outback NSW trip

Hi all,

Planning a trip to outback NSW for November this year for 1 couple, no children. I have read that a 4WD is not needed but is it recommended? My OH is experienced in 4WDing but we currently do not have one. Also, is this a good time to do this trip? Would 2 weeks be long enough without having to rush? We are in ACT. Any input would be great.

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Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:13

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:13

It depends on what you see as outback NSW.

Many, many roads are suitable for 2 wheel drives during the dry but impassible if wet.

Can you give some details of the locations you are loocking at going to?

There are some fantastic places to visit, from Menindde Lakes, Mungo, Broken Hill and Silverton, even Packsaddle to Tibbooburra, Bourke and plenty more...

Click on Places (on bar at top or click here) when you select a location andthen scroll down it will give you the mean average temperature though out the year.

You can use Places to plan your trip as well.

This site is a great resource....
AnswerID: 443642

Follow Up By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:14

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:14
Opps please excuse spelling mistakes...
FollowupID: 715717

Reply By: vk1dx - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:15

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:15
What a question. It is very hard to answer that without knowing what type of trip (4wd tour in their car/bus, camping, caravan, motel, B&B etc) and where in NSW (its 802 000 km2) That's a lot to see in two weeks. November is fine if you don't like the cold as its starting to warm up and its not in school holidays so it shouldn't be crowded.

So you need to help us:
What type of outback trip? and
Do you have any part of NSW in mind?

Also in Canberra if you want to swap emails: vk1dx@bigpond.net.au

AnswerID: 443643

Reply By: Chazzi - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 12:52

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 12:52
We are looking at a camping trip (we are both keen campers). I have only just begun to research and plan our trip. Funny actually how the idea came up-yesterday we were watching the movie "Wolf Creek" (if you haven't seen it it is about the campers that were murdered back in 1999, with the suspect still at large) and that made us want to do the trip. Although we have vaugely mentioned the idea before, we have decided now that we REALLY want to do it. So although I do not have a specific area in mind at the moment we basically want a trip that is going to be relaxing (at times, we do want an adventure as well!), where we can see the most of the Australian environment, that we can do easily in 2 weeks without having to rush things. If anyone has any ideas I'm up for suggestions. I have sent away for a booklet on the Murray Darling trip from another website. Would travel agents have any info worth looking at?
AnswerID: 443650

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 13:03

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 13:03
Hi again Chazzi,

Our previous posts overlapped. Maybe you needed to do a bit of research first to allow you to ask more specific questions. Now while I haven't seen Wolf Creek I have seen a bit of outback Oz. I dont think you should let a movie colour what you expect to find in the outback - the reality is usually rather different to what you see in movies.

Forget getting useful info from travel agents as they focus on commercially based activities, and while there might be some of those the real outback info is to be found elsewhere. This site is probably one of the best places to start your research. Get a good map and start by looking at the towns, national parks and roads, then get further info from this site or by Googling. Then if you have specific questions please ask on here.

Planning a trip is half the fun, but always leave some flexibility in your plan otherwise you will feel pushed.


J and V
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Follow Up By: youngharry52 - Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 17:16

Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 17:16
Hi Chazzi,

After seeing Wolf Creek, I am surpised that you want to go anywhere near the outback .......lol


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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 12:52

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 12:52

As others have said, you need to give us a bit more help if we are to help you. "Outback NSW" is a big place, so you will not see all of it in 2 weeks with or without a 4WD.

Check out (in Places in the blue bar at the top of this page) Lake Mungo, Mutawinji National Park, Tibooburra, Sturt NP, Cameron Corner, Lightning Ridge, Moree, Darling River, Menindee Lakes, Broken Hill and Silverton - and they are just the better known places. Have you searches the blogs where there is also a lot of info on this part of Oz.

Some of those places you can get to from Canberra without going off the bitumen. Do you need a 4WD - there are a lot of good gravel roads. If they have been recently graded and if there has been no rain then you would be fine in a sedan. BUT if there has been rain these roads will be very slippery and you need 4WD. (If there is a lot of rain many of these roads will be closed.) If roads are rough - corrugated or rutted - the extra clearance and toughness of a 4WD is what makes the difference rather than necessarily having to actually enegage 4WD, though doing that adds a margin of safety. So the answer to your question depends on where you want to go.

If you are just starting out exploring the outback I think you would find a lot to see and do in 2 weeks without a 4WD. Then if you like what you see you can plan for further trips based on your 2 week experience. Novemebr out west will be rather warmer than Canberra too.


J and V
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Reply By: Ruffy-Dan - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 13:17

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 13:17
As previously mention, Mungo, Menindee, Mutawinji all nice places. I would maybe suggest a loop from Canberra to griffith, hilston, cobar, willcannia, Broken hill, robinvale perhaps. Bit of everything in that loop

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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:11

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:11
A 4wd will give you more options but since you do not have one just set yourself a basic loop and a bit of a timeframe and head off and follow your nose and have a talk to other travellers on the way for some ideas.
Longer is always better but just work around the timeframe you have.

When you get back, if you enjoyed it look to set up with a 4wd and plan another, more adventerous trip

There will be plenty to see and do with a 2wd vehicle.

AnswerID: 443662

Reply By: Chazzi - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:38

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:38
I would really like to borrow my Dad's 4WD (Nissan Patrol). He has all the gear (snorkel, winch etc). I have some basic 4WD experience and my OH has ALOT. We did have a Patrol up until about 8 months back, we got rid of it because we were not using it as often as we had liked and we had 2 other cars to run so the $$$ were adding up a bit. Like I said I would like to borrow my Dad's but I'm sure he probably wouldn't like the fact that we would be putting over 1,000 kms on the clock...
AnswerID: 443665

Reply By: deserter - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:56

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:56
Ifyou are not going on specific 4 wheel drive tracks then you won't need 4x4. I've been all over tracks out there in 2WD.

But if it rains - its the opposite. Go home.
AnswerID: 443668

Reply By: Chazzi - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:11

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:11
So in regards to a vehicle...is it better to take an older (reliable, of course) car rather than a new one in case repairs are needed? I figure an older car is easier for a local to repair if the need arises, or if OH can fix it then parts would be easier to obtain??? Correct me if I'm wrong. We were thinking about buying an older stationwagon, around late 80's to early 90's. That way too, if something does go wrong with the car at least we won't have to worry about replacing it as it could be like a "throw-away" type car.
AnswerID: 443671

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:54

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:54
Hi Chazzi,

Earlier quote"the fact that we would be putting over 1,000 kms on the clock..." That wont take you far if you really want to get to the outback of NSW. From Canberra to Broken Hill via Mildura is roughly 800km - one way!

If you plan to only go 1000km AND stay on the bitumen then any well maintained vehicle will do the trip. I think the key is on "well maintained" and reliable. If you go out and buy an older vehicle you may not know its history and whether it has any nasty surprises in store for you.

That said we have deliberately stayed with an older 4WD because we are able to maintain it in remote areas - but we have had it a long time so are familiar with it and its history. And we go to places that are much more remote than western NSW!

Suggest before buying a vehicle you work out where you would like to go - many of the places that have already been suggested are easily accessible on good roads.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:57

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:57

This is possibly the only time that I am going to suggest that you look at hiring a 4WD Camper for your trip....

If you are willing to buy an old wagon, save some heart ache and put the money towards hiring a offroad camper from Britz, Apollo or one of those.

This will eliminate a lot of risk.
You will be tempted to follow that track near Cameron Corner in your wagon, you will be able to do it in a 4WD.
The Camper has a bed, kitchen, water, etc so that will save you time and cost if you don't already have the stuff.
The hire vehicle will be deisel not petrol, and be prepared, or should be, for an outback trip.

No Tent.. yeah!
If you break it they will fix it.

About $120 per day plus insurance and any extras you may need, is cheaper that a $2,500.00 old bomb..... plus equipment etc.

Yes you will have insurance and you will need communications but it looks to be your first big trip so make it as easy on yourselves as possible.

You never know, you might just do it again .....
FollowupID: 715748

Reply By: Chazzi - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 16:10

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 16:10
Wow loks like we will be doing ALOT more than 1,000kms then. We defianetly want to make the most out of this trip that we can, and if we feel like we are trying to squeeze too much into one trip then it just means a second one is in order! We already have some camping gear and mu Dad has EVERYTHING that we could need for the trip so I think the camper would be a waste, great idea though. We also want the full experience, we are both keen campers and outdoor people, so no hesitation on doing it rough! In regards to the old car idea, we do have an old (1993) Corolla that we are only the second owners of. We brought it about 3 months ago of a family who kept up the services and maintainence and it has low kms for its age. Hopefully by November we have a new car and could possibly use that. It is definately reliable but the only downside would be space.
AnswerID: 443677

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 15:46

Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 15:46

The biggest mistake most people make is trying to do too much in the time available.

If this is your first trip to the "Outback" can I suggest you keep it simple.

Just a suggestion: Make Dubbo your first stop, there is the Zoo, the Old Gaol and some other bits and pieces that could easily fill a day and some. Then head to White Cliffs for a couple of nights before spending a day at Mutwingee on the way to Broken Hill. I would spend the rest of the time in and around the Hill. There is heaps to see including:

Galleries (I like Pro Hart's, Jack Absalom and White's Mineral Art Museum), the historic Photo exhibit at the mine, an underground visit to Daydream Mine (this can be included on your Silverton trip if you have time but it does take a half day. Have a Devonshire Tea while you are there Beth's scones are great.)
Visit the Flying Doctor Base and the School of the Air, have a coffee at the Line of Load and have afternoon cocktails at the Astra for an upmarket experience.

Silverton, Lunch at the Cafe a good look around the Pub and a walk around the cemtery are all intereesting, there are more galleries here too.

Meninidee, have a cruise on the lake, check out Kinchega Woolshed, buy an icecream from the supermarket and have a picnic lunch at Kopi Hollow

Leave yourself a couple of days to get home going via Wentworth. Leave early but so you can have a good look around. Walk to the confluence of the two rivers. It should look pretty good with a good flow in the Darling (assuming it lasts) spend a nigt there or head back along the Murray toward Canberra. There are plenty of good camping spots in the forests on the Victoria side and a few good places to camp near Hay too.

You could do all I have suggested in your Corolla or pretty much any other reliable car.

I lived in the Hill for over 4 years and love it out there. There is heaps more to do so if you want more info just ask.

AnswerID: 443817

Reply By: Chazzi - Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 16:33

Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 16:33
That's some great info thanks so much. Will definately do some research on all suggested places to go.
AnswerID: 443822

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