Welcome to the unofficial capital of the outback! There's just something about Broken Hill. It's so far west in NSW that the locals find it easier to operate on South Australian time. I guess that makes sense, since the iconic frontier mining town is a 13-hour drive from Sydney and just under six from Adelaide.
Broken Hill is a regular overnight stopover whenever we've pointed the nose of the C182 westwards, leaving behind the noise and smog of Sydney. In less than four hours, we've been transported - physically and mentally - to a waaaaay better place. If we're heading north, then we'll drop in on the way home.
For touring pilots, everything about Broken Hill works. Its reliable 24-hour Avgas, expansive parking apron and long sealed runway are all big ticket items we look for when choosing outback stopovers. There's a decent cross-strip too, which is put to use more often than a lot of places, due to YBHI's feisty winds.
It's an important RPT aerodrome here, as well as home to the state-of-the-art base of the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service). You can do an excellent tour of the RFDS base too.
We've stayed at the Royal Exchange Hotel, the Red Earth, the Palace, the Imperial, and our recent favourite, the Desert Sand. All of these are great places to hang your hat for a night or two.
A tour of Broken Hill isn't complete til you've paid a visit to the famous Palace Hotel in the main street. All sassy chutzpah, you'll relive those Queen of the Desert moments in every room of this historical old pub. And frankly, since you're out here, you may as well book yourself into the Priscilla Suite ... words won't do it justice, just go take a look yourself.
The corner of Oxide and Argent Streets leads you to the town's newest pub, the very flash Broken Hill Hotel. We liked its open air downstairs bar and bistro, just made for a pre-dinner cold bevvy with a few mates. Another funky choice for bar, restaurant and accommodation is boutique hotel, The Astra, along the road.
There are plenty of places to choose from for meals, but if you're in a sizeable group, dinner for our group of 16 one night worked really well at the Bistro at the Palace.
There's a robust art scene happening in this frontier mining town, highlighted by the celebrated Pro Hart Art Gallery. Take a drive out to Silverton about half an hour away and have a drink at the pub made famous as the film set for Mad Max many years ago.
As a stepping stone to the outback further west, or a destination in itself, there's lots to love about Broken Hill. And the locals will welcome you with open arms!