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- Copyright © Simon Bayliss 2008-20 Simon Bayliss
- Last Updated: 24 June 2020 24 June 2020
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Drive Sydney to Cameron Corner
Road Less Travelled - Adventure Route
Over the years, I have travelled many different ways from Sydney to Cameron Corner and the Corner Country (visiting towns like Tibooburra and Milparinka) crossing the Darling River anywhere between Bourke and Menindee. The best routes of my decade+ touring have always been the road less travelled, away from the traffic, to explore the lesser-known towns and localities.
One of my favourite adventure routes from Sydney to the Corner is to cross the Darling River near Louth, then head downstream to Wilcannia via Tilpa.
Leaving the Darling, the route heads northwest to Mutawintji National Park, via White Cliffs, then re-joining the Silver City Highway at Packsaddle, 175 km north of Broken Hill.
From Packsdalle, it is a drive north along the Silver City Highway for a stop at Milparinka (40 km south of Tibooburra). While it may take a few extra days, it is a great adventure and better than just sitting on a highway wondering how far it is to the next destination.
Getting to the Darling River (Louth)
The run out of Sydney and across the Blue Mountains, for me, has always been the worst part of the trip. Still, once you descend the Blue Mountains, you feel the stress and the strain of the city stip away, and the journey begins.
From the city centre, the route follows the M4, Great Western Highway/A32 and the Castlereagh Hwy to Mudgee. Then it is Goolma Rd and Golden Highway to Dubbo and the Mitchell Highway to Nyngan before heading west along the Barrier Highway to Cobar.
Now the fun begins! From Cobar, it is north along Mulya Road to Louth.
The Route to Louth:
- Sydney to Mudgee - 266 km
- M4, Great Western Highway/A32 and the Castlereagh Hwy
- Mudgee to Dubbo - 126 km
- Castlereagh Hwy, Guntawang Rd, Goolma Rd, Gollan Rd and Golden Hwy
- Dubbo to Louth - 433 km
- Mitchell Hwy/Trangie Rd, Barrier Highway, Mulya Rd.
The Darling River
Once in Louth, it is time to head across the Darling River then 20 km southwest along the western bank to Trilby Station which makes for a great stopover (river camping, cabins as well as shearers quarters). An alternative to Trilby Station is Kallara Station a few kilometres upstream from Tilpa. Both are great and worth a stop at both for those who have not experienced these two iconic Darling River farm stays.
From Trilby Station, the route continues about 65km to Tilpa. While only a small town, Tilpa is a must for a stopover where you can experience one of the best outback pubs in NSW as well as a general store that reputedly makes the best burgers in the outback (they are good). Be sure also to drop into the pub and sign your name on the wall for a gold coin donation that goes to the RFDS.
With Tilpa done, it’s time to head north into the back-country via Peery Lake and White Cliffs (this route is unsealed).
Peery Lake is a haven for wildlife and is created from not only the overflow from the Paroo River (an ephemeral tributary of the Darling River) but also from a Great Artesian Basin mound spring. The lake is not always full so it is an amazing sight when it does contain water. Being ephemeral, when it is empty or very low, the spring is visible and it is the only location in NSW where a spring-fed from the artesian basin can be seen.
Continuing on from Lake Peery via the Wilcannia-Wanaaring Road and then Keraro Road, after about 50km, the next destination of White Cliffs is reached.
The town of White Cliffs owes its existence to seam opal which was found in the area and started NSW’s first opal boom towards the end of the 1800s. A shadow of the former self, White Cliffs is a ‘must visit‘ outback town with a great pub, general store, underground motels and B&Bs, as well as being the location of the new NSWPWS centre.
From White Cliffs, the route heads across to Mutawintji National Park, one of the most beautiful and culturally rich in terms of indigenous history and living culture. The drive is about 130km (unsealed) with the route passing to the north of the park via the Broken Hill - White Cliffs Road.
Mutawintji National Park
Mutawintji National Park is one of the best places in Outback NSW to experience indigenous history and culture with its majestic landscapes as well as the historically and culturally significant historic site (guided access only) and is worth a couple of day's stopover (camping available). It also provides an opportunity to stretch the legs after a few days drive with 2 great walks;
- The Mutawintji Gorge Walk - a spectacular walk up the river gum lined creek to the permanent water supply in the gorge.
- Homestead Creek Walk - a wonderful 4-5hr loop (steep at times) passing Thaaklatjika (Wrights Cave which contains exceptional paintings, stencils and engravings), the Rockpools, Homestead Gorge and the Byngnano Range.
In addition to the walks, there is the excellent Old Coach Road Drive which follows the route of the old mail coach road and finishes at a wonderful picnic spot and walking trail of about 3kms that leads to the Wana Karnu (Boomerang Rock) and the majestic Split Rock.
Back on the road, it is an easy 60km to the Barrier Highway for the run north via Packsaddle and onto Milparinka, 240km north along the Silver City Highway then Tibooburra.
Packsaddle Roadhouse is located on the Silver City Highway, 175 kilometres north of Broken Hill, and is home to Mia and Arnie, who offer a welcoming stop for weary travellers.
The Final Push - Cameron Corner
Towns & Localities
The Two-Storey Tibooburra Hotel offers accommodation in Tibooburra's iconic 'Two Story Hotel', built in 1882 during the gold rush and is the oldest surviving hotel in Tibooburra.
The Family Hotel will welcome you with that great outback hospitality that is a welcome change from the rushed and impersonal ways of the ‘big-smoke. Located in Tibooburra, Outback NSW, Australia.
The Corner Country Store is situated in the town centre of Tibooburra, look for the "i" offering visitor and road information. Offering friendly service, selling fuel, tyre repairs, gas refills, ice, real coffee, homemade food and more.
Tibooburra Beds & Camping, we've set out to provide you with everything you need. Our spacious, clean, and comfortable motel style accommodation provides a reprieve from the outback.
The Granites Motel/Caravan Park was established in 1985 in time for the Tibooburra School Centenary Celebrations. It started with five motel rooms and four second-hand caravans with an amenities block and a few powered sites.
TJ's Roadhouse, Supermarket, Restaurant & Cafe. For all your travel provisions including Supermarket, Cafe, Restaurant, Beer Garden, Post Office and Vehicle Repairs, TJ's Roadhouse, Supermarket, Restaurant & Cafe, has everything you need for your visit to Tibooburra and Corner Country.
How outback do you want to go? You drive 296 km north of Broken Hill, 39 km south of Tibooburra and 1,465 km from Sydney to a small turnoff from the Silver City Highway.
Built in 1882, the Albert Hotel was the first to be licensed in Milparinka and just one of four hotels in the historic township at the height of the gold rush. Despite renovations, through the years parts of the hotel remain as travellers would have found them more than a century ago.
Pincally Station is the home to Matt and Zanna Gale and their three daughters Bella, Lucy and Millie. The rugged Mount Arrowsmith Hills, named by Sturt during his expedition through the region, form a backdrop to the property and homestead.
Safe Outback Travel
Driving Outback Australia
Safe Outback Travel
The Outback is easily accessible and a safe place to travel. Like any journey, correct planning, preparation and common sense will ensure a memorable and wonderful experience.
Safe outback travel is about common sense and potential dangers come from the hot & dry summers and distances between towns & services.
The Outback experiences very hot and dry summers. Travel is safer and more enjoyable March – October.
The best advice for any traveller is.. “it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”