Known as the capital of the NSW Outback, and the only city in Australia to be heritage listed, Broken Hill is incredibly vibrant and full of surprises! Camping in Broken Hill is a great way to experience all this town has to offer.
With over 65 visitor experiences to choose from, we are sharing our round-up of the best attractions and things to do to fill your days and make your stay truly memorable! From world-class art galleries, quirky pubs, rich history and passionate locals expect the unexpected in Broken Hill!
Our very first stop before we headed to The Broken Hill Pub for a cold drink and bite to eat was the Visitor Information Centre where we grabbed a touring map to mark out our Top 10 must-do experiences.
BROKEN HILL REGIONAL ART GALLERY & PRO HART GALLERY
Opened in 1904 Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery is the oldest regional gallery in New South Wales. The beautifully restored emporium displays a selection of permanent works and a quality program of temporary exhibitions by local, state and national artists along with touring exhibitions.
A highlight for us was viewing the collection from the famed Brushmen of the Bush, a group of 5 artists that collaborated in the 70’s and 80’s, including Jack Absalom, Eric Minchin, John Pickup, Hugh Schulz and Pro Hart.
A trip to Broken Hill would not be complete without a visit to the Pro Hart Gallery. This multi-level building and studio is jammed packed with hundreds of impressive and colourful artworks by Pro himself, and a number of other artists, and is a wonderful homage to the life and work of one of Australia’s most iconic and unassuming artists.
The gallery is housed alongside Pro’s original studio and home, and includes many of Pro’s sculptures and his impressive car collection, including a hand painted Rolls Royce.
The Palace Hotel
A must see is the Palace Hotel, and you might recognise this iconic hotel from the 1994 hit Australian movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
The scale of this building is just incredible, with its 3 levels and 52 accommodation rooms and of course the famed Priscilla Suite that we were lucky enough to have a tour through. Remarkably this building was originally erected in 1889 as a coffee palace to set it apart from the licenced hotels that were already abundant in Broken Hill. Unfortunately though the venture was just not profitable, and so it morphed into a licenced hotel in 1892. Something incredibly quirky and unique about this hotel are the over 500m2 murals that are painted across every wall and ceiling in the building, and the story of how the artworks transformed the hotel to feel like an oasis in the outback.
BELLS MILK BAR
For generations people have been coming from far and wide to taste the famous sodas, spiders, and milkshakes on offer at Bells, Australia’s oldest continuous running milk bar. Established in 1892, it’s literally like time has been paused somewhere in the 50’s where you can enjoy old school service, over 50 original recipe drinks, and listen to old school favourites through the jukebox.
SULPHIDE STREET RAILWAY AND HISTORICAL MUSEUM
A highlight for our little train enthusiast Jasper, was the Sulphide Street Railway and Historical Museum which houses the Silverton Tramway Company (once the richest railway in the world), locomotives and railway memorabilia, set in the original 1905 railway station. We had a guided tour with the incredibly passionate Christine who also shared the Broken Hill Migrant Heritage Museum and the fascinating stories of struggle and resilience that led to the dynamic multi-cultural community that Broken Hill is today. There is also a Hospital Museum, an impressive mineral collection, an antique amusement park, and the highlight of course is being able to walk through the Silver City Comet engine and carriages.
THE BIG PICTURE
Another fascinating art installation you can’t go past is The Big Picture, located within the Silver City Mint and Art Centre. Home to the world’s largest acrylic painting on canvas by a single artist, at 100m long, 12 m high and using over 9 tonne of paint, The Big Picture is an incredible and immersive experience and sure is a spectacular site to behold.
THE LINE OF LODE MINERS MEMORIAL
A dominating presence that forms the backdrop of the city, the Line of Lode Precinct and Miner’s Memorial recognises the life and work of more than 800 miners who have tragically lost their lives working on the Broken Hill mines, dating as far back as the 1880’s. Sitting dramatically on a huge mullock (the gigantic pile of rock and earth mine waste material) that overlooks the city, the adjoining Broken Earth Café gives you the opportunity to enjoy a cuppa and really take in the views over the city.
ROYAL FLYING DOCTORS SERVICE
The absolute highlight for us was the Royal Flying Doctor Service Tour, located at the Broken Hill Airport. The interactive museum celebrates the history of the RFDS, the school of the air, and the life saving services that this incredible organisation offers the people of the outback (and those visiting too!). The tour incorporates the history of how Reverend John Flynn created this service over 100 years ago and the way the history is recognised on our Australian $20 note. And the best part was getting to walk into the hangar amongst the planes to hear the rich stories that are a part of this iconic and remarkably free service for all Australians.
In its hay day Broken Hill was known as Australia’s very first mining town with an impressive 75 pubs to keep those thirsty miners happy. Many of those pubs still remain today and The Broken Hill Pub, that has recently undergone an incredible renovation and transformation into a surprisingly sophisticated and architectural triumph, is our pick for a great meal and a satisfying cold beverage.
STAY – Broken Hill Camping
We set up base camp at the Broken Hill Tourist Park that is conveniently located close to town and the major supermarkets. The park features a great pool, playground and jumping pillow, brand new amenities and accommodation options to suit all travellers.
For more information visit https://destinationbrokenhill.com.au