- Copyright © Simon Bayliss 2008-20 Simon Bayliss
- Last Updated: 02 July 2020 02 July 2020
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Sturt's Expedition Route
Drive Broken Hill to Cameron Corner, Outback Australia
Around forty years ago, I saw a video by Broken Hill identity Jack Absolom present what he referred to as 'In the Steps of Charles Sturt'. Jack's passion for the outback was evident, and it struck a chord with me immediately for a couple of reasons.
His love of the outback was an inspiration to me as an aspiring photographer, and his character/style was reminiscent of the rural characters I met as a teenager around our farm at Mathoura.
Additionally, I was always fascinated by Australian history and hearing him speak about Charles Sturt (and others) motivated me to know more.
Fast forward to 2009, and I was lucky enough to have undertaken the following route while sourcing travel content. I would often mention to others about this fantastic adventure from Broken Hill to Cameron Corner.
Now, as of 2020, a grant has been awarded to develop the route properly and the return to Broken Hill. The project will provide a much-need boost to the Corner region and facilitate a greater understanding and appreciation of Charles Sturt's place in Australian history. *That project is totally separate from this route or any touring routes of covered by Red Dust Snow.
Multi-award winning Eldee Station is the only working sheep and cattle station and farm stay welcoming tourists in the Mundi Mundi Plains/Barrier Ranges region in Outback NSW. Hosted by 4th generation farmers and passionate environmental advocates, Naomi & Stephen Schmidt, this historic property features some of the most spectacular landscapes in Australia and has been featured in commercials and movies worldwide.
The following touring route follows the approximate route taken by Captain Charles Sturt during his 1844-45 inland expedition. With no public roads across the Barrier Ranges, we begin the journey further north than the line taken by the expedition.
Sturt's Central Australian Expedition 1844‐1845:
On August 10th 1844 Captain Charles Sturt led the Central Australian Expedition through the streets of Adelaide, then along the Murray and the Darling Rivers before heading where no European had been before. The quest was to find the sea which Sturt and his sponsors believed occupied the heart of Australia.
The journey failed to find the mythical lake but ultimately led to the description and interpretation of vast areas of inland Australia, which would later be opened up for pastoralism and mining. The route through western New South Wales was significantly further than the shorter distance to the centre, through South Australia. However, the commonly held belief of the time was that a series of linked horse‐shoe lakes surrounded the northern reaches of the Flinders Ranges. By taking the eastern route the impenetrable sand‐dunes and the lakes would be avoided.
Sturt's Steps - Driving Route
- Total Distance: 635 km
- Road Type: Maintained unsealed road (Dry weather only)
- Vehicle Recommendations: 4WD/AWD with clearance. 2WD with clearance and experience.
- Wet Weather Alternative: Silver City Highway
Despite the mention of Mundi Mundi (just west of Silverton) in accounts of the expedition, the published touring route of Sturt's Steps heads northeast from Broken Hill, then north at Corona Rd to Mt Gipps Station.
For those interested in a more western route via Silverton and Mundi Mundi, please see Silverton to Cameron Corner (via the Dog Fence) touring route.
Sturt's Steps Route Detail
- Northeast along the Silver City Highway: 29.6 km
- Left onto Corona Rd: 96.7 km
- Continue straight onto Border Downs Rd: 79.2 km
- Right onto Sanpah Rd: 74.4 km
- Left onto Pimpara Lake Rd: 70.5 km
- Left at Mount Arrowsmith Rd: 7.20 km
- Continue onto Mount Shannon Rd: 66.8 km
- Hawker Gate Rd: 11.4 km
- Follow signs to Pooles Grave and Depot Glen: 8 km
- Return to Hawker Gate Rd: 8km
- Hawker Gate Rd: 55.1 km
- Right onto Waka Rd: 67.1 km
- Left onto Cameron Corner Rd: 60.8 km
North of Broken Hill - Breathtaking county in the heart of the outback and only 40km from the heritage-listed and iconic town of Broken Hill. We offer various accommodation options including private cottages, caravan sites, shearers quarters and camping.
Heading north from Mt Gipps, along the ridge and past Tarrawingee township ruins, the road meets up with the road from Silverton to the south. Further north is Teilta Creek in the Broughams Gate region at which point to route heads west along Border Downs Rd before again heading north to Pine View Station, the location of Sturt's waterhole on Flood's Creek. The Yellow Waterhole was used by Sturt for eight weeks before they found adequate water elsewhere, enabling him to be able to continue his search.
From Pine View Station, the Sturt Steps touring route continues north, crossing Packsaddle Creek before heading back southeast along Sanpah Road. It should be noted that the actual route Sturt took was more northeasterly, but this route will pass Pimpara Lake Station and Pincally Station.
From Pincally Station, the route north passes Mt Arrowsmith, Mt Shannon, and Mt Browne, before reaching Milparinka.
Milparinka is one of only two townships surviving in the Corner Country - the other being the larger community of Tibooburra - and is 296 km north of Broken Hill, 39 km south of Tibooburra, and 1,465 km from Sydney. All around the red dusty soils of Outback New South Wales stretch to the horizon. When gold was discovered in 1880, Milparinka became a thriving town but today it is a shadow of its former self. A reminder that only the hardest of human beings can live in such severe conditions.
During the 1870s goldrush, those seeking their fortunes headed to the region, with miners travelling overland from Wilcannia, and Farina on the Ghan Railway line, travelling overland across mostly waterless terrain. No visit to Outback New South Wales can be considered complete without pausing at Milparinka and thinking about the lives of the early settlers.
Not far from Milparinka along the touring route is an area that provides some great insights to the Sturt's expedition; Depot Glen, Pooles Grave and Mount Poole.
From Depot Glen, the route heads west along Yandama Creek, before heading north up to Fromes Creek, which, when flowing, does so into Lake Pinaroo (Fort Grey basin).
From Fort Grey, the route to the Corner is initially northward until the Queensland/New South Wales border, then westward along the famous Dog (Dingo) Fence.
Cameron Corner Store has a range of accommodation options. There are family, double and single air-conditioned rooms. These are detached from the store and have shared bathrooms. All bedding supplied. Meals at the store. There are also powered and unpowered campsite, and a camp kitchen for self- catering. Bush camping also available.
Cameron Corner Touring
Having reached Cameron Corner, where to now?
Some may be heading further inland or over to Tibooburra (no visit to the Corner is complete without a visiting Tibooburra). Either way, take a break at the Cameron Corner Store (Food, Drink, and Accommodation)
If heading back to Tibooburra, there are some great option regarding getting there and some other touring routes through Sturt National Park, so check out The Corner Explorer touring options.