Broken Hill is a remote mining city in Australia’s outback in the state of New South Wales. It is situated near the South Australian border where the Barrier Highway crosses with the Silver City Highway. It lies 220 meters above sea level with an average rainfall of 230 mm. In summer, temperatures exceed the 40 degree (Celsius) mark. The nearest metropolitan city is the capital of South Australia, Adelaide, which is 500 km away.
Like most of Australia’s outback areas, this interesting city’s growth was due to the mining of precious metals. At one stage, it had the world’s richest supply of silver, zinc and lead. Although these deposits are somewhat depleted, mining still produces over two millions tons a year. Merino sheep farming is now the main industry; in fact, there are more sheep than people in the area.
Tourism is growing rapidly and, from an economic perspective, runs a close second to the mining industry. The region has also attracted international film-makers and many movies have been shot here. Notable ones include blockbusters like ‘A Town like Alice’, ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’, and ‘Mad Max’. Tourism was further enhanced when a direct air flight from Sydney to Broken Hill was established in 2007.
Three of the major tourist attractions are the Regional Art Gallery, the Living Desert Sanctuary, and the Sculpture Symposium. These attract visitors from all parts of Australia and throughout the world. The Sculpture Symposium sits on the top of a majestic hill and it features 12 amazing sandstone sculptures that grace the skyline. They were done by a group of international artists and the project was completed in 1993.
At the Living Desert Sanctuary, tourists are treated to a feast of flora and fauna indigenous to the Barrier Ranges. The sanctuary, which is just 9 km from the city, is located on a 2400 hectare reserve. Visitors can take a two-hour return trip to this area and learn about the fascinating heritage of the Aboriginal people.
The Regional Art Gallery has received many awards for the refurbishment and restoration of Sully’s Emporium. Sully’s was one of the most prominent commercial businesses in the area in the early days. It provided much of the heavy equipment and machinery for the exploration and development of the mineral fields.
A visit to the Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum is also recommended. Here, visitors can see displays of gems, minerals, and interesting artefacts showing the history of mining. The museum is not just a collection of rocks. It has a fascinating range of interactive displays that include sound, lighting and other effects that bring the mystery and beauty of precious gems to life.
The nightlife is bustling and there is a wide variety of pubs, clubs, music bars, cinemas, and restaurants. A favourite with tourists is the Broken Earth Restaurant which offers fine a la Carte dining while patrons enjoy stunning views and sunsets. It also offers a great lunch menu and serves tea, coffee and freshly baked cakes at any time of the day. Broken Hill accommodation options are plentiful and varied. Choices include guest houses, apartments, cottages, cabins, hotels and motels, B&Bs, backpackers’ lodges, caravan sites, and camp parks.