The Outback Beds Experience
There is so much to see and do in our part of the Outback it will make your head spin and you will have to come back time after time to enjoy it all......
Let's start with Griffith in the heart of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (The MIA) and it's here, in spring that you can collect wild asparagus for free! Patches of it grow on roadsides and channel banks all around the city. Griffith is one of the largest vegetable and wine producing areas in Australia so there are lots of wineries and cellar doors for taste testing. Check out the Festival of the Salami and the Hermits' Cave. Outback Beds are represented here by Julie and Bruce from Corynnia Station a working merino sheep, cattle and grain enterprise. Guests are able to fly or drive to Corynnia, it's also pet friendly, has magnificent gardens and a pool and tennis court.
To the east is Dubbo, home of the best open plains Zoo in Australia. Dubbo is one of NSW's largest inland cities and has all the amenities you would expect of a city with a population of over 40,000. It hosts a Thoroughbred Sale and Race Carnival, a Bridal Fair, an Antiques Fair, Truck and Tractor Show, a Caravan, Camping and 4WD Show and a Jazz Festival. The old Dubbo Jail is well worth visiting as are the twice monthly Farmers Markets. Outback Beds members Neil and Nancy operate Walls Court B&B just out from Dubbo and quite near the zoo where they both work as passionate volunteer guides. Walls Court features luxurious bedding and amenities, meals are truly scrumptious and prepared using local produce wherever possible. It's also pet friendly and you will enjoy meeting their menagerie as well!
Remember Nyngan? Little known prior to 1990, when it was deluged with the worst floods of the century. The locals laid 260, 000 sandbags on top of the established levee bank but the waters still inundated the entire town, causing $50 million worth of damage and necessitating the airlift, by helicopter of 2000 citizens, virtually the entire population. Nyngan has many historic buildings dating back to the 1880's also the Nyngan Coach Works where visitors can see the ongoing work of building and restoring Cobb & Co coaches and Royal Mail vehicles, utilising 19th-century methods and technologies.
Down the Mitchell Highway about 90km is Trangie, a small country service centre of some 1,100 people, situated 493 km north-west of Sydney and 220 metres above sea-level in the Macquarie Valley Irrigation Area. It is located on the main western railway line and on the Mitchell Highway, between Narromine (35 km south east) and Nyngan (90 km north-west). A great area to explore and Trangie Caravan Park provides the perfect base.
Barkala Farm, near Coonabarabran,is located adjacent to the 500,000 ha Pilliga Forest and the foothills of the spectacular Warrumbungle Range. Popular activities in the area are bird watching, bushwalking, rogaining, astronomy and rock collecting. Outback Beds members, Maria and her family offer horse riding and language lessons, a fabulous cafe and a range of accommodation options. As well as being a working farm, it is also home to the fabulous creative energy of Pilliga Pottery, the largest and most unique pottery in NSW. Staying here is like stepping into another world, with its fascinating European-inspired eco-architecture, gorgeous natural surrounds of farmland, bushland, craggy ridges and living forest, extensive native gardens teeming with birds, and little vistas, hideaways, and unexpected highlights wherever you look. Whether you're looking for activity or tranquility, this is a truly special place you will never forget.
Lightning Ridge is home of the Black Opal. The Lightning Ridge Easter festival is in its third decade and is staged around three main events: the Lightning Ridge Black Opal Rodeo, Australian Goat Racing Championships (yes, you read it correctly) and the Lightning Ridge Horse Races. Then there is the Opal Festival, the Opal Queen Ball and an Art and Craft Festival in October. But opal is not the only thing the Ridge has going for it. What about having a look at John Murrays' famous Art Gallery, the Grawin Opal Miners Club or The Glengarry Hilton and Sheepyard Flats? Outback Beds owners in the Ridge area are Andrew and Jo from Fossickers Cottages (also Lost Sea Opals). Fossickers Cottages offer you fully self contained accommodation with everything you will need to enjoy your time in the ridge. Eclectic gardens and fully fenced yards ensure your children and pets are safe as well. Why stay in a motel when you can have an entire cottage to yourself?
The town of Walgett is situated at the Junction of the Barwon and Namoi Rivers and was proclaimed a town in 1879. It's also famous for such things as the local farmer who invented a device to shear sheep mechanically and the many river boats that were still plying the rivers in the early 1900's bringing supplies to the township and the graziers. Fishing for Murray Cod and Yellow Belly in any of the eight nearby rivers can be a fruitful experience. And don't forget to do a bit of fossicking at the nearby opal fields!
Now you can head westward to Bourke which is situated on the mighty Darling River. The "Jandra" a paddle boat, cruises the river twice daily delivering passengers to the Port O' Bourke. Visitors can participate in short 2-3 hour tours to the many attractions close to the Bourke Township. These include a Vineyard, Cotton farm and Cotton Gin (in season). The renowned Gundabooka National Park is a mere 50 kms south of Bourke and a newish National Park also close to Bourke is Tooralle.
You can't miss the stunning Mount Oxley just east of Bourke, Outback Bed members Denise and Bill operate Food & Huts by Mt Oxley, Here visitors can relax in the authentic Shearers Huts complete with the original, huge dining room table and trestle chairs, an open fireplace and a slow combustion stove. Bedrooms have been renovated for guests' enjoyment and comfort. Visitors can self cater or book meals to be prepared for them either at the Huts or on top of Mt Oxley. Don't miss the drive to the top of the mountain, the views are spectacular!
There are many great options for Accommodation in Bourke, perfect for those wanting to stay a night or tow in town.
From Bourke head North West along The Dowling Track and cross the New South Wales - Queensland border at Hungerford. THE most important establishment in Hungo's is the Royal Mail Hotel, built in 1873 and used, back then, by weary travellers with Cobb & Co. You will be on the receiving end of the best outback hospitality ever when you visit Hungerford – and a tip? Do have a meal there!
Then you can head on up toKilcowera Station, a working cattle property in the heart of QLD's Mulga Rangelands. Outback Beds members Greg and Toni operate Kilcowera and welcome visitors to stay in their spacious Shearers Quarters accommodation or camp at the adjacent, landscaped, grassy campground. Bush camping is also available alongside Cardenyabba Lagoon where a series of secluded and private campsites have been created. Guided or self guided tours of the property are a "must do" and camp oven meals are a specialty as well. Kilcowera adjoins Currawinya National Park and visitors are able to access the most western side of the park on the tour of the property. Guests are welcome to observe seasonal station activities on this working station as well.
To the north of Kilcowera you'll find Thargomindah on the Bulloo River. Thargo is home to the Stockman's Challenge, it also hosts a Day - Night Rodeo, a Ball and Polo Crosse Carnival. Nearby National Parks are Bindegolly and Currawinya.
If you head back south and over the border once again you may find yourself on the Darling River Run. Henry Lawson noted in his poem 'Louth on the Darling', penned in the 1890's, that Louth was a place that loved a drink, a punt and a party, and visitors to the Annual Louth Races each August would wholeheartedly agree. Many visitors set up camp at the race course or on the banks of the Darling River for the entire week, also taking in the Gundabooka Golf Challenge, Damper Bake-off, a Calcutta and live music on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Visitors are able to stay at nearby Trilby Station which is situated on the banks of the Darling River and offers a range of accommodation options and camping spots along the river or by the billabong. Activities include, fishing, yabbying, boating and canoeing, swimming in the pool or river, wildlife spotting, bird watching and self drive tours. Guests are welcome to observe seasonal station activities on this working station as well. Trilby really has it all including great hospitality from Liz, Gary and family and the option of fabulous home cooked meals delivered to your campsite or accommodation.
A little further down the river you will find Outback Beds members the McClure family at Kallara Station. This working station is a certified organic lamb producer as well as supplying organic wool and oilseeds. You can choose to stay at the Coolabah Lodge, the Fisherman's Huts or camp right alongside the mighty Darling River. Justin and Julie will draw you a mud map and set you off on a day trip around the property or of course you may choose to just soak up the atmosphere under the majestic River Red Gums whilst stoking your campfire along.
The village of Tilpa is just down the road and the pub is a must do of course for a coldie, a chat with the locals and some of the best burgers in the west. Check out the Darling River and the bridge built in the early 1960's, the Boer War Memorial, the Tilpa Heritage Trail, the cemetery and the Sunset Lookout.
West of Tilpa you will come to the opal mining town of White Cliffs which has a population of around 105. Many of the residents live underground, using mining equipment to dig extensive homes in the hillside to avoid the intense heat outside. White Cliffs was the site of Australia's first solar power station built in 1981. The town is set in a bizarre moonscape-like landscape comprising thousands of hillocks of earth dug and discarded in the quest for opals. For a unique experience in White Cliffs, be sure to check out the Underground Motel.
Continuing down the Darling River, the next town is Wilcannia, where you'll find Outback Beds members, Jim and Lynda, hosts of the newly opened Warrawong on the Darling, Caravan and Camping Park just 3 kilometres east of the town. With 12 kilometres of river frontage and 1700 acres to camp on, visitors will be spoiled for choice! Warrawong has drive through sites; the best amenities block you will find anywhere, a camp kitchen and happy hour every evening and of course that great outback hospitality from Outback Beds member and owner Kym. Many local attractions including National Parks, opal fields, fishing spots and historic townships are only a stone's throw away.
The township of Wilcannia has many superbly maintained historic buildings dating back to 1880 made from locally quarried sandstone. Check out the old centre Lift Bridge, built in 1896 which is now classified by the National Trust. The Paroo–Darling National Park is one of many NP's close to Wilcannia as well.
Going west along the Barrier Highway the next stop is Broken Hill, a city with a long and colourful history and many grand historic buildings and monuments. You'll find over thirty art galleries dotted around the city highlighting the works of some of Australia's greatest artists. Try a camel safari at sunset and don't miss the outstanding mineral collection at the Geocentre.
Outback Beds members Bill and Cathy are your hosts at the 'Imperial Fine Accommodation' - right in the heart of town; where elegant 4 1/2 star accommodation with a personal touch awaits you in their beautifully restored heritage bluestone building (circa 1906). Relax in their gorgeous ensuite rooms or the two/three bedroom apartment, all furnished with antique and period pieces, where you’ll have access to the modern guest kitchen, lounge, full size billiard table in the old 'front bar' and a walled courtyard with heated pool.
From Broken Hill you could then head north along the Silver City Highway to Pimpara Lake Station, a family owned property in far western NSW, in the area known as Corner Country. Ruth and John’s station is traversed by the Packsaddle Creek and backs onto the sand dunes and salty creeks over which Sturt’s expedition struggled all those years ago. They offer accommodation in their shearer’s quarters, camping on power at the quarters or by beautiful ephemeral and salt lakes and self-guided or guided station tours; and will be shortly offering fully self-contained B&B type accommodation as well.
Rejoining the Darling River Run you will find Outback Bed member Nelia Gaari, situated on the western side of the Darling mid way between Wilcannia and Menindee, just the spot if you are looking for a quiet, convenient location to park your caravan or pitch your tent. They also offer a four bedroom self contained cottage by the river ... so relax, go fishing and experience the quiet and restful solitude of the Darling River with Greg and Lily.
Nearby is the Kinchega National Park and the beautiful series of lakes on the Darling that make up the Menindee Lake system. Check out Copi Hollow where the Inland Speed Boat Championships are held - when there is enough water! The wreck of the paddle steamer Providence can still be seen at this location. Sunset Strip is a rather odd version of a waterfront resort and says a lot about the quest for a holiday by the waterfront. There are also several self drive tours around Kinchega NP.
Continuing south from Kinchega on the Darling River Run you will meet Barb & family, Outback Beds members at Bindara on the Darling who offer visitors a range of accommodation, campsites right on the river with access to bathroom facilities and warm outback hospitality. Guests at Bindara also have the opportunity to check out the bio-organic orchard and vege garden, or ask about their green and clean power production. Or try a History tour, taking in such things as the beautiful Homestead, the outbuildings, station cemetery and historic woolshed and much more that only Barb can show you. And the camp fire meals are delicious too!
Lake Mungo is a true 'not to miss' outback destination and reached by heading east for 75 km from the riverside village of Pooncarie. Situated just 3 km from the Mungo National Park Visitor Centre, this World Heritage listed park, famous for its archaeological treasures, Great Wall of China, moonscapes and stargazing is right on your doorstep. Offering 17 eco-sensitive cabin style units, camping and unpowered caravan sites on the perimeter of the National Park, Glen and Bec will also happily house your pet in their purpose built cages while you visit the park.