Six stunning outback adventures in NSW you’ll never forget

The NSW outback is dotted with remote towns bursting with character, history and unique experiences. Map out an unforgettable red-dirt road trip to these iconic destinations, through an enigmatic landscape you’ll remember forever.

This small outpost hit the map when rare black opals were discovered in its earth in the late 19th century. Along with the speckled gems, Lightning Ridge is home to another buried treasure: the Great Artesian Basin, filled with mineral-rich waters that naturally heat bore baths around the region. Soothe your muscles in the town’s very own bath, the Lightning Ridge Bore Baths just across the road from the BIG4 Opal Holiday Park. This pooch-friendly park has a brilliant doggy daycare allowing owners the freedom to explore attractions including Chambers of the Black Hand, a century-old opal mine and underground art gallery. Return to the holiday park for a cool desert evening spent around the communal firepit, and unwind with fellow campers and grazing roos as the sky blushes pink.

There’s no town quite like Broken Hill, which was founded upon one of the world’s richest deposits of silver, iron and zinc in 1885. The town’s Mars-like landscape has been immortalised in vivid paintings by five local artists, the ‘Brushmen of the Bush’. Pro Hart, one of the five artists has an eponymous gallery in town, Pro Hart Gallery, which is a local highlight. A visit to Broken Hill also isn’t complete without stopping by The Palace Hotel, made famous by its starring role in the iconic film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. On the cusp of town, with a backdrop of the Barrier Ranges, Outback View Holiday Park features simple accommodation and an outdoor pool, a refreshing antidote to sunny desert days. From here it’s an easy 20-minute drive to The Living Desert and Sculptures, an outdoor gallery best visited when the sun casts a glow over vast plains, stretching into the horizon.

Cobar, and its deep-red earth, is another famous mining town. Stand atop Fort Bourke Hill Lookout to view a craterous open-cut copper mine, and delve into the town’s history at The Great Cobar Museum. Nearby, the Mount Grenfell Historic Site is worth a visit – a site that protects Ngiyampaa rock art. Further afield, Warren is home to Tiger Bay Wetlands, a wonderful spot for bird watching and to meander through the on-site gallery. To stay, Cobar Caravan Park is a pet-friendly respite among gum trees and jacarandas, which paint the park purple during springtime. The park also regularly hosts food vans, so guests can skip cooking and spend chilled-out evenings by the campfire.

From subterranean spectacles to cosmos curiosities, Dubbo is a fun-filled getaway just a stone’s throw from the outback. Drum up the excitement at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, feel goosebumps rise on a spooky tour of the 19th-century Old Dubbo Gaol and let the wonders of the universe boggle your mind at Dubbo Observatory. South-east of the city, head underground at Wellington Caves to see million-year-old fossils, and limestone and crystal formations. And the amusement doesn’t end with a stay at Discovery Parks Dubbo. This centrally located park features modern cabins and glamping safari tents, as well as a waterpark, bouncing pillow, pool and playground.

One of the largest inland dams in NSW, Lake Burrendong is an aquatic playground where you can fill days with wakeboarding, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and fishing. Reflections Lake Burrendong Holiday Park is perched on the lake’s edge, meaning days spent slipping in and out of the water are easily coupled with languid afternoons watching the day’s last rays bounce off the glassy lake. The dog-friendly park features a kids’ playground, a waterslide and pool, a skate park and a golf course. The region was part of the gold rush, so you can also try your hand at on-site fossicking for flecks (or nuggets!) of the precious metal.

There’s more than one reason to make the pilgrimage to Bathurst – Australia’s oldest inland settlement. Whether you’re here to feel the rumble of the legendary car race or to walk among its charming architecture and burgeoning food scene, NRMA Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park is a great base. The pet-friendly park has a swimming pool and slide, mini golf and games room and is a short drive from Mount Panorama and the National Motor Racing Museum. The sprawling 65-hectare Mayfield Garden, a private cool-climate garden, is a delightful detour in nearby Oberon.

Bathurst is a three-hour drive from Sydney, Dubbo is a five-hour drive, and Broken Hill is 13 hours. There are daily XPT trains from Sydney’s Central Station to Dubbo, with coach connections to Broken Hill and Lightning Ridge. You can also fly into Broken Hill and Dubbo airports. If you’re coming from the Victorian border, it’s a three-hour drive from Mildura to Broken Hill and a six-hour drive from Albury-Wodonga to Dubbo.

FEEL MORE. LIVE MORE. on a NSW Caravan and Camping holiday with our campaign partners