22nd April 2020
It’s time! Holidays are being planned all over NSW in response to Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement this week that regional NSW is open for holidaymakers, adventure seekers and anyone else who just wants to get out of the house and explore!
We’re so excited! Here at Air Link, we love nothing more than a great outback adventure – since 1974 we’ve been exploring remote NSW to discover some incredible destinations in the most unlikely of places. So in the spirit of adventure, and celebration of the great Australian outback, we’re sharing a few holiday ideas that you can book right now (that’s from the 1st of June 2020). Lets get right to it.
Image: Visit Bourke
Explore the Out-Back (of Bourke!)
Where: Bourke, NSW
When: April – October
Stay: 2-5 days
Henry Lawson once wrote “If you know Bourke, you know Australia”. Who are we to argue with one of Australia’s greatest short story writers?
Things to do in Bourke:
Gateway to outback NSW, Bourke’s tourism attractions draw on a rich cultural history for both indigenous and white Australians during the 1900’s, when rivers were highways and Bourke was the centre of it all. Now, things are a little more laid back in Bourke, with a population of under 2000 people. One of our favourite ways to spend a day in Bourke is to follow the Bourke Town Trail (https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/outback-nsw/bourke-area/bourke/attractions/bourke-town-trail) – retracing the old Cobb & Co stagecoach days of the late 1800’s. Walk in the footsteps of iconic bushrangers like Captain Starlight, tour the blacksmiths workshop, visit the Bourke Courthouse and of course have a beer at the Port of Bourke Hotel. If the river levels are just right, you can even grab a ticket for a ride on board the 1895 era PV Jandra paddle steamer!
For those keen to learn more about the towns history and see some incredible scenes of life in the 1890’s – you can’t miss the redeveloped Back O’ Bourke Exhibition Centre. Situated between Bourke and the Airport, right on the river, the centre is a modern archive full of interesting tales from farmers, Afghan cameleers, the Barkindji, Bardaji, Murrawari, Nyemba and Nyirrpa peoples from the region and legendary Aussie poets.
If learning about Aboriginal history is your thing, then it’s time to hit the road for the Gundabooka National Park. (https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/outback-nsw/bourke-area/attractions/gundabooka-national-park) Stretching from the Darling River about 50 mins drive from Bourke, the park covers Mount Gunderbooka and features some of the region’s best rock art, authentic outback camping experience and wide outback vistas. Guided tours are highly recommended out here!
What else to do? A must see is the Back O’ Bourke Art Gallery where Jenny and Steve Greentree operate a working commercial gallery. Careful, you will be tempted to buy an original painting showcasing Australia’s vibrant and spectacular outback! And on a more sombre note the famous humanitarian Fred Hollows in accordance with his wishes, was interred in Bourke, where he had worked in the early 1970’s.
Where to eat in Bourke:
Classic Aussie meals are not hard to find in Bourke, with plenty of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner right in town.
For breakfast or lunch, check out Morrall’s Bakery or mosey up the road a block and you’ll find Diggers on the Darling. The RSL club, and best bet for a great lunchtime snack – Diggers also does dinner if you are looking for a club style meal and a few stories from fellow travelers. Did you say pub-style meal? Across the road from Diggers the Port of Bourke pub will cook you a good old fashioned schnitty, or a steak. It’s proper outback tucker, and you’re sure to meet some of the locals at the bar. And of course, the Bourke Bowling Club has the traditional Aussie Chinese Restaurant for those who just can’t pass up on their regular Chinese dishes.
Want a more upmarket affair? The Bridge Inn at North Bourke offers fine dining options and can also cater for events and functions.
And a visit to Bourke will not be complete unless you enjoy an evening dinner and show at Kidman Camp’s Poetry on a Plate.
Where to Stay in Bourke:
There are plenty of options in Bourke to rest your head. The Bourke Riverside Motel is situated (you guessed it) right on the Darling River. This historic hotel was created from the 1875 Telegraph Hotel is as old as Bourke itself, with rooms named after the region’s influential personalities. Other great accommodation options include Kidman Camp, The Bridge Inn, Darling River Motel and the newest accommodation in town, the Sunshine Gardens Bourke Resort.
How to get to Bourke:
Air Link flies to and from Bourke every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as part of our scheduled services from Dubbo Airport. Connecting flights from Sydney are operated by Regional Express Airlines. Flights from Brisbane, Essendon and Newcastle are available but will need an overnight stay in Dubbo. Alternatively, Air Link can provide air charter options for those travelers wishing to set their own schedule.