outback town of Broken Hill! Broken Hill will welcome you with its heritage, character and charm. Discover a history of mining, spectacular desert landscapes used as movie sets, a vibrant arts scene and Australia’s first heritage-listed city. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Enjoy your first night stay at the new Broken Hill Outback Resort, formally known as the Mt Gipps Hotel. The Mt Gipps Hotel closed in 1987, remaining silent for three decades. But as of 2018, after years of neglect, this heritage building has been restored to its former glory, resulting in this historic venue is once again the lively home of travellers and storytellers, with the brand-new refurbished Broken Hill Outback Resort bringing today’s amenities to the rugged Outback so beloved for generations untold. The building is now the centrepiece of the new resort with beautifully appointed facilities and décor. (D)
Overnight Broken Hill Outback Resort or similar
Day 2 – Broken Hill to Mungo National Park
Following breakfast, begin your adventure travelling south along the Darling River by road to the historic port of Pooncarie for morning tea on the riverbank by the old wharf. Travelling along red dirt roads, your next stop is Mungo National Park, where you spend the day exploring this amazing World Heritage Listed area. Step back in time to an era when giant marsupials roamed the earth. Mungo is an area rich in Aboriginal history, with evidence found here dating back well over 40,000 years to man’s early occupation of this once much wetter area. You will explore on foot with your Indigenous guide, areas which are restricted to the public, as you have exclusive access to the historical sites and learn of Australia’s oldest human remains, the Mungo Man and Mungo Lady. Both were discovered here in 1974. Learn how this ancient skeleton has changed our understanding of Indigenous culture.
After checking into your accommodation at Mungo Lodge, head to the “Walls of China” to watch the magic happen, as the sun sets and the colours glow. Sundowners drinks and nibbles will be set up, as you watch the world light up around you. (B,L,D)
Overnight Mungo Lodge or similar
Day 3 – Mungo to Wilcannia
After a delicious breakfast, head north-east towards the massive Menindee Lake system and Kinchega National Park. The first Europeans to visit the area, followed the Darling River in search of pasture for their sheep. Menindee was once a thriving river port and the area is rich in the history of our early explorers. Burke and Wills and Charles Sturt’s exploration parties both spent time camped at Kinchega. Learn about the fascinating pastoral and aboriginal history of the area. Kinchega NP was once part of the Kinchega-Kars pastoral lease held by the Hughes family since 1870. At its grandest, the property extended from Menindee to Broken Hill and covered an area of over 800,000 acres. Pause for a relaxing morning tea on the banks of Lake Parmarmaroo – this location is a great introduction to the spectacular Menindee Lakes System, which is many times larger than Sydney Harbour. Enjoy a relaxing cruise on Lake Wetherill in the ‘River Lady’ – enjoy the abundant birdlife that call the wetlands of the Menindee Lakes home and marvel at this spectacular outback waterway. Leaving Menindee behind, follow the meandering Darling River. Jump back into your vehicle and drive towards your next stop at Warrawong on the Darling, your outback accommodation for the night. (B,L,D)
Overnight Warrawong on the Darling or similar
Day 4 – Wilcannia to White Cliffs
After breakfast, take the time to explore the historical stone buildings which are vivid reminders of what used to be a bustling inland port of NSW. Whilst here, take the opportunity to learn more about the history of Wilcannia and delve more into the Indigenous culture of the area, before heading to your next stop – the unique outback opal mining town of White Cliffs – the first opal field in Australia. This tiny community lives underground, whilst above ground there is an eerie lunar landscape, which has been created by years of mining for the elusive opal. You will have the opportunity to meet some great outback characters here! Why not try your luck ‘noodling’ for opal, or perhaps buy a special piece from an underground shop? Experience life underground, as you explore local White Cliffs mines, museums and the iconic Solar Power Station. You will also spend time visiting an underground home and of course, venture into an underground mine before returning to the Underground Motel for drinks and nibbles. Your accommodation tonight is at the famous Underground Motel – an experience you will never forget. **Please note this hotel only offers shared facilities. (B,L,D)
Overnight Underground Motel or similar
Day 5 - Mutawintji NP to Mundi Mundi
Set off after breakfast into Mutawintji National Park. Enjoy a homemade morning tea along the way in a spectacular dry creek bed. Mutawintji National Park, is within the rugged Byngnano Ranges, with its beautiful gorges and creeks lined with majestic River Red Gums. Mutawintji means ‘place of green grass and waterholes’. The presence of shelter and water means this idyllic place is home to a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Among the gorges and cliffs are the secrets of an ancient culture. The park reveals examples of rock carvings, paintings and stencils that provide evidence of aboriginal occupation of the area that dates back more than 8000 years. In September 1998, Mootwingee NP was formally handed back to its traditional owners. Today, the area is called by its traditional name, Mutawintji. Your time at Mutawintji will be spent in the restricted access Historic Site with an accredited Indigenous guide.
This area is where ceremonies and initiations took place. Listen to the story of Kullawarra and learn about the creation of Mutawintji in the dreamtime. Embark on an interpretive bush walk to the Engravings Site and the Stencils Site, which provide evidence of aboriginal occupation of the area. The remnants of fireplaces and stone toolmaking give you an insight into traditional life in the area. Forage and experience some bush foods whilst in this fascinating area.
Enjoy a stopover at Packsaddle Roadhouse for lunch, one of the most remote pubs in Australia, before heading towards the veldt, where the new $20 note is dedicated to Veldt Station. Continue on your journey towards Eldee Station for the night, where you will experience a working sheep station located on the edge of the Mundi Mundi Plains and the Barrier Ranges.
Spend the rest of the day exploring the property: meet and chat with the owners, learn about the station history, meet some of the station animals, walk along a dry creek bed lined with majestic river red gums, and marvel at an outback sunset, of course with nibbles and sundowners.
Settle into the fully refurbished shearer’s quarters for the night and enjoy a traditional Aussie outback dinner. You may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to have a heated outdoor spa on the deck, with great views of the Barrier Ranges and Mundi Mundi Plains, or a refreshing dip in the plunge pool. After dinner, take the time to explore the wonders of an outback night sky. (B,L,D)
Overnight Eldee Station or similar
Day 6 - Silverton – Broken Hill
Today is a full day tour designed to highlight the diversity of the Silverton area and Broken Hill. Marvel at the vast expanse of Mundi Mundi Plains before heading towards Silverton, almost a ghost town, and the setting for movies such as Mad Max 2 and A Town Like Alice. Enjoy a cold drink and lunch at the famous Silverton Hotel. You will have the opportunity to meet some of the artists at their quirky galleries. Visit the Broken Hill Camel Farm just out of Broken Hill, where you will experience your very own camel ride (45min) before a stopover at the spectacular Sculpture Symposium on the edge of Broken Hill for a final chance to take in the breathtaking landscape.
In Broken Hill, explore some of famous art galleries, the Big Picture and the Line of Lode, before viewing some of Broken Hill’s heritage listed architecture, and exploring the diversity of parks, gardens, mines and homes in this outback oasis, including a visit to the one of Australia’s most renowned sculpture collections – an experience not to be missed.
Your last stop over will be at the Broken Hill Outback Resort, where you will enjoy a 2-course dinner before your Sky Show at Outback Astronomy. You will be enchanted, informed, entertained and amazed. The clear views of the night sky are spectacular, perfect for stargazing.
Starting at 7:45pm, be enchanted and amazed by the clarity of the outback sky at night. On arrival, enjoy a drink and a grazing platter to share. Depending on the lunar cycle, enjoy a very dark sky that focuses on the Milky Way Galaxy or an outback moonlit sky that incorporates moon viewing up close. Your sky show celebrates views of the clear, vast outback sky in Broken Hill. If the weather is cloudy, an alternative astronomy will be offered. Enjoy a night cap before returning to your hotel. (B,L,D)
Overnight Broken Hill Outback Resort or similar
Day 7 – Departure
This morning is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport or train station for your departure. (B)
- Return airport/train station transfers
- 6 nights accommodation
- Meals as per the itinerary
- National park fees
- Entry fees and land permits
- Private transportation
- Services of an expert English speaking guide
- Local certified Indigenous guides
- Local taxes and levies
- International and domestic airfares
- Optional excursions
- Travel and medical insurance
- All services, meals other than those indicated above
- Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
- All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc.
**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of 30% per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.