The iconic Aussie saying 'the back of Bourke' originated at this historic river port town on the Darling River in outback NSW, 780km north west of Sydney, and was then considered to be out in the great unknown.
When you visit Bourke, be sure to:
1. Stay at Kidmans Camp on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday night from April to October to experience 'Poetry on a Plate'. Enjoy a slow cooked meal and home-made dessert and be entertained by the 'Bard of Bourke'. Entertaining, educational and lots of fun.
2. Cruise on the Darling River aboard the modern paddle vessel 'Jandra', commissioned in 2000. This cruise is operated by the Bourke Shire Council and departs from Kidmans Camp Monday to Saturday at 9am and 3pm, and 2.30pm Sunday during the tourist season. This outstanding cruise is the best value river cruise we have done in Australia; informative, scenic and very reasonably priced.
3. Drive out to Bourke cemetery. We were particularly keen to visit the grave of ophthalmologist Fred Hollows. The work of this inspirational man is reputed to have restored the sight of over a million disadvantaged people in Australia and overseas. His grave is marked by a massive chiselled black plinth. Also in the cemetery is the smallest mosque in Australia with the graves of Afghan cameleers all pointing towards Mecca, and the grave of John McCabe who was shot by bushranger Captain Starlight in 1868.
4. Make sure you allow enough time when you visit the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre. It showcases the history of the area, and of outback NSW. There are many interactive displays including the ancient inland sea, the wool industry and the river boats, Henry Lawson and pioneer women.
5. Collect a map from the Visitors Centre at Back O' Bourke and walk the Bourke Heritage Trail. In the 1860s Bourke was very important in trade along the Darling River. You can see historic buildings like the Court House and Police Station, and visit the old port and the historic North Bourke Bridge. After your walk, drop into one of the pubs for a drink and talk with the locals.
Bourke Tourist Information
Ph: (02) 6872 1321