G’day everyone, your favourite well-travelled delivery driver is back. It’s Uncle Garry’s Aussie Country Town Tour part 2!
Last week I shared my tour through the Agricultural mecca, Mildura. Check it out here if you haven’t yet. This week while watching Mad Max Fury Road on a Netflix binge I was driven back (ahhh get it?) to the time I spent at Broken Hill.
The far-west New South Wales outback town was the filming location for the 1981 classic, ‘Mad Max 2’. But, this film is just one of many feathers in the ‘Silver City’s’ cap.
Broken Hill has a cluster of identities which are all so different, yet united. The town is Australia’s longest-lived mining town and is bespeckled with memorabilia and artefacts of the industry. It’s a town where men can comfortably wear dirt or makeup on their faces. Broken Hill reinvented itself as a hotspot for the LGBTQ community after the 1994 hit film ‘Priscilla Queen of The Desert’ made a stop in the city.
And that’s still just touching the surface. The town has a rich art culture and deep history – when you combine all the features, you get a country town like no other.
A Must See For Movie Buffs
Broken Hill has featured in a whopping 35 movies! I mentioned ‘Mad Max 2’ and ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ earlier, but films like ‘Mission Impossible II’, ‘Last Cab To Darwin’, ‘Strangerland’, ‘A Town Like Alice’ and many more have filmed scenes in the desert town. The seemingly endless desert looks like it’s miles from civilisation and filmmakers love using the sprawling sandscapes to their advantage.
Visit the Silverton Hotel, just 30 minutes drive from the Broken Hill centre, which was also a filming location for several movies. If you’re a Mel Gibson fan, you need to check out the Mad Max Museum.
Where To Stay In Broken Hill
Enjoy your outback adventure in true-blue Aussie comfort. Get classic country hospitality with a twist by staying in the Palace Hotel, located in the heart of Broken Hill. The mural clad walls of the hotel are iconic and a must-see stop. Most murals include a water feature so that the hotel feels like an oasis in the outback. The hotel regulars are the tough local workers and flamboyant drag-queens who journey to the former stage of ‘Priscilla Queen of The Desert’. Each September the hotel and the Broken Heel Festival join forces to celebrate the birthday of Queen Priscilla.
If you’re looking for a more standard hotel experience, I recommend relaxing at the ibis Styles Broken Hill hotel or the Lodge Outback Inn. Both are cozy stays and offer great ways to cool off from the desert climate.
Living Desert Sculptures
Feel like you’re looking at artifacts from a bygone era by checking out the Living Desert Sculptures. If you want to have a laugh, you could probably convince the kids they actually are, even though they were erected in 1993. These beautiful sandstone sculptures are a quick 9km drive north and make for fantastic photos at sunset. The sandstone sculptures overlook vast desert and they glow brilliantly when touched by the setting sun.
Dig For Gems
The Broken Hill region is renowned among mineral collectors because of the wealthy gem deposits across the land. Thousands of small mineral deposits still surround the area and are widely popular spots for fossickers. If you’re an aspiring treasure hunter, this region is a perfect spot to try your luck, given you get permission.
If you’re interested in geology swing by the Albert Kersten Mining & Minerals Museum (GeoCentre). The museum tells the story of how Broken Hill formed the biggest deposit of silver, lead and zinc in the world. It also displays a famous collection of minerals extracted from the region.
Art and History
Now I don’t have much of an eye for art, but there was something about the true-blue atmosphere surrounding Broken Hill that made me want to visit as many galleries as I could. You’ll be spoiled for choice in this outback town as art flows through the very veins of the region.
If you had to condense your sightseeing to one gallery, it has to be the famous Pro Hart gallery. Celebrating one of Australia’s most affluent outback painters, the gallery includes original paintings and honour pieces dedicated to Hart. If you’re not immediately moved by his colourful portrayals of the Australian ecosystem, listen to his personal story, it’s a perfect Aussie underdog tale.
Where To Eat
Foodies will want to make a stop at S-Que, a poolside restaurant that uses great seasonal produce to create delectable, simple meals. The staff were super friendly and made the whole experience fantastic.
Even if you don’t decide to stay at the Palace Hotel, still visit the downstairs restaurant. Gaze at the artistic murals while sipping on a beer/cocktail and enjoying a pub feed. Blast to the past by having a milkshake at the 50s themed Bell’s Milk Bar.
Once again that’s all I have time for this week. I hope you found something of use for your next trip to Broken Hill. There is so much history and depth in this town that the best way to experience it all is go and explore yourself. The locals are the best tour guides and will be more than willing to point you in the right direction. Have fun, explore and delve deep into the kaleidoscope of culture that is Broken Hill.