Riding the border of NSW and SA, surrounded by an endless expanse of ruggedly beautiful terrain, Broken Hill truly is an unforgettable city. A truly unique blend of history, art and natural beauty, there’s a million reasons to visit this extraordinary city, but we’ve tried our best to narrow it down to ten!
The city of Broken Hill was born in the 1880s, out of the discovery of one of the largest silver-lead-zinc mineral deposits in the world. As a result the city’s population boomed, forming a melting pot of cultures as families from countless different backgrounds made the trek to Broken Hill to live and work. The impact of mining on this community can be seen just about everywhere you look in Broken Hill, from the gigantic line of lode overlooking the city to the geologically-themed street names lining every block. Be sure to dig deeper into Broken Hill’s mining history on your next visit.
Home to more than double the amount of art galleries than pubs, Broken Hill is a breeding ground of artistic expression and individuality. Couple this with extreme isolation from other population centres, and it’s no surprise that a thriving, fascinating, quirky culture has evolved out here. Wandering through the city and its surrounds, you’re guaranteed to get a feel for what drives people out here; friendliness, resilience, self-expression and a feeling of absolute freedom.
Surrounded by the red earth of the Australian outback, Broken Hill offers breathtaking scenery in every direction. To the south you’ll come across the spectacular Menindee Lakes, a true mirror to the sky dotted with gum trees poking up from the water’s surface. Heading east will find you along the gorgeous Darling river, a twisting and turning waterway of vital importance for generations of Indigenous Australians. Northern adventures will find you in Corner Country, a true outback experience with deep red earth, rocky terrain and some of the most incredible gorges, waterholes and walking trails you’ll find at Mutawintji National Park. In the west lies Silverton, a picturesque little “ghost town” with a main strip you wouldn’t be surprised to find Clint Eastwood walking down.
Broken Hill lies on the traditional lands of the Wilyakali people, who have inhabited and cared for the land here for tens of thousands of years. There are many places you can learn about their heritage and the stories of neighbouring aboriginal groups, so be sure to stop by and learn more.
Thanks to over a century of rich, diverse cultural history, Broken Hill’s food scene reflects a creative approach to the culinary arts. From trendy cafes to fine dining, local bakeries to grand Victorian-era hotels, you’ll find delicious food options from passionate makers, looking to do things their own way.
Broken Hill, Silverton and the surrounding outback landscapes have been used as locations in several memorable tv series and feature films. Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994) and Mad Max 2 (1981) are among some of the most notable productions to bring Broken Hill to the silver screen, with places like the Palace Hotel offering travellers the opportunity to live out their favourite scenes!
The incredible colour palette of the outback has drawn countless artists to Broken Hill over the years, each looking to capture their own take on this iconic place. Art galleries dot the streets of Broken Hill and surrounding towns, each showcasing the work of friendly, talented artists eager to talk more about their work. Be sure to check out some of these fantastic galleries on your next visit.
With little light pollution, Broken Hill is the perfect place to stargaze and appreciate the beauty of the night sky. Travellers are often startled by just how clear the night sky is out here, allowing you to truly appreciate the expansiveness of our universe. Amateur stargazers will be able to enjoy stunning views simply by heading a little way out of town, but for an entertaining, informative and fully-guided experience, be sure to check out Outback Astronomy.
Whether you like to adventure on foot or on four wheels, the outback is home to countless adventure trails. Hikers can head to the Living Desert State Park and connect with the area’s fascinating fauna and flora, or visit any one of a number of National Parks in the region, each with their own unique landscapes to discover. For the 4x4 enthusiasts, consider heading out to Eldee Station, home to more than 100km of self-drive 4x4 tracks. Those seeking a longer journey may want to follow any of our multi-day itineraries, that you can find here.
In true outback spirit, the locals in Broken Hill are famously friendly, hospitable and always willing to help out. No matter where you go around here, you’re certain to be greeted with a smile and a “g’day” from people that have relied on a strong sense of community and mateship to survive in such an isolated, rugged place.