Renew your love of art and discover a thriving gallery scene; explore the area’s history on an eye-opening heritage tour; ignite your sense of wonder with an unforgettable stargazing experience; rejuvenate in the iconic Priscilla Suite or renew your sight and sleep beneath your feet in an underground motel.
Rejuvenate in the Priscilla Suite
Broken Hill has been associated with cruising since the Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was released in 1994. Scenes were filmed in the historic Palace Hotel, and you can book the same room the characters stayed in, which has been renamed the Priscilla Suite and flamboyantly decorated. The pub hosts regular drag bingo nights, and every September the best queens from across Australia descend on town for the broken heel festival. Mad Max 2, released in 1981, was also filmed around Broken Hill. Visit the Mad Max Museum in Silverton, a 20-minute drive northwest.
Discover the art of the hinterland
The Broken Hill area has a long history of producing and attracting artists inspired by the surreal landscape. Two of the best known painters were Pro Hart and Jack Absalon, both of which have galleries in Broken Hill. The Willy Nilly Art Gallery houses paintings by local artist Amanda Johnson, and the Broken Hill Regional Galley has an excellent calendar of exhibitions, a highlight of which is the Maari Ma Indigenous Art Awards, held between February and April. In Wilcannia, a two-hour drive northeast of Broken Hill, the Queens Head Hotel has been transformed into a gallery.
Direction the living desert
Photography enthusiasts will love capturing the golden light in the Broken Hill area, especially at Living Desert State Park, with its 12 sandstone artworks created by artists from around the world. Also in the preserve is the John Simons Flora and Fauna Sanctuary: 180 acres of native plants and wildlife, with a culture trail and Sturt’s Desert Pea wildflower exhibit. You can stay overnight in the park at Starview Campground.
Explore ancient history
Aboriginal culture is strong in the Broken Hill area: the Wilyakali people have occupied the lands around Broken Hill for thousands of years, while the Barkandji people are native to the lower Darling River and Menindee Lakes. Explore Mutawintji National Park with Aboriginal owned and operated Mutawanji Heritage Tours. Half-day tours visit restricted-access sites showcasing different styles of Aboriginal art, including rock carvings and ocher stencils, and you can combine a visit with a bush tucker or art workshop .
Dive deep underground at White Cliffs
The outback is opal country, and the oldest commercial opal field is at White Cliffs, a small town about three hours drive northeast of Broken Hill, known for its ‘pineapple’ opals. in the spiky form. Many dwellings here were built underground to escape the heat. A bus tour of the White Cliffs will give you a great insight into the town and its history. If you want underground sleep, stay at White Cliffs Underground Motelwhich offers a honeycomb of whitewashed rooms.
Soak up the night sky
The outback skies are something to behold. Make sense of what you see with Outback Astronomy. Just outside of Broken Hill, the venue offers Sky Shows that introduce you to the stars and constellations from knowledgeable guides. You can also stay in a glamping tent designed for two (loan of binoculars included) and take part in a dinner and sky show, like the Moon Graze, which combines dinner at the on-site Sky Dome Café with a telescope and binoculars looking at the full moon.
Satisfy your hunger
Silly Goat Cafe is a trendy breakfast spot, with a frequently changing menu that can include granola bowls and smoked salmon bagels. The bread comes from the neighboring Sufi bakery. Trinders restaurant in The Astra offers a modern Australian menu as well as more casual tapas and gourmet pizzas. It is also home to the Red Lush cocktail bar. You’ll find upscale pub fare at The Palace Hotel and the Broken Hill pub. For a classic Australian milk bar, head to Bells Milk Bar – it’s been around since 1892 and much of the decor remains the same as it was in the 1950s.
Dreams of dreams in the backcountry
At Broken Hill, stay in a stone miner’s house at A Miner’s Rest, enjoy deluxe or superior rooms at Art Deco Royal Exchange Hotelsleep at The Astrain a restored 1890s heritage building downtown, or in a restored 1911 church: Stay at Broken Hill Church in the Outback. The Broken Hill Backcountry Complex just outside the town there are spa cabins, pitches for caravans and campsites, a bistro and a restaurant.
You can also stay at the iconic Silverton Hotel, 20 minutes from town, or at Eldée station Farm stay, 45 minutes north of Broken Hill. The historic house Bindara Station is two hours south of Broken Hill.
Or spend a night or two in the region’s national parks. In Paroo-Darling National Park, three hours northeast of Broken Hill, explore the Darling River and stay at the Coach and Horses bush camp. Kinchega Shearer’s Quarters in Kinchega National Park, an 80-minute drive southeast of Broken Hill, offers basic but air-conditioned rooms and a fascinating insight into Australia’s pastoral history.