Sydney to Adelaide Outback Drive
2,200 km | 35 hrs | 8+ days
Broken Hill – an outback mining town of art, historic buildings and unique landscapes – lies just over 1,100 km west of Sydney and 500 km north east of Adelaide. All the highlights mentioned in this article, as well as the best places to stay in your campervan, have been mapped below. We've mentioned where there are options to stay longer or explore off the beaten track. If you take us up on all of them (and they're worth it) you can turn this into an easy and fun 14 day road trip. But if time is limited, stick to the schedule laid out here.
If a truck approaches while travelling the outback roads, it is polite (and sensible) to pull over onto the side of the road and wait for it to pass. The trucker will thank you for it and you’ll protect your windscreen from flying rocks.
Blue Mountains National Park
Sydney to Adelaide Itinerary
Day 1: Sydney | Blue Mountains | Jenolan Caves - 180 km | 3 hrs
Day 2: Bathurst | Orange | Hill End | Parkes - 360 km | 4 hr 50 min
Day 3 & 4: Parkes | Broken Hill - 819 km | 8 hr 30 min
Day 5: Menindee Lakes - 114 km | 1 hr 15 min
Day 6: Mungo National Park - 215 km | 4 hr 40 min
Day 7: Mildura and Murray River - 120 km | 4 hr 20 min
Day 8: Barossa Valley | Adelaide - 395 km | 4 hr 40 min
Sydney to Adelaide Itinerary
Day 1: Adelaide | Barossa Valley | Mildura - 395 km | 4 hr 40 min
Day 2: Mildura | Murray River | Mungo - 120 km | 4 hr 20 min
Day 3: Mungo National Park | Menindee - 215 km | 4 hr 40 min
Day 4: Kinchega National Park | Broken Hill - 114 km | 1 hr 15 min
Day 6 & 7: Broken Hill | Parkes - 819 km | 8 hr 30 min
Day 7: Orange | Hill End | Bathurst - 360 km | 4 hr 50 min
Day 8: Jenolan Caves | Blue Mountains | Sydney - 180 km | 3 hrs
Sydney to Adelaide Drive Map
The Blue Mountains National Park is a bushwalkers paradise with endless valleys and mountains, stunning views, wildlife, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, quaint mountain villages, gardens, the Jenolan Caves and plenty of campervan friendly places to stay. Read our full article on the Blue Mountains to get 12 highlights and the best place to camp, including free camping!
OPTION: Stay for two nights. There's enough here to keep you exploring for days.
The Giant Stairway Walk, Blue Mountains.
Mount Wilson in Autumn, Blue Mountains.
Free Camping Blue Mountains
- Cathedral Reserve Camping Area: Mt Wilson. Ten minute walk from the Cathedral of Ferns 30 min loop walk. Toilets, fire pits, picnic tables.
- Old Ford Reserve Camping Area: Near Six Foot Walking Track. Toilets, fires, picnic tables.
- Dunphy’s Camping Area: Pit toilets, fires, BBQs, picnic tables.
Camping Blue Mountains
- Dunns Swamp Campground: On the river. Toilets, wood fired BBQs, picnic tables, kayak hire.
RATES: $6 per adult, $3.50 per child. No bookings.
- Lake Lyell Recreation Area - On a lake. Hot showers, toilets, free BBQs, picnic tables, kayaks, playground.
RATES: From $20.
- Jenolan Caravan Park - Convenient for Jenolan Caves. Hot showers, flush toilets, camp kitchens, BBQs, picnic tables, laundry rooms, and games rooms.
RATES: From $25.
- Blackheath Glen Tourist Park - Wooded. Hot showers, flush toilets, camp kitchens, BBQs, picnic tables, laundry rooms, and games rooms.
RATES: From $31.
Govetts Leap, Blue Mountains. Photo: Sky Rider Motor Inn
Bathurst | Hill End | Orange | Parkes
Katoomba to Parkes: 383 km | 5 hr
233 km | 3 hr without Hill End
Things to do in Bathurst
- Visit the excellent and informative Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum. The building in which it is housed is beautiful in its own right.
ENTRY: $14 adults. Concession and kids prices available.
- Learn some local political history at the Old Government Cottage. Open Sunday afternoons.
ENTRY: $4 adults. Concession and kids prices available.
- Step back in time at the beautiful Miss Traill's House and Garden, a heritage house museum.
ENTRY: $10 adults. Concession and kids prices available.
- Visit the Chiffley Home, a historic trust museum house.
ENTRY: $13 adults. Concession and kids prices available.
- National Motor Racing Museum is a celebration of the history, personalities, and achievements of Australian Motor Racing, including speedway, solar, drag, rallying, open wheeler, sports cars and touring cars.
ENTRY: $15 adults. $10 concessions.
Meadows Flat near Bathurst. Photo: Photos by Brenden
Things to do in Orange
- Taste wine at Desalis Wines, Stockman's Ridge Wines, Orange Mountain Wines and other wineries in the area.
- Stroll through Orange Botanic Gardens or Cook Park in the middle of town. Both are stunning in autumn.
- Climb Mount Canobolis at Mt Condobolas Nature Reserve. It lies southwest of Orange and has walking trails, mountain bike trails, waterfalls and some great views.
- Visit the Orange Regional Art Gallery
Orange. Photo: TasteOrange via IG
Things to do in Hill End
Hill End is a photographer's dream. It's a place of tree-lined lanes, lichen-covered picket fences, country cottages, and lots of rural charm. It has attracted a community of artists and creative folk who have opted out of the rat race. The village is great for a stroll. There are antiques, galleries, and places to eat or stop for a coffee. Take a drive, or walk up Bald Hill for views over the village.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo near Dubbo is more of a zoofari due to the massive, open-style enclosures in natural bushland. You can drive, cycle or take a tour around the 6 km circuit, getting out at each enclosure. Book ahead for animal encounters. There are free BBQs and picnic tables for visitors.
Hill End. Photo: Philip Johnson Photography.
Hill End. Alex Taylor photography via IG
Hill End. MissWorldTravellerOz via IG
Things to do in Parkes
Parkes is famous for its Elvis Festival and 'The Dish' - a massive radio telescope in the countryside just north of Parkes.
- The Dish is open to visitors seven days a week.
- Learn your regional history at the Henry Parkes Centre
- Stretch your legs at one of three conserved landscapes. Drop into the Visitor Information Centre (It's on the map above) to pick up some bushwalking maps of Goobang National Park, Back Yamma State Forest or the Black Range in Trundle.
Camping and Caravan Parks
- The Village is located in Hill End. Facilities include showers, toilets, BBQs, drinking water and picnic tables.
RATES: $10 per adult.
- Glendora is in a bush setting near Hill End. Facilities include showers, toilets, BBQs, drinking water and picnic tables.
RATES: Powered $12 per adult. $6 per child. Unpowered $8.50 per adult $5 per child.
- Wallaby Rocks Crossing is just outside Sofala on the way to Hill End on the banks of the Turon River. Facilities include pit toilets but no showers.
- Crossing Bridge is closer to Sofala on the banks of the Turon River. Facilities include pit toilets but no showers.
- Canobolas Caravan Park is the best reviewed caravan park in Orange. Facilities include showers, laundry, BBQs, picnic tables and dump point.
RATES: Powered from $30 for two adults. Unpowered from $15 for two. Additional people $9.50
- Spicer Caravan Park: Facilities include showers, laundry, BBQ area, playground, dump-point and an outdoor entertaining area with a fire-pit.
RATES: Unpowered from $20 for two people. Powered from $26 for two adults. Additional adults $7.
Parkes Elvis Festival
Gooban National Park. El_Pie_De_Samantha via IG
The almost nine hour drive from Parkes to Broken Hill is the longest you'll do on this trip. Get an early start. If you arrive in Broken Hill just before sunset, head straight to the Sculpture Symposium in the Living Desert State park north of town for the perfect photo opportunity.
Spend a day in Broken Hill to enjoy the town and the surrounding landscapes. Spectacular outback sunsets, art, a desert sculpture park, star-studded night skies and Victorian architecture are all here to be explored.
Things to do in Broken Hill
- The Palace Hotel is a Victorian three story pub with an elaborate iron lace veranda. Inside, its walls are covered by kitsch landscape murals painted by Indigenous artist Gordon Wayne in the 1970s.
- Line of Lode Miners Memorial is a moving tribute to the 500 miners who have lost their lives at Broken Hill.
- The Royal Flying Doctors have a visitor centre with some stirring displays and stories.
- Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, in a restored Victorian building, holds 1800 works in its permanent collection, with an emphasis on Australian masters such as John Olsen, Sidney Nolan and Arthur Streeton as well as a broad Indigenous representation.
- Kevin 'Pro' Hart is one of outback Australia's most beloved painters. His work and studio fills three stories of the Pro Hart Gallery.
- The Sculpture Symposium in the Living Desert State Park is a collection of monolithic sandstone sculptures made by international artists on a hilltop northwest of Broken Hill. Their colours change with the changing light and are best viewed at sunset or sunrise. The sculptures are signposted off Nine Mile Rd. Pick up the keys for the gates from the visitor centre.
Sculpture Symposium, Broken Hill. Photo via a1onsite.com
Broken Hill Caravan Parks
- Broken Hill Tourist Park doesn't score the reviews we look for, but it is the best rated place in town (3.8 stars). Facilities include a swimming pool, BBQs, showers, laundry, children's playground, free WiFi and picnic tables.
RATES: $45 per night for two people. Additional adults $10.
Mutawintji National Park
OPTIONAL: If you have the freedom to add a day or two to your journey, consider detouring north to Mutawintji National Park. The drive is 3.5 hours each way and you'll be rewarded with ancient outback landscapes that are uniquely Australian and rich in Aboriginal heritage. Drop into the Mutawintji Visitor Centre when you arrive to get the low down on the highlights.
- Camp under the stars
- Explore the walking trails through ruggedly beautiful desert and the vibrant red Bynguano Ranges.
- Swim in a waterhole where the water flows over a gentle slope creating a natural waterslide.
- See the Aboriginal cave painting.
- Visit the Mutawintji Historic Site for one of the best Aboriginal art collections in New South wales.
Mutawintji National Park rock paintings.
Menindee Lakes and Kinchega National Park
Menindee Lake provides an important breeding ground for a variety of waterbirds, including herons, ibises, spoonbills and black swan. Walking tracks take you through forests of river red gums. Scenic drives follow the course of the Darling River and the lake shores.The water-soaked landscape is particularly photogenic at the 'magic hour' of dawn and dusk. Make the place home for a night in your campervan.
Menindee Camping and Caravan Parks
- Menindee Lakes Caravan Park is located on the lake and in the town of Menindee within walking distance of everything. Facilities include a camp kitchen, picnic tables, hot showers.
- Darling River Campground in Kinchega National Park is on the banks of the river beneath majestic river red gums. Facilities include picnic tables, barbecue facilities, toilets but no showers.
RATES: $6 per adult. $3.50 per child.
Menindee Lakes, Kinchega National Park. Photo: phenomena_of_the_world via IG
Kinchega National Park. Photo: _DanielTran_ via IG
Mungo National Park
After rising at dawn to take those magnificent photos of Menindee Lakes, follow the Darling River south to Mungo National park. Scientists have discovered Aboriginal artifacts here dating back over 50,000 years going back as far as the last ice age. It's a surreal moonscape of a place with unusual rock formations that change color with the shifting light. Monet would have loved it! Drop into the Visitor Centre for a map of the self-guided drive and the various walks.
The night sky will blow you away! Try your hand at some night photography.
- Grasslands Nature Trail is a short, easy walk through grassy woodlands with pretty views. There are a lot of birds near Willandra Lakes.
- Mungo Lookout has views across the wide open desert to the Wall of China formation.
- At Mallee Stop Walking Track you can learn about Aboriginal heritage and climb dunes near Lake Mungo.
- Mungo Self-Drive tour takes you through Mungo National Park to all the highlights, including the Walls of China. Duration: 2 hrs.
There are two campgrounds. Both are campervan friendly and are a first-come first-served basis.
- Main Campground has picnic tables, barbecue facilities, toilets and a washing up block. It is a short drive to Mungo Visitor Centre where you have access to hot showers and flush toilets.
RATES: $8.50 per adult. $4 per child.
- Belah Campground is a little more remote and smaller and has picnic tables, BBQs and toilets but now showers.
RATES: $8.50 per adult. $4 per child.
Mungo National Park
Wall of China, Mungo National Park. Photo: Shazzahlicious via IG
Mildura and the Murray River
It's time to feast your eyes on some green! Mildura is an oasis in the outback and a cornucopia of local produce and vineyards. Stop here for the paddle steamer tours of the Murray River, the art deco buildings, the wine tasting at local vineyards, the quality dining and the picturesque hinterland.
Things to do in Mildura
- Visit Lock11. Paddle steamers pass through this lock and it is fascinating to see how a lock works, and more phtogenic when it is a paddle steamer that is being transported.
- The Mildura Arts Centre is housed in a Queen Anne mansion
- The Etiwanda Wetlands is home to 91 species of birds
- Chateau Mildura Vineyard is a pleasant spot to sip wine.
- Chateau Tanunda Estate has
- Sand Bar pub has Art Deco architecture and a beer garden
- Kings Billabong Nature Reserve is good for kayaking
- Apex Beach is the spot to catch some sun, swimming, and people watching
- The Arts Centre will give you plenty of culture
- Drop in to the Brewery or the Cider Tree for some local brews
- Taste the local oranges and their products at Orange World. You can also take a tour of the orange orchard and learn how to pick a good orange.
OPTIONAL: If you want to explore this region properly, stay two nights.
Camping and Caravan Parks
- The Buronga Riverside Tourist Park receives excellent reviews. It sits on the banks of the Murray River and they have wildlife, an animal farm, a tennis court, 2 swimming pools, a BMX track, 2 playgrounds, and a jumping pillow.
RATES: Unpowered sites from $29 for two. Additional adults $9, kids $5.
- BIG4 Mildura Getaway is right in town. Facilities include camp kitchen, jumping pillow, swimming pool, toddler pool, playground, games room (foos ball, table tennis, pool table, wii), hot showers, laundry, BBQs, free WiFi, TV lounge, dump point, lending library.
RATES: Powered sites from $38 for two people. Additional adults $15, kids $12.
- BIG4 Golden River is just north of town on the Murray River. Facilities include camp kitchen, jumping pillow, swimming pool, toddler pool, playground, games room, hot showers, laundry, BBQs, WiFi, TV lounge.
RATES: From $37 for two. Additional adults $12.
- All Seasons Holiday Park is located in town. They have an amazing water playground for the kids. They also have a heated swimming pool and toddlers pool, free WiFi, camp kitchen, BBQs, games room, jumping pillow, herb garden, basket ball, totem tennis, tennis court, dump point.
RATES: Powered sites from $36. Additional adults $10.
- River Gardens Holiday Park is located outside of town on the banks of the Murray River. Facilities include hot showers, laundry, free WiFi, playground, swimming pool, jumper, BBQ, pizza oven.
RATES: Unpowered site from $27 for two people. Additional adults $10
- Apex River Holiday Park is located on a quiet bend of the Murray River. The sites have river views. Facilities include hot showers, laundry, BBQs, camp kitchen, playground and dump point.
RATES: Unpowered from $32 per night for the site.
Mildura citrus season. Photo: DavidSickerdick via IG
Barossa Valley to Adelaide
On the way to the Barossa Valley you will follow the Murray River for a while. The Murray has a lot of history behind her. It is worth stopping at Banrock Station Winery, if not to taste their wine or their refreshing punches, to explore the magnificent wetlands on their boardwalk.There are three walking trails. The shortest is 2.5 km, the longest 8 km.
OPTIONAL: If you prefer the history of the Murray River to the wines of the Barrossa Valley, you could head south at Blanchetown, hugging the Murray River to Mannum (see our Murray River drive) and head in to Adelaide via the very pleasant drive through Hahndorf and the Adelaide Hills.
Things to do in Barossa Valley
- Most people come here for the wine tasting. See our picks below.
- Barossa Regional Gallery and Corrobboree Dream Art Gallery will give art lovers their art fix. Corrobboree has a good collection of Aboriginal art.
- The old Jam Factory near Seppeltsfield winery has been repurposed for artist studios. Artisans include a knife maker, ceramicist, glass artist, leather worker, hat maker and jeweler. A walkway through the buildings enables you to see them at work.
Barossa Wine Tasting
Barossa Valley is famous for its wines. Call into Mildura Visitor Information Centre before you leave and grab some brochures on the Barossa Valley region. It is easy enough once you have a map of the wineries in the region, to explore on your own.
If you'd like some guidance on which wineries to visit, here are our favorites, including the world famous wineries such as Yalumba and Penfolds.
- St Hallets
- Peter Lehman
- Wolf Blass
- Hentley Farm
- Two Hands
- Hutton Vale Farm
The road to Seppeltsfield Winery
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