The Corner Country Explorer
Outback Driving Adventures
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Total Route Details:
- Distance: 1,050km - Mostly Unsealed Roads
- Allow: Min 4 Days (3 Nights)
How outback do you want to go? The Corner Explorer touring route is one for the adventurer. While this involves outback driving on unsealed roads, it is possible to do it in a conventional vehicle (although a higher clearance SUV is probably better). On trips like this, always phone ahead to get an update on road conditions.
While there are many ways to get to/from Bourke and Broken Hill, this route encompasses a drive along the Dowling Track from northern NSW into southern Queensland to Thargomindah. The Dowling Track does go further north, but for this route, the Explorers Way west to the Corner Country is taken, before heading south and onto Broken Hill.
The Dowling Track follows in the footsteps of Vincent James Dowling and other early pioneers who over 100 years ago discovered this area, known as the “Plains of Promise”- people travelled the track looking for a new life and new opportunities. The Australian author, Henry Lawson walked from Bourke to Hungerford and back in the hellish summer heat looking for work.
Thargomindah is the site of Australia’s first hydroelectricity scheme utilising the high-pressure artesian bore water which was able to supply the town’s electricity needs until the 1950’s. Thargomindah was established in the 1870’s as a service town for the surrounding stations like Bulloo Downs, Durham Downs and Thargomindah Station. It also became an important transport hub for the movement of the wool clip from south-west Queensland to the river boat port at Bourke.
Tibooburra is the closest town to Sturt National Park, an expansive park located in the north-west corner of NSW and bordering South Australia to the West and Queensland to the north, provides the visitor with a great insight to the geomorphology of outback Australia with ancient eroded mountain ranges and vast gibber plains easily illustrating the concept of the inland sea that early explorers believed covered the interior of Australia.
Milparinka, in the Corner Country, is something of an enigma in that it was a town that thrived during the 1890s but gradually declined as the prospect of growing wealthy from gold discovery also declined. Set on the banks of Sturt's Evelyn Creek its heritage value is outstanding. The Albert (Milparinka) Hotel and the beautifully restored sandstone Courthouse and police station complex complement each other.
Bourke <> Kilcowera Station:
- Route: Bourke-Hungerford Road <> Dowling Track (305 km - about 4 hours) - Mostly Unsealed
After a stay in Bourke (Food & Huts by Mt Oxley is our member near Bourke. Alternatively, Bourke itself has many accommodation options) it is a nice drive (unsealed) to Hungerford which makes a great lunchtime stopover at the iconic pub.
From Hungerford, the Dowling Track runs along the NSW/QLD border through Currawinya NP before heading north up to Kilcowera Station. This section is also unsealed but well maintained. Kilcowera Station make a great stopover.
Kilcowera Station <> Tibooburra:
- Route: Dowling Track <> Explorers Way <> Warri Gate Rd (450 km - about 6 hours) - Unsealed
Leaving Kilcowera, it is a nice 90min drive to Thargomindah, which is worth a visit, then the route heads west along the Explorers Way to our Noccundra member Noccundra Hotel.
From there the route heads south towards the Warri gate which brings you back into NSW. The gate is part of the Dog Fence which stretches over 5,500km from the Darling Downs in Queensland all the way to the Great Australian Bight.
From Warri Gate, it is 55km to Tibooburra and our memeber, the Family Hotel.
* This section of the touring route involves remote outback driving, so ensure your car is mechanically sound, carry enough water in case of a break-down, and most importantly ensure someone knows where you are and an ETA for your destination.
Tibooburra <> Pimpara Lake Station:
- Route: Silver City Highway <> Milparinka <>Mt Shannon Road <> Mount Arrowsmith Road <> Pimpara Lake Road (175km - about 3 hours) – Unsealed from Milparinka.
The drive to Milparinka from Tibooburra is about 43kms and a stopover at this wonderful historic town is a must. Pimpara Lake Station, one of our members, is a 130km from Milparinka via the Mt Shannon and Mt Arrowsmith roads.
Pimpara Lake Station <> Broken Hill:
Route: Take Pimpara Lake Rd <> Sanpah Rd <> Silver City Highway (205km - about 2.5 hours) - Unsealed & Sealed
From Pimpara Lake Station, it is about 60km to the Silver City Highway. Once on the main highway, it is a further 145km drive south to Broken Hill.
In Broken Hill, our member, Imperial Fine Accommodation, is the perfect place to pamper yourself for a day or two while taking in all that is on offer in Broken Hill
Outback Beds Members & Towns along the way