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- Last Updated: 25 October 2018 25 October 2018
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With a BIG history, wonderful attractions, and unique experiences, Broken Hill is a true icon of Outback NSW.
Under a big Azure sky, the Australian Outback is known for its remarkable colours and contrasts. The blues and reds complement each other beautifully in this landscape. Broken Hill, the jewel of Outback NSW (also known as 'The Silver City') is one destination that should be put on any travel list as it is not only a beautiful town with its wonderful architecture (and of course people) but it is also provides the perfect base for exploring some of the best attractions in this region of Australia.
The name, Broken Hill, is attributed to an 1844 account by the explorer Charles Sturt who noted in his dairy "Silver ore was later discovered on this broken hill in 1883 by a boundary rider named Charles Rasp. Today the city sits on one of the world's largest known silver-lead-zinc lodes which is 7 km long and over 220 metres wide.
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In 1844, the explorer Charles Sturt noted in dairy ‘Silver ore was later discovered on this broken hill in 1883 by a boundary rider named Charles Rasp’ and it is this reference to a ‘broken hill’ that is attributed the origins of the towns name.
Today the city sits on one of the world's largest known silver-lead-zinc lodes; a deposit which is 7 km long and over 220 metres wide. Over the years it has become the state's premier desert centre known for its outstanding Outback artists, rich indigenous culture, unique Living Desert Reserve with the amazing Sculpture Symposium, and its easy access to a rich diversity of desert landscapes.
There are many significant Broken Hill attractions, and two ‘must see’ ones are the Living Desert and The Sculpture Symposium. Nestled neatly among the red hills of the Barrier Ranges is the Living Desert, a 2,400-hectare reserve about ten kilometres from the city centre, complete with several breathe-taking walking trails. Within this reserve is an amazing Flora and Fauna Sanctuary.
The surreal Sculpture Symposium is located on Sundown Hill in the centre of the Living Desert Sanctuary and is made up a collection of twelve commissioned Sandstone Sculptures completed by a collection of local and international sculptors. It is an amazing experience anytime of the day but especially poignant at sunset.
No visit to Broken Hill is complete without spending time in the city's excellent art galleries, walking down the main street and admiring the old hotels (one of which featured in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and gracious public buildings, visiting the Thankakali Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Centre, travelling out to the semi-ghost town of Silverton (where so many Australian films are shot) and going on a conducted tour of the town's great mining complex and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
One of Broken Hill’s favourite sons is the artist Kevin ‘Pro’ Hart and many of his works can be viewed at the Pro Hart Gallery where his famous painted Rolls Royce is also located.
Broken Hill is ideally located and well serviced for the needs of Outback travellers and provides a perfect base to explore the town, its surrounding area and the greater outback of NSW and South Australia.
Close by, a relative term in Outback Australia, there are some amazing National Parks; Mutawintji National Park is a few hours north-east of Broken Hill and can be incorporated in a trip to the Opal town of White Cliffs (unsealed road if going via Mutawitji) and Kinchega National Park about one hour south at Menindee (on the Darling River). Broken Jill’s location also makes it a perfect side trip if travelling along the Darling River Run.
Close to town are attraction like the Sculpture Symposium, Silverton and Mundi Muni Plains. Slightly further away there are two amazing National Parks (Mutawintji and Kinchega), the Darling River Run touring route and the Opal town of White Cliffs.
Even further afield, to the north is the area known as the Corner Country (Tibooburra, Milparinka, and Cameron Corner) with the vast Sturt National Park, while to the south is Lake Mungo (Mungo National Park) and further south is Wentworth where the mighty Darling meets the Murray River
Although Broken Hill is not located on the Darling River Run; it is the perfect travel destination when travelling up or down the Darling River.
Broken Hill Visitor Information:
Broken Hill See & Do:
- Royal Flying Doctor Service - Visitors' Centre
- Living Desert / Sculpture Symposium
- Bell's Milk Bar
- Miner's Memorial / Line O Lode
- Historic Daydream Mine
Getting to Broken Hill:
- From Brisbane: 1,540km
- From Sydney: 1,150km
- From Melbourne: 840km
- From Adelaide: 515km
* For more information see our Driving to Broken Hill itinerary
Broken Hill Visitor Information Centre:
Cnr Blende and Bromide Street,, Broken Hill NSW 2880.
Telephone: 08 8080 3560