Port Augusta to Broken Hill
Port Augusta to Broken Hill is 415 kms literally from the sea to the outback. It’s an almost mandatory ride for anyone interested in Dorethea Mackellar’s ‘core or my heart, my country’.
A lot of bikes are going to do this on a single fill of fuel but there’s a few servos along the way that really do deserve support. All have good Telstra reception but a lot of the pubs open at seemingly random and unpredictable times so don’t go relying on them, just treat it as a bonus if they’re open when you hit town.
(Tip: pack your oldest daggiest holiest pair of undies or maybe an old shirt or bra near the top of your pack. Don’t ask questions, just do it!)
Head south on the A1 out of Port Augusta signposted Adelaide and continue for a bit over 21 kms until you see the turn left on the B56 signposted Wilmington and Sydney. You now are faced with the 20kms of great riding through Horricks Pass before a turn right into the town of Wilmington. Savour these bends, you won’t be seeing many more ‘til you’re almost at the Hill.
Continue south of the town for a couple of kms and then take the left on B56 signposted Orroroo and Sydney via Broken Hill and keep heading east for 50kms until you hit Orroroo.
A couple of kms west of Orroroo you’ll see a turn to the left at about 120º for the Giant Gum. It’s a pretty impressive tree and there’s a pretty decent feral camping available.
The main drag goes straight through town and you’ve got another 36kms until you get to Peterborough where you bear left at the T and head into town.
Head east out of Peterborough for 13kms until you meet the A32 signposted Broken Hill and Yunta to the left.
It’s 70kms to Yunta but just on 11kms from the turn onto the A32 you come to Oodla Wirra with its Halfway Hotel.
All along this section you have the company of the old railway line to the south of the road. As with all railway lines, these provide unlimited options for feral camping on the maintenance tracks leading off the highway.
From here it’s pretty much straight ahead 44kms to Manna Hill, then 27kms to Olary.
Four kms west of Olary you’ll see the reason for the spare undies. I have no idea who dreams up the idea of carting a Hills Hoist out to the middle of nowhere and inspiring people to hang their shirts, bras, undies on it, but someone has! Leave a momento!
It’s a further from Olary to 43kms to Mingary, then 26kms to Cockburn and finally 48 from this border town to Broken Hill.
Best bike shop is Northern Motorcycles at 72 Stirling Rd. They’re dealers for Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki but should be able to fix any problem with most bikes. They are closed Sundays and the workshop is also closed Saturdays but if you’re in a fix, ring ‘em and ask for Naomi or Phil and they’ll do their best to get you mobile. (T: 08 8642 5551)
I reckon the best pub for a feed, good service and cold drinks is the Hannahville at 30 Gibson St. The nearby Caltex on Tassie St is usually the cheapest in town but if you miss it there’s a bundle of servos on the A1 as you head south out of town.
A really friendly country pub, good owners and staff and very friendly locals. There’s a couple of general store fuel places but perhaps best not to rely on them being open. The ride out to Alligator Gorge has some nice stretches but the far end is full of speed bumps however the views at the end are beautiful.
Wilmington Hotel: 08 8667 5154
Good town to stock up on some munchies. The IGA is on the right in the middle of the town and Hunts Fuel on the western edge of town sells 91 and 95. Next door to the IGA is the Gum Tree Café which serves some to the best pies you are ever going to find. Across the road are well kept public toilets. Some standout architecture in this town and the pubs are outstanding. My favourites are the Federal and the Junction.
The official address for the Motorcycle Museum is on Kitchener but it’s actually on Jervois St, off Main. It’s open seven days officially but can be closed due to other family priorities. If you plan to visit it, best to call them on 08 86512810 and let them know you’re coming.
Click here for Motorcycle Museum Info
Easily the best café is 229 on Main toward the western end of town (at 229 Main funnily enough!) Food and drinks are exceptional!
There’s fuel at the eastern end of town.
The Steam Museum is at the western end of town just past the where you came in.
The BP here is run by very friendly people and they have all grades, 91 95 and 98. Public toilets are beside the servo. Probably the best place on the road to fill up and have a chat.
The pub is a combination museum slash general store slash pub slash everything. Seems to be operating on limited hours so don’t depend on it being open but worth a drop in if it is!
See my comments about Manna Hill!
Cockburn or Coburn
The border! Character filled pub but the great news is that Border Gate Roadhouse has just been rescued, revamped and re-opened by Rhonda and Bruce. I’ve not visited but plan to soon but you can be sure they’ll look after your hunger!
Stop press: Rhonda has contacted me to say that the roadhouse is actually just across the border in NSW and the location is simply Burns, not Cockburn. Apparently it’s an important distinction so when you’re grabbing a feed, remember it’s simply, “Burns” and forget the cock.