15 Best Things To Do In Broken Hill & Silverton NSW 2024 Guide
Looking for things to do in Broken Hill or wondering if it’s worth visiting? This NSW outback town has much more to offer than you could ever think! After our recent visit, this regional New South Wales town blew us away! We can’t wait to share some of the hidden gems you need to visit in one of the most unique towns in Australia!
Think of Cornish Tearooms in a mine, a Brit obsessed Mad Max lover who moved his whole family from England to start his own museum, selfies with loveable camels, and more!
Often referred to as the Silver City, Broken Hill is a true Australian outback destination with a rich history as the oldest mining town and is Australia’s first heritage-listed city.
Visiting this city, and nearby Silverton town, on the edge of the desert is like going back in time to see how the first British Settlers lived by the stunning outback landscape. I was in awe of the locals here and the community they have built. There is a sense of pride in their home and the famous artists grown here; every tourist attraction I visited had a personal local story.
It is not only me that was blown away; Broken Hill and Silverton have been the location for many big-screen films such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mad Max and Mission Impossible 2. I had a flying three-day visit on my road trip from Sydney but could have easily stayed for five days and not run out of things to do in Broken Hill and Silverton.
How to get there
Situated in the far west of New South Wales, it will take you just under 13 hours to drive the 1,142km from Sydney CBD to Broken Hill. There are some places to stop on the way to break up your journey; look out for our guide on this soon!
If you are a fan of the Priscilla Queen Of The Dessert movie, you would be driving the same route they drove to get to their first outback stop in Broken Hill; so put on their Abba soundtrack and feel like you are in this classic Australian movie!
If you’re looking for a campervan hire, check out my experience driving to Broken Hill in a Travellers Autobarn van.
Don’t feel like spending a day in a car? I feel you! Well, Qantas have just secured a flight contract starting from April 2022 so you can get there in just over 3 hours from Sydney! Now you have no excuse not to visit this incredible Outback City!
1. Feel like a Queen of the Desert at The Palace Hotel
Remember the film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and the scenes at their first hotel stop in the outback? The Palace Hotel in Broken Hill is THE hotel and it has not changed since the film! If you are a fan of the film, I urge you to visit and stay in the Priscilla Suite, complete with the incredible art murals shown in the 90’s classic film. Think kitsch at its finest. Kick back and watch the movie in the bedroom they filmed it in!
The Palace Hotel truly celebrates their Drag Queen fans and is the starting place of the Broken Heel festival every September, a 4 day event full of parades, parties and a Silverton day trip! The Palace hotel even has it’s own gift shop and award winning restaurant. Look out for my article on my experience staying here soon!
Honestly, we were completely blown away by how incredible this hotel really is. Put it on your list to visit right now!
2. Watch the sunset at the Living Desert and Sculptures
A Broken Hill icon among the Barrier Ranges, the living desert sculptures were built in the 90’s by an art symposium made up of artist from around the world. The artists created 12 unique sandstone sculptures in less than two months and the community banded together to raise money and donate tools.
Visiting at sunset is a truly magical experience as the orange light hits off the individual sculptures and lights up the flat living desert reserve which seems to go on forever.
You can also visit the John Simons Flora and Fauna sanctuary before 5pm where the walking trails will give you a sense of the Aboriginal heritage and native plants and wildlife.
3. Be star-struck with Outback Astronomy
The Outback Astronomy tour in Broken Hill is a must-visit even just to talk to the owners, Linda and Travis and find out how they turned a lifelong garden hobby into an incredible dream job.
From spending their lockdown evenings in the garden studying the stars with low light pollution to now running Outback Astronomy nights and winning a Broken Hill tourism award, these self-taught astronomers are nothing short of outstanding.
When you book the Outback Astronomy, you get a lounge chair, binoculars and headphones as Linda and Travis passionately guide you through the milky way galaxy with a laser beam and high powered telescopes. You can even add a local cheese and wine hamper to make your night with the stars even more special.
Top tips; ensure you download directions to the place just in case your signal is lost in the outback. Linda sends helpful text reminders the day of your booking to ensure you get there before the strict gate time closing at 8pm.
4. Taste a World Winning Gin at the Broken Hill Distillery
The Broken Hill Distillery in the Australian outback beat bestsellers to win two medals at the World Gin Awards in London for their gunpowder gin! The incredible thing is, the brothers, Eric and Paul Hanna, have only been operating since February 2021 and let me tell you, their gunpowder gin stands out!
You can get a tour and tasting of their full range, including a Mundi Mundi Moonshine, a Remembrance Gin with lemon and rosemary, and Far West floral gin.
The Brothers have plans to extend their distillery to create a whisky, which i’m sure will follow in the footsteps of their gin and be world class!
5. Get the full low down on a Broken Hill Heritage Trail
Starting from the visitor information centre and heading down the main street, the volunteer-led Broken Hill Heritage walk gives you an insight into how this heritage-listed city was formed.
The guide takes you through the city’s colourful identities such as their mining heritage which includes the world’s largest deposit of ore, the thriving art scene and famous artists born here, the first lady blacksmith and the grand boom era buildings!
As previously mentioned, the locals and their pride are what make this town extra special so it’s no wonder this trail is on my list of best things to do in Broken Hill!
6. Gorge on malted milkshakes in 1950’s style at Bells Milk Bar
The Bells Milk Bar is like stepping into a 1950’s postcard, they even have their own museum showing the original kitchen and milkshake utensils! Originally a confectionary store in 1892, Bells Milk bar changed to serve milkshakes and has not been renovated since the 1950’s.
With over 50 flavours to choose from, you will not be disappointed. As I drank my Hazelnut Milkshake with added Malt and listened to the old school jukebox, I could see why this place has won multiple tourism awards.
7. Step into an apocalyptic scene at The Silverton Hotel
Ever seen the Mad Max movies and thought they created this apocalyptic world in a studio? They didn’t need to, Silverton town and the historic Silverton Hotel are the perfect backdrops for this movie and many more; the pub is the most photographed and filmed Hotel in Australia.
Steeped in history, this hotel dates back to 1884 and is the birthplace of one of the world’s largest mining companies, BHP. The hotel is the heart of this town, and owners Patsy and Peter have extended to include a kitchen, huge event space and stage and accommodation units.
Calling backpackers! The Silverton Hotel welcomes backpackers looking to experience working in the outback and provides accommodation during your employment. What a unique once in a lifetime experience!
8. Visit a super fan at The Mad Max Museum
Unlike any other museum you will have visited, British film fan Adrian opened the Mad Max museum after visiting the area on a whim. Ever since seeing the film at 18, Adrian has been obsessed with everything Mad Max and even built his own interceptor car in Bradford UK.
Adrian and his family bought their house in Silverton in 2009 and the media soon got hold of their dream to open the first Mad Max Museum.
Soon he had collated a huge collection of donated photos, memorabilia and cars from actors, crew and fans and opened his doors in 2010. Since then the museum has doubled in size and it’s a worthwhile visit just to talk to Adrian about his dream and passion for the film.
9. Learn about the Cornish Miners at the Day Dream Mine
Put on your hard hat and descend into a real silver mine to see first-hand the working conditions miners had to endure on their twelve-hour shifts on the incredible Day Dream Mine Tour.
The history of this mine is fascinating as it was discovered by pioneering Cornish miners, who had travelled from South Australia when the copper mine had run out. The Day Dream mine is co-leased by couple Kevin and Beth White who have over 25 years of knowledge on the mining industry.
“The original house is still standing and is a traditional Cornish tea room serving cream tea the Cornish way, not the Devonshire way (jam first then cream of course!).”
10. Ride the most gentle Outback Camels
A unique attraction on the things to do in Broken Hill list is to visit the wonderful Silverton Outback Camels. We spent an afternoon at Silverton Outback Camels with Petah and Duncan learning how they take in any rescued animal in their sanctuary and care for them.
The couple has huge hearts and currently have ostriches, goats, pigs, dogs, peacocks, alpacas, donkeys, emus living at their sanctuary, and of course the beautiful camels.
Book onto one of their camel walks, ranging from 30 minutes to overnight trips with a stop at The Silverton Hotel for a ‘roadie’, and have an unforgettable experience. The camels love hugs and selfies so be prepared for that!
11. Mundi Mundi Lookout
Another apocalyptic backdrop for the Mad Max movies, the Mundi Mundi lookout is a hill overlooking the expansive desert plains. Stunning on any day with deep blue skies, this plain will be home to a huge 3 day festival every April, the Mundi Mundi bash.
You can camp in this stunning setting, listen to countless live music concerts and eat incredible local food, what more could you want? Silverton Outback Camels will be hosting sunset camel walks at the festival too, now what more could you want?
12. Visit the World’s Largest Picture at Silver City Mint and Art centre
The Silver City is famous for it’s art galleries, so it’s no wonder it is home to The Big Picture, a 100 metre long acrylic painted canvas by a single Broken Hill artist, Ando.
Nestled among the Heritage Buildings, the art centre boasts many Broken Hill Regional art by local artists and a treasure trove of mined silver. There is even a chocolate factory to visit, something for everyone!
13. Admire the art of local legend at the Pro hart gallery
This old mining town is home to some world renowned artists, most famous of which is Pro Hart. Pro Hart developed an eye for narrative art depicting miners and life in the outback from working on a sheep farm and long shifts in the mines.
He was commissioned to create a sculpture for a miners memorial opposite the Ron Carter transport pavilion; he chose a big bull ant to represent each miner’s dedication to his mate. Broken hill is full of nods to this local artist, so visit the Pro Hart gallery and see why!
14. Have a heritage experience with the Royal flying doctor service
Located in the Bruce Langford visitors centre, you can discover the history of the Royal flying doctor service, hear stories from the frontline and watch a live operation. This is the only visitors centre located in a real life working royal flying doctor service, so truly unique on the list of things to do in Broken Hill.
15. Head 4 hours down the road to Mars
OK, it might not be technically in Broken Hill but a four-hour drive down the road is like a blink in the eye for outback driving. This brings me to the jaw-dropping Mungo National Park, aka Mars on earth.
This is where the oldest human remains were found back in the 1970s and it’s a spot you should try and make an effort to visit at sunset to see those warm orange colours transform the national park into, quite frankly Mars. If Mungo National Park isn’t on your bucket list yet, it certainly should be!
Whether you’re looking for new places to visit in NSW or things to do in Broken Hill, be blown away by this incredibly fascinating town like we were and go support the local tourism as soon as you can!
Best Things To Do In Broken Hill
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This article is written by Londoner In Sydney team member, Amii Freeman.
Hi I’m Amii! I’m from Darlington in the North East of England. I moved from London to Sydney in 2019 for a slower pace and to be by the coast, without having to give up my love of cities. My passion is in film and TV, I screen-write and act as much as I can. In my spare time I love trying new food, exploring new places, kayaking, hiking and cycling.Follow me on Instagram @amiifreeman!