Broken Hill is an interesting place.
A mining boom town, Broken Hill is a small, but very prosperous town. And it shows throughout the town – with street names such as Sulphur, and Oxide, it is easy to tell where this town gets its wealth from.
But that it only the beginning of Broken Hill’s quirks.
Back in Broken Hill’s history, it ended up having a little bit of an argument with politicians in Sydney over the development of essential services in the town. The politicians in Sydney did not think that Broken Hill warranted such costly expenditures, despite the fact that Broken Hill brought in a large chunk of New South Wale’s wealth through it’s mines.
So, in a passive aggressive move, the town of Broken Hill decided it would become part of South Australia – in all but post code. Therefore, in Broken Hill you need to use the South Australia phone code of 08, and the time is on South Australia time as well. As you leave the city limits, road signs instruct you to change your clocks back to New South Wales time.
But most telling of all…. in the pub they only played Australian Rules Football, not Rugby.
So in a rough and tumble mining town like this, probably one of the last things you wold expect is an open air gallery of world renowned artists. But that is just what you will find here.
Art And Nature In Broken Hill
The main attraction in Broken Hill for lovers of art and culture is The Living Desert Sculpture park. In 1993 a sculpture symposium was held in the living desert reserve, and artists from around the world came to create their own unique sandstone art works.
There are 12 sandstone sculptures in all, and all have informational plaques that tell you about the artist, and what the piece symbolizes. And all this while being surrounded by a 2400 ha nature reserve in the outback.
Once you have admired the sculptures, there are plenty of walking trails to keep you occupied. The flora and fauna walk will take you past typical outback species, while the cultural walk will educate you with information signs about the Aboriginal culture from this region, and why it is important that we look after the land.
If you time your walks correctly, you should be back at the sculpture park in time for a stunning sunset.
- Despite what some guidebooks may tell you, you do not need to buy your pass in advance at the tourist information centre. In fact, if you are only going to the park for sunset, then the tourist information office in Broken Hill may be closed before you even arrive!
- Entry into the park costs $10 per car, and you pay at the entrance. Once paid, make sure you display your pass in your cars window.
- The park is located about 12 kilometers from Broken Hill
- Although there are picnic and BBQ facilities in the park, there are no water facilities – so bring plenty of your own!
When we visited Broken Hill and Silverton, we stayed at The Tourist Lodge. This large hostel has a large variety of comfortable rooms. The dorm rooms that we stayed in were very reasonable priced, and only had two beds in each, making this a great place for couples or long term stays as well as backpackers. The hostel also had a very large and well equipped kitchen – although we spent our evenings eating at the local pub and enjoying the company of some of the boisterous miners. The hostel also comes equipped with a pool, but it was far too cold when we were visiting to use it!