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Drive Brisbane to Broken Hill

Drive Brisbane to Broken Hill - Touring route options for getting to Broken Hill from Brisbane, Queensland, AustraliaDriving from Brisbane to Broken Hill offers many touring route options with two distinct adventures available.

The first option is via the Corner Country where the three states meet, or by following the Condamine River (a major Darling River tributary) to the Darling River Run down to Menindee and finishing with a short drive to the Silver City.

Broken Hill has always been a ‘must-see’ destination, so much so that in 2015 it Broken Hill became the first Australian city to be included on the National Heritage List.

That's impressive!

The Silver City has evolved from an iconic outback mining town to the cultural centre of Outback NSW; an edifying transformation of an oasis in the desert for both locals and visitors alike.

SUMMARY

THE JOURNEY

Direct Routes

The Adventure Way

Somewhat of a grand tour, but one that is worth the extra distance, the route from Brisbane to Broken Hill via the Corner Country takes in the beautiful Toowoomba, through the Darling Downs and onto iconic Dalby, St George and Cunnamulla via the Balonne Highway.

From Cunnamulla, the route continues west along the Adventure Way through Thargomindah before heading south to the remote town (well pub) of Noccundra.

From Noccundra, it is a 180km drive south to the New South Wales-Queensland border (Warri Warri Gate) and into the amazing Sturt National Park, before continuing south through Tibooburra and past Milparinka (a ‘must-see’ experience for Depot Glen, Poole’s Cairn and Poole’s Grave).

From Milparinka, it is a nice run (sealed/gravel 50/50) down the Silver City Highway to Broken Hill.

Route

  • Toowoomba <> The Darling Downs <> St George <> Cunnamulla <> Thargomindah <> Noccundra <> Tibooburra <> (Milparinka) <> Broken Hill

Distance: 1,775km

Corner Country Loop

The Corner Loop

The alternate route for driving from Brisbane to Broken is via the Corner Country Loop, a touring route that connects the Darling River Run at Bourke to Tibooburra, the Corner Country's capital.

From Brisbane, the route heads west to Toowoomba, then down through the southern Downs to Goondiwindi and across the border into NSW.

Once in New South Wales, the route heads south to Moree, then west to Walgett and onto Bourke and the Darling River.

From Bourke, it is to the real outback passing through Wanaaring and the Paroo River and onto Tibooburra before heading south to Broken Hill via Packsaddle Roadhouse.

Route

  • Toowoomba <> The Darling Downs <> Gondiwindi <> Moree <> Walgett <> Bourke <> Wanaaring <> Tibooburra <> Broken Hill

Distance: 1,618 km

The Adventure Routes

While the more direct (sealed) route from Brisbane to Broken Hill - via Moree, Goondiwindi, and Nyngan - is best if you don't like anything 'off bitumen, the two adventure routes are on well-formed gravel roads and only about 200 km longer... and much more of an outback experience.

After all... what's the rush?

Along the Condamine & Darling Rivers

** This is an abridged version of the Brisbane to Adelaide touring route.

About the Upper Darling Catchment

The Condamine–Balonne Rivers catchment forms one of the largest catchments in the Murray–Darling Basin, rising from elevated areas of the Darling Downs. The Condomine is sourced from near Mt Superbus in the Main Range National Park and passes through Killarney; becoming the Balonne near Condamine. 

At 1,195 km (Condamine, Balonne and Culgoa channel) it provides a wonderful, and natural, touring route from Southeast Queensland down to Bourke.

* NOTE: If you are travelling with a caravan do an overnight at either Killarney or Warwick, un-hitch and explore the area around the source of the Condamine near the Head and Main Range National Park.

Condamine River Main Range National Park Queensland

The Condamine, Balonne, and Culgoa Rivers

Distance: 1,041 km


Killarney Queensland

Located about 190 km southwest of Brisbane, Killarney is set beautifully in the shadow of the Main Range (Great Dividing Range) 515 m above sea level, beside the Condamine River.

In nearby Main Range National Park, the source of the Condamine River can be traced up to Mt Superbus and slowly gathers a bit of momentum as it meanders gently through the Cambanoora Gorge (also known as the Condamine Gorge)

The 14 Crossings Drive through the gorge is highly recommended (check water levels before attempting) and as the name suggests, the drive zig-zags across the river fourteen times along the river section upstream of Killarney. Absolutely and well worth the effort! BUT, be sure to check water levels with Warwick tourism before doing it.

In the area also are the excellent Queen Mary Falls, Daggs Falls and Browns Falls; located along The Falls Drive.

Apart from the very impressive old Queensland hotel in the main street, the appeal of Killarney lies in the natural features around the town, but the connection to the river is evident; there is sculptor Lana Tyacke's sensuous sandstone "Eternal Flow" work a plaque which reads

"A prayer for a clean flowing river system from Killarney through to the Murray River, out to the Southern Ocean"

The perfect place to start the journey as we follow the pristine mountain waters of the Main Range in South East Queensland, through outback NSW to its confluence with the Murray River and on to Lake Alexandrina and the South Ocean.

Killarney to Warwick (34 km)

Route:

  • Warwick Killarney Rd

Warwick Queensland

Often referred to as the capital of the Darling Downs, Warwick is located on the western side of the Great Dividing Range and near the headwaters of the Condamine River.

Characterized by elegant churches and some grand schools, Warwick is located in the southern Downs about 40 km southwest of Brisbane.

Warwick was settled over 150 years ago, with much of its great architecture preserved (The “Heritage and Historic Building Trails” feature many of the well-preserved churches, cottages, railway stations, schools and monuments – each with its own story.

One of Warwick's favourite sons is Thomas Byrnes, a talented son of poor Irish immigrants, he rose to be Queensland Premier in 1898, whose imposing statue stands in the main street.

Two must-see attractions along the trail are the Warwick and District Historical Museum and the Abbey of the Roses.

October is a great time to visit with the Warwick Rodeo and the Morgan Park Raceway; the main reasons Warwick refers to itself as the “Horsepower Capital of Australia”.

Warwick - Dalby (180 km)

Route:

  • Cunningham Highway
  • Leyburn Cunningham Rd
  • Millmerran Leyburn Rd
  • Pampas Horrane Rd
  • Toowoomba Cecil Plains Rd
  • Dalby Cecil Plains Rd

Along the Way

  • Millmerran
  • Cecil Plains

Dalby Queensland

Known as the hub of the Darling Downs, Dalby is a major regional commercial centre located in an area of fertile volcanic soil.

The town is surrounded by fields of wheat, cotton, mung beans, sunflowers, sorghum, millet, and barley. Dalby has the state's largest grain receival centre, but also produces stud cattle, sheep, pigs and angora goats.

The region's thriving cotton industry spreads from Dalby, south to Goondiwindi and west across to St George.

Dalby's importance is one of the state's most important regional industrial, agricultural and manufacturing centres due to its natural gas, coal and power generation.

A wonderful place for the visitor, Dalby has wonderful picnic spots beside the river, an attractive park in the centre of town, wide country town streets and plenty of other attractions.

Dalby - Surat (270 km)

Route:

  • Warrego Highway
  • Chinchilla Tara Rd
  • Kogan Condamine Rd
  • Condamine Highway
  • Yuleba Surat Rd
  • Carnarvon Highway

Along the Way:

  • Chinchilla
  • Condamine

Surat Queensland

Surat is located 78 km to the south of Roma on the Carnarvon Highway - part of the Great Inland Way; the town was originally a Cobb & Co changing station.

Surat is just the place to immerse yourself in natural tranquillity on the banks of the beautiful Balonne River with the Surat Riverwalk which follows the Balonne River for approximately 2kms and features leisure equipment, excellent footbridges and a spectacular viewing platform overlooking the river.

Continue your stroll through the picturesque Lions Park to the main street businesses. Continue on and around the corner to walk by the grand 1930’s Shire Hall.

The Cobb & Co Changing Station Museum now houses an amazing 25,000L freshwater aquarium, social history museum, and regional art gallery.

Surat - Hebel (278 km)

Route:

  • Carnarvon Highway
  • Castlereagh Highway/St George Dirranbandi Rd

Along the Way

  • St George
  • Dirranbandi

Hebel Queensland

With echos of stories of the Kelly Gang, the little town of Hebel on the border between New South Wales and Queensland is a wonderful place for s stopover.

With an iconic pub, complete with artwork of Lightning Ridge artist John Murray adorning the walls, it is a very quirky pub indeed; adding to the appeal is the recycled furniture made from reclaimed bush finds.

The Hebel General Store and RV Park has kept much of its original 1890s dancehall character and offers amazing home-cooked cakes, desserts, and meals. By night it's a restaurant under the stars complete with white tablecloths and flowers on the tables.

Accommodation at the RV park can be a caravan site or cabin and makes for the perfect base to explore the Culgoa Floodplain National Park.

Hebel - Bourke (278 km)

Route:

  • Hebel Goodooga Rd
  • Goodooga Rd
  • Twin Rivers Rd
  • West Culgoa Rd
  • Mitchell Highway

Along the Way

  • Goodooga
  • Weilmoringle

Bourke NSW

Bourke, NSW, the legendary Darling River town in Outback Australia where it is easy to agree with famous Australian poet Henry Lawson when he wrote, "if you know Bourke, you know Australia" (1882); the iconic Darling River town such part of the fabric of outback Australia and is an RV’ers mecca for a true outback experience.

More than just an outback river town, Bourke is a region that, figurative, is a demarcation between the outback and the east; anything further inland is known as the 'Back o Bourke' which is a colloquial term deeply etched in Australian vernacular meaning to be a long way away from anything.

On the contrary, and this is probably what Henry Lawson meant, the further inland you go, the closer you get to the true essence of Australia.

The Darling River Run

As the Condamine, Balonne, Culgoa waterway joins the Darling River northeast of North Bourke. Note,  the sections of the upstream of Bourke have been omitted for this route from Queensland, but they are easily reached using Bourke as a base.

The Darling River Run can be driven along the western or eastern sides of the river, but the following is an abridged version of the Darling River Run that will highlight the preferred route that most travellers take.

shout** For more detail on this route, please refer to the Darling River Run in the Darling River Touring Route Section.

Bourke to Louth

Travelling The Darling River Run from Bourke to Louth is normally via the Bourke-Wilcannia rd on the east of the river past Gundabooka NP. An alternative route is possible on the west as it passes through some wonderful red soil country and across the Warrego River.


Western Route (Preferred)

Highlight/s: The changing terrain from the unsealed road.

Road Type = Gravel (dry weather road)

Distance: 125 km

Road/Routes:

  • Out through Nth Bourke
  • Take the Wanaaring/Tibooburra Rd 
  • Turn off at Pera Bore (21 km)
  • Head southeast: 104 km (Crossing over the Warrego after about 80km)

Alternate (Eastern Route)

Road Type = Gravel (dry weather road) - mostly

Distance: 99 km

Road/Routes: 

  • Bourke-Wilcannia Rd

Louth NSW

Louth, NSW, is the iconic Darling River town between Bourke and Tilpa. Visit Louth and connect with famous Australian poet Henry Lawson lived and worked for a period in and around Louth and referred to it as, 'a place that loved a drink, a party and a punt.'

Lawson's adage perfectly summed up the town and its people; his impressions from that period are even more relevant today if one is to experience the famous outback race event known as the Louth races whereby the normally sleepy Darling River hamlet swells by the thousands for, well, a drink, a party and a punt (gamble).

Unique to Louth is an amazing and poignant structure known as 'The Celtic Cross'; an eight-metre high polished granite cross that dominates the cemetery on the hill overlooking the town. The monument was constructed by the founder of Louth Thomas Matthews as a perpetual memorial to his wife, Mary Mathews, who died in 1866.

This granite monument was so skilfully designed and positioned that at sunset each day it reflects the sun's light into the village of Louth.

Louth to Tilpa

The Louth to Tilpa section along the Darling is one of the best with 2 great options; the east route provides some great access to the river along the way while the western route passes some great historic properties like Dunlop Station, Idalia Station, and Kallara Station. (all providing camping and farm stay facilities)


Western Route (Preferred)

Highlight/s: Dunlop Station and Kallara Station

Road Type = Gravel (Dry weather road)

Distance: 89 km

Road/Routes:

  • Take MR68A from Louth <> Tilpa: 89k m

Alternate (Eastern Route)

Road Type = Gravel (dry weather road)

Distance: 92 km

Road/Routes:

  • Bourke-Wilcannia Rd

Tilpa, NSW

Tilpa, NSW, located on the western bank of the Darling River, is a must for a stopover, whether you have a few hours or a few days for camping and fishing on the Darling River. The area of the west was once referred to by Henry Lawson by "Tis said the land out west is grand, do not care who says it", ('The Paroo River' 1893). Mr Lawson certainly knew how to eloquently sum up the outback and those that venture down the Darling River and through Outback NSW cannot help but agree, the land out west IS grand.

The old pub is a true classic and has been welcoming travellers and locals for over 100 years. The walls of this timber and corrugated iron pub are covered with graffiti written by visitors who make a gold coin donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service for the privilege. The graffiti makes for an intriguing read while having a cold beer and a chat with the locals and other fellow travellers.

Tilpa to Wilcannia

With the choice of an eastern and western route, the Tilpa-Wilcannia section of the Darling River Run passes through some wonderful country of the Central Darling.

kallaraThe McClures call Kallara Station “the accessible outback” as it is central to the historic River Ports of Bourke and Wilcannia and the outback mining towns of Cobar and White Cliffs.

The eastern route passes through the Paroo-Darling National Park (and the wonderful Coaches and Horses Campsite) while the western route tracks through the Paroo-Darling conservation area.


Alternate (Western Route)

Road Type = Gravel (dry weather road)

Distance: 129 km

Road/Routes:

  • Take MR68A from Tilpa <> Wilcannia: 129 km

Eastern Route (Preferred)

Highlight/s: Coaches & Horses campground

Road Type = Gravel (dry weather road)

Distance: 145 km

Road/Routes:

  • Bourke-Wilcannia Rd <> Barrier H'way: (138 km)
  • Barrier Highway <> Wilcannia: (7 km)

Wilcannia, NSW

Wilcannia, the Darling River town on the Barrier Highway between Cobar and Broken Hill, is a largely undisturbed port on the Darling River. Cross the bridge driving from Sydney to Broken Hill and turn either to your right or left when you enter the town and you will be amazed at the richness of the architecture.

It is easy to see that Wilcannia was once a very important Outback NSW town and Darling Riverport and the remnants of a once-important inland port are evident. Some of the town's historic treasures include the National Trust classified old centre-lift bridge (1896), the beautiful 1880 post office, the Athenaeum Library (1883) and the impressive courthouse (1880), police station (1881), and the police residence (1880), which were all built of locally quarried sandstone and designed by James Barnet.

Wilcannia to Menindee


The western side of the Darling is a popular route as it passes Nelia Gaari Station, a GREAT place to stay with some of the best Darling River camping - helped as it is at the upper reach of the water that is backed up from the Menindee Lakes.


Western Route (Preferred)

Highlight: Nelia Gaari

Road Type = Gravel (Dry weather road)

Distance: 158 km

Road/Routes:

  • South along Barrier Highway: 8 km
  • Right onto SR10 <> Menindee Rd: 142 km
  • High Darling Rd <> Pooncarie-Wentworth Rd: 7 km
  • Menindee Rd <> Menindee: 1 km

Alternate (Eastern Route)

Road Type = gravel (dry weather road)

Distance: 154 km

Road/Routes:

  • Reid St out of Wilcannia MR68B <> Menindee Rd: 139 km
  • Menindee Rd <> Menindee: 15 km

Menindee, NSW

Menindee and the wonderful Menindee Lakes is a beautiful central Darling River destination where you can experience the best of what the Darling River can offer.

An iconic Darling River town, an hour southeast of Broken Hill, Menindee is a perfect base to explore the Darling River, the Lakes and one of the best National Parks in Outback NSW, Kinchega National Park.

Discover also that the beautifully penned 'The Man from Snowy River' by Banjo Paterson is an immortal Australian poem there is a line, "There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup".

While many assume it was the famous Melbourne Cup being referred to, it is actually the Presidents Cup at held at Menindee.

There is a story to tell and something to learn in most outback towns, and Menindee on the Darling River is no exception.


Menindee to Broken Hill


The run from Menindee to Broken Hill is an easy 115km of the sealed road with some great vistas along the way… especially once you cross Stevens Creek and start to get a view of the ‘Line O Load’ of Broken Hill