Difference between revisions of "Broken Hill"
Revision as of 23:11, 18 May 2013
Broken Hill is an historic mining city in the Far West (Outback) of the Australian state of New South Wales. Broken Hill was founded on mining the world's largest silver, lead and zinc deposit in 1883, and the locals have been busy digging ever since. Australia's (and the world's) largest mining concern BHP Billiton had its origins here when it was called "Broken Hill Proprietary". Whilst mining has declined relatively in recent years, it still plays an important role with most of the tourist attractions being associated with the mines.
The other main reason to visit Broken Hill is for the artists, Pro Hart being the most famous, who called the city home. The city has many galleries all worth visiting, with spectacular open air Sculptures set in the wide landscape just north of the city at the Sculpture Symposium. All inspired by and set in that other great attraction, the vastness of the Australian Outback.
Movie Buffs will delight in spotting the settings featured in countless movies shot here, including Mad Max (The Road Warrior in the U.S.A), Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Race the Sun.
Whilst you are here you can also take in oddities like Bell's Cafe, the giant "Big Picture" canvas diorama of the outback and the so-called 'Battle of Broken Hill' in 1915 when two disgruntled Afghans attacked a local picnic train.
Broken Hill fascinates the visitor with its history, setting and artistic flowering in the remoteness of central Australla.
Broken Hill and Silverton operate on Central Standard Time (CST) half an hour behind EST. All other towns in the region operate on Eastern Standard Time (EST).
It is 1,150 km of mostly long straight drive from Sydney to Broken Hill, and just over 500 km from Adelaide. Both roads are mostly good quality sealed roads. The scenery will change slowly along the way. Broken Hill is on the edge of the real outback, but is easily accessible by car.
Countrylink  runs the 'Outback Explorer', a weekly direct train service from Sydney to Broken Hill.
Tuesday Broken Hill 07:45 to Sydney 21:48.
Countrylink also runs a daily train from Sydney to Dubbo then a bus from Dubbo to Broken Hill.
Daily Train: Sydney 07:10 to Dubbo 13:40, Bus: Dubbo 14:15 via Cobar to Broken Hill 22:45.
Daily Bus: Broken Hill 03:45 via Cobar to Dubbo 13:25, Train: Dubbo 14:10 to Sydney 20:49.
The bus takes a half hour coffee break in Cobar.
Indian Pacific  runs a luxury train via Broken Hill twice a week. Tours of the town are available while the train is stopped at Broken Hill for passengers travelling the Indian Pacific between Sydney and Adelaide/Perth.
Sydney Wed 14:55 to Broken Hill Thurs 06:30
Broken Hill Tues 18:50 to Sydney Wed 10:15
Additional Services Operate Sep to Oct 2013
Sydney Sat 14:55 to Broken Hill Sun 06:40
Broken Hill Sun 18:30 to Sydney Mon 10:15
It is not possible to take cars to Broken Hill by train. The only drop-off/collection points are in Sydney and Adelaide.
Broken Hill train station is one block from the main shopping strip and walking distance to some accommodation. Taxis are available at the station to meet the trains.
Regional Express  has direct services from Sydney, Adelaide and Dubbo. The Sydney service can either be direct (one return flight per day) or with a stop over in Dubbo. Essentially there are two flights per day from Sydney to Broken Hill however they book out quickly. The Adelaide service is a direct flight with two to three return flights per day. This may be a better option if flying: in December 2007, one-way fares from Sydney started at $218; from Adelaide, $132. No other commercial airlines fly to Broken Hill. Flights take 1.5 hrs to Dubbo, 3 hrs to Sydney and 1.25hrs to Adelaide.
Taxis are available at the airport, 5km into the town centre. Ask the flight attendant to arrange for a taxi pickup.
Buses R Us  travel three times per week between Adelaide (7hrs), Mildura (4hrs) and Broken Hill.
Tue - Fri Adelaide 16:00 to Broken Hill 23:10 (The Sunday service is under review subject to numbers) Adult $105 Concession/Child $95
Wed - Sat Broken Hill 07:30 to Adelaide 23:10 (The Monday service is under review subject to numbers)
Wed & Fri Mildura 15:10 to Broken Hill 18:45 Adult $84.00 Concession/Child $76
Wed & Fri Broken Hill 07:00 to Mildura 11:00
Connects at the Mildura Railway Station with the Greyhound bus to Sydney and V/Line to Melbourne
Greyhound (formerly McCafferty)) no longer offer a service to Broken Hill from Adelaide and V/Line only offers a service between Mildura and Melbourne.
Countrylink (see 'By Train' above) runs a bus (8.5/9.5hrs) connecting with the Sydney train at Dubbo.
Daily Dubbo 14:15 via Cobar to Broken Hill 22:45
Daily Broken Hill 03:45 via Cobar to Dubbo 13:25
Walk Most of Broken Hill's sights are within walking distance of the Town Centre but some lie further out and in Summer the heat can be a big disincentive to hoofing it.
Murton's Citybus runs 4 color coded routes around Broken Hill: North (Yellow), South (Red), Hillside (Blue) and Thomas (Green) between 0800 and 1730 hrs. All routes pass through the City Terminus in Argent St near the Train Station.
Coach tours and Taxis are available.
You will need a car to see the town and surroundings independently. This poses problems for the adventurous. Rental cars in the city often charge a premium for travelling further than 100-200 km, which is easy to do. After that, the rate is generally 25 cents a kilometre. Driving on unsealed roads is only allowed if you hire a four-wheel drive; even then, if you have an accident, you are liable for the entire insurance excess. So getting off the beaten track is difficult. At least one company only lets you drive to Menindee or Silverton.
Avis and Thrifty rental car offices are located in Argent St. in the town centre. The Hertz office is located in the Visitor Centre building cnr Blende St & Bromide St.
COBB & CO Coach ride If you want a real experience that will take you back in time and off the beaten track, to see some real country. COBB & Co 
Out of Town
Broken Hill has developed a thriving artistic community. Take a browse through some of the art galleries and outlets in and around the town.
Broken Earth Cafe Restaurant Have a snack or fine dining on the top of the mullock heap looking down at the city spread below, especially at night.
Dunes Restaurant Southern Cross Hotel 357 Cobalt St (08) 8087 3679 Prides itself on Bush Food, so your chance to try camel and kangaroo amongst other less exotic fare. Breakfast Mon-Sat, Dinner 7 days.
Trinders Astra Hotel 393 Argent St. In up market Hotel.
Masallas 38 Chloride St (08) 8087 7405 Popular Indian.
Silver City Restaurant 1 Oxide Street (08) 8088 5860
Cafe Alfresco 397 Argent Street (08) 8087 5599 From 0700 till late 7 days a week. Busy, popular but slow service. Pizzas best bet.
Food Affair 360 Argent Street. Café
Bells Milk Bar 160 Patton Street South Broken Hill. An institution in Broken Hill since the '50's. Classic milk shakes, spiders, hot dogs and waffles. Free Wi-Fi and a flashback to treasure.
Musos (Musicians Club) 276 Crystal Street (08) 8087 1717 Cheap beer and standard club fare, with the added attraction of music (2030hrs - late) and Two-up (round midnight) on Friday and Saturday night. Open from 1000hrs till late 7 days a week.
The Demo (The Barrier Social Democratic Club) 218 Argent Street (08) 8087 1711 Basic club fare with drinks. Open from 0700hrs till late every night of the week.
JJ's (Club Legion) oppos. Railway 170 Crystal St (08) 8087 4064 Basic pub grub with a cheap Chef's special for lunch.
Mulga Hill Tavern 264 Oxide St (08) 8087 7138 Pub food, best go safe with the 'Parma' (veal parmagiana).
As one would predict for a mining town, Broken Hill, has its fair share of bars but those expecting frontier style pubs will be disappointed. The majority of bars in Broken Hill are of the RSL club style, full of cheap drinks and pokie machines. Having said that one should not miss out on a game of two-up at the Musicians Club held on Friday and Saturday nights. The Barrier Social Democratic Club holds a disco night on Saturday night in which the young people from the town come out to play.
Backpackers can get cheap accommodation at:
To see at least the near proximity, best is to hire a car for around $80/day (inc 100km/day) plus fuel. Two days should do everything within reach. One would be enough for Silverton, Mundi Mundi Plains, The Sculpture Symposium and Living Desert National Park.
Avis 195 Argent St (08) 8087 7532 / 1300 613 833 The city address was hard to find which may indicate it no longer functions. They have an office at the airport which is 6km out of town and hard to reach if you don't already have a car.
Hertz 193 Argent Street (08) 8087 2719 Open 7 days and till late (airport office)
Thrifty 190 Argent Street, (08) 8088 1928 Closed Sunday.
Bicycle Service and Repairs 29 Sulphide St (08) 8088 7002 For the fit, you can get out to most of the local attractions. Take water and a hat (a helmet is compulsory in Australia) in summer.
Sculpture Symposium 6km north. Obtain a key from the BH Information Centre. The key allows car access to the sculpture site. Alternatively drive to the car park and walk 2km to the site. A $10 park access charge is levied, payable at an honesty box near the site.
Silverton, 25km west, The historic boomtown has been the setting of several movies. Even though it 'poses' as a ghost town nowadays, it does in fact maintain a tiny population, having a camel farm. You can explore at will the ruined church and the Silverton Tramway, a now abandoned trainline which runs into S.A.
Day Dream Mine is 33km NW. Historic mine on the way to Silverton, runs tours daily.
Stephens Creek Reservoir 17 km NE. An artificial dam.
Mutawintji National Park 123 km NE. A ruggedly beautiful desert region showing evidence of continuous use by Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Dominated by the Bynguano Ranges, whose vibrant red colour dramatically captures changes in the light, this outback park is home to the famous hand stencil art of local Aboriginal communities as well as many other important cultural and historic sites.
White Cliffs 290km NE. The Opal Mining town is an interesting spot to visit or for prospecting.
Menindee Lakes, 110km east, When full of water, make a spectacular and surreal sight in the otherwise arid landscape. A drive through the river red gum forest in the adjacent Kinchega National Park is also worthwhile. Several quarries are worth exploring and the Mundi-Mundi plains too, perfect for a romantic sunset.