Barrier Hwy, Broken Hill to Nyngan
The Barrier Hwy:
Broken Hill to Nyngan.
Broken Hill’s probably not the place to camp, there are way too many friendly and reasonably priced pubs around.
My choice is the Palace on Argent St. It’s unique, was the setting for much of the interior for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and has Australia’s only legal weekly pub two-up game every Friday Night from 9.00pm. If you mention this website, motorcyclists can use the lockable garages free of the usual charge, otherwise the main street is your best bet. http://thepalacehotelbrokenhill.com.au/#!/index
Broken Hill’s servos are not easy to find. The Shell is on the .gpx map.
To leave town simply head east on Argent St which doubles as the Barrier Hwy, past the turn for Menindee and you then have 20kms of good winding road through the hills. Be careful of the goats, they are everywhere but especially numerous in the hillier sections.
You begin with the water pipe to the left and when you cross it the road begins to straighten out and you’re back in red dirt country for around 100kms until, about 80kms west of Wilcannia you again get some goat infested hills.
Topar is around 75kms east of BH and the pub sells 91 fuel but its opening hours are irregular and should not be relied on.
75kms west of Wilcannia is Spring Hills Free Camping with good toilets and camping back from the road. From here you get more hills with their curves as you get to Wilcannia but again the goats are everywhere.
The Courthouse Cafe in Wilcannia is a great example of good people doing good stuff. It’s on the corner of Reid and Cleaton and diagonally opposite the old Queens Head Hotel which is shut. It’s open 9.30 til 4.00 seven days a week but Adrian, who runs it with his partner, Sarah, reckons they’ll likely close it during the really hot months of January and February. T: 08 8091 5910.
Another nice place is Miss Barretts halfway between the Courthouse Café and the Roadhouse, but it’s not open weekends.
The Roadhouse sells 91 and occasionally 95.
Just on 53kms east of Wilcannia is the McCullough Ranges Rest area with toilets and decent free camping and then just on 100km east of Wil, there’s the Emmdale Roadhouse with some of the more offensive signs I’ve seen at a servo. Sells only 91 but use as a last resort!
There’s a few more free camping spots with toilets on the run in to Cobar but this is a TSR and so there’s always one fence well back from the road and with a pile of road gravel dumps plus the railway line access roads, you can pretty much pull up stumps for the night anywhere you feel like it.
You’ll pass a few adorned trees; there’s a teapot tree, a bottle tree, an undies tree, a general clothing tree. It is very bad form to add your undies to the bottle tree, or a bottle to the teapot tree….c’mon, guys, observe the code!!!!
Cobar’s Western Hotel reckons its got the longest upper balcony in Australia but they don’t allow you to have a room that opens onto it. What a waste. It’s not cheap in the other rooms either. If you are camping just head 20kms out of town and head onto the red dirt somewhere and throw your swag.
The Cobar Caltex sells both 91,95 and 98 but they refuse to refresh their visor wash more than once a day so if you get there in the arvo it’s putrid. And seeing as this is Bug Central where you need to clean your visor every 100kms, their attitude stinks as much as their wash bucket! Better to use the BP a bit to the east but they only sell 91. There is a large IGA a few blocks east. A bit over 83kms east of Cobar you’ll see the Hermidale Pub on the south side of the road. This baby opens at 7.30am to serve beers n brekky to the night shifters from the nearby mine. Staffed by backpackers, it’s a fun place for your first meal of the day, or at any time!
You hit the eastern end of the Barrier Hwy just to the west of Nyngan. Keep an eye out for the (fenced-in) camels to your right just at the turn and then head for the chopper on the main street. Nyngan has a few reasonable cafes, an IGA and a good Caltex selling 91 and 95.