Packsaddle See & Do
On the Silver City Highway between Broken Hill and Tibooburra, you'll find Packsaddle. A gum-lined creek crosses the highway a short distance to the north of the Packsaddle Roadhouse and some say the creek was named when Burke and Wills crossed the area to the east, near Wonnaminta, and lost a packsaddle from a camel or horse.
Whatever the reason, this is one of many ephemeral creeks in the district which flow westward through adjoining properties.
Packsaddle was one of the properties that formed part of the Goldsborough and Company holdings. During the days of coach travel, a shanty hotel operated in the vicinity of today's roadhouse, providing exchange horses, accommodation, and a meal and a drink to the travelling public.
Just a simple, corrugated iron structure, the hotel closed in the 1920s when the advent of motorised transport changed outback travel forever. Call in and see the museum which houses an array of relics from days gone by.
There is something impossibly romantic about Tibooburra; there it is in the far north-western corner (Corner Country) of New South Wales. Tibooburra is 335 km north of Broken Hill, 1504 km northwest of Sydney, 900 km from Adelaide. It seems so isolated and yet it is full of friendliness and activity.
Today, Tibooburra is home to Sturt National Park, New South Wales Police, and the Tibooburra Outback School of the Air. The township has two hotels, motel rooms, cabins and a caravan park and a hotel to accommodate visitors. There is a post office with banking and internet access, supermarket and cafe facilities. The Royal Flying Doctor Service visits each Tuesday for a clinic.
Milparinka is one of only two townships surviving in the Corner Country, the other being the larger community of Tibooburra. When gold was discovered in the 1870s, a rush to the Corner Country began, with miners travelling overland from Wilcannia, and from Farina on the Ghan Railway line, travelling overland across largely waterless terrain. No visit to Outback New South Wales can really be considered complete without pausing at Milparinka and thinking about the lives of the early settlers.
Today, Milparinka is a ghost of its former self, but as heritage township has much to offer. A devoted local community group has restored four of the most significant buildings, the courthouse, police station, gaol cells, and former kitchen and turned them into a vibrant, award-winning Heritage Precinct, and one of the original hotels, the Albert ( now known as the Milparinka Hotel) still operates.
Mutawintji National Park has been a significant place in the lives of local Aboriginal people for a long time and is worth the four-and-a-half-hour trip from Packsaddle just for its beauty and tranquillity. They say you can feel it when you're there. In years gone by it served as a place for large gatherings where business, social and cultural interests were furthered. Hear about the features of the landscape in and around Mutawintji on a guided tour of the Mutawintji Historic Site with a traditional owner.
Immerse yourself in the landscape of the park's walks, amazing gorges, ephemeral creeks, waterholes and prolific birdlife. Learn about the geology of the area that is considered to be of major palaeontologic significance.
The surveyed north-west corner of New South Wales, Cameron Corner, is the point at which the states of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia meet and it is this corner that forms the north-west boundary of Sturt National Park – one of New South Wales's largest National Parks at 340,000 ha.
The drive from Tibooburra to Cameron Corner takes the visitor through a diverse landscape including the Waka Claypan, past Fort Grey which was a provisions stockade built by explorer Charles Sturt for his inland expeditions, and on to the Corner. Along the way is the Dog Fence which, at 5,000+km, is the worlds longest fence.
White Cliffs Opal Fields and Heritage Trail
White Cliffs is a four hour trip from Packsaddle through scrubby, semi-desert saltbush. You can take the easy way or the dusty trail. Whichever way you go, it's worth the effort. Opals mined in White Cliffs are far more vivid and vastly superior to opals mined in other countries. The heritage trail allows you to amble your way through a dozen significant sites around town where you can appreciate its pioneering history.
Broken Hill is a city situated in the far west of New South Wales and is worth the leisurely day trip from Packsaddle. It is surrounded by vast arid plains. Often described as an oasis in the desert, Broken Hill was built on the back of a mining boom that began in the 1880s.
Broken Hill offers several underground mine tours available for visitors. Broken Hill has developed into an important regional art centre with a collection of galleries and outdoor parks featuring stone sculptures.