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Outback map:

Bourke Broken Hill Cobar Wentworth Outback region map


The New South Wales Outback is a triangular region in the west, covering around one third of the state.

The region commences along the western half of the state border with Queensland, encompassing the remote outback towns of Bourke and Walgett. It heads south through the mining towns of Cobar and Broken Hill, finally reaching the Murray River and state border with Victoria where Wentworth, Mildura, Euston and Robinvale straddle this mighty waterway.

Experience the spectacular rugged beauty of this region including arid landscapes, old mining towns, rivers, lakes and abundant wildlife.

Follow the Darling River, Australia's third longest river, from its source just east of Bourke, through to Wilcannia, once one of Australia's largest shipping ports. From there, the river heads to Menindee where it feeds an area of glittering lakes with abundant birdlife within the Kinchega National Park. Heading south, river reaches the historic port of Wentworth where the Darling River meets Australia's longest river, the Murray.

Outback destinations:

Bourke Bourke
Historic town on Darling River, gateway to the Outback
Broken Hill Broken Hill
Mining city and desert oasis popular with tourists and artists
Cobar Cobar
Mining and pastoral town with historic buildings
Wentworth Wentworth
Historic river port at Murray and Darling River junction

Unveiling the Secrets of the New South Wales Outback: An Explorer's Ultimate Guide


Welcome to the vast and diverse world of the New South Wales Outback, where the landscapes will leave you in awe, and the rich history and vibrant culture will captivate your soul. This sprawling region, often simply referred to as Outback NSW, covers a significant portion of Australia's southeastern state and offers a plethora of experiences for adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs alike.

The significance of the Outback NSW region lies in its unique combination of stunning natural wonders, resilient flora and fauna, and deep-rooted cultural heritage. With its deserts and sand dunes, rugged mountain ranges, and picturesque outback towns, this enchanting destination is an integral part of Australia's identity. It's also a testament to the incredible adaptability of both the indigenous people and the early European settlers who called this challenging environment their home.

Embarking on a journey to explore the New South Wales Outback is more than just an adventure - it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the region's fascinating history, connect with its raw natural beauty, and create unforgettable memories. So, fasten your seat belts and get ready to uncover the many hidden gems that await you in the captivating world of Outback NSW.

History and Culture

Aboriginal Heritage

Long before European settlers set foot in the New South Wales Outback, this vast and challenging region was home to numerous Aboriginal tribes. The early inhabitants of Outback NSW, such as the Barkindji, Ngemba, and Paakantji peoples, have called this area home for tens of thousands of years. Their deep connection to the land and its resources shaped their unique culture, traditions, and belief systems.

The Outback NSW landscape is dotted with sacred sites and areas of cultural heritage, which bear witness to the rich history and spiritual beliefs of the indigenous people. These sites, such as ancient rock art, stone arrangements, and burial grounds, are of immense cultural and historical significance. They serve as a reminder of the invaluable contributions of Aboriginal people to Australia's cultural fabric.

European Exploration and Settlement

The European exploration of the New South Wales Outback began in the early 19th century, with adventurers such as Charles Sturt, Thomas Mitchell, and Edward John Eyre leading expeditions into the unknown. The first explorers in the Outback faced numerous challenges, including harsh climatic conditions, scarce water sources, and the vastness of the landscape itself.

Following the explorers, European settlers arrived in the Outback, establishing remote stations and communities in search of a new life. The arrival of these settlers had profound impacts on the land and the indigenous people. The introduction of non-native species, land clearing, and the spread of diseases led to the displacement and decline of the Aboriginal population. Many indigenous people were also forced to work on pastoral stations, often experiencing harsh treatment and loss of cultural identity.

However, the resilience and adaptability of both the indigenous people and the early European settlers have left a lasting legacy in the New South Wales Outback. Today, Outback NSW is a melting pot of cultures, where the descendants of the original inhabitants and settlers continue to live and work together, forging a unique and vibrant regional identity.

Geography and Climate

Distinct Landscapes

The New South Wales Outback is a land of contrasts, boasting a diverse range of landscapes that capture the imagination of its visitors. The deserts and sand dunes in Outback NSW, such as the striking Mungo National Park, offer a glimpse into the ancient geological history of the region. The seemingly endless stretches of red sand and unique land formations are a testament to the forces of nature that have shaped this landscape over millions of years.

In contrast, the region is also home to rugged ranges and plateaus, such as the Barrier Range and the Warrumbungle Range. These dramatic landforms offer breathtaking views, challenging hiking trails, and a rich variety of flora and fauna. The diversity of the Outback NSW landscapes provides endless opportunities for exploration and adventure, ensuring that every visitor finds something to marvel at and appreciate.


The climate of the New South Wales Outback is characterized by its temperature extremes and variable rainfall patterns. Summers in the Outback can be scorching, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F), while winter nights can plummet below freezing. The region's semi-arid to arid climate means that rainfall is both unpredictable and highly localized, with some areas experiencing prolonged droughts followed by periods of heavy rain.

These challenging climatic conditions have shaped the unique flora and fauna found in the New South Wales Outback. The plants and animals that call this region home have developed remarkable adaptations to survive in the face of extreme temperatures and limited water resources. From the hardy mulga tree, which can withstand long periods of drought, to the iconic red kangaroo, which has adapted to conserve water and regulate body temperature, the Outback NSW ecosystem is a fascinating showcase of resilience and adaptability.

Wildlife and Flora

Iconic Fauna

The New South Wales Outback is home to an array of unique animals that have adapted to thrive in the region's harsh environment. Some of the most iconic fauna found in Outback NSW include the red kangaroo, emu, and dingo. These species have developed remarkable adaptations to overcome the challenges posed by the extreme climate, scarce water sources, and limited food availability.

The red kangaroo, for instance, has a highly efficient water-conserving metabolism and can survive for extended periods without drinking. Emus, on the other hand, can travel great distances in search of food and water, while dingoes, as opportunistic predators, have a varied diet that allows them to adapt to the fluctuating availability of prey.

Aside from these well-known species, the New South Wales Outback is also home to countless other fascinating creatures, including various reptiles, birds, and insects that contribute to the region's diverse and captivating ecosystem.


The plant life in Outback NSW is equally fascinating, with numerous important plant species that have adapted to the region's arid conditions. Among these are the mulga, spinifex, and saltbush, which not only survive in the harsh environment but play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance.

The mulga, a type of acacia, is known for its ability to withstand long periods of drought, thanks to its deep root system that allows it to access water from far below the surface. Spinifex, a resilient grass species, plays a vital role in stabilizing sand dunes and preventing erosion. Saltbush, as the name suggests, is capable of tolerating high levels of salinity in the soil, making it an essential component of the Outback NSW plant community.

The flora of the New South Wales Outback not only demonstrates remarkable adaptations to the region's challenging conditions but also serves as the foundation of the area's ecosystems. These plant species provide critical habitats, food sources, and shelter for the diverse fauna that call the Outback home, underscoring their environmental significance and the importance of preserving these unique landscapes.

Must-Visit Outback Destinations

National Parks

Outback NSW is home to several breathtaking national parks, each offering a unique glimpse into the region's natural wonders and rich cultural heritage. These parks are perfect destinations for visitors seeking adventure, tranquility, and an opportunity to connect with the land's ancient history.

Outback Towns

Embarking on an Outback NSW road trip would be incomplete without a visit to the region's charming outback towns. Each town offers its own unique history, attractions, and local flavor, making them perfect stops to experience the true spirit of the New South Wales Outback.

Outdoor Activities and Experiences

Hiking Trails

The New South Wales Outback offers a wealth of hiking trails, catering to adventurers of all skill levels. From leisurely walks to challenging treks, these trails provide an opportunity to explore the region's diverse landscapes, spot native wildlife, and soak in the breathtaking scenery.

Some top trails to explore in the Outback NSW include:

Before embarking on your Outback NSW adventure, it's crucial to prepare adequately and keep safety in mind. Ensure you carry plenty of water, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, apply sunscreen, and always let someone know your planned route and expected return time.

Camping and Caravanning

Camping and caravanning in Outback NSW allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the region's natural beauty while enjoying a unique and memorable stay. Popular Outback camping NSW sites include:

To ensure a comfortable stay, pack essentials such as insect repellent, a first aid kit, sufficient food and water, and a map or GPS device. Familiarize yourself with the campsite's facilities, regulations, and fire safety guidelines before arrival.


The pristine skies of the New South Wales Outback provide the perfect canvas for a spectacular celestial display. Outback NSW is home to several dark sky reserves, making it an ideal destination for stargazing enthusiasts.

Some of the best spots for stargazing in the New South Wales Outback include:

To make the most of your stargazing experience, plan your visit during a new moon or a meteor shower, bring a telescope or binoculars, and dress warmly, as temperatures can drop significantly after sunset. With the right preparation, a night under the stars in Outback NSW is a truly unforgettable experience.

Outback Safety

Preparing for the Outback

Adequate preparation is crucial when venturing into the New South Wales Outback to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Before setting off on your Outback NSW road trip, plan your route, familiarize yourself with the local conditions and weather forecasts, and make sure your vehicle is well-maintained and equipped for the journey.

Essentials to pack for an Outback NSW adventure include:

Tips for staying safe in the New South Wales Outback:

Emergency Situations

Handling emergencies in Outback NSW requires remaining calm and taking appropriate action based on the situation. In case of a medical emergency, accident, or vehicle breakdown, use your satellite phone or emergency beacon to call for help. If lost or stranded, stay with your vehicle and conserve your energy and resources while waiting for assistance.

Useful contacts for emergencies in Outback NSW include:


The New South Wales Outback offers an unparalleled adventure, with its captivating landscapes, rich history, and diverse wildlife. With adequate preparation and safety precautions, visitors can fully embrace the wonders of the Outback NSW, creating lasting memories of their journey into Australia's heartland. We invite you to discover the magic and beauty of the Outback, immersing yourself in the region's enchanting natural and cultural treasures.

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