Some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll ever lay your eyes on is right here in the heart of the NSW outback. It’s a haven of history, uniquely Australian wildlife, and world renowned artwork, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret – it’s the spectacular outback sunsets that make this place so special, at least to me anyway.
Now there’s a bucket load of weird and wonderful things to see and do in the Broken Hill region, but I reckon you just can’t beat a few nights camping amongst the sweet serenity of Eldee Station. It’s just a few clicks past Silverton, which is just a few more clicks from Broken Hill, and it’s the perfect place to base yourself if you want to mix a bit of outback camping in with the numerous activities the region has to offer.
ELDEE STATION HIGHLIGHTS
The dusty track into Eldee Station is the perfect place to spot the odd roo, and watch a few bush chooks (emus) dance as you pass by. The scenery out this is nothing short of amazing with both the Mundi Mundi Plains and the Barrier Ranges really stealing the show. The seemingly endless Mundi Mundi Plains stretch as far as the eye can see, and are actually home to two small meteorites – Eldee 001 and Eldee 002. Geologists believe Eldee 001 was formed deep within an asteroid during the early stages of the solar systems formation, and was blasted apart during a collision with another asteroid before landing on earth some 5000 years ago. The second meteorite may have been lying on the Mundi Mundi Plain for as long as 10,000 years. Kind of makes you feel young, doesn’t it?
Although Eldee Station is still a working station, the good folks there are kind enough allow the keen adventurer access to about 100km worth of 4WD tracks, with a few of the best being rocky mountain climbs that spit you out at some of the best vantage points of the Mundi Mundi Plains and the Barrier Ranges. Utterly spectacular is all I’ve got to say about these views, and to be able to crack a beer open and watch the sun light up the plains as it sets in the background is an experience I definitely won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
FOLLOWING THE RIVER BED
Before you head into Silverton to sample a few of the town’s unique attractions, you’ll want to explore a bit more of the home grown adventure here at the station, starting off with a leisurely drive down along the riverbed. It’s a bit hard to describe exactly what it’s like through here – it’s like you’re caught in time with just about every bit of scenery being ancient. In fact, it’s strikingly similar to the Flinders Rangers. Massive big rocks and cliffs line the river bank, and loose shale covers the tracks making for some technical driving in spots if the camper’s still attached. There’s also a huge feldspar crystal growth around 40cm wide which is hard to spot, but well worth the effort.
SILVERTON: HOME OF MAD MAX
A short run into the town of Silverton is well worth the effort – this place is full of tourist attractions to keep you and the kids occupied and entertained. The town of Silverton itself was put on the map when the original Mad Max movie was filmed here and you can even check out some behind the scenes photos at the old Silverton Hotel, which is pretty cool to see. If you haven’t got your Mad Max fix just yet, you’ve just got to check out the Mad Max Museum. It’s full of old relics and replicas from the original movie, including some of the clothing, weapons and vehicles. The two-door Ford Coupes are all kept in running condition, not sure what they’d be worth these days but I’m guessing it’d be a pretty penny.
For the history buffs, there are heaps of buildings that still remain from the town’s former glory days back in the late 1800s, with the old church being a real point of interest.
THE ART OF THE OUTBACK
From the Mad Max Museum you can wonder around a million and one different art galleries and see some truly authentic Australian artwork for yourself. You see, Silverton supplies the perfect outback setting for new and old artists alike to whip up some of the best works in the country. You’ll find the brush strokes of one of Australia’s top selling artists and local resident John Dynon at the Silverton Outback Gallery. John’s work is represented in collections and exhibitions throughout the world.
If you duck back into Broken Hill, the famous artists just keep piling up. One of the best in the business being Kevin “Pro” Heart, whose two storey gallery is full of direct, humorous and down-to-earth pieces, with a few vehicles acting as unlikely canvases.
Well, one thing’s for sure, the sights and sounds of Silverton and Broken Hill are quirky and entertaining indeed. If it’s an authentic Aussie outback getaway you’re after, this region is going to be really hard to beat. I’ve just got one piece of advice for the would-be traveller, and that’s to bring an open mind. There’s so much to take in around here, and while parts of it are a bit on the touristy side for the more hard-core or seasoned campers/travellers, there is plenty of stuff to keep your mind sharp around here.
Plus, with the calibre of camping and sightseeing that Eldee Station has on offer, I know one thing’s for sure – you’re going to absolutely fall in love with the heart of the NSW outback!
- Silverton is 26km west of Broken Hill, NSW, and 320km north of Mildura, Vic.
- Eldee Station is 36km north of Silverton. Powered sites start from $36 for two people pn; non-powered sites start from $34 for two people pn.
- Visit www.eldeestation.com or phone (08) 8091 2578 for more information.
- Visit the Silverton Information Centre at 2 Layard Street, Silverton or phone (08) 8088 7566.
- Phone (08) 8088 5313 for the Silverton Hotel.
Check out the full feature in issue #95 December 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.