Head into the outback of New South Wales to find charming bush towns in vibrant communities. Enjoy stunning sunset views, rich heritage and having nothing but the sky and the boughs of a coolibah above your head.
Lightning Ridge to Bourke
From Lightning Ridge, New South Wales’s famous opal fields are virtually on your doorstep! On your way to Bourke, the Grawin sits just 70 kilometres to the west of Lightning Ridge and comprises the opal fields of Grawin, Glengarry, Sheepyard and Mulga Rush. Opal was discovered here in 1905, and the region was tirelessly mined by candlelight.
The Grawin is still actively mined today, and offers an assortment of unique experiences that give insight into the mines’ inner workings, as well as the reasons for which the beloved opal enjoys its status as Australia’s national gemstone.
The route between Lightning Ridge and Bourke is unsealed in parts, but you can loop back through Walgett and then on to Brewarrina if you prefer a smoother drive (but if you ask us, bumpy rides are all part of the on-road magic!).
On this journey, allow time to stop by the largely Aboriginal town of Brewarrina to see the ancient fish traps, which make up one of the world’s oldest man-made structures. When the Barwon River’s waters are low, they reveal a series of bizarrely arranged rocks. Fish were ‘herded’ by the local Indigenous people into shallow rock pools as long as 40,000 years ago, and the site was added to Australia’s National Heritage List in 2005.
Bourke to Trangie
Head down the Mitchell Highway to picturesque Trangie, which more than makes up for in spirit what it lacks in size. Head to Gin Gin Weir, an idyllic river trail that makes for the ideal picnic spot on a sunny day. The Trangie Hotel is a great spot to hear insider knowledge about the region from a charismatic publican, rub shoulders with locals over hearty pub grub, and enjoy a well-deserved cold one as your Outback Intro Loop comes to an end.
Trangie to Dubbo
On your final stretch of the Outback Intro Loop, drink in the gorgeous outback vistas of New South Wales’s little- known red heart, and know that you are one of a select group to have experienced this side of Australia’s most popular state.