Old Willyama Motor Inn

30 Iodide Street, Broken Hill, 2880, Australia
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More about Broken Hill

Photos

Old Miner's cottageOld Miner's cottage

Signs of the timesSigns of the times

What tales it could tellWhat tales it could tell

New reataurant on the slag heapNew reataurant on the slag heap

Forum Posts

Travel to Broken Hill

by juliewilliams

We are planning to drive from Sydney to Melbourne Via Broken Hill in January 2004, where should we look to get information on routes and accommodation. Has anyone done this trip either staying in hotels or hiring a camper van and does anyone know where the best place to get info on camper vans and the pitfalls and obviously one way hire. We are new to this game and have no idea where to start. Any help greatly appreciated

Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by iandsmith

For you campervan/motorhome just go to Google and ask. If you want to consider an alternative there is somewhere in Kings Cross where tourists who have just finished their travels sell their campervans and, when you've finished, you can do the same but you've got no back up that way.
Remember it's a long way and, once you get past places like Dubbo, there's not a lot to get excited about until you hit Broken Hill (see my page about that).
I've actually been there three times and caught the train every time which is a wonderful experience but then you have the problem of getting down to Melbourne!
I would strongly recommend that, when you've finished with Broken Hill that you head back towards Echuca at least and go down through the goldfields (Bendigo, Ballarat etc).
Another alternative is to go down through the Grampians and thence to Warnambool and along the Great Ocean Road.
You can see some of that in my Australia page if it helps.
Cheers, Ian

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by CandS

I've been to Broken Hill also (highly recommend it!)...check out my page if you're interested.

As for staying in hotels or camper van, I can't help you there...we stayed with friends on our trip.

But Broken Hill is really a great place for a visit (dunno about living there though...haha)...make sure you go out to the sculptures on sunrise or sunset it's beautiful! Also, check out Delprats Mine if you get a chance...the guy that does the tour is great! If you're into art then you'll be in heaven too!

Enjoy! I can't wait to check out your page after you've been...

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by 3littlepigs

We drove from Sydney to Broken Hill last Easter, we then went on to Central Aust. so I can't comment on the rest of the trip to Melbourne although I am very keen to drive from Broken HIll down to Mildura and the Menindee Lakes area. All our family loves Broken Hill and can vouch for the comments posted above, although since I am a bit claustrophobic I was glad to have the excuse that one of the kids was too small to go down in the mine ; )
There are 2 clubs in town that do great dinners and would be a good place to meet some locals ( we liked the one near the railway station I can't remember the name)
We went up to the sculpture park at sunset and it was magnificent, if it is a bit hot and you don't fancy a 30minute walk up a hill you can get a key to the gate and drive up to the top, then you can take a nice picnic with you and enjoy the sunset, there was a baby being baptised up there when we were there ( key from tourist bureau with a small charge and key deposit, book the key there are a limited number)
Don't miss the "Ghost" town of Silverton which is now an Artists colony and where they filmed one of the mad max movies ( the galleries are wonderful ( yes - we spent our money!!)
We went at Easter and had a great deal of trouble getting accomodation, I am not sure about January but it would be worth asking the tourist bureau people whether you need to book. One comment nobody has made yet is about the weather - January in the Outback is very hot, it can easily be 40 deg C or more every day. When we went at Easter it was in the high 30's every day. If you are not used to the heat it can be very draining - make sure that campervan has Airconditioning!!!
(cont'd below - too long)

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by 3littlepigs

a bit more from above!!
We drove from Sydney in 2 days and arrived at about lunchtime the second day. We stopped for lunch in Dubbo the first day ( at the RSL a truly Australian Institution and a great place for a meal) Most people would stay overnight ( there would be at least 100 motels in Dubbo and a couple of Campgrounds find accomodation off the highways as the trucks rumble through all night) at least in Dubbo to visit the zoo and the Old Dubbo Gaol, but we have relatives there so have seen it all before. We travelled on to Cobar to stay overnight. Its about another 3 hour drive with some tiny towns in between. There is heaps of wildlife, especially with the drought, loads of Emus and Kangaroos all the way. There is a camping ground in Cobar which looked ok, we were looking for a cabin and they were booked out but there were plenty of sites still available. I am pretty sure the lady there only takes cash - no cards, it was the only place we found like that. We found a motel room though for only $75 for the 5 of us which wsa the cheapest anywhere.We had fantastic takeaway pizza for dinner and there was a club and a pub that served meals as well, we liked Cobar very much just because it was a typical outback town with typically friendly country people definitely a good place to spend a night.
From Cobar it is about 4 to 5 hours to BH. There is only one town in between, Wilcannia and at the risk of getting slammed by other posters we found the advice of not to stop there good advice. You can turn off at Wilcannia for White Cliffs the Opal mining town, it is about 70km of dirt road, I think if you are not going to any of the other opal mining towns it would be well worth a look.There is underground accomodation available, most people live underground because it is too hot to live on the top!
From Wilcannia it is an easy couple of hours to BH.
Oh dear still too long - see below!

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by 3littlepigs

Here's the rest!
A few general notes - It is a very good tar sealed road all the way.
You can't take fruit or vegetables into BH, there is a Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone and it is manned and the officer will look through your car or van including your fridge and cooler box.
If you are driving a car or camper you need to drive only in the bright daylight hours not at night or especially not at dawn or dusk. You will understand why when you see the amount of Roadkill out there, the wildlife come onto the roads at dawn and dusk and at night and you cannot see them, those animals can do you some serious damage.
If you are going in January make sure you carry plenty of water for drinking and the car. It is really, really hot.
I hope something here is of use, you will have a fantastic trip.
( If you think I can gabble on here - don't get me started on the Northern Territory, I could rave for hours)

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by M0B1US

I echo all of the advice given about everything so far as we did a trip by campervan from Sydney to Broken Hill and then on to Melbourne.

As for the campervan, make sure you go through a reputable company like Britz, as the one we went through (on King's X) seemed to use a dodgy agent called 'network car and van rental', who seemed very dubious indeed and I'm frankly amazed they didn't find some kind of excuse to ding us for extra cash! The list of their cowboy capers is endless, but I'll just state that the registration was expired, they tried to get us for 'extra dents etc', when we returned the van they didn't even bother servicing it for the next couple who took it out even though it had travelled over 5,000km!

Another thing to consider, it is probably too risky just to park somewhere for the night (we never did!), so you are forking out an extra $15+ a day just for sites at campgrounds. Add to that the colossal cost of petrol for the van (I think petrol was something like 1/3 of our final budget!), is it necessarily the best way to go? Not sure about that one...

We still had a great time with the campervan, but the extra costs of the campervan when you still have to pay for 'accommodation' do add up - just food for thought.

Check out www.globalfreeloaders.com - it might lower your costs a bit with or without the campervan...

There is no shortage of cheap accommodation and campgrounds along the way - a hotel in Denham (upper Hunter Valley) was doing double rooms for $20

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by M0B1US

BTW, I've just completed a Silverton page and uploaded the pics for White Cliffs - you have to go there if you can!

Other things of note: At Broken Hill is the Flying Doctors museum which was excellent and is on the way out to Mildura which is itself a nice town. You must see Echuca on the Murray and also try and fit in the Great Ocean Road before finishing in Melbourne!

We had a fantastic time and crammed in so much!

Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by colin_bramso

Just continuing MOB's thought, I've driven a campervan around and I wouldn't do it again. It's far easier to drive a car, especially over the long distances, and it's far cheaper too, both hiring and fuel costs. Staying in motels or 'van sites is more comfortable too, and the total cost should be about the same as hiring the campervan. Just check out a few sites such as Britz, Avis, Budget, Thrifty etc and do the numbers.

Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by zig001

January last year we went from Melbourne through to Broken Hill on the way home. Took in Bendigo, Echuca, Robinvale, Mildura, Mungo National Park, Pooncarie and Broken Hill (thence generally north).

Broken Hill has a very good tourist information centre, same as most places along the way. We stayed in caravan/camping grounds and also did some 'free camping'. All those roads are okay for any kind of vehicle.

There were lots of historic sites and exhibits along the way, but I also like the arid lands nature and landscape. Distance we covered from Melbourne to Broken Hill was about 860 kms (a small part of our overall 16,000 km trip).

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by 3littlepigs

Hi Craic- I have copied to my homepage and will pretty it up when I get a chance, I am supposed to be working not playing ; )

Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by 3littlepigs

I think when you do the numbers the car and motel or pub or cabin in campground will come out cheaper than the camper, we have stayed in heaps of cabins in campgrounds and found them to be generally very good ( and airconditioned !!!) Renting a smallish car for a reasonable period of time can also be pretty cheap, You just need to watch the fine print on the rental contract ( also for campervans) as to whether you can take the vehicle on an unsealed road and what the insurance excess is, some of the companies try to charge about $20 per day to reduce the excess from some outrageous figure like $3000 to something more like $500, you can get rental car excess insurance on your travel insurance policy heaps cheaper if you are renting for more than a few days.

Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by tully8

The nrma website has some good general info/maps
http://www.mynrma.com.au
I agree with the reader who suggested Cobar as a stopover site - there is a property out of town with Aboriginal cave paintings, if you are able to take your van on unsealed roads. Also a good museum, lots of mines (new and old). See Cobar website
http://www.cobar.nsw.gov.au/
Most people take the Silver City Highway from Broken HIll to Mildura (if you do this, make sure the Mungo National Park is on your list), but another option is the Kidman Way, which heads south from Cobar - see their site
http://www.kidmanway.org.au/

Have fun, and make sure you have a reliable vehicle if you'll be taking unsealed roads!
Tully

Re: Re: Travel to Broken Hill

by tully8

PS, Go to the attractions section of the "About the Shire" segment, the Aboriginal paintings are at Mt Grenfell.

Travel Tips for Broken Hill

Outback art

by iandsmith

For first timers you should be aiming at the art galleries and an underground tour, the latter to pick up on the area's history which is more interesting than you might think.
The art galleries are without peer anywhere in the world. A huge statement but don't think I'm comparing them to Michaelangelo or such, I'm talking about the fantastic colours inspired by the Aussie outback.
The artists hit the big time when five of them, including world famous Pro Hart, Jack Absolom, Eric Minchin, John W. Pickup and Hugh Schulz and titled "The Brushmen of The Bush" were presented to HRH Queen Elizabeth in London and the whole thing was the subject of a nationwide T.V. documentary. Since then others have benefitted and some of my personal favourites are Albert Woodroffe, Howard William Steer, Wendy Martin, Denise Schinella, the special Peter Browne and the outstanding Peter Anderson. This list ignores over 20 other top line artists, each with their own individuality, who have galleries in the area.
I've been to the National Gallery in London, the Uffizi in Firenze, the Prado in Madrid and seen work from the Hermitage and I'm saying right now that most of the artists in Broken Hill would lose nothing by comparison to the works I saw there. The vivid colours in the art galleries and the high quality artists who paint them.

Home style

by iandsmith

Without mining, Broken Hill would not exist. Recently they've discovered more minerals than originally thought and it appears as though Broken Hill will again have mining as a major component of its survival.
As such, miners' cottages form a large part of the architecture and, while not so historical or interesting as European homes, they do have a charm of their own and, with the artistic community taking over many of them, they are guaranteed preservation. Just wandering around the streets, though to be avoided around midday in summer, you can come across many quaint examples of the genre, such as shown here.

Sculpture Park

by CandS

Make sure you visit the Sculpture Park (also known as the "Living Desert and Sculpture Symposium")...it's about 9 kms out of Broken Hill and definitely worth a visit. Sunset or sunrise (which is less busy) makes the sculptures even more beautiful. :)

In this photo the sculpture on the left is Bajo El Sol Jaguar (Under the Jaguar Sun) and the one on the right is Angels of the Sun and Moon.

It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk to the sculptures from the car park or you can borrow a key from the Visitor Information Centre for a small deposit.

Entry is free. (No dogs are allowed in the grounds)

It's hot during the day!

by CandS

Take some clothes for warm weather during the day but at night it does get cool, in winter at least... Also take good walking boots because you will be sure to do lots of walking... Take lots of film ready for all those photos. You can buy film in town but it is probably more expensive than buying it elsewhere.

River gums

by iandsmith

One of the delights of outback travel is the trees. Unique is something they certainly are, especially the river gums. Situated in dried up river beds (except on the rare occasions when it does rain) they reflect a tortured history of searing heat, insect attacks, floods and lightning strikes and will be homes for birds of many varieties and lizards.
I spent heaps of time during my trips trying to get a decent shot but it was only the last time I got a couple I'm partly happy with.
If you're in the outback, make the time to stop, walk up a dried up creek to one and really have a good look at it. They really are a work of art. The late Albert Namitjira spent his lifetime painting them.

Comments

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