Famed bush poet Henry Lawson once wrote, “If you know Bourke, you know Australia.” This sentiment perfectly encapsulates the rugged and rustic appeal of this authentic Outback town, which artist John Murray has also described as the “gateway to the real Outback”. Historic and surprising, the township’s isolated location and proclivity for dust storms led to the coining of the term, ‘the back of Bourke’, meaning a remote destination. Despite this reputation, Bourke is a region of intrigue and rural charm, one which offers opportunities a world away from anything you’ve experienced before.
Located on the banks of the Darling River, Bourke is an historic port town that was once an important trading centre and transportation hub. These days, the town emanates old world appeal, with the heritage trail and the Back O Bourke Exhibition Centre offering a glimpse into a prosperous past.
The areas just outside the township are brimming in authentic Outback scenery, with Gundabooka National Park in particular proffering a landscape of rust coloured cliffs, gorges and hills. Bird watchers and wildlife spotters will be in their element at Mt Oxley and Mt Gundabooka, with an estimated 140 different types of birds present in the region.
The accommodation options in Bourke are varied, and range from caravan parks and motels through to farm stays and hotels. Visitors can get a true taste of the Outback at the Comeroo Camel Station, or experience famous country hospitality in a charming bed and breakfast. Bourke is also awash with genuine Outback pubs, meaning there is no better way to wet your whistle than with an old fashion pub crawl. Located nine hours from Sydney and ten hours from Brisbane, Bourke is an Outback experience that’s more than worth the drive.