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Broken Hill

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Varied and Contrasting Outback Attractions
Broken Hill ... Outback city

Broken Hill ... Outback city

© Hamilton Lund / Destination NSW

There are sculptures in the hills, various museums and art galleries are in the city, and the sights, sounds and smells of the Australian Outback envelop Broken Hill in the far west of New South Wales.

Australians have the knack of describing distant Outback areas as back of beyond, back of Bourke, or beyond the black stump, and it may be a matter of contention to see if any of these terms applies to this westernmost of New South Wales cities.

Broken Hill's nearest capital city is South Australia's Adelaide, more than 500 kilometres (311 miles) to the southwest. The distance from Sydney, capital of New South Wales, is more than 1100 kilometres (684 miles).

What are Broken Hill's attractions?

Fans of this far west city are quick to point out that Broken Hill and the surrounding region provide an Outback landscape whose uniqueness has served as movie locations for such films as Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mad Max 2: Road Warrior.

An interesting, if not surprising, aspect is there are a number of museums — of mining, minerals, railways, culture, and history — and more than 30 galleries in the city, and there are giant pieces of sculpture in the hills at the Broken Hill Living Desert Reserve.

And yes, you are likely to meet red kangaroos, too, in the hills and forests and just outside the city.

So there is in fact a varied and often contrasting variety of Broken Hill's facets of life and culture that should fascinate, and intrigue, visitors venturing into back of beyond.

Is this a mining town?

Australia's largest mining conglomerate, BHP Billiton, had its start in Broken Hill as Broken Hill Proprietary Limited established in the mid-1880s to mine zinc, lead and silver in the area before moving into steel making and oil and gas exploration, then merging with the Anglo-Dutch company Billiton in more recent times.

Mining museums, miners' memorials and underground mining tours are reminders of the city's mining and pioneering past and the largest silver, lead and zinc mines upon which Broken Hill was built.

And yes, Broken Hill is still remembered and often referred to as Silver City with today's Silver City Highway running through it from Wentworth in the south close to the Victoria border along the Murray River all the way to Tibooburra in the northwest corner of New South Wales.

Getting to Broken Hill

If driving from Sydney, one way of getting to Broken Hill is through the Great Western Highway to Bathurst, then heading north-northwest through the Mitchell Highway to Dubbo, Narromine and Nyngan before heading west on the Barrier Highway past Cobar and Wilcania to Broken Hill.

From Melbourne or Adelaide, head to Mildurra on the Calder Highway which should link to the Silver City Highway at Wentworth.

If traveling by train, the Indian Pacific from Sydney or Adelaide stops at Broken Hill, with CountryLink Outback Explorer also linking Sydney and Broken Hill by rail.

Air travel is available on Regional Express from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide through Mildurra. Check for flights from other cities and towns.

Outback Cities and Towns
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