Living Desert state park

5 days travel to Broken Hill

Traveling to Broken Hill was always on my list. I am a sucker for rustic towns middle of nowhere, especially in the Outback. A couple of years ago, I traveled to Coober Pedy which is a similar kind of town and I loved it. I enjoy going and spending a few days at the desert and living the local life in the Outback. Usually, I have driven to the towns but this time around I decided to go via public transport.

For fun big things to see on the way, read 11 big things to see in NSW.

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Travel to Broken Hill
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About Broken Hill

Broken Hill is a mining town in the New South Wales (NSW) state of Australia. The town is in the Australian Outback and is Australia’s oldest mining town. It is known by many names, “The Silver City”, “Oasis of the West” and “The Capital of the Outback”.

The earliest settlers of Broken Hill were supposedly the Wiljakali Indigenous Australians. The city was founded by Charles Rasp in the year 1883.

Broken Hill observes the timezone that is used in South Australia as opposed to New South Wales.

Broken Hill is around 1150 kilometres from Sydney and the journey itself takes around 13 hours. The best time to visit this town is during the Spring season (between the months of October and November).

According to the 2019 census, there are just 17500 people in Broken Hill.

5 days itinerary

Day 1 – Sydney to Orange

My first stop was Orange. First half of my day was spent traveling from Sydney to Orange. There are inter city trains that run between the Central train station in Sydney and Orange. The train journey from Sydney to Orange is about 4 hours 45 minutes.

  • The trains can be booked on Transport for NSW website.
  • The cost for one way ticket is AUD 27.58 per person for Economy Saver.
NSW TrainLink

The second half of the day, I spent exploring the city of Orange. Things to see and do are:

  • Heritage buildings across the town.
  • Explore the cafes in town.
  • Watch a cinema at Australia Cinema. Unfortunately, this was closed when I was in Orange.
  • Graffiti around town.
  • Spend time watching the birds at Robertson Park.

I suggest having a piece of cake at Bakehouse but not coffee. The coffee is expensive (small coffee costs AUD 4.35) and tastes horrible.

Bakehouse at Orange
Bakehouse

I stayed at Royal Hotel Orange for one night.

  • The stay was booked using Booking.com website.
  • The cost for a twin room with shared bathroom for one night is AUD 70.
Royal Hotel

Day 2 – Orange to Broken Hill

The next stop is Broken Hill. The journey from Orange to Broken Hill is about 8 hours 10 minutes.

  • The trains can be booked on Transport for NSW website.
  • The cost for one way ticket is AUD 59.95 per person for Economy Saver.
Train journey to Broken Hill

I stayed at Broken Hill Tourist Lodge for two nights.

  • The stay was booked using Booking.com website.
  • The cost for a twin room with shared bathroom for two nights is AUD 138.
Tourist lodge Broken Hill

Things to look for during the train journey

Stop at Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe is a very small town in NSW. It is a dying town as many residents have abandoned their homes and relocated to different towns. The train stops at the Ivanhoe train station for around 7 minutes.

Ivanhoe
Darnick train station

Darnick train station is the shortest train station in NSW. The platform can accommodate only one door of the train and the board of the train station is bigger than the platform.

Darnick

Day 3 – Broken Hill

Things to do in Broken Hill

A long time ago, one of my ex-colleagues had claimed that there was absolutely nothing to do in Broken Hill. And I would say that is absolutely not true. Broken Hill has plenty of things to do and is one of the most beautiful towns I have seen in Australia.

The best way to travel in Broken Hill is by hiring a car.

Silverton
Heritage listed buildings

Broken Hill has a list of heritage listed buildings and some of them are extremely pretty and old. I love old and similarly I love old buildings.

Visiting the below buildings is a perfect 4 kilometres walk around the city and experiencing the isolated city vibes:

  • Broken Hill Mosque.
  • Broken Hill Post Office.
  • Broken Hill Railway Station.
  • Palace Hotel – The hotel where the 1994 Australian movie “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” was filmed.
  • Walter Sully Emporium.
  • Wesley Uniting Church.
Sculpture Symposium

Created in the year 1993 by 12 sculptors, Sculpture Symposium is a range of sculptures made up of 52 tonnes of Wilcannia sandstone. The sculptures are in Living Desert State Park. There are 12 sculptures related to the Sun, moon and the aboriginal culture. There is an entry fee of AUD 6 per person that needs to be purchased at the entrance of the Living Desert State Park. The state park is around 11 kilometres from Broken Hill city.

This was definitely was the highlight of my trip. There was nobody in the park when I visited.

Silverton

Silverton is a small village in NSW. It is around 26 kilometres from Broken Hill and the only way to reach Silverton is by driving. The village is a silver mining town and has starred in the movie Mad Mex. In fact there is a Mad Mex museum dedicated to the movie. Other things to do is by visiting the art galleries and seeing the heritage buildings.

Star Gazing

Watching the sky full of unlimited number of stars is something one can experience only in the Outback. Outback Astronomy runs Hang Out with the Stars tours every night. The 1.5 hours tour costs AUD 55 per person and the bookings have to be made in advance and they can be booked on their website.

For other places in NSW to view the Milky Way, refer my post 10 places to see Milky Way.

The other thing one can do is visiting the Mungo National Park and seeing the spectacular moonrise. Unfortunately, I could not do this as part of my travel.

Day 4 – Broken Hill to Dubbo

I started my day really early and took a bus from Broken Hill to Dubbo. The bus journey from Broken Hill to Dubbo is about 9 hours 40 minutes.

  • The bus can be booked on Transport for NSW website.
  • The cost for one way ticket is AUD 53.35 per person for Economy Saver.
Broken Hill to Dubbo

I stayed at IBIS for one night.

  • The stay was booked using Booking.com website.
  • The cost for a double bed room for one night is AUD 99.
Ibis Dubbo

Dubbo is famous for the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Definitely do not miss visiting the zoo! Unfortunately, I could not visit it again during this trip as it was pouring the whole time I was in Dubbo.

Central NSW Dubbo

Day 5 – Dubbo to Sydney

I took an afternoon train from Dubbo to Sydney. The journey from Dubbo to Sydney is about 6 hours 30 minutes.

  • The trains can be booked on Transport for NSW website.
  • The cost for one way ticket is AUD 40.76 per person for Economy Saver.

Expenses

  • Train and bus tickets:
    • Sydney to Orange = AUD 27.58.
    • Orange to Broken Hill = AUD 59.95.
    • Broken Hill to Dubbo = AUD 53.35.
    • Dubbo to Sydney = AUD 40.76.
  • Stay:
    • Stay at Orange (one night) = AUD 70.
    • Stay at Broken Hill (two nights) = AUD 138.
    • Stay at Dubbo (one night) = AUD 99.
  • Food & Drinks:
    • Food and drinks at Orange (one lunch, one dinner and two coffees) = AUD 55.65.
    • Food and drinks on the train = AUD 25.50.
    • Food and drinks at Broken Hill (two dinners, one lunch and two coffees) = AUD 33.20.
    • Food at Cobar = AUD 10.
    • Food and drinks at Dubbo (two lunches, one dinner and one coffee) = AUD 30.
  • Car hire at Broken Hill = AUD 73.
  • Fuel expenses = AUD 15.95.
  • Tours:
    • Star gazing = AUD 55.
    • Living desert entrance fee = AUD 6.
    • Taxi at Dubbo = AUD 23.19.
Total Expenses = AUD 816.13 per person for 5 days travel.

Safety for solo female travelers

Australia in general is very safe for female travellers. Similarly, all the places I travelled to as part of this trip was very safe. However, like any other place in the World, know your surroundings and be cautious at nights.

Train ride from Sydney to Orange

Closing Notes

There is something magical about Australian Outback and all the towns that make up the Outback. I suggest visiting some of these towns at least once so one can get a taste of the aboriginal culture and the desert life.

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Travel to Broken Hill

9 comments

  1. Broken Hill looks like one of those hidden pieces of history that are so cool to visit. Love the rock formations and in absolute awe at the star gazing!

  2. Those monumental sandstone sculptures look outstanding in a dessert! Australia is a unique land. I am also excited about its indigenous peoples and their cultures, which are authentic.

  3. The Sculpture Symposium is definitely interesting. It will be my highlight also if I get to visit Broken Hill. I wonder what people do for a living there. And there’s a mosque? So interesting!

  4. I can quite understand why the sculpture symposium was the highlight of your trip. I too, would have loved it. Fascinating pieces of art using the locally available sandstone. A mosque – now that was little unusual. Loved the clear night sky pictures. Very well presented in terms of how to get there.

  5. Love the history and the photo opportunities in this destination. Broken hills is a destination we’d love to visit. The mosque is definitely surprising and those sculptures are fascinating. Adding this to our Australia roadtrip bucketlist!

  6. I would say those carved rocks were some of the coolest carvings I have seen…like something you would see in a museum. So now that you have done it via car and train, which would you prefer? Did you still need to rent a car for your day trip to Broken Hill?

  7. Wow! Broken Hills seems to be a fascinating place. The itinerary you shared looks quite good for exploring the region. The place has a lot of attractions – heritage, nature and others. I really liked the pictures of the Milky Way! Thanks for sharing the tip for not having coffee at Bake House. Nothing dampens the mood like a bad coffee (which is also expensive)!

  8. The sculptures at Living Desert State Park look pretty incredible. I’d love to visit this place. Also, walking around and exploring the heritage buildings sounds like a great way to spend a day at Broken Hill. The place looks intriguing and quite unique to me, I’d love to visit some day!

I would love to hear your thoughts, please drop a comment!

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