‘NSW Outback adventure’

(This tour yarn is a work in progress)

Trip Overview

During spring of 2020 in October, deserving an escape from government pandemic lockdown, we embarked upon a private nine day rural road adventure deep into the NSW Outback.

It was basically from the Blue Mountains to Broken Hill and back, spanning diverse country covering a 2,810 km clockwise loop.  It was the best pandemic escape.

Yes, it was Covid-19 compliant and indeed sanctioned by the NSW government since being wholly within the state of New South Wales – as enormous a state as we discovered.

It was our first trip to Broken Hill, and my wife’s first trip to the Outback.  It was just the two of us in our newly acquired and restored 1995 Range Rover Pegasus LP 4.6 V8 HSE (pre-P38).

Spiced with many attractions en route, the cold beer at the legendary Silverton Hotel outside Broken Hill was the holy grail for this outback crusade.

Nature Trail Base is our home in Katoomba near the Carrington Hotel’s distinctive brick chimney.  This was our trip start and finish point.  The outbound route westward follows the Great Western Highway A32 which despite name changes, extends from Parramatta Road to Broken Hill.

Check the distance from Katoomba: 100km west of The Obelisk in Macquarie Place Park in Sydney’s CBD – the earliest surviving public monument of Australia`s British colonisation where Governor Phillip raised the Union Jack in 1788.  It remains the zero point for the measurement of roads from Sydney across New South Wales…like Silverton.

So this trip’s outbound road distance is 1,276 km from Nature Trail’s base in Katoomba – pretty much starting from the Carrington Hotel’s iconic 30m octagonal powerhouse brick chimney-stack – officially the ‘Carrington Stack’. [Read more]

Tour Scope

We chose the outbound route to be via Parkes, Griffith, Euston then two nights in The Palace Hotel at Broken Hill. This was not the shortest route, but allowed for a varying landscape, different to the return route.

These maps are Google approximates of our more specific selected tour route.  Whilst the return road distance is 1,104 km, we extended it by diverting to White Cliffs underground motel, Cobar and Dubbo before returning to Katoomba. So the combined route was a circuit, a very large one, with no backtracking so making for a varied landscape experience and all within the state of New South Wales.  Had we ventured one foot across any state border, the NSW Government’s pandemic dictat would have required us to self-isolate at single assigned accommodation for 14 days at our expense.

We ended up covering 2,810 km by road in order to explore more interesting features off the main highways.  We restricted our route to the bitumen due to recent extensive rains creating the risk of dirt/gravel roads becoming flooded without warning which would have caused us to become stranded.

Personally, this is not my first trip to the Outback, having done Melbourne to Kununurra in the Kimberley via Victoria River Downs in my old 1969 Holden 186. Previously crossing the Nullabor, Perth to Broome, then Kununurra to Wyndham, then Darwin, Darwin to Cairns via Cape Crawford and Karumba, Cairns to Melbourne via Longreach, and exploring every Australian state and territory.

While this lot is not quite the Simpson nor the Gibson desert, I know it gets hot out there and I have much respect for remote dirt country, especially when it’s over 45 Celsius or when it buckets down over Outback red clay or black soil.

Since setting up my tour operation Nature Trail back in 2013, I have lead many dozens of group trips, both hiking and road touring.   Given recent widespread rains out west, this is not a rough off-road trip.  The tour vehicle is not yet kitted up for serious 4×4 off-roading.  So it’s a 3+ star hotel-motel stays drive mostly on the bitumen to avoid getting bogged. It’s off season (October springtime is mild) and outside hectic overbooked school holidays.

This is a ‘lifestyle’ trip and we’re both in our 50’s after all – no kids by choice and one cat.  It’s a multi-day (x9) road touring trip at a relaxed pace in which we’re staying in very comfortable if not plush accommodation en route.  The trip purpose is to experience a decent sample of Australia’s Outback in comfort. We want to see the many sights, attractions, places of interest, local sight tours, heritage walks, Nature hikes, Outback sunsets and starry night skies, shopping indulgences, local eateries and engaging with locals to learn their insights along the way.

This trip’s budget for two of us?  $4000 – an indulgence, meticulously desk-researched to ensure this adventure will be long reminisced.

My wife and I shall share the driving of ‘Excalibur’ – our touring 4WD P38 4.6L V8 Range Rover. Purchased in August 2019 off a mate at mates rates.  The car at the time:

A year later, following bushfire lockdown, torrential rain, a dust storm, and back-to-back the current global virus pandemic lockdown; we’ve poured government funding into major repairs, full 200K servicing, restoring the trim and duco and partially kitting it out ready for commercial road touring – once the government lockdowns hopefully ease off.

So we’re taking Excalibur on his first big trip, an adventure, to get some return on our investment.  It’s our first real chance to try it out and the new kit thus far – the Cooper all-terrain tyres, new HEMA satnav, UHF radio, 240V power, sound system, hands-free mobile phone, even the fixed aircon and heater.

Why this time of year?  Well, due to the pandemic lockdown, last March my wife was forced to cancel a planned holiday with her Northern Irish family driving around New Zealand’s South Island, so this is a make up – keeping compliantly wholly within the state of New South Wales.  We’ll cross no borders and the NSW Government is encouraging such holiday trips now, so we should be right.  We’re also going outside school holidays, which will be quieter, plus it’s spring and there’ve been good rains out west.

This ‘NSW Outback Adventure‘ is to be a practice recce for future commercial trips and perhaps to lead a club trip with the Range Rover Club of NSW, of which we are both members.  As we plan and drive this trip, details will be journaled on this webpage as a ‘tour yarn’ describing the trip.  In addition, a Trip Plan including the detailed route, itinerary, equipment, stops, stays, attractions, town walks, nature hikes, facilities, observations will be made available on a linked private page for selected access.

Steve, Tour Director



Trip Specifications

Trip Plan

NOTE: Trip Plan details are private for commercial reasons, privacy reasons and to share with trusted friends and associates. 

Trip Itinerary Outline

(click each day to read the respective tour yarn)


Day 1:  Katoomba (NT Base) to Parkes

Day 2:  Parkes to Griffith

Day 3:  Griffith to Euston

Day 4:  Euston to Broken Hill

Day 5:  Broken Hill & Silverton

Day 6:  Broken Hill to White Cliffs

Day 7:  White Cliffs to Cobar

Day 8:  Cobar to Dubbo

Day 9: Dubbo back to Katoomba

Post-Trip Reflections


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This webpage updated 17th October 2022.