The Mutawintji-White Cliffs Loop

Outback Driving Adventures

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Zoom in for more detail of towns and accommodation

Total Route Details:

  • Distance: 665km - Mostly Unsealed Roads
  • Allow: Min 3 Days (2 Nights)

Overview:

While the Barrier Highway is the most direct route between Broken Hill and Wilcannia, anyone who has travelled it knows it is not the most exciting way to spend a few hours behind the wheel. So the route out via Mutawintji NP and White Cliffs makes for a wonderful adventure to visit these two icons of Outback NSW.

Starting (or finishing) in Broken Hill, the western NSW town that many regard as the epicentre of Outback NSW, and while it may have developed from mining and the origins of BHP, the town has evolved into one rich arts and culture with so much on offer for the outback traveller. The Imperial Fine Accommodation is the perfect place to pamper yourself before or after this touring route while experiencing all that Broken Hill has to offer.

With the historically significant and culturally emotive historic site (guided access only) Mutawintji NP is well worth the drive north from Broken Hill with its majestic landscapes and excellent interpretive features, this is most certainly a 'must see' National Park. The main feature of the park is the mulga covered Byngnano with river-gums lining the pools and creek beds. For enthusiastic walkers, the Byngnano Range Walk follows a breathtaking scenic route while other walks include the spectacular Mutawintji Gorge Walk to the park’s permanent water supply. If driving is your prefernce, the Old Coach Road Drive leads to a great picnic spot.

Walking along the creek lined with river beautiful big red gums, you’ll discover an array of Aboriginal rock art and engravings among the maze of overhangs and rock faces. This area showcases wildlife and is home to the only known colony of the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby

White Cliffs is Australia's oldest (seam) opal field and developed from a chance finding of opal in the 1880's by a group of kangaroo shooters; once discovered, opal rush began. Today, the mostly  underground town works very well for locals and traveller as the scarcity of water that the early settlers experienced is solved nowadays with extensive use of rainwater tanks. This, plus a classic outback pub means the traveller will not go thirsty.

Wilcannia, on the Barrier Highway between Cobar and Broken Hill, is largely undisturbed port on the Darling River. Cross the bridge driving from Sydney to Broken Hill and turn either to your right or left when you enter the town and you will be amazed at the richness of the architecture. Our member in Wilcannia is Warrawong on the Darling.

Route Sections:

Broken Hill <> Mutawintji NP:

  • Route: Silver City Highway <> Broken Hill-White Cliffs Road (129 km - about 2 hours) - Sealed & Unsealed

From Broken Hill, the route heads north along the Silvercity Highway before heading east along the Broken Hill-White Cliffs Road and into Mutawintji National Park. For those setup for camping/RVing, an overnight in the campgrounds will allow thorough exploration of this wonderful National Park and the Mutawintji Historical site (Guided access only)

Mutawintji NP <> White Cliffs:

  • Route: Broken Hill-White Cliffs Rd <> Kayrunnera-White Cliffs Rd (155 km - about 2.5 hours) - Unsealed

Returning back onto the Broken Hill-White Cliffs Road, the route ventures through a bit of the back country (outback driving so ensure you inform your destination member of your ETA in case you break down) and into the iconic opal town of White Cliffs, and a stay at the unique Underground Motel.

White Cliffs <> Wilcannia:

Route: White Cliffs  (75km - about 1 hour) - Sealed

White Cliffs it is a short drive (sealed road) to Wilcannia and our Wilcannia member Warrawong on the Darling.


Outback Beds Members & Towns along the way

 

  • Ever wanted a great nights sleep without ANY ambient noise or light and not sure how to do it? Well, the answer is at White Cliffs. With the exception to a few essential travellers' services, most of White Cliffs is underground and it is a truly remarkable experience; even for those who may baulk ...

  • There is a lot more to Wilcannia than people know. Located along the Darling River within the Central Darling Shire of Northern Western NSW, Wilcannia was the third largest inland port in the country during the great river boat era of the mid-19th century. Perhaps this is why the Resch’s Brothers ...

  • Elegant 4 1/2 star accommodation with a personal touch awaits you at The Imperial, a beautifully restored heritage bluestone building (circa 1906) in the heart of Broken Hill where modern facilities sit happily alongside the gentle spirit of an Australia long past. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of...

  • Broken Hill, known as 'The Silver City', is the largest centre in Outback NSW and is often referred to as “The Jewel of the Outback”. Located 1,160 km from Sydney, the city came into existence in 1885 after Charles Rasp recognized the mineral potential of the area two years earlier. Today the city...

  • Warrawong on the Darling, a brand new purpose built Modern Cabin, Caravan and Camping accommodation ground situated just off the Barrier Hwy on 12km of Darling River frontage between Cobar and Broken Hill, 3km from historic Wilcannia.

 

Safe Outback Travel

This touring route encompasses remote outback drive and as such some safety precautions will ensure you get the most out of your adventure.

PRE-TRIP:

  • Determine if your vehicle is appropriate for the intended journey.
  • Ensure you vehicle is fully serviced before embanking on your holiday.
  • Take spare parts that may be needed. (Fuses, tyre, belts etc)
  • Carry spare fuel.
  • Buy a first aid kit.
  • Do not overload your car – especially if using roof racks
  • Water – carry enough water for at least 1 day (10+)

DRIVING:

  • Plan to stop and explorer the areas you are travelling through. This will break the trip up and keep you fresh. Plan to do this every 2-3 hours.
  • Be aware when approaching livestock as they will not necessarily keep off the road and can cross when you least expect it.
  • Try avoiding driving at sunrise and sunset as many native animals (Roos and Emus) will be active then and will be attracted to your headlights and can jump in front of your vehicle – and cause serious damage.
  • If you wish to overtake trucks, a quick flash of you lights is often appreciated.
  • Road trains (double semi-trailers) are long and will take twice as long to overtake than a normal truck. Plan to overtake with caution.

UNSEALED ROADS:

  • Drive at a safe speed (10-20kms less) as conditions on unsealed roads can change quickly.
  • If approaching another vehicle, slow down and move to the left as this will reduce stone damage (windscreen and paint) and reduce dust which may inhibit vision to what is behind their vehicle and yours.
  • Slow when approaching cattle grids as some may be raised or dropped and can be hazardous if crossing at speed.
  • Don’t drive on closed roads.
  • If stopping for some reason, pull over and don’t stop in the middle of the road. If venturing off the main road, take care as the side drain may look dry but maybe wet underneath.
  • Approach creek crossing with caution… they may be washed out and can cause serious damage to your car.

BREAK DOWNS:

  • If for some reason your vehicle breaks down or gets stuck. STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE. Some one will always come by.

ETTIQUITTE:

  • Country people are renowned for their hospitality but remember that their property is their home and livelihood and not all are amenable to random access of their properties; in the same way you would not be at your home or office.
  • Always leave gates as you find them not as you think they should be.
  • Ask permission for camping at the homestead. Check with the station owner before camping and let them nominate a place for you.