Outback Intro Loop

Outback Driving Adventures

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Total Route Details:

  • Distance: 1,200km - Mostly Sealed Roads
  • Allow: Min 6 Days (5 Nights)


Never been to the outback but really want to go? Then this touring route is the perfect way to get an insight and understanding of what makes the outback such a wonderful place to visit. The Outback Intro route will take you to the ‘Back O Bourke’ and you will be able to do so easily and safely in a non-4x4 vehicle with your Outback Beds' hosts expecting you every step of the way. After all, the Outback Beds motto is “stay in the outback with friends...

While this route will not take you to the really remote outback like some of our other routes, it will provide a very good taste of what is out here... and along the way stay with some of our wonderful Outback Beds Members.

This touring route can be started/finished at any point, but for illustrative purposes, Dubbo is the starting point.

With its zoo (part of Sydney’s Taronga Zoo), Dubbo is a must see town with all the amenities of a large city but with a distinctive country-town feel. So with so much to see and do in Dubbo, it is worth a couple of nights and there is no better place to stay than at Walls Court, our wonderful Dubbo member who will not only give a great introduction to the town, but also our Outback Beds network.

From Dubbo, it is a beautiful drive north to Walgett, where the Barwon and Namoi rivers meet and a short drive to one of the most iconic towns in the outback and home of the Black Opal... Lightning Ridge.

It is such an endearing destination that many people who visit for a few days, end up staying a life time. Local opal and jewellery artisan, Jo Lindsay, is our member out there and her ‘Fossickers Cottages’ can accommodate couples and families in comfort.

From the Ridge, it is time to head over to Brewarrina, location of the ancient fish-traps and a very informative indigenous visitor centre, both of which are well worth experiencing. From Brewarrina, Bourke is the next destination; the iconic town on the Darling River. We have a member in Bourke, Food and Huts by Mt Oxley.

Route Sections:

Dubbo <> Walgett:

  • Route: Newell Highway <> Oxley Highway <> Castlereagh Highway (380 km - about 6 hours) - Sealed

Leaving Dubbo it is a scenic drive towards Coonabarabran Walgett where the Namoi and Barwon rivers meet.

Walgett <> Lightning Ridge:

  • Route: Castlereagh Highway <> Bill O'Brien Way (80km - about 3 hours) - Unsealed

The 'Ridge' is a destination high on many a traveller's list and it is easy to see why... it is such a unique place. With some much to see, do and experience, allow for at least 2 nights (if not three) to fully appreciate this wonderful destination and our member Fossickers Cottage is the ideal place and location to set as your base.

Lightning Ridge <> Bourke:

Route: Cumborah-Lightning Ridge Rd <> Narran Lake Rd <> Kamilaroi Highway (180km - about 3 hours) - Mostly Unsealed

The route from Lightning Ridge to Bourke is via Cumborah and Narren Lake (Unsealed roads) but if you prefer, there is a sealed route back via Walgett, then heading west to Brewarrina and onto Bourke. The unsealed route gives the option of going via The Grawin (another opal field near Lightning Ridge - ask at the Ridge Visitor Information Centre for details) and into Brewarrina past Narren Lake. Allow some time to stop at the 'Fish Traps' and Visitor Centre at Brewarrina before continuing along the Kamilaroi to Bourke.

Bourke <> Dubbo:

Route: Mitchell Highway (380km - about 4 hour) - Sealed

Bourke back to Dubbo and our members Walls Court, it is easy to while away a few ours exploring this wonderful town on the Macquarie River, a tributary of the Darling

Outback Beds Members & Towns along the way


  • Coonabarabran is a place of many contrasts where the landscape and villages create a patchwork across the countryside, reflecting the varied lifestyles and influences. Coonabarabran, centrally located on the Newell Highway, is the main town in the region and is a perfect starting point to discover...

  • "The yokels laughed at his hopes o'erthrown, And he stood awhile like a man in a dream; Then out of his pocket he fetched a stone, And pelted it over the silent stream -- He had been there before: he had wandered down, On a previous visit to Walgett town". Banjo Patterson (Been There Before)

  • “Though you've roamed the whole world over, seen most all there is to see, there are scenes you've never dreamed of, in the stone of mystery.” Laurie Hudson, Cumborah Postmaster 1947-1965 There are many ‘must see’ destinations in Australia and Lightning Ridge is certainly that; home of the beautif...

  • Dubbo is a wonderful country city of the Central West Region of New South Wales, being located at the intersections of the Mitchell, Newell and Golden highways, it is the crossroads of the north-south and east west transport routes. Dubbo is a 5 hour drive from Sydney and is very well serviced by ...

  • "If you know Bourke, you know Australia" so wrote the famous Australian poet Henry Lawson in 1882. Although Bourke is a town, it is something that is etched in the psyche of Australia and is commonly used as a reference point to the start of the true Outback. 'Back o Bourke' is a colloquial term f...

  • Trangie is a small country service centre located on the Mitchell Highway about 500km north-west of Sydney as is part of the Macquarie Valley Irrigation Area. Neighbouring towns include Narromine, 35km to the south-east, and Nyngan, 90km to the northwest. A small town of approximately 1,100 people...


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.


  • Determine if your vehicle is appropriate for the intended journey.
  • Ensure your vehicle is fully serviced before embarking 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+)


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


  • 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.